Turning the Political into the Personal: A Talk By Angie Thomas

In February, young adult author Angie Thomas visited Vanderbilt to talk about her books (The Hate U Give and On the Come Up) and the power of young people’s voices in activism. During the talk, Thomas talked about the influences on her YA novels, especially hip hop and 2Pac. For y’all who don’t know Pac, he was the child of Black Panther members and one of the biggest Black hip hop artists in the 1990s. While he was killed in 1996, he still remains one of the most influential figures in hip hop.

From her talk about her books and hip hop, I came away with two main things:

  1. Hip hop is a language that Black people use to talk about our everyday experiences, communicate with our people, and participate in activism.

  2. Black people’s authenticity is powerful and radical.

Like Angie Thomas, hip hop (and 2Pac) has also really influenced my life. So, I decided to make a playlist inspired by Angie Thomas, activism, Black authenticity, and the power of hip hop.

  1. The Message by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five (feat. Melle Mel & Duke Boutee)

  2. U.N.I.T.Y. by Queen Latifah

  3. Violent by 2Pac

  4. The Blacker the Berry by Kendrick Lamar

  5. Straight Outta Compton by N.W.A.

  6. This Is America by Childish Gambino

  7. i by Kendrick Lamar

  8. Soulja’s Story by 2Pac

  9. Holler if Ya’ Hear Me by 2Pac

  10. Interlude: I Got So Much Magic, You Can Have It by Solange, Kelly Rowland, and Nia Andrews

  11. Django Jane by Janelle Monáe

  12. Don’t Touch My Hair by Solange and Sampha

  13. As I Am by H.E.R.

  14. Holy by Jamila Woods

  15. Blk Girl Soldier by Jamila Woods