Close-Up Call for Submissions
As a supplement to the Fall 2017 Close-Up on Beyoncé, Black Camera invites submissions for a Close-Up devoted to JAY-Z. Recently inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame by President Barack Obama, JAY-Z is one of the most influential rap artists of all time. With the release of 4:44, JAY-Z has once again shifted the terrain of hip-hop and his own image. Revealed as a philanderer in Beyoncé’s ground-breaking Lemonade, JAY-Z embraces vulnerability and responsibility in his fourteenth album. How does this new perspective elucidate a rapper once renowned for his masculinist lyrics and aggressive posture? This Close-Up aims to explore the evolving image and enterprises of JAY-Z, an artist whose persona is inextricable from his myriad business ventures and entertainment projects. We seek essays that address all stages of his lengthy career from his celebrated debut Reasonable Doubt to the later volumes of In My Lifetime which chronicle his difficult early life to his later masterpieces, The Blueprint and The Black Album. How has his music shaped contemporary hip-hop culture and the political valences of rap? In what ways can we reconcile his capitalist ethics and hustler persona with his critique of racialized generational wealth and extensive philanthropic endeavors? How have his views on gender, sexuality and feminism shifted since the birth of his daughters and his mother’s public announcement that she is a lesbian? What does his political activity and entrepreneurship mean in the age of Black Lives Matter? We especially welcome essays that address JAY-Z’s performance aesthetics and visual representation on stage live and in music videos.
We welcome submissions exploring JAY-Z’s music, videos, films, and public persona from a variety of disciplinary and analytical perspectives. Essays, interviews, and commentaries will be considered. Essays should be 5,000–7,000 words and commentaries 1,000–2,000 words.
Suggested topics include studies of JAY-Z’s songs, videos, business ventures, live performances, as well as formal and conceptual analyses of his work in films. Other lines of inquiry may consider
- JAY-Z’s racial identity
- branding, marketing and self-promotion
- black masculinity
- Decoded and the tradition of black autobiography
- marriage, fatherhood, and family
- JAY-Z’s collaborations with other rappers and hip-hop musicians
- rivalries and feuds
- musical influences
- politics, activism, and philanthropy
- sports and business
Please submit completed essays, a 150-word abstract, and a 50–100 word biography by March 1, 2018. Submissions should conform to The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition. Please see journal guidelines for more on submission policy:
Direct all questions, correspondence, and submissions to guest editor Stephanie Li (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Susan D. Gubar Chair in Literature