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African American Rights Movements: Fight The Power
Artists such as KRS-One, Public Enemy and Chuck D. position themselves as heirs to the legacy of the Panthers and Malcolm X by creatively updating the “media-conscious iconography of sixties black radicalism for a 1990s constituency”, says Hannah Jeffery.
Jeffrey, Hannah. “The Legacy of Black Power Visual Culture in 1990s Hip Hop.” United States Studies Online, British Association for American Studies, 15 June 2015, www.baas.ac.uk/usso/the-legacy-of-black-power-visual-culture-in-1990s-hip-hop/.
The emergence of hip-hop as a mainstream pop music in the 1990s represented a shift in the traditional logic of crossover. Rather than hip-hop needing to be softened, the mainstream audience instead crossed over to what was deemed authentic, un-distilled, unmediated forms of contemporary black urban music.
Neal, Mark Anthony. “Pop Music and the Spatialization of Race in the 1990s.” The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, 12 July 2012, https://ap.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/facing-new-millennium/essays/pop-music-and-spatialization-race-1990s.
Greenberg, Steve. “Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' at 30: How One Album Changed the World.” Billboard, 29 Nov. 2012, www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop-shop/473949/michael-jacksons-thriller-at-30-how-one-album-changed-the-world.
Siegel, Alan. “How Living Colour Reignited Rock's ‘Cult of Personality.’” The Ringer, The Ringer, 3 May 2018, www.theringer.com/music/2018/5/3/17312688/living-colour-cult-of-personality-vivid-30-years-anniversary.
Greene, Robert. “‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ and 1990s Cultural Dialogue.” U.S. Intellectual History Blog, Society for US Intellectual History, 26 Jan. 2014, s-usih.org/2014/01/the-fresh-prince-of-bel-air-and-1990s-cultural-dialogue/.
Of all its legacies, the one most noted when discussing The Cosby Show is its depictions of race and class. Nothing like it had been seen before on television, and nothing has had its level of impact since.
"A Different World" debuted on NBC 30 years ago on Sept. 24, 1987 and not only taught the cast lessons, it took the nation to the yard and schooled them on the culture, care and traditions of black colleges and showcased the experiences of black youth in an unprecedented way for six years.
Williams, Sherri. “‘A Different World’ Remains a Key Cultural Force 30 Years Later.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 24 Sept. 2017, www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/different-world-still-key-cultural-force-30-years-later-n804336.
While sometimes referred to as a "Black SNL," this mostly black sketch show was more than just counterprogramming to white comedy shows. "In Living Color" often tackled race and social issues through humor — something "SNL" occasionally tries, while rarely having enough people of color on staff to succeed.
Rowsey, Kevin J. “The Arsenio Hall Show Was Ahead of Its Time in Promoting Black Artists. Too Bad It's Still Ahead of Ours.” Indy Week, Indy Week, 3 May 2018, www.indyweek.com/indyweek/the-arsenio-hall-show-was-ahead-of-its-time-in-promoting-black-artists-too-bad-its-still-ahead-of-ours/Content?oid=6208773.
The late 80s and 90s heralded a breakthrough led by Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing and John Singleton’s Boyz N the Hood. At first, Hollywood embraced this wave of talent, then it ignored it. Now, in the wake of #OscarsSoWhite, black film is rising again
Rose, Steve. “Black Films Matter – How African American Cinema Fought Back against Hollywood.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 13 Oct. 2016, www.theguardian.com/film/2016/oct/13/do-the-right-thing-how-black-cinema-rose-again.
When John Singleton first approached Ice Cube to be in a movie, the rapper didn’t take him seriously. But soon the novice actor, along with Cuba Gooding Jr., Laurence Fishburne, and Angela Bassett, realized Singleton’s script about South-Central Los Angeles was unlike anything that had come before it. A quarter century later, the cast and crew talk about making the revolutionary film.
Kashner, Sam. “How Boyz n the Hood Beat the Odds to Get Made-and Why It Matters Today.” HWD, Vanity Fair, 24 Apr. 2018, www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/08/how-boyz-n-the-hood-beat-the-odds-and-why-it-matters-today.
The explosion of black cinema in the 90s, with its often rudimentary cinematography and thin story lines, paved the way for recent artistic triumphs including “Hidden Figures,” “Fences” and “Moonlight,” all recently garnering multiple Oscar nominations.
After its May 1989 premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, Lee’s film quickly became a polarizing force, generating a firestorm of controversy straight into its June 30, 1989, theatrical opening. How exactly did film critics at the time react to Do the Right Thing?
Jordan was the right player at the right time, soaring onto TV exactly as the NBA’s image was ready to be remade and sold across the globe. At the same time, he helped to forge a new African-American image.
Merlino, Doug. “How Michael Jordan Became the First Modern African-American Superstar Athlete.” Bleacher Report, Bleacher Report, 12 Apr. 2017, bleacherreport.com/articles/706837-how-michael-jordan-became-the-first-modern-african-american-superstar-athlete.
By the 1980s, America finally publicly embraced the black athlete, looking past skin color to see athleticism and skill, rewarding stars with multimillion-dollar athletic contracts, movie deals, lucrative shoe endorsements and mansions in all-white enclaves.
The Associated Press. “Black Athletes in 1980s, 90s Not Outspoken, but Not Silent.” Boston.com, The Boston Globe, 16 Feb. 2018, www.boston.com/sports/national-news/2018/02/16/black-athletes-in-1980s-90s-not-outspoken-but-not-silent.