Digital Griots Summary

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Digital Griots: African American Rhetoric in a Multimedia Age (Book Review) Review Author: Ibeawuchi Travis Uzoegwu Review Date: November 21, 2015 Publication Information: Adam J. Banks. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 2011, 187pp. In Digital Griots: African American Rhetoric in a Multimedia Age, Adam J. Banks boldly argues that the writing classroom is a space that could be utilized for African American voices, storytelling traditions, and digital rhetoric. In doing so, Banks utilizes an interesting theoretical approach which blends rhetorical concepts with DJ and Hip-Hop terminology (i.e. the mix, remix, and mixtape). Banks draws our attention to the term “griot” (West African storytellers) and its significance…show more content…
In doing so, he addresses the tension of “back in the day” narratives between African Americans who lived during the civil rights and Black Power movements with those who did not. Banks calls this a generational split. Banks’ main aim for this chapter is to “explore the ways these generational tensions are encoded in what I am calling the ‘back in the day’ narrative and the rhetorical functions of such narratives” (Banks 86-87). Banks calls DJs “bridge-builders” and claims that they have the ability to bridge the gaps between the old/past and new/future. The DJ has the ability to draw from “old school”/past influences/experiences and create new African American narratives. Remixing involves reusing an original text, repurposing a text, and/or recombining parts from many sources as a means to create a new text. The same thing happens with music. A song is reworked and re-mastered to create something entirely new. This type of practice is also common amongst musicians. It is common for Hip-Hop artist to sample and remix many old school hits. For instance, Kanye West’s song “Gold Digger” remixes Ray Charles’ “I Got a Woman”, which bridges the gap between old school and new school. Banks views the DJs ability to re-envision text as art, whether it is visual, oral, and/or…show more content…
Going along with the music theme, a mixtape can be defined as a compilation of songs that have been carefully selected, mixed, and/or recorded. Likewise, Banks carefully selects works, theories, and concepts from notable scholars and artists. It could be argued that the mixtape is a metaphor for a conversation between the past and present. It should also be noted that the mixtape is more than just a compilation of works. In this section, Banks views the mixtape as being a type of political

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