Presenter Information

Wesley TurnerFollow

Content Category

Literary Criticism

Abstract/Description

For the purposes of this paper, I will juxtapose the work of Tupac Shakur with Langston Hughes in order to reveal Shakur’s engagement with African American literary history. Both Hughes and Shakur have recurring maternal relationships in their works. However, both artists incorporate these relationships very differently. Hughes primarily discussed mothers and children in order to show how far African Americans have come in gaining equal rights in their country. His mother-child relationships are ones that hope for continued steps towards equality and a breakdown of the black/white color line. Shakur, however, discusses children and mothers in the context of death, including miscarriage and infanticide. Though some cite Shakur’s use of these brutal subjects to accuse him of being a negative influence, I assert that Shakur uses these themes in order to invert the trope of African American motherhood. Shakur does this in order to illustrate the shift of American racism from overt, legal racism to more covert, systematic racism.

Location

B114 JFSB

Start Date

19-3-2015 11:30 AM

End Date

19-3-2015 1:00 PM

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Mar 19th, 11:30 AM Mar 19th, 1:00 PM

A Holler to My Sisters on Welfare: Mothers in the Works of Shakur and Hughes

B114 JFSB

For the purposes of this paper, I will juxtapose the work of Tupac Shakur with Langston Hughes in order to reveal Shakur’s engagement with African American literary history. Both Hughes and Shakur have recurring maternal relationships in their works. However, both artists incorporate these relationships very differently. Hughes primarily discussed mothers and children in order to show how far African Americans have come in gaining equal rights in their country. His mother-child relationships are ones that hope for continued steps towards equality and a breakdown of the black/white color line. Shakur, however, discusses children and mothers in the context of death, including miscarriage and infanticide. Though some cite Shakur’s use of these brutal subjects to accuse him of being a negative influence, I assert that Shakur uses these themes in order to invert the trope of African American motherhood. Shakur does this in order to illustrate the shift of American racism from overt, legal racism to more covert, systematic racism.