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We Love America, and We Hate Trump: A Cultural Studies Analysis of Eminem in Trump's America

  • Author / Creator
    Wesch, Samantha
  • In early October 2017, Marshall Mathers, better know by his stage name Eminem, received enormous attention for his freestyle rap music video The Storm, which premiered at the BET Music Awards. The Storm, both lyrically and visually, is an attack on current US President Donald Trump, and functions as Eminem’s public call-out for Trump’s racism, xenophobia and general ‘un-American-ness.’ Themes of race, class, masculinity, nostalgia and nationalism are conveyed through an entirely young and black male chorus, vintage cars and 90s hip hop fashion. During the rap, Mathers explicitly marks himself a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and ally (even saviour) of Black American men, undermines the President’s authority through attacks on his masculinity, expresses his support for the American military, industry and working-class, and presents himself as both an artistic and political authority on these issues. Most significantly, he diametrically opposes himself and Trump, framing himself as a self-made, politically-aware, post-race member of the working class against Trump as a silver-spoon racist with no ‘real’ experiences of hardship required for the development of a true ‘American man.’
    The Storm utilizes concepts of race, class, masculinity and Americanness to portray particular ideas to its audience about the current political climate in America. This thesis conducts a Cultural Studies analysis of Eminem’s ‘Trump-era’ (2016-2020) music as a way of exploring the meanings of these socially constructed concepts following the election of Trump. Specifically, I examine the ways in which Eminem engages with social justice causes, including Black Lives Matter, and the ways in which social concepts are embedded with meaning in these discussions.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2020
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-kb35-1z50
  • License
    Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.