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When We Imagine GraceBlack Men and Subject Making$
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Simone C. Drake

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226363837

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226364025.001.0001

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“I’m Not a Businessman, I’m a Business, Man”: A Hip-Hop Genealogy of Black Entrepreneurship

“I’m Not a Businessman, I’m a Business, Man”: A Hip-Hop Genealogy of Black Entrepreneurship

(p.170) Six “I’m Not a Businessman, I’m a Business, Man”: A Hip-Hop Genealogy of Black Entrepreneurship
When We Imagine Grace

Simone C. Drake

University of Chicago Press

This chapter charts a genealogy of black men’s urban business practices in relationship to citizenship and the law. Focusing on Marcus Garvey, Berry Gordy, and Jay-Z (aka Shawn Carter), this chapter analyses the nuances of what I refer to as a hip-hop genealogy and how it infuses the ways in which these men imagine black entrepreneurship as a nationalist site of redemption, enabling them to build literal empires. The self-branding that is central to how each of these men builds an empire possesses its own nuances, but each is driven by a self-actualization produced by imagining alternatives to the limited spaces open to black men. The law, custom, and intra-racial conflict emerge as challenges for all three men’s pursuits; the ways they negotiate and think about the obstacles challenges discourses of crisis. It is, however, difficult to separate hegemonic gender ideologies from nationalist and capitalist informed economic pursuits; thus, I also consider the role black women play in the empire building legacies of these men.

Keywords:   Marcus Garvey, Jay-Z, Berry Gordy, W.E.B. DuBois, hip-hop genealogy, black entrepreneurship, nationalism, empire building, branding, capitalism

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