By Odi Uzoigwe
Before we delve into, one of the most interesting pieces I’ve wrote. I wanted to do a little check in, my goal for this year is to be more consistent with my writing. I am enjoying expanding my writing skills, and I hope to explore my diverse topics this year.
Nonetheless, this piece is dedicated to the black contribution to pop culture. This can often get neglected in mainstream media, forums and communities. From fashion, to food, to music and more. The black influence on pop culture is undeniable.
Music has always been important to many different black cultures, from black people creating RnB, to African American slaves making their own musical styles. This later evolved into gospel music, blues and country music. In today’s 21st century, black musicians main contribution to music can be argued to be hip hop and rap. If I was to start a list of all the successful, black artists we would be here forever. Some of the current ‘Big Dogs’ are Drake, The weeknd and Lil baby.
According to Nielsen Music, who are the industry standard for information and sales. In 2020 Hip-hop was deemed as the most popular music genre globally, and most influential thus far. Black people are being heard, through their music and culture. It is also evident that Black artists have influenced pop music. The most notable artist is none other than, Micheal Jackson. Who sold an unimaginable 29 million thriller albums. Hip-hop music, is a now apart of the American identity. Furthermore, there is something to be said that despite many African-Americans facing prejudice, they are still able to heard through their music and culture.
Influencing Fashion culture
Historically black people and fashion, have had political meanings. This is because fashion was a way for black people to, express their rebellion. From wearing their hair as Afro’s to rocking leather fits in the 60’s to 70’s. In today’s society black people are still doing such. The popularity of braids, wigs, baby hairs is now dominant in pop culture, and can be seen across big media publications and so on. It is important to highlight the origins of trends, because they came from a rich culture with historical reasonings. Therefore, when controversy arises about black people not getting the credit. We must understand why, it is not fair for our work, and art to be misattributed.
‘’Rappers were the unofficial spokesperson for Air Force ones’’, according to Rapper Nelly. He has a very well known song called ‘Air Force ones’. Before making this song Nelly notes that, is was not the ‘it show’. Whereas now, it is a staple sneaker that almost everyone in a certain demographic has. Nelly’s song saw a surge in the popularity of the shoe, and more rappers endorsing the shoe like A$AP Rocky and Travis Scott. Many rappers now have an affect on street styles and trends. They collaborate with some of the biggest designers, because they aware of the influence they hold.
It is not only rappers that have this influence, if we take a look at Micheal Jordan, we will find that same popularity. In 1984 NBA superstar teamed up with, Nike to create the iconic Jordan brand. Whilst Jordan was still playing basketball, a new pair of Jordans every season would be released. He would also play in that pair, that year. By the end of the first year of release, Nike had made $100 million. A lot of people would argue, it’s more than a shoe. It is a pop culture staple. From appearing in Spike Lee’s ‘ Do It Right’. To Will in fresh Prince of Bel-air continuously seen in Jordan’s. Also, the popular movie Space Jam. In which Jordan appears himself.
Influencing Food and Drink
Two of the biggest rappers of all time, Jay-Z and P Diddy have huge alcoholic endorsements. P Diddy has a partnership with Ciroc, in which he makes 50% of their profits. The deal has earned him more than, $100 million since it has started. P Diddy himself recognised his value, in making the brand popular. He stated that ‘I’m not just a celebrity endorser, I’m a luxury brand builder’. Within a few years, he helped take them from an average vodka brand, to the no.2 spot in the premium vodka category.
Similar mogul Jay-Z decided to invest in the French champagne brand, Armand de Brignac, AKA Ace of Spades. A bottle goes for $300 each, and has allowed Jay-Z to grow his networth by $520 million. Cristal champagne’s manager, was quoted saying some racist remarks, in regards to his thoughts on rappers endorsing it. He said ‘ ‘what can we do ?’’ , ‘’ We can’t forbid people from buying it’s’. Consequently, Jay-Z advocated for a boycott of the brand. Shortly afterwards, the Ace of spades bottle was seen in ‘show me what you got video’. This highlights black peoples influence and power. Jay-Z was able to invest in a different champagne company, that is now more popular than the one that was discriminatory against black people.
To wrap things up, it is evident that the influence and importance of black people, across various sections of pop culture is unmatched. It is important to highlight and champion such influence, because it can go unnoticed.
Thank you for reading x
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