chapter  10
16 Pages

Loving [you] is complicated

Black self-love and affirmation in the rap music of Kendrick Lamar
WithDarrius D. Hills

In “Loving [You] Is Complicated: Black Self-Love and Affirmation in the Rap Music of Kendrick Lamar,” Darrius D. Hills examines themes pertaining to black self-love (and/or self-affirmation) in the lyrics of Lamar. Hills argues that Lamar contributes to black meaning making through insistence on ‘self-love’ over the many threats of antiblack violence, both discursive and material/physical forms of violence grounded in an antiblack/brown societal context. The first segment of Hills’s chapter discusses the importance of self-love for beleaguered and besieged communities. Hills then poses the question, “In what ways might black and brown communities be impacted by a radical embodiment of self-love?” Hills develops an answer to this question while conversing with the theme of self-love as articulated within womanist scholarship. Additionally, Hills’s chapter expounds on radicalized notions of self-love by considering the usefulness of Lamar’s construct of self-love in black communities and its capacity for reimagining black personhood and self-image.