In the face of racial inequity Kendrick Lamar rallies his Paper

Published: 2021-09-13 07:00:07
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In the face of racial inequity, Kendrick Lamar rallies his black brethren with an optimistic and upbeat anthem. African American rapper Kendrick Lamar’s song “Alright” is an empowering conciliation of black life in America. Lamar’s purpose is to create a positive outlook for the black community while amid civil unrest. “Alright” is a song that was worked on in conjunction with the great Pharrell Williams in 2014 but released in 2015. This record was released after young black folks like Michael Brown died from police violence. Despite the violence surrounding the black community, Kendrick Lamar rallies his black brethren to keep on pushing. Kendrick is successful in doing so because of his credibility as another black minority. Kendrick Lamar repeatedly alludes to past black hardships and proceeds with words of encouragement, even bringing up his personal hardships and his family in order to demonstrate that almost anything can be toppled. Kendrick Lamar uses diction, symbolism, and allusion to uplift the audience. The theme of staying calm during times of distress in Kendrick Lamar’s song is pronounced by the author’s use of diction, symbolism, and allusion.One of Lamar’s strategies is to begin his song hinting at the struggles black people went through. With strikingly similar lyrics, Lamar alludes to Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Color Purple, “All my life I had to fight.” Kendrick Lamar admits that he had a difficult upbringing. His family was involved in gang violence and were in financial need. By
Nguyen 2alluding to his tough past, Lamar reminds us that a fight is worth it, because he is now a successful, multimillionaire rapper. Additionally, Lamar alludes to Jesus’ birthplace to draw parallels with himself. With the fact that Jesus’ birthplace already had a bad reputation, Lamar raps, “Nazareth, I’m fucked up.” Lamar is not comparing his status to the Jesus Christ, rather he is comparing the low, foul reputation of his gang infested childhood city of Compton to Christ’s. By alluding to two unattractive places, Lamar persuades the audience to disregard the negative labels people put on you, because all that matters are the decisions in your own life. In another vein, Lamar applies anaphora to the phrase, “N***a, we gon’ be alright.” He repeatedly raps this line to remind his fellow minorities that there is indeed peace in the eye of the treacherous hurricane called American policing. Similarly, Kendrick uses symbolism, “But if God got us, then we gon’ be alright,” to uplift Black Americans. He repeatedly mentions religious figures and praying to enhance the theme of faith in the face of pain. He uses the symbol of God as a divine protector of all that believe in him to coddle the audience. When Kendrick Lamar tells black people to believe in God and to have faith, he is telling them that pain is temporary and that brighter days will come. In addition to this, Lamar concentrates on the tragic police murders of black people. Lamar’s personification of “But homicide be looking at you from the face down,” helps his audience visualize the tiny amount of guilt that police officers feel after killing somebody. Police often get away with a slap on the wrist, so Lamar attempts to spread awareness, aligning himself with the black community as a trustworthy and reputable leader. On another note, Lamar repeatedly uses the “N” word on nearly every stanza. Authors use diction to set a tone or seem knowledgeable with word choice. Lamar’s profound use of “N***a” portrays his authority as a popular black figure because “N***a” is a word used to signify a person, usually a black one, and it is usually said by black folk. The use of the “N” word could also be
Nguyen 3linked to the more racist days of America, when black folk faced outlandish discrimination. As a leader, he is rallying all his black brethren to make them believe that everything will be alright. Moreover, Lamar alludes to police purposefully aiming towards celebrity music artists like NWA, “What MAC-11 even boom with the bass down?” Lamar emphasizes that police have repeatedly used murder as a silencer on black celebrity influencers. Cops, specifically the government, aim to eliminate hostile propaganda to remain in control of black people. Stemming from the slavery days, this is also interpreted as a callback toward white people always pursuing control and power. During this part of the song, Kendrick Lamar instills curiosity into his audience to advance their critical thinking skills, strengthening their willpower at the same time. Similarly, Lamar alludes to theblack slavery days to highlight their rough, but not impossible to escape origin. While some may forget how much anguish African Americans endured during that time period, Lamar reminds us, “Wouldn’t you know We been hurt, been down before… Lookin’ at the world like, “Where do we go?” Kendrick Lamar evokes the olden days during contemporary turmoil to illustrate the possibility of change. By alluding to a past struggle, Lamar draws a connection between hardship and immense growth for the audience. Addingto this, Lamar’s diction conveys black cultural unity. Using common slang, Lamar raps, “N***a, and we hate po-po, wanna kill us dead in the street fo sho’.” Lamar expresses the logical hatred for police because they unceasingly kill his brothers and sisters, thus creating another revolution for social equity and positivity. Summing up the downside section of the song, Lamar exercises his rhetorical prowess to support his song’s uplifting message. Lamar’s antithesis of “N***a, I’m at the preacher’s door… But we gon’ be alright,” displays his misery and optimism simultaneously. It could also be perceived as symbolism, since figures like Martin Luther King Jr. used prayer as
Nguyen 4a form of meditation. With Kendrick Lamar’s rhetorical strategies, he continuously instills the idea of struggle not being the end, and that uncomfortably breeds future growth.Another appearance of Lamar’s strategies is to repeatedly remind his comrades that everything will be okay. Lamar repeats “N***a, we gon’ be alright,” reinforcing the positive outlook he maintains. By repeating phrases, Lamar hammers into his audience’s heads that everything will eventually be okay again. Next, Kendrick Lamar allusion, “What you want you? A house or a car? 40 acres and a mule? A piano, a guitar?” provides shared cultural points from history. When the black slaves were freed, they were promised land and a mule, which they did not receive. Despite this, they got themselves out of poverty and made a name for themselves. By bringing up past hardships, Kendrick reminds us that “this too shall pass” because we no longer live in those wretched days. He could also be alluding to black musicians. In the south, Jazz is ingrained into black history. Music is a gateway out of poverty to talented people like Kendrick. He grew up around violence and did not become another statistic by making millions and providing for his family. Kendrick Lamar concludes this song appropriately, with an idiom. “I keep my head up high / I cross my heart and hope to die.” He explicitly always displays his optimism, begging the audience’s question of, “should I do the same?” With an idiom, he decorates his language in a commonly understood manner, but with profound urgency. Kendrick Lamar emphasizes optimism for black brethren during civil unrest.Kendrick Lamar’s goal in this song is prevalent: to energize his fellow black people in a time of systematic violent discrimination. With a plethora of quality rhetorical devices in use, Kendrick Lamar successfully instills the idea of “this too shall pass,” to his audience. By deploying a barrage of allusion, anaphora, and repetition, Kendrick Lamar demands that everyone should look at the bright side of things and stay ten toes down.

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