Vassar College Digital Library
"Playin' Tha Game" explores the connections between black gangsta rappers, black basketball stars, and the degree to which they are vocal about black sociopolitical issues. Specifically the 1992 Dream Team members and L.A. based gangsta rappers were studied. Through analysis of personal identity and brand identity, it was theorized that gangsta rappers were more vocal about issues that affected black communities because their personas were connected to their personal identities. Conversely black basketball stars were less vocal because their personas were tied to their brand identities. In order to compare and contrast these two personas the responses of gangsta rappers and basketball players on the Rodney King beating and the L.A. riots were evaluated. While basketball stars didn't address these incidents for fear of damaging their brand identities, gangsta rappers were quick to criticize those they deemed responsible. Although basketball stars of the past weren't able to connect their persona with their personal identity, the advent of social media has made this possible for current basketball players. Now that their personas are intertwined with their personal identities, current basketball players have become more vocal about issues that affect black communities.
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