Skip to main content
main-content
Top

Hint

Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book

2019 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

12. Transformative Darkness: Fear, Vigilantism and the Death of Trayvon Martin

Author: Abimbola Cole Kai-Lewis

Published in: Nocturnes: Popular Music and the Night

Publisher: Springer International Publishing

share
SHARE

Abstract

On 26 February 2012, seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot by neighbourhood watchman George Zimmerman. Zimmerman spotted Martin on a late evening walk through the gated Sanford, Florida, community in which his father lived. Martin was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and had recently purchased a pack of Skittles and an Arizona iced tea from a local store. Zimmerman was convinced that the black teen looked suspicious and called the police after trailing Martin through the area. Minutes later Zimmerman approached Martin and shot him. Martin’s death led to national outrage about the flagrant policing of black males in the USA. It also sparked endless questions about race, vigilantism and Zimmerman’s intentions when he encountered Martin that dusky evening. This chapter examines emcee Chosan’s song “Hoodie On” (2013). Chosan eulogizes Martin and critiques the perception of black youth as threatening and dangerous figures in suburban settings. Moreover, Chosan demonstrates the heightened sense of fear surrounding night-time encounters with black males. He emphasizes that a transformative darkness occurs where darkness is metaphorically converted into light. The darkness that Chosan refers to represents negative assumptions about black males, ensuing fright, and the violence emerging as a consequence. I will use lyrical analyses, musical analyses and personal communication with Chosan to explore the depiction of Martin in this nocturnal context. Additionally, I will address how documentation from the Trayvon Martin case illuminates how such ideas contribute to fatal incidents triggered by unwarranted policing and increased incidences of racial profiling.
Appendix
Available only for authorised users
Literature
go back to reference Brewster, Todd. 2016. Foreword. In Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond, ed. Marc Lamont Hill. New York: Atria Books. Kindle. Brewster, Todd. 2016. Foreword. In Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond, ed. Marc Lamont Hill. New York: Atria Books. Kindle.
go back to reference The CERCL Writing Collective. 2014. Breaking Bread, Breaking Beats: Churches and Hip-Hop—A Basic Guide to Key Issues. Minneapolis: Fortress Press. Kindle. CrossRef The CERCL Writing Collective. 2014. Breaking Bread, Breaking Beats: Churches and Hip-Hop—A Basic Guide to Key Issues. Minneapolis: Fortress Press. Kindle. CrossRef
go back to reference Chosan. 2015. Personal Communication, February 22. Chosan. 2015. Personal Communication, February 22.
go back to reference ———. 2016. Personal Communication, December 27. ———. 2016. Personal Communication, December 27.
go back to reference ———. 2017. Personal Communication, January 11. ———. 2017. Personal Communication, January 11.
go back to reference Cole Kai-Lewis, Abimbola. 2015. The New Endangered Species: Interpretations of the Michael Brown Case by Rapper Chosan. Conference Paper Presented at the Current Musicology 50th Anniversary Conference. Cole Kai-Lewis, Abimbola. 2015. The New Endangered Species: Interpretations of the Michael Brown Case by Rapper Chosan. Conference Paper Presented at the Current Musicology 50th Anniversary Conference.
go back to reference Crenshaw, Kimberlé. 1989. Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics. University of Chicago Legal Forum 1 (8): 139–167. Crenshaw, Kimberlé. 1989. Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics. University of Chicago Legal Forum 1 (8): 139–167.
go back to reference Fulton, Sybrina, and Tracy Martin. 2017. Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin. New York: Spiegel & Grau. Fulton, Sybrina, and Tracy Martin. 2017. Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin. New York: Spiegel & Grau.
go back to reference Gilroy, Paul. 1993. The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double-Consciousness. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Gilroy, Paul. 1993. The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double-Consciousness. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
go back to reference Khan-Cullors, Patrisse, and asha bandele. 2018. When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir. New York: St. Martin’s Press. Kindle. Khan-Cullors, Patrisse, and asha bandele. 2018. When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir. New York: St. Martin’s Press. Kindle.
go back to reference Perry, Imani. 2004. Prophets of the Hood: Politics and Poetics in Hip Hop. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. CrossRef Perry, Imani. 2004. Prophets of the Hood: Politics and Poetics in Hip Hop. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. CrossRef
go back to reference Chosan. 2013. Hoodie On. Silverstreetz Entertainment. No Information. Chosan. 2013. Hoodie On. Silverstreetz Entertainment. No Information.
go back to reference Ice Cube. 1990. New Endangered Species. Priority Records. SL57120. Ice Cube. 1990. New Endangered Species. Priority Records. SL57120.
Metadata
Title
Transformative Darkness: Fear, Vigilantism and the Death of Trayvon Martin
Author
Abimbola Cole Kai-Lewis
Copyright Year
2019
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-99786-5_12