When Africans arrived in the New World, they weren’t allowed to read or write. Transmitting information orally was the only way that the slaves were able to retain their culture from generation to generation. Today, that oral tradition is reflected in storytelling, rap music, and spoken word performance. This type of expression is normatively accepted as non-threatening, as it is more insular to the African American community. But when issues related to racism, social justice, and personal truth have been voiced from a larger mainstream platform, there has typically been a white gatekeeping knee-jerk function in place to silence the commentary.

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