Cultural Identity

The theme for this Virtual Exhibit is Cultural Identity. In the 1980s, and 90s, America was a lot more judgmental and less acceptable of one another, whether it was due to race, gender, etc. Its historically accurate to say African Americans in this time were still dealing with levels of segregation, and lack of social acceptance by some people. Two people who helped shape the identity of African Americans at this time through artworks, were painter, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Hip-Hop rapper Tupac Shakur. They pushed their personal life experiences and lessons through their own respective forms of art, and made an impact on society.


Tupac Shakur (June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996)  was an American rapper and actor. His music was based on the struggles of poverty, racism, and other social problems of the time. He was a major influence in the social society, as a lot of musicians are.

             His music is inspirational, thought provoking, and eye opening. Regardless of race, gender, and age, his music is a form of art that can be appreciated, or at least evaluated by anyone. Three works by Tupac Shakur that I believe fully captivate his views and opinions would be “Brenda’s Got a Baby” (1991), “Pain,” and “Dear Mama” (1995). Each are linked below:


Brenda’s Got a Baby:




Dear Mama:



Jean-Michel Basquiat (December 22, 1960 – August 12, 1988), was an American painter who began his artistic career with graffiti. His works, although over a short span of time as he died at the age of 27, focused around cultural Identity, justice, and to attack structural powers and racism. Three works of Basquiat that reflect on the oppression of African Americans in the 1980s and 1990s include:



 Per Capita, 1981

For more in-depth information:



Gold Griot, 1984

For more in-depth information:





Irony of the Negro Police, 1981

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