It’s happening all over the world. The greatest pop stars, their lives and the influence they have over the culture and human relationships is being commoditized and offered as courses in Universities to students.
A new course at Washington University in St. Louis is focused on the world of Kanye West. In 2017, students are registered for “Politics of Kanye West: Black Genius and Sonic Aesthetics,” which began in January. There’s a waiting list to get in. The professor, Jeffrey McCune, says the course focused on the rapper, producer and fashion designer offers a way for students to connect issues of politics, race, gender, sexuality and culture.
The relationship between hip-hop titans Kanye West and Jay Z has been well-documented over the past decade. That bromance which has seen performances, a joint album, song production and more is a friendship so tight and prolific that one university has deemed it worthy of academic study.
English students at the University of Missouri can now take a full course on that relationship.
Entitled “English 2169: Jay-Z and Kanye West,” the course will examine the power-duo’s joint and respective careers from three different angles, according to the syllabus » :
“1. Where do they fit within, and how do they change, the history of hip-hop music?
2. How is what they do similar to and different from what poets do?
3. How does their rise to both celebrity and corporate power alter what we understand as the American dream?”
Course activities include “listening to music and watching videos,” as well as reading critical works on rap music, poetry studies, and Jay Z’s 2010 biography Decoded » .
The Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University is offering a class called Politicizing Beyonce. Kevin Allred, who is teaching the class, said » he was using the singer’s career to explore American race, gender and sexual politics.
In Nigeria, there’s just no part of our current music culture that’s being taught in Universities as part of the influences that young people have. Nothing on the current crop of stars or this generation of music makers has been deemed worthy enough, to be studied. Why?
We come from a static and stiff educational sector, the government-run colleges rarely update their course content and explore new ways to generate evolving subjects that positively impact the life within and outside the University.
That’s why we have failed to incorporate the elements of our pop culture, and infuse it into our learning process, in a bid to empower students to draw correlations between the languages, art, politics and more.
What are the elements that are worth the conversations and the development of course contents?
Activism in Music: Political Science students can offer courses in music that chronicle the culture of activism via music, its influence on governments, and the social effects on the masses. The works of the Kutis, African China, Adebantu and others can be explored and studied. A good title should be: POL234: Fela Kuti and his influence on African Activism”
Business: The music business is a very interesting field which outlines the economics behind the show and continues to be a tool to generating value for multi-billion dollar businesses. The principles that guide showbizness can be studied in Nigerian universities, as a perfect confluence between the arts and the business faculties.
Psychology: What effects does your favorite musicians have on the mental health and state of the public? Is there a correlation between the content of our music and behavioural patterns of millennials? Can mental health be affected by the actions of our pop stars?”
History: The lives of some of the greats of the rich music culture, can be studied and understood. Courses on the music history of Nigeria, and the evolution of our sounds through the ages can be explored and taught. Examples include “2face Idibia: The life and times of Nigeria’s biggest new generation pop star”, “Post Civil War Music: A history of Synth-Funk and Disco in Nigeria.