Big Take Over: Blackness as Technology in Punk




Lepovitz, Lyndsey

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Through an analysis of the creative expressions of Black punk music, the question this thesis asks is how can specific forms of liberation be achieved through theorizing Blackness as a technology through modes of Black creativity in predominately white spaces? From the contemporary art pieces of Aaron Douglas, the photographs of Gordon Parks, and many forms of musical production, Black creativity has laid the foundation of what it means to examine and appropriately theorize Blackness as a technology for liberation throughout history and in our contemporary moment; as Katherine McKittrick writes in Dear Science, a love note to Black creativity, “Black method is precise, detailed, coded, long, and forever” (McKittrick 5). To contribute to this conversation, this thesis examines the Black punk music of Bad Brains and The 1865 as a form of Black life writing that specifically embraces using Blackness as a technology with the tools of available media for creative expression. Both Bad Brains and The 1865 demonstrate how Black punk artists have used Blackness in relation to musical media techniques to achieve and multiply what Black humanity can mean. Through a rhetorical analysis of Black Punk music from Bad Brains and The 1865, this thesis demonstrates that when Blackness is theorized and put into use as a technology, there is an ironic capacity to re-humanize Black people and Black communities that have been especially invisiblized.


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Rhetoric and Composition