Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Dr. Cornel West, Pop Icon?

As a nod to Black History Month, MTV has named Dr. Cornel West, Princeton professor of religion and African-American studies, as its Artist of the Week. Often, the Artist of the Week title is reserved for new artists or artists with upcoming special projects and releases. As the majority of MTV's viewers probably have no idea who Dr. West is, and may know even less about his theories on race and global politics, this came as a surprise.

But Dr. West is an artist in his own right, having released two spoken word albums, and frequently rubs shoulders with performers and producers in the hip hop industry, making him a perfect candidate for this honor from MTV. His voice is a nice alternative to what the station normally shows from hip hop artists, and his message is more "true" to the original function of hip hop: expression of grievances regarding government and society. Despite the generational differences between himself and his target audience, at least as an MTV week-long celebrity, the youth could learn quite a bit from Dr. West, and I'm glad to see that the people working in MTV programming recognized that.

Previous Artists of the Week for Black History Month include Lupe Fiasco and black hardcore band Bad Brains.

- Wendi Muse

2 comments:

Wayetu said...

I definitely noticed him last night on MTV speaking to some bewildered looking children during commercial breaks.

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