The Use of Proper Medium in Public Address

As we have seen throughout this semester, there are many different forms of public address.  One of the most important factors then in making sure that one’s public address has its desired impact is expressing one’s message through the proper medium.  Whether it be film, television, an actual speech, a blog, one wishing to get their point across must use the most effective method.  This is essential to connecting with the audience and ensuring that the message is heard and felt.  Think for example of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. During the struggle for civil rights he continually made speeches across the country and staged peaceful protests, boycotts, even sit-ins to ensure that his message was heard.  he knew that answering the problem of Jim Crow laws and racial injustice with violence would be met with violence in kind for those looking to promote the African-American community as a harbinger of negative things.  At the same time, his “I have a dream” speech in the nation’s capital was designed to reach an extremely wide audience when the issues he was facing needed to be brought to the forefront the most.

At a later time, one of hip-hop’s most influential voices, Tupac Shakur, used both poetry and his music to speak to the struggles and injustices he still saw in society.  Hip-hop music had become increasingly popular and Shakur, like King, understood the medium he must use to ensure that people heard his message.  As a result, he would often speak of problems in the inner city for example in his rap music, where those who lived in the inner cities and were thus most affected by these issues were sure to hear it.  A speech from a prominent hip-hop artist on social issues might not be met with much regard–just as no one wants to hear a speech on why to buy a certain product, so companies advertise.  Tupac understood that the best way to get his message out was through his rap music.  Songs like “Keep Ya Head Up” allow him to exercise his voice in a manner that is respected because he does not attempt to venture into unwelcome territory.  It also helps him get his message to a widespread audience the best way he can, as popular music so often does.

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3 comments so far

  1. cejsmith20 on

    I agree that hip-hop can be a very useful medium, but it is also a medium that is being destroyed. Tupac and others (even some today) used their ‘powers for good’, which is more than can be said today. Now, in hip-hop, sex sells. Hip-hop has taken on their own version of ‘sex drugs and rock n’ roll’, and it has all but ruined the medium involved. Today the media has created a new rap, and this sadly has all but eliminated the widespread commercial medium of rap music that has social meaning

    – Cody Smith

  2. jenniferephillips on

    This is a really good example of being aware of your audience. For some artists it is appropriate to rap about some things and for others it is not. As rap and music in general acts as such a significant form of public address in our society, it is important for artists to consider their audience. In this example, Tupac does a good job of relating to his audience, while some rappers today do not.

    Jen Phillips

  3. Siavash on

    “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. During the struggle for civil rights he continually made speeches across the country and staged peaceful protests, boycotts, even sit-ins to ensure that his message was heard.”

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used non-violent protest as a medium of public address not peaceful protest. If we lived back then and were radical enough to participate in Dr. Kings movement we would know that his protest were full of songs, signs, and direct action. Dr. King was brilliant in his mode of public address because through his media attention he exposed the brutality of “white” America.

    Mr. Tupac Shakur through the use of music as a medium was peaceful, but he was for the advocacy of violence against an oppressive American regime and the hypocritical American System. Like Dr. King, Mr. Shakur was able to transgress his public address across America. Kids outside the urban cities in the rural country and bourgeoisie suburbs were “bumping” Tupac.

    Thus, Dr. King and Tupac were successful because they attracted an audience through their grassroots movement which became a cross-cultural movement towards justice and democratization of public address in America.

    -$iavash


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