In Henry Louis Gates’s The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African American Literary Criticism, the process of literary and artistic creation in the African tradition are defined by a term called “Signifyin(g).” Gates exemplifies the term in an artistic sense as “marking, loud talking, testifying, calling out (of one’s name), sounding, rapping, playing the dozens, and so on.” According to Gates, black art is always Signifyin(g), pointing, acknowledging, or honoring the culture that has come before it. This term provides a means of analyzing black art forms with a contextual lens. Built upon this foundation, a couple of works each from two contemporary black artists will be analyzed in order to connect the roots of their music to their present-day messages. Through a deeper understanding of their works, this paper seeks to retrace the process of Signifyin(g) in contemporary black American music as a method of uncovering the value of socially conscious listening.
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|Commitee:||Lindau, Elizabeth, Palmer, Kye|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|Department:||Bob Cole Conservatory of Music|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 57/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
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