Black consciousness, as propounded by N’longi Steve Biko, was a philosophical and political transformation of the mind emerging in South Africa during the 1960s and 1970s. In essence, Black consciousness sought to imbibe amongst Black people in Southern Afrika who had been subjected to systemic racism and discrimination under apartheid a sense of pride, dignity, and self-worth through radical self-love. Biko argued that the psychological effects of oppression and racial subjugation had left Black people with a distorted self-image, low self-esteem, and a sense of powerlessness. Black consciousness sought to address these issues by encouraging Black people to embrace their racial and cultural identity and reject the notion of racial inferiority imposed by the apartheid regime. It was an effort of radical self-love through which Black people would change their entire outlook.
Hip-hop, this year celebrates its 50th anniversary. This documentary by Howard PhD student Yaw Asare uses a comparative study to examine how hip-hop has been a vessel for Black consciousness seeking “to infuse the black community with a newfound pride in themselves, their efforts, their value systems, their culture, their religion and their outlook to life” (Biko, 1987: p. 49). The documentary undertakes this mission by inviting two rappers Pure Akan and Elom 20ce based in Ghana and Togo respectively highlighting their sophomore albums Nyame Mma and Amewuga highlighting their artistry to show how the rappers through their aforementioned mentioned albums engage with Black consciousness. Moreover, both rappers’ inclusiveness of children and a heavy reliance on traditional Afrikan rhythms and instruments in the production of their recent projects are further highlighted.