Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

A black man with a crown of thorns and the handle of a gun in his waistband holds a complacent child in his arms while a woman breastfeeds on a bed.

September 22, 2022
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Five Scholars Discuss ‘Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers’

Kendrick Lamar’s 2022 album has been met with controversy, even among general praise. Here, scholars across different disciplines examine and discuss it. Continue reading

April 8, 2020
by Aesthetics for Birds
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HOW TO PARTAKE IN THE FUCKERY: A ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION ON HIP-HOP, GENDER, AND LANGUAGE

In January, we hosted an interview and preliminary discussion of some pressing issues in rap and hip-hop. We wanted to investigate the fact that, in Bill Adler’s words, hip-hop has never been “a model of civil discourse”. We did that by talking to two queer Black women rappers, BL Shirelle and Bates, to get their takes on the matter. Now we follow that up with a roundtable of scholars, each reflecting in their own way on what BL Shirelle and Bates had to say. [Warning: This discussion contains explicit language, including a variation of the n-word.] Our contributors are: Bria Gambrell, MPP and MA candidate in Gender and Cultural Studies at Simmons University T.M.G., PhD student in Philosophy at Dalhousie University [website] Charlotte Henay, lecturer in Women’s and Gender Studies at Brock University Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò, assistant professor in Philosophy at Georgetown University [website] Michael Thomas, assistant professor in Philosophy … Continue reading

September 13, 2018
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Artworld Roundtable: Can Today’s Artists Still Sell out?

This edition of Artworld Roundtable appears in collaboration with Chris Richards, the pop music critic for the Washington Post. Over the next several weeks, we’ll present a series of roundtable discussions based on Richards’ “five hardest questions in pop music”: “cultural appropriation, problematic lyricism, selling out, the ethics of posthumous listening, and … separating the art from the artist.” AFB has rounded up several thinkers working in these areas to see what they have to say about each question. Richards has provided AFB with key examples to draw out the problems and complexities of each debate. First was cultural appropriation. Second was how to respect the wishes of dead artists. Today we ask whether it’s still possible for musicians to sell out. What does it mean to sell out? In today’s commercialized, social media, sponsorship-driven world, can musicians still sell out in any meaningful way? Or, in an era where people are … Continue reading

April 24, 2018
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Beauty in Strange Places: Art First

I met a critic, I made her shit her drawers She said she thought hip-hop was only guns and alcohol I said “Oh hell naw!” But yet it’s that too You can’t discrimi-hate cause you done read a book or two What if I looked at you in a microscope, saw all the dirty organisms Living in your closet would I stop and would I pause it? …Speeches only reaches those who already know about it This is how we go about it – André 3000, “Humble Mumble” What follows is a guest post by Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò (Georgetown University). This blog recently hosted a post on country music which defended country music partly because of its interaction with the class dynamics between the working class people who listen to the style and the broader culture in which they do so. The author of this piece comes close to a … Continue reading