Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

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

January 27, 2020
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Hip-hop, Gender, and Language with Underground Rappers Bl Shirelle and Bates

This is Part I of a two-part series. Part II is a roundtable discussion of the below interviews, featuring scholars working on these issues. I. What Is There To Discuss? A Prompt for Discussion by Bill Adler Bill Adler is a music journalist, hip-hop archivist, and legendary Def Jam publicist. As wonderful as it is, as impactful as it is, hip-hop music has never exactly embodied a model of civil discourse. On the contrary, it has often been—and remains—rough, rude, and heedless. Indeed, those very qualities are at least part of what makes the culture so appealing to so many folks. Happily, hip-hop has also generated a body of exemplary critical commentary from the very beginning. For over thirty years now, critics and journalists who came of age as hip-hoppers have wrestled with the music’s sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and materialism… and have done so with love, from inside the culture. … Continue reading

December 23, 2019
by Aesthetics for Birds
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7 Experts Rank the Decade’s Top 5 in Music

This year marks the end of the second decade of the 2000s. In honor of this, we thought we’d take a look back at our decade with an end-of-year series. The internet loves lists, especially year-end ones, and we’ll feed that love a little bit this December. We’ll be hosting seven lists of expert Decade-Best picks. We’ve done movies, games, and writing, and TV so far, and you can look forward to two more: traditional visual arts and one surprise list at the end. Our experts include philosophers and other academics whose work concerns these topics, and people working in the relevant media. Up today: music! Perusing the below lists, you may find yourself wondering: Where’s the Kendrick Lamar? The Lana Del Rey? The Arcade Fire? If you want that kind of list, go hit up Rolling Stone or Pitchfork. We’re here to give you something a little different. The … Continue reading

August 22, 2018
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Artworld Roundtable: Is Cultural Appropriation Ever Okay?

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. Up first is cultural appropriation. Nicki Minaj and Chun Li. Eminem and Iggy Azalea. What counts as cultural appropriation in music, and when is it bad? And is there such a thing as acceptable appropriation? Cultural appropriation is the crux of the first of “the five hardest questions in pop music”, as described recently in the … 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