Basic Black: Black History Icons - Respected, Revered, and ...Repackaged?


A production of  

February 28, 2014

Today is the last day of Black History Month, a time when the civil rights pioneers are learned about and revered.  But what meaning can an icon have when recording artist Nicki Minaj can use one of the most famous images of Malcolm X in her CD cover art with the n-word emblazoned near Malcolm X's head? Or Lil Wayne can write lyrics using the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till in a manner so provocative that the uproar surrounding the episode moved Mountain Dew to drop their multi-million-dollar endorsement?   This week on Basic Black, how far has popular culture separated the icons from their historical meaning and what are the implications, especially in teaching the millennials and generations to come.