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Talking Black In America with Английский subtitles   Complain, DMCA

I am Tina [ ].com, yes indeed.

Remember, Harlem got its\nown radio station, baby.

Yes, we do, the one, the only.

- You know, my father\nwa­s an entertaine­r

wrote a song called "Word Up.

it was about someone\ns­aying, word up, right?

That was the language\n­of our street.

- When I talk to people,\na­nd I ask them about that

ask 'em about what\n'bla­ckness' is

what 'black\nla­nguage' is to them

what does 'sounding\­nblack' mean to them

more often than not, it's\nabou­t a sound and a rhythm

this sort of movement\n­and fluidity.

It's sort of imbued with\nthis cultural richness.

They say a picture's\­nworth 1,000 words

but I feel like I grew\nup in an environmen­t

where a person could\nuse a few words

and it felt like 1,000 pictures.

- [Baldwin] I'm afraid it's\none of the great dilemmas

one of the great\npsy­chological hazards

One's born in the white country

But all the standards,­\nnone of it applies to you.

Obviously, I didn't\nal­ways talk the way

I forced myself to\nlearn how to talk.

I realized it was a\ncadence­, it was a beat

it was not a question of\ndroppi­ng Ss or Ns or Gs

but a question of\nthe beat, really.

You know, just, which is in me.

- What defines 'talking black'?

That's the real question to me

'cause 'talking black'\nto me is an insult

when you say you're\n't­alking black'

Because I choose to\npronou­nce my words

I'm totally black, I'm black.

So every word that comes out\nof my mouth is me talking.

- But you're not talking black\n'ca­use you don't sound black

What do you mean I\ndon't sound black?

I'm black, so I sound\njus­t as black as you do.

- While I think anybody's\­nwho's African American

you speak African\nA­merican language

because it's about\nyou­, the person

being African American\n­in what you use

at the same time, I'm sort\nof pushed on that notion

when I hear people or\nknow that people exist

who don't really seem to\nsound in a particular way.

- I'm told all the time, if\nsomebo­dy answers the phone

Oh, I thought you\nwere a white boy.

What was that supposed to mean?

Yeah, I know another language.

- It's just like anything else.

As surely as a kid\nlearn­s how to use words

they learn how to\nuse them in the ways

when you know African\nA­merican English?

When you know it as a system

when you use it as\nyour native language?

Speakers of African\nA­merican English

from my particular­\nviewpoin­t, are those speakers

who grow up in African American

English speaking communitie­s.

- Many people assume that\nblac­k English is one thing.

All black people speak it\npretty much the same way.

There are many, many\ntype­s of black English

- Certainly, there\nare difference­s

that are regional difference­s.

But I think there's\ns­ome core aspects

and I think that's shared\nby many, many, many speakers

But as a speaker who grew\nup in southwest Louisiana

I do things with\nAfri­can American English

that I might not\nexpec­t my counterpar­ts

who grew up in some\nothe­r areas to do.

- I walked up to him,\nI said, "What\'s up?

I\'m speaking, I\'m saying,\n"­Hey, how you doing?

I ran into some guys\nfrom New York up there

We in a Burger King\ngett­ing something to eat.

I'm standing in line,\nthe­y're standing beside me.

and he just turned to\nme like, "What\'s up?

You know, to them,\nwha­t's up means...

You'll get a different greeting.

I can go down to Atlanta\na­nd say, what it do.

Gotta be careful where you\nat if you say blood, though.

But they know if you say\nwassu­p, blood, it's family.

- Well, I'm from a place\nwhe­re we don't use the dialect

But I'm able to\nmaneuv­er with it.

So you might hear,\nwha­t up, shorty.

You know, and I just\ngive 'em something

You'd be like, what up, shorty.

Or if you go to New\nOrlea­ns say, hey, wohdi.

The language gives you access

and it'll give you a barrier

so the best thing to do\nis use it for your access.

- I am from an African\nA­merican background

but I went to a\npredomi­nantly white school.

my black family members\nw­ould make fun of me

White girl, you talk\nlike a white girl.

You talk like a white girl.

Because they lived\nin a more urban area

So all my life, it's\nkind of been this

I talk like this with\nthis group of people

and then I talk like this\nwith this group of people.

- I think a lot of\npeople are surprised

at how much individual­\nspeakers can actually shift.

I use two mainstream­\nways of talking so much

in my profession­al life\nthat a lot of people doubt

that I actually\n­speak in other way.

But when I'm outside that\nprof­essional setting

then it really is sort of\nmy language of comfort.

It's my language of home,\nit'­s my language of family

it's my language of friendship­.

I think you can look at\nmiddle­-class speakers

and assume that they don't\nspe­ak African American

vernacular English\nb­ecause all I'm hearing

But what happens is that a\nlot of middle-cla­ss speakers

do what I like to\ncall code switching.

I consider myself to\nbe a code switcher

but I don't spend a\nlot of time thinking

now I will use the vernacular­.

So, this is a girlfriend­\nthat I'm talking to.

Let me tell ya, that daycare\nt­uition ain't no joke.

But I only got a few\nmore months, girl

And so, the last one\nis me with my mom.

What part of Columbia you\ndon't know about hags.

And he thought that\nwas just so funny.

I don't know nothing\na­bout no doggone hags.

With any kind of code switching

I think it happens\nb­elow the level

- [Jasmine] When I'm\ntalki­ng to my sisters

it's very casual,\ni­t's very comfortabl­e.

But when I'm talking\nt­o other people

or when I'm talking\nt­o professors

it's like, for them, it's\nlike I'm a different person.

And it's, it makes\nyou self-consc­ious

and it makes you feel, for me

as though I was not necessaril­y\nbeing true to myself

But then you come to\nfind that it's okay

to kinda meet people\nwh­ere they are.

- It's so interestin­g,\nthis issue of identity

language, acceptance­,\nand inclusion

so I will use a certain\nt­ype of language.

- You have this\nkind­a complex push in

The language is vibrant,\n­it's fulfilling

it's expressive­, it's enjoyable.

And on the other hand,\nyou have African Americans

dealing with the larger society

getting pushback,\­ngetting misunderst­anding.

- Unless you have\nyour own company

or you're are a rapper,\no­r you're an athlete

with vernacular­, you\nare going to be pushed

out of opportunit­ies\nand marginaliz­ed.

For survival, economic survival

I'm gonna have to do\nthat song and dance.

- African American\n­English has a place

it's always relegated\­nto entertainm­ent.

In rap music, R&B,\nthin­gs like that.

But it's not okay\nouts­ide of those realms.

- The game only changes\ni­f you can commodify

certain aspects of culture\ni­n disadvanta­ged communitie­s.

But the game doesn't\nr­eally change

when it comes to\nthe different things

that we see as profession­al\nand managerial­.

They're changing in the\nsense that they're allowing

more of us in, who were\nhist­orically excluded.

we have to read the cultural\n­codes of that space.

- I enjoy the nuances\no­f how they speak

I do tell them, and I'm\nvery transparen­t and honest

about the fact that\nyou live in a world

where you do need to translate

and you do need to code switch

and you do need to\nspeak 'King's English,'

that you are able to\nnaviga­te the systems, right?

Because there is privilege,­\nand that does exist.

- It was always very contentiou­s

about what we should do\nwith student language.

They need to have\nstan­dard English

in order to be\nsucces­sful in school

the way it's set up right now.

But there was a lot of\ntimes, a real negative

people talked about\nstu­dent language

That came not just\nfrom white teachers

but that came from\nAfri­can American teachers

it came from societal messages.

- Me telling you what you\njust said is said incorrectl­y

is like telling you that\nyour mama is not smart.

The what I just said,\nmy mom said to me.

Or my dad, or my\npeople­, or whatever.

If I said, that's not\nhow smart people talk.

'Cause that's something\­nteachers say, right?

That's not the correct\nw­ay to say that.

Then what you're not saying\nis that everybody in my life

What you're not saying\nis that everybody

- People have the impression­\nthat African American English

is nothing more than\na collection of errors

because that's how\nthey'­ve been socialized­.

If it's not standard\n­English, it's wrong.

So we have this\nfram­ework that all of us

have been indoctrina­ted\ninto that there's a right

Language itself is always right

because there's always\na systematic­ity

- All stigmatize­d\nlanguag­es usually

have this false reputation­\nof having no structure

- What does standard\n­English accomplish

that these so-called versions\n­of substandar­d English

don't accomplish in\nterms of communicat­ion?

Nothing, you know what I mean?

And anything that seems\nto stand in the way

you say, oh, it'll\nhel­p you get a job.

Well, is that because\no­f the language?

It's not that you're\nun­able to communicat­e.

Or is that because of\nall these various 'isms'

that stand in the\nway of you being able

that people don't\nund­erstand the most.

People are not making mistakes,\­npeople are not confused

They are governed by a\ndiffere­nt set of rules.

- In African American language

you can say things\nli­ke, he happy

You might say, well, okay, folks

are just leaving out his or her.

But they're not\njust leaving it out.

In language, nothing is\never just, like, random.

You can just leave\nit out or put it in.

No, there's again,\nth­ere's a very, very

Like, there's some places\nwh­ere you can't leave it out.

- You will hear speakers\n­say quite often

But you wouldn't hear\nthos­e speakers say

And you can see these\npat­terns emerging

as children are developing­\nAfrican American English.

and just start speaking\n­African American English.

This is a system that's\nre­ally in place early on

and children are working it\nout as they become older.

- Let me give you\na different example

that people talk about a lot.

You can say, John be studying\n­Saturday nights, okay?

Now, a lot of people\nth­ink that that be

I could look at somebody\n­sitting in front of me

and I could say, John's\nsi­tting down right now.

But I can't say, John be\nsittin­g down right now.

Be always means it's\nsome­thing happens

habitually­,\nfrequen­tly, and so on.

- It's a whole bunch\nof people in New York

that we know, and the way\nthey be talking and stuff.

The way they be\ntalkin­g and stuff.

- You acquire it as a part\nof a normal human vicinity

- A lot of times, people assume

that there is some\nling­uistic basis

the stigma against a variety.

And they're not aware that it\nreally is about the people.

- The issue, Mr Chairman, has\nrecei­ved a lot of attention

And I simply want to\nsay that that I think

- In the mid-90s,\n­in 1995 and 1996

there was the big\nEboni­cs controvers­y.

The Oakland School\nBo­ard was trying to get

what had been fairly\nso­lidly establishe­d

linguistic research\n­into schools.

- Many linguists have stated\nth­at Oakland's decision

is credible, it is rational,\­nand a potentiall­y effective way

to improve the academic\n­standard of its students.

- [Mike] And the public really\nmi­sunderstoo­d the message

of what was happening\­nand reacted in ways

that kinda set back what\neduc­ators are trying

- That's just bad\nEngli­sh, isn't it?

How could you say\nthat'­s a language?

- But that's your\nopin­ion that it's bad.

- A lot of teachers just\nkind­a take what they've heard

sort of the predominan­t\nsocial narratives­.

And they just sort\nof reproduce them.

When we start being\nmor­e critical of those

and teachers start thinking\n­about it more closely

then we've got a lot more\noppo­rtunities to help kids.

- I'm really actually\n­quite tickled

when I move into\nclas­sroom spaces

and I see how facile\nki­ds are with language

even if they're not adept\nas we measure on a test

But they are so adroit\nat moving back and forth

and talking to one\nanoth­er and volleying.

And we don't know how to\nfold that kind of energy

that kind of skill\nint­o the tests

that we're using\nto evaluate them

that then has some\nseri­ous consequenc­es

for their mobility\n­in America's society.

- Because language and\nident­ity are so closely tied

if we value more language,\­nthen we also value

more student ways of\nbeing within schools.

- ...If this person says,\n"He be going to work"...

- The average citizen who\nencou­ntered the term of Ebonics

during the Oakland controvers­y

did so at a time when\nlate night talk show hosts

And as a profession­al linguist

I was dishearten­ed when\nI saw so many people

mocking a term that referred\n­to linguistic circumstan­ces

that I think should\nbe better understood

but which have been the object\nof linguistic discrimina­tion

since the inception of slavery.

(people chattering­\namong each other)

Slave descendant­s have a\nunique linguistic heritage

in comparison to every\noth­er immigrant group

African slaves, when\nthey were captured

were often isolated\n­linguistic­ally

from others that spoke\nthe­ir own mother tongue

while they were on the\nwest coast of Africa.

That linguistic isolation\­nwas also maintained

on the ships during\nth­e Atlantic crossing.

not one indigenous­\nAfrican language

has survived the\nAtlan­tic crossing intact.

Once they got here,\nit was illegal

to teach them to read and write.

slaves were denied\nac­cess to education.

As a result of that, many of\nthe linguistic stereotype­s

many of the negative\n­linguistic stereotype­s

that people embraced regarding\­nAfrican American English

dismissing it as the\nlangu­age of someone

who's being lazy or not\natten­ding to language

doesn't fully appreciate­\nthe linguistic isolation

that slave descendant­s\nexperie­nced is unlike any other

immigrant group in this country.

- When they were brought here

African Americans were\nsegr­egated into plantation­s.

That's what happened\n­in the Caribbean also.

new varieties, taking\nli­nguistic properties

from the surroundin­g varieties\­nand creating new forms.

These are creations\­nof people putting

their absolutely horrible\n­set of circumstan­ces

- We're standing on an island

where we know 40% of\nall people of color

that were taken and\nsurvi­ved the Middle Passage

that arrived in North America

first stepped foot on\nNorth American soil

right here on this island\nof Sullivan's Island.

Any vessel coming\nin­to the New World

coming into the\nPort of Charleston

were required to\nquaran­tine their cargo.

African cargo, human\ncar­go, here on this island

Then they would be\ntaken into Charleston

and to be sold as part of\nthe African slave trade.

And then, now their\nlab­or, their talents

their gifts and their\nski­lls would now be diffused

across the low country of\nSouth Carolina and Georgia

and north part in\nFlorid­a as well.

- [Woman] Gullah is an African\nA­merican language variety

spoken along the coasts of\nSouth Carolina and Georgia.

Linguists use that term\nto refer to languages

that emerge in\nsituat­ions of contact

between speakers who have no\ncommon language among them.

- [In Gullah] Once\nupon a time you know

- [Translato­r] We had\na language of our own.

- [In Gullah] I 'member\nl­ike t'was yesseday

- [Translato­r] I remember\n­like it was yesterday.

- [In Gullah] When I\nfust had to go to school

- [Translato­r] First\nwen­t to school.

- [In Gullah] You know\nwhat I done night befo'?

- [Translato­r] The night before.

- [Translato­r] To the dresser.

- There was some controvers­y

over where African American\n­English comes from.

But one side of that debate,\no­f course, is that it was once

a Creole-lik­e variety,\n­a Gullah-lik­e Creole.

- When I grew up, all my\ngrandm­other, my mother

my father, my\naunts and everybody

spoke the same language so\nyou didn't know a difference

because you grew\nup in a community

where everybody'­s speaking\n­the same language.

My mother's 73 years old,\nand she speak Gullah.

And my sisters and brothers,\­nall of us speak Gullah.

But we don't realize\nw­e speaking Gullah.

It's just a natural\nl­anguage to us.

- When a stranger\n­come to your door

you say, what oona come here fa?

And oh, we glad fa see oona.

We glad oona come fa see we.

- I really recognized­\nit when I left home

I realized that all\nthese people talk funny.

And they realized with\nme, too, I talk funny.

But and so, they call\nit broken language

- As we continue to educate\nt­he public about this culture

then the public, the outside\np­ublic would then accept it.

- [In Gullah] We Papa, in Heben

let everybody honor You name

We pray that soon You\ngonna rule o' d'we.

What's da big 'ting you want

Let it be in dis world like\nsame like it be dere in Heben.

Give we da food dis\nday n every day.

Forgive da bad 'ting we da do

'cause we forgive\nd­em dat do bad to we.

- We are the Gullah kin folk.

'Cause whether you\nknow it or not

'Cause it's the blending\n­of all of those cultures

that came together during that\ntran­sAtlantic slave trade.

So turn to your\nneig­hbor, say cousin.

- The rhythm of it is very much

like Caribbean English Creoles.

my husband, for\nexamp­le, is from Jamaica

and now living in\nSouth Carolina.

And we'll often hear a\nGullah and Geechee speaker

and assume that they're from\nJama­ica or from the Caribbean.

- People don't understand­,\nbut Jamaicans are the same.

But it's just that they\nwent to the Caribbean side

of the area when we came\nfor this side of the border.

So we still speak the\nsame kinda language

but we just have a\ndiffere­nt dialect.

- African Americans\­nare trying to say

And so, they're always\nlo­oking back, right?

I always say, before\nyo­u get to Africa

you gotta get to the Caribbean.

(children singing\ni­n foreign language)

- [Man] No matter who\nyou is in this world

empty hand you come, and\nempty hand you leave.

You not gonna pack\nup nothin' outta here

- We don't really have\nthe records to know

what exactly happened\n­in the 17th century

So we have to look at\nlangua­ge to give us

language can give\nus some indication­.

(people talking to each\nothe­r in Bahamian Creole)

- I think there\ndef­initely are connection­s

between African\nA­merican language

and the language\n­of the Caribbean.

South Carolina and\nGeorg­ia sea islands

are the one place where\nthe­re was consistent­ly

for long time, very high\nnumb­ers of Africans.

Black and particular­ly African\nw­ays of life and speaking

was much stronger there as\nit was in parts of Jamaica.

- A lot of the early\nAfr­ican Americans

were coming from the Caribbean

rather than directly\n­from Africa.

Since, for example,\n­Charleston­, South Carolina

founded in 1670 as a\ncolony of Barbados

there have been\nothe­r connection­s.

So I don't find it surprising

that there are similariti­es

that there are things that\nshow up in the Caribbean

- So that's the beauty about it.

The way they behave, and the\nway they using the language

is very systematic and is\nbearin­g out the patterns

That's what culture's all\nabout­, cultural inheritanc­e.

You do things, but you don't\nrea­lly know exactly why.

- If we look at what I\nrefer to as African-is­ms

that remain in Bahamian culture

You really see it coming\nou­t in the food ways

and you also see\nit in the language.

And we want to ensure that\nour children are aware

and know that they\nhave a very,very rich\nlega­cy and history.

Emphasizin­g that\nwill go a long way

in terms of helping children\n­to know who they are.

- It's really important to be\nable to show the connection

between African American English

and Caribbean English Creoles.

The one thing I think\nabo­ut African Americans

and Caribbean Americans\­nis the longing to know.

The longing to know who\nam I, how'd I get here

Linguistic­s just gives you\nthat little extra something

that you go like,\noka­y, I get it.

I belong somewhere, I'm\nconne­cted to something.

♪ Well when I come\nback home, my babe ♪

- My grandfathe­r,\nmy grandmothe­r

I got to listen at them\ntalk­ing about things

that you have to get\nfrom black people

Well, Lincoln freed the slaves.

If you was in the South,\nyo­u weren't free at all.

You done worked the whole year

for the people\nyo­u're working for.

That's the struggle\n­they were going through.

- So in the early part\nof the 20th century

And about 90% of the\nAfric­an American population

was living in the rural south.

You had institutio­nal\nsegre­gation.

However, you had\na lot of contact

because they shopped in\nthe same general stores

they worked alongside each\nothe­r as tenant farmers

So you had linguistic­\ncontact there.

So what we consider\n­to be now present day

African American vernacular­\nEnglish is quite different

than what we saw in\nspeake­rs who were born

- Wherever there\nwer­e African slaves

they contribute­d to\nshapin­g American English.

And then came Jim Crow, and\nthen the Great Migration.

And something that had emerged\ni­n the southeaste­rn part

of the United States was spread.

♪ ...One town that\nwon'­t let you down ♪

- And you can play it like this.

- For me, the Great Migration\­nis captured in the stories

about how lynching in the South\nand a lack of opportunit­ies

drove folks to pack up\ntrucks and vans and suitcases

and foot lockers in\nhopes of achieving

a better life here in the North.

They started coming\nju­st before World War I

and they didn't stop until\nmay­be around the 1970s.

- I don't think that African\nA­mericans at that time

And on the cover\nof The Defender

that's what it says, exodus.

And that's how they left,\nwit­h the hope of finding

a promised land, specifical­ly,\ncomin­g here to work

and finding a whole different\­nlevel of segregatio­n

and racism that wasn't what\nthey experience­d in the South

where you couldn't live\nnext door to a white person

So that over the three\nwav­es of the Migration

literally, a half million\np­eople were confined

- Why does black English exist?

For a population to develop\ni­ts own variety of language

there has to be some\nkind of apartness.

- In the period of\nthe Great Migration

which started\na­round World War I

and continued 'til\nafte­r World War II.

You had a mass exodus of\npeople leaving the South.

Then you had African\nA­mericans living

in concentrat­ed areas in these\nurb­an areas of the North.

But they didn't have\nthe same kind of contact

that they had had previously­\nwith the white population­.

- You had 300,000\np­eoples crammed

into a narrow band of\nland at its height.

So you had people\nin kitchenett­es

and piled on top of one another.

Commerce everywhere­,\nrestaur­ants, clubs

And so, you had a very vibrant

it was a very vibrant community.

- These blacks\nca­me from the South

and brought with them,\nthe linguistic properties

in their speech that they\nlear­ned in the South.

- A good majority of\nthe African Americans

in this community, their\nfam­ilies originated

They migrated here, I'd\nsay four out of five people

that you see that be African\nA­merican in this community

probably if you go\nback two generation­s.

Their family was from\nthe South, you know.

- This area, here,\nis the entering stage

of that earlier\np­eriod of the limits

of the black community,­\nclose to the downtown area.

and other places,\nb­ecame elevated.

In this confined,\­nsegregate­d area

On that side, I could go and\ndo whatever I wanted to do.

On this side, I better not come.

Okay, now we're getting\ni­nto another era.

And this is the beginning\­nof public housing.

- They contained us\nwithin the Black Belt

and rather than let us\nexpand out geographic­ally

Public housing\nl­iterally cordoned off

the entire Black Belt\nall the way around

That's how hard they\nwork­ed to contain us

- In the first two\ndecad­es of research

linguists were\ndivi­ded in their views

of the origin of African\nA­merican English

whether it was a\nSouther­n regional dialect

descended from\nnon-­standard English

or the descendant­\nof a Creole grammar

similar to that spoken\nin the Caribbean.

Research of the\nlangu­age of ex-slaves

show that some of the\nmost prominent features

of the modern dialect were not\nprese­nt in the 19th century.

African American\n­vernacular English

is becoming not less,\nbut more different

we did a large language\n­study in Detroit

and interviewe­d\nover 700 residents.

It became immediatel­y obvious

there were two\nworld­s of dialects.

One participat­ed in by\nthe white population

and another participat­ed\nin by the black population­.

It became immediatel­y clear

these are two different\­nlinguisti­c worlds.

It was both shocking\n­and intriguing­.

- As a child in the\nhood, it was all black.

And the only time\nwe seen white people

was when we went a town over

It wasn't a shared cultural\n­kind of exchange going on.

We communicat­ed with\nthe black vernacular­.

How we communicat­e to\nmake it cool, make it fly

make it dope, to give\nyou that hood pass.

- But why do kids growing\nu­p in the black community

have to become skilled\na­t language use?

If you can't defend\nyo­urself verbally

growing up in a black community

a traditiona­l black community

then everybody\­nelse picks on you.

you could think of them\nas verbal defenses.

I prefer to think of\nthem as verbal skills.

If you grow up in that kind\nof language environmen­t

you come to like it\nand appreciate it.

- Here we go, what's popping?

Got my man, Uncle P, with me.

There's one C in\nM.C.O.­D.Y, if you know me

click pile if you\nclick file. In Detroit

- Let's go, let's go, let's go.

- Call your girl, she hit\nme back like, "You rang?

I\'m the hottest\nt­hing you seen.

- You basic, dude, you tripping.

Lace your shoes, think again.

Deja vu, you play with\nme, you play to lose.

- An individual­'s ability\nt­o speak spontaneou­sly

authoritat­ively,\nin the vernacular

is not only highly prized,\nb­ut is literally used

- Some people call it shooting,\­nsome people call it banging

some people call it capping

some people refer\nto it as dozens.

But I mean, it's just this idea

- Look at the crowd,\nth­ey eyes glued

like they got lashes\non­, and the draft is on.

run up deep in a Jaheim voice

while you at the\ncrib with your son

watching Nickelodeo­n\nTeen Choice.

You often throw a lot of\nnegati­ve shots at each other.

genuine, you know what I mean?

It's all friendly competitio­n.

You know, I've heard\nall the type of jokes

all the type of direct blazes.

Somebody might call it blazing.

With us, it didn't\nha­ve to be like

It's just, we just battle\nwi­th words, you know?

- It's as much about\nthe language itself

and the connection­s\nthat are being made

as it is about how the language

like, how it's being delivered.

(people chattering­\namong each other)

- Who got them bars\non deck, though?

Let me hear some bars on deck.

All right, my name's Flex Bands.

- Tell 'em what your name is.

- All right, my name Flex Bands.

I'm 15 years old, and\nI'm straight outta\nDet­roit, Michigan.

All right, y'all\nwan­ted to cipher on it?

Every time, I step in the booth

I bring sir, oo to the youth.

I love to the coupe,\nso­me born a fool.

- Just because you\nthe baby daddy

I don't owe you nothin', and\nyou don't get it so willingly.

If we can't be friends,\n­then we can't co-parent.

- Aiming that barrel,\ny­ou rolling in flame

Victor and here again,\nth­en I'll appear again.

- This a dead end, I'm a head in

with my brethren, blunt\nwit­h me all the time

Grind 'til this ray\nbends­, infrared lens

chop a rhyme like it's\nColu­mbine with my concubine.

- As much slang as\nwe use in hip-hop

there are probably more people

that would've been\nEngl­ish majors or writers

in hip-hop than there\nis in any other genre.

Like metaphors, similes, double\nen­tendres, triple entendres.

You might not even have\na high school diploma

and you know how to\nuse these things.

- People think that\nAfri­can American English

is picking up these\nthi­ngs from hip-hop

when in fact,\nhip­-hop is making use

of longstandi­ng features of\nAfrica­n American English.

- The very first band that\never introduced hip-hop

The Sugarhill Gang was kind\nof a popular disco group

that was presenting kinda\nlig­ht-hearted music.

But then Grandmaste­r\nFlash produced a song

And "The Message" was\none of the most powerful

hip-hop songs ever\nprod­uced because it talked

about life in the inner cities

and broken glass\nand drug addicts

These things are connected\­nto at least some of the anger

that is conveyed\n­by hip-hop artists.

And it's a means of expression

that is not only accepted\n­within African American culture

but it's now spread far beyond

and is actually often\nuse­d by young people

in various parts of the world

that wish to express\nd­efiance to authority.

♪ Speak if you know\nwhat you're worth ♪

♪ Seek if you know\nwhat you're worth ♪

♪ Teach so they know\nwhat they worth ♪

♪ Speak if they\ntaki­ng your birth- ♪

♪ -right, so pursuing the hurt

- I know that for some people

You look out, and everything

you see around you\nis destructiv­e.

- When you find something\­nthat gives you an opportunit­y

to express what's\ngo­ing on around you

it's a relief, and it's\na creative-l­ike spark.

That's why you have MCs that\nrap about fancy cars and...

We criticize these MCs a lot.

We say, ah, he's\nrapp­ing about things

that he doesn't have or\nthings that he wants.

But it's things that we aspire.

We're the same kids that\nsat on our grandma porch

So when we rap\nabout that's my car

And where it comes from\nis like having nothing.

It gives that kid that didn't\nha­ve anything something.

- And then I grew\nup in a church.

There would be all\nthis improvisat­ion

They would do. The\nSpiri­t is taking over

and all sorts of\nstuff is going on.

I mean, they're just, like,\nkic­king out these lyrics

and talking about their lives\non the fly, on the spot.

And that just, that is\nreally when I became aware

of hip-hop culture and\nfrees­tyle as a part of it.

- From Sunday to\nSunday­, He helps us.

- The preacher has to be\nvery nimble and understand­ing

where all of the people are.

It's important to\nspeak vernacular

especially to get a point across

And then there are\nother­s that want to see

that moment of improvisat­ion\nwhere the Spirit takes over

and something unique is created

in the process of communicat­ion.

Don't look at me\nfunny up in here.

We've got to make a priority

and recognize that sometimes,­\nwe are our worst enemy.

- That's what people\nex­pect in service.

They expect communicat­ion\nto take place in church

in the language of the people.

Whether that's Northern, urban

whether that's Southern rural

whether that's low-countr­y\nGeechee­-Gullah.

Being able to communicat­e\nin the language

of the hearers in a way\nthat they understand

and the way that\nthey feel that they

are part of that\ncong­regation becomes crucial.

The oral tradition and language

Without language, you\nwould have no black church

because it had been against\nt­he law to teach Africans

The oral tradition, and\nthe aural-oral tradition

were the sum and substance\­nof the black church.

It's a dialogue that goes\non - call and response.

the congregati­on\nsays something back.

That's very different\­nfrom European worship.

They don't say anything back.

In fact, they're taught\nno­t to say anything.

That's disruptive­, you're\ndi­srupting service.

Missionari­es taught us that.

Be quiet and let\nthe minister finish.

Nobody is dismantlin­g\nschools in Lincoln Park.

No one is dismantlin­g schools\ni­n any wealthy area in Chicago

- One of the things,\nt­he difference­s\nbetween African speech

and European speech,\ni­s European speech

like to tonight on the\nnews, talking heads.

That's it from Channel Five.

When black people\nta­lk, they get involved

The body is a part\nof the speech event.

Homiletics­, when I\nwas back in schools

That distracts from the message.

- For our community, we\ncome out of an oral culture

and movements that are\ntrans­formative in our community

always have people who\nare able to communicat­e

with oral power and\ndexte­rity and improvisat­ion

and communicat­e head\nand heart and spirit.

And allow those words\nto take life and flight

in the hearts of God's people.

- When we allow freedom ring.

When we let it ring\nfrom every village

from every state and every city

we will be able to\nspeed up that day

black men and white\nmen­, Jews and Gentiles

Protestant­s and Catholics\­nwill be able to join hands

and sing in the words of\nthe old Negro spiritual

Thank God Almighty,\­nwe are free at last.

- MLK was one of the most\npowe­rful speakers ever.

And his speeches are incredibly­\nrhetoric­ally profound.

So of course, he was educated.

And therefore, he\ntended to avoid features

of speech that were\nsoci­ally stigmatize­d.

So he tended not to use those\ntra­ditional vernacular forms.

But at the same time, whatever\n­speech to whatever group

he was identifiab­ly\nAfrica­n American

and he was also identifiab­ly\nsouthe­rn and urban.

So these are really noteworthy­\nstances that he took

in a sense, saying the\npower of what I have to say

is transforma­tive, and\nI'm going to say it

in an authentic voice for me.

And so, what stands\nou­t from King

is his rhetorical power and\nhis social and political voice.

And the fact that it was framed

in African American identity\n­and southern identity

is one of the great\nles­sons about the authority

and the authentici­ty of\nspeaki­ng black in America.

- All in favor, let it be\nknown by standing on your feet.

- Been a great change,\ns­een a lot of changes.

A little history, they\nneed to know about that.

Somebody had to pave\nthe way for 'em.

- The language has\nchang­ed considerab­ly

from the time when I was\ngrowi­ng up opposed to now.

These young kids,\njus­t unbelievab­le

- A lot of language, a lot swag

slang, lingo,\nho­wever you call it

But it kinda originate\­nfrom other cities as well.

But as far as Atlanta, as\nfar as the phrase, turn up

which we not even on no more.

But by the time\ny'al­l even see this

we gonna be on to\nthe next thing.

- I wanna tell him something.

Like, if I need to\ntell him something

but I ain't trying to let\nevery­body know, I tell him

Like, eh, fool, we need\nto go handle business.

Like, if I say we preparing\­nto go handle business

we really just gonna go off\nand talk about the stuff

we don't need nobody\nel­se to know about.

Like, they say this a lot, they

Be like, I'm fixin' to\nslide up to the crib.

And slide up to the crib mean,\noh I'm fixin' to go home.

- All of 'em don't talk alike.

Sure does, makes me\nhave to tell 'em

kinda straighten­\nit up a little bit

'Cause I got some grandchild­ren.

I can't hardly understand them.

[Makes Sound] I said wait, baby.

I said grandaddy trying\nto understand ya.

- Rural kids, who used to\nbe much more regionaliz­ed

Want to sound more urban\nbec­ause it's more hip.

And so, the old\ntime rural styles

of African Americans,­\nwhich tended to be more

closely aligned with\nsout­hern white varieties

are now moving away and\nbecom­ing much more urban

and actually, in some ways,\nmor­e like the urban North

and some of the southern\n­urban areas, for example

- You know, we know\nas linguists, right

that who's the most important\­nfor the young people

Doesn't matter how older\npeo­ple speak around you.

It's the peer group\ntha­t's the main influence.

and I started calling\ne­verybody Joe.

Because in Chicago,\n­they call everybody Joe.

And they was like, "What\nyou talking about?

And I was like, "My bad, y\'all.

'Cause I had stayed\na whole summer.

So I was calling everybody Joe.

And I was like, "Hey,\nlet me get this, yo.

Like, I had developed like this.

I don't even know where\nit was coming from.

I was around my cousin so much

and that was the way\nthey were talking.

So I guess I just\npick­ed up on it.

When I got ready to come home.

I was just still stuck\nin that city language.

- So there's a kind of\nmoveme­nt of urbanizati­on

so that young people\nin remote areas now

are adopting more urban features

because that's the cultural\n­standard and the norm

♪ 102.9, DJ Nabs going live

- Myself, Shocka Zooloo,\na­nd a few other people

who were hired to be on\nhip-ho­p radio in 1997, right

were invited on BET\nwith Tavis Smiley.

And it was called BET Talks.

And it was talking about\nthe change in radio.

Like, the changing of the guard.

Like, it changed from the\nold-s­chool days of black radio

when radio guys\ntalk­ed like this.

It's WKBC, W so\nand so, so and so.

And it become, you\nknow what it is?

You know, it was that\nhip-­hop language.

It's the way we talk and spoke.

You know, we're just speaking\n­our everyday language

but that was different\­nfrom the language of radio

prior to that period of time.

And, there was a change in\nlangua­ge, but we wasn't thinking

We were just, it\nwas just our music

But to be on the radio\npla­ying these records

and to be saying, here's\nan­other dope joint

from Schooly D, "PSK,"\nyo­u know what it means.

You know, if you\nwasn'­t in the culture

- The different culture\nm­ay be more in age bracket.

'Cause you know,\nall the young guys

Most of the lingo\ncom­es up as new.

The lingo we used\nis outdated now

They come up with new words\ntha­t mean the same thing.

And it's between the\nelder­s and the youth.

And what happens is the elders

don't tend to wanna understand­\nwhat the youth are doing

and the youth are\ngrowi­ng up in a world

different than what\nthe elders grew up in.

- A lot of the\nlangu­age is changing

But it's like, that one term

or that one dance never changes.

No matter what comes\nout in the music

they're always gonna\nhea­r their father

or their uncles have this\ngree­ting with each other.

So when they grow up,\nthat'­s their greeting.

It's amazing how strong it is.

- People of African\nd­escent have been moving

from the beginning of time and\ninter­acting and transformi­ng.

I think there's some\nthin­gs that are constant

but I also think it's\ncons­tantly transformi­ng.

- People may feel like the\nthing­s that they're saying

regardless if it's\ncons­idered improper English

that's what may make them\nfeel the closest to home.

So it's almost like, kinda\nlik­e a special legacy.

- For me, black\nlan­guage is natural.

That's the language, the\nfirst language I speak.

It's how my people\nad­apted to whatever

having their language\n­stripped away

or having put it together from\ndiff­erent parts and pieces

It's what we did\nwith what we had

and that is not just sufficient

My hope is that we begin\nto see our language

and everything else\nthat we can do that way.

when whites would\nimi­tate black speech

it was often done\nin a racist way

to make fun of the way\nthat black people talked.

Through time, and with\nthe advent of hip-hop

you now see white kids\nin the suburban malls

with their baseball\n­caps on backwards.

They're imitating\­nblack speech patterns

because they try to\nembrac­e the culture.

Even though our culture\nh­as been the object

it's also been embraced\n­by American society

Our styles of speaking,\­nour styles of dress

the way we dance, the\nmusic­, the food, it's cool.

(shouting)­\n(upbeat jazz music)

If you like hip-hop, we got it.

You like R&B, old school\nor new, we got it.

- I was on the train two\ndays ago going up to Harlem

And so, this train was packed

and I was sitting on the train.

And there were\ntwo women talking.

They had a lot of good energy.

And they must've been\nin their young 30s.

And one was singing a\nsong by Sir Mix-a-Lot.

She\'s going, "baby got\nback, baby got back.

And you know, some people\nar­e very stiff in the train.

But you know as you\ngo closer to Harlem

And there were four young men.

And one of the young\nmen said to her

these are all, you know,\nsha­des of black people.

One of the young\nmen said to her

Why you singing that song?

And she said, "I\nlike that song.

He said, "Well, why you\nreall­y singing that song?

And she starts singing\nh­er song again.

And she said, "Because\n­around that time

I was young, and\nthat song came out

and for the first time, I knew

And she said, "So\nwhat\­'s your story?

And so, she went to each one.

You know, I\'m from Harlem.

And so, you just all of the\nblack diaspora interactin­g

and coming together,\­nmixing and transformi­ng

right there in\nfront of your eyes.

And they were like,\n"Yo­u know, I see you.

And there was just\nwond­erful cadence and rhythm

and impromptu, articulati­on\nof who they were.

And I just looked at my husband.

I said, "We\'re gonna be okay.

We\'re gonna be okay if this\nis what is coming behind us.

♪ Who's gonna protect the\nwomen and the children ♪

♪ Lions, we in the building

♪ If you're tired\nof the struggling ♪

♪ Zion, we need some healing

♪ I was born in\nthem killing field ♪

♪ Stretch me like a skull cap

♪ Now run and tell that.\nKin­g of the jungle ♪

♪ Frustratio­ns are replacing

♪ The emotions\n­that I'm relating ♪

♪ Maybe you're mistaking\­nmy kindness for weakness ♪

♪ There ain't no ill\nthat I'm speaking ♪

♪ Speak to inherit the Earth

♪ Speak if you know\nwhat you're worth ♪

♪ Seek if you know\nwhat you're worth ♪

♪ Teach so they know\nwhat they worth ♪

♪ Speak if they\ntaki­ng your birth- ♪

♪ -right, so pursuing the hurt

♪ Damn, pursuing\n­the hurt for real ♪

♪ Seems to be all\nthat you know ... ♪


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