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nicki minaj pulling her pigtails

Bakari Kitwana’s interviews Mark Anthony Neal about the Nicki Minaj’s recent appearance on Saturday Night Live as “The Bride of Blackenstein,” which interestingly generated very little serious media critique.

Here, they discuss the tame media response to the provocative image of Black women, as well as the predictable knee-jerk response regarding stereotypes. Kitwana asks Neal if the new media environment along with political correctness is smothering complex analyses of gender and race. Says Dr. Neal, “Nicki Minaj forces us to always think about how we come to terms with Black women’s physicality. What’s so smart about the SNL piece is that you see a connection not just to Black women’s physicality but also to how that physicality is a mode of resistance.”

Neal says he believes hip-hop is returning its earlier role as a catalyst for jumpstarting important national discussions: “We now have artists like Diddy and Lupe Fiasco who are pushing back in terms of trying to get President Obama to be much more accountable, particularly to the folks who helped put him in office.”

Mark Anthony Neal is Professor of Black Popular Culture at Duke University, host of the internet TV show Left of Black, and the author five books, including the forthcoming That’s The Joint II: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader.

Bakari Kitwana is CEO of Rap Sessions, Editor at Large of and author of the forthcoming Hip-Hop Activism in the Obama Era. (Third World Press, 2011)


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