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Friday, October 11 • 3:40pm - 5:30pm
(A3) Papineau: ‘The way it be settin’ the tone’: AAE morphosyntax and musical blackface in Ariana Grande’s thank u, next

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‘The way it be settin’ the tone’: AAE morphosyntax and musical blackface in Ariana Grande’s thank u, next

This paper examines the use of AAE (African American English) morphosyntax in American singer-songwriter’s body of work thank u, next. Grande faced heavy criticism after releasing the album, with many accusing the artist of promoting herself as black in order to establish ‘street cred’. Our paper finds that Grande indeed makes extensive use of AAE morphosyntactic features in her album, including: copula deletion; third person singular {-s} deletion; AAE aspectual marking; AAE periphrastic future constructions; negative concord. Despite this, no such features are present in Grande’s speech. We argue that such usages are designed to establish Grande’s own ‘street cred’, in much the same way that using AAE has been used in hip-hop, by both black and non-black artists: in order to create a persona that benefits from the fetishisation of AAE in music, without suffering the consequences found in the lived black experience (Eberhardt and Freeman 2015, Cutler 2015).

Speakers
BP

Brandon Papineau

The University of Edinburgh


Friday October 11, 2019 3:40pm - 5:30pm
EMU Ballroom


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