Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A King and The Illest: Remembering Dr. King and The Notorious B.I.G.

Dr. Martin Luther King - I Have A Dream Speech

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and The Notorious B.I.G. are two of the biggest cultural figures in American history. Dr. King is renowned for his political, theological, and civic work. Biggie Smalls is celebrated for his exceptional musical ability as a rapper. And both men were vital in two of the 20th century’s greatest social, political, and cultural phenomenons: the Civil Rights Movement, and Hip-Hop.

Yet, we do not think of these men simultaneously. In fact, many might say it is blasphemous to even mention them in the same breath. But as we commemorate Dr. King’s birthday and holiday, and anticipate the release of Notorious (the first major studio film about the life of Biggie), we are afforded a unique opportunity: the chance to bridge generations by carefully looking at two icons. Looking at each man's life allows us to revisit our relationship to them; and to critically think about their virtues and their flaws. Most important though is this question: can we find mutuality and commonality with B.I.G. and King?

Without doubt, the differences between King and Biggie are stark and vast. (Continue below)