When considering the long struggle for Black freedom in the United States, one could ask, why is it that the Black Freedom movement seems to have ended with the civil rights movement, but less than half a century later, the Black Lives Matter movement emerges to expose American hypocrisy in the form of calling out police brutality and other forms of state-sanctioned violence? One may point to the Black Power movement as a potential segway, but that movement ended in the 1970s, still leaving a gap of more than forty years. My I.S. will be engaging this question, as I use the poetics of hip hop as a lens to observe and complicate one’s understanding of Black freedom and liberation post-civil rights and Black Power, up to the Obama era. In order to do so, I explore the narrative of hip hop’s central political critiques post-Black Power up to the Obama era. I argue, that while the hip hop community challenged the narrative that “black people had received too much,” post-civil rights by calling out and exposing issues such as police brutality, racial inequality, and criminalization, the community as a whole either struggled or showed little desire to make organized efforts to help combat these concerns.


King, Shannon

Second Advisor

Campbell, Marvin


English; History


American Studies


Hip hop, post-racial, Black freedom, police brutality

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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