The Transformation of African American Language Since the rise of technology, advertising Is becoming more and more prominent. Television, computers, tablets, and smart phones are all modern mechanisms in which advertisers use to promulgate their products. Most advertising companies select a target audience with their ads. In most cases advertisers use a “cool” approach in their ads to market to teenagers; since they have become large- scale consumers. Leslie Savanna, an author, delves into this trend of marketing to teenagers in her excerpt, What’s Black, Then White, and Said All Over?
She explains how advertising has adapted to using black vernacular to attract a young or a ‘wannabe cool’ crowd. Savanna states, “Since at least the early nineties, with hip-hop an entrenched, virtually mainstream hit, wannabe has been far more likely to refer to whites, especially teenagers, who want to be black or do the style” (370). By the early nineties black slang had become in-style. Black vernacular was no longer looked down upon, but Instead used to seem trendy or hip to teenagers and part of the rest of society. Advertisers noticed this trend and decided to use black slang to attract customers. O the young, advertising has become acceptable-nay, desirable-part of the cool life they aspire to: and a black, hip-hop-Sis vernacular has become a crucial cog in the youth market machinery’ (366). Teenagers desire the rebelliousness of hip- hop and therefore admire any advertisement that portrays that rebellious look. Since teens have become large-scale consumers, advertisers have been trying to target their marketing to adolescents and young adults for decades. Black vernacular has become a marketing technique and is getting stripped from its roots.
First, black talk has become deemed as admirable through rap. This is mainly because In their lyrics rappers are usually showing off possessions or their talents. Lisa Green, the author of African American English, Justifies this In her book, “One prominent feature of rap Is bragging and boasting about strengths, possessions, and skills using words” (156). Rappers take pride in their work with the rhyme scheme, creative words, and diffuseness. They create both an ego for themselves and the consumers who listen to their work by being seen as strong and dominant.
Rap and hip-hop has broken through its boundaries of the poverty regions and now has an influence on Tyler, clothing, television, sexuality, magazines, language, movies, and society as a whole. Ebonies is now praised and used by top-of-the-line designer fashion industries, musicians, critics, scholars, politicians, and your average citizen. Savanna asserts, “chill Orrin’, the Democratic senator Patrick Alley told the Republican senator Orrin Hatch when things got testy during a Judiciary Committee hearing In 1 998” (370). Mr.. Alley was attempting to look cool by telling the other senator to ‘chill’.
However, It was more than Just looking cool, he was using the admired black Renaults against his opponent. Patrick was standing his ground In basically saying of dominance ebonies, rap, and hip-hop provides. This supremacy has caused advertisers to look to rap as their key to a making profit. Next, rap and hip-hop has been brought into the advertising industry due to its increasing popularity and veneration in society. Mainly teens have been the generators for the up-rise in rap and hip-hop recognition. Teenagers are the target audience among markers.
Adolescents feel an urge to be accepted by their peers and thus spend money what ever happens to be ‘in’. Therefore marketing to teens is a good strategy due to the fact that they spend the most amount of money on frivolous things. Karen Fanning confirms Just how much marketers want to attract young consumers in her article, Marketing To Teens: Does Owning More Stuff Make You More Popular? That’s What Advertisers Want You To Think. Fanning states, “Marketers spend more than fifteen billion dollars a year on advertising to young people…
In 2006, U. S. Teens spent, or influenced parents to spend, a whopping one hundred fifty three billion dollars” (Fanning). Clearly the advertisers efforts are paying off by earning one hundred thirty eight billion dollars more than they initially spent on advertising. Commercials tend to promise adolescents popularity and acceptance from their peers. They feel that they too will be seen as cool and experience a dominant level of skill and superiority as seen in commercials and shown off by rappers.
Moreover, advertisers are gaining consumer popularity more than ever now that technology has advanced. Television, electronics, and the internet has accompanied marketers in getting their products exposed. Fanning claims, “Marketers are enticing teens through one of their favorite internet activities-?video games. On Wriggles website Candidates. Com, for instance, kids can race Big Red and Juicy Fruit cars around a track lined with billboards advertising Wrigley products” (Fanning).
Children involuntarily absorb these advertisements while being completely focused on their favorite game because their sub-conscious stores this advertisement in their minds and they ask their parents for the advertised product some point after their video game. Furthermore, advertising through young peoples favorite games is not he only way to attract their attention, using African American coded language also gets teens and children begging for products. The African American code is now packed tightly into a single letter form that advertisers use to attract Juveniles.
Such codes are used with g’s and ax’s, changing a single letter in a word can change its look. Savanna claims, “A quick trick to convince children that they’re cool and that you, if you’re a seller of stuff, are radar, is to call them “kid” and otherwise buzz their brains with As: hence, the glitzier Troll dolls and cartoons, Brat dolls, Intro Battlers, Kellogg Grips crackers and cookies, Heresy’s Koehler chewing gum… ” (374). When corporations misspell these words they are attempting to be considered radar and rebellious.
Advertisers are going against what children learn in school, and of course, children want to be cool and rebellious too. Adolescents believe that who ever created these products are truly awesome, and understand them and what they want. So children choose to play with and consume these items over others. Children, however, do not know what is really behind all the rebellious lettering. Behind it is the marketers boundless want of the consumers money. To continue, advertisers need to figure out what is popular in order to go about creating effective fortune is to realize what is currently considered cool.
Savanna explains, “Pop culture’s desire for cool is second only to its desire for money-the two, in fact, are inextricably linked” (364). Money and being cool, clearly go hand in hand. Our society has gone from making a parody of back vernacular in entertainment, to venerating it as hip- hop and rap. Basically, our society has made fun of the African American culture for money, and now they put the culture up on a pedestal for money. What ever happens to be popular at the time is what goes into advertisements. In fact, the original African American culture is fading into the background as it has transformed into a part of American teen culture.
African American slang is what young Americans look up to due to its hierarchy. Advertisers have realized this trend of cool slang used by teens who admire hip-hop, and thus attempt to use it to their advantage. In the video Merchants of Cool, created by the PBS Frontline Program, John Cone, an interviewed record executive explains the company Sprite’s tactic to gaining teenagers liking, They -all of the sudden put their arm around the kid that was drinking Sprite and said, We understand you, we recognize, we want to be a part of your life. ‘ And not just, ‘Please drink our product. They almost weren’t even selling the product, they were selling the fact that they understood the culture. They were selling a life style and I think that’s why Sprite has been so successful and one of the leaders in terms of reaching youth (ASS). The marketers at Sprite had noticed that African American culture: rap, hip-hop, slang, baggy Jeans, and do-rags, have become a part of young American adult culture. The rhythm, slang, and boasting in rap and hip-hop has created a new era of what is considered cool. Technically, marketers are selling culture while selling cool since this new culture is considered cool.
The rise of popularity in rap and hip-hop has made rappers and hip-hop artists billions of dollars. Savanna quotes, “As the critic Greg Tate wrote on the thirteenth anniversary of hip hop, ‘globally speaking, hip-hop is money at this point, a valued form of currency where brothers are offered stock options in exchange for some corporate entity to stand next to their fire… Oh, the selling power of black Hip-hop ND rap artists used to write their music about the hardships they faced living in the ghetto and coming from a lower class society. Now, rappers are less deep.
They write songs about being millionaires, the money they acquired, the cars they have, the yachts they own, and the many woman they have access to due to money. Young people have been exposed to black slang marketing since they were young, with use of g’s and ax’s on their product packages, adverting on their computer screens and televisions. As they grow older young Americans are exposed to the money, sex, and material possession crazed songs rap has become. Therefore, young Americans overly admire being wealthy, sex, and having all the material goods one can attain.
So young people admire the well-to-do rap and hip-hop artists. This craze of cool has been created with out any regard that rap and hip-hop is being pulled away from its less superficial ways and originality into becoming an endless pit of money. To conclude, people are becoming more accepting of one another, which is positive. People can now set aside their differences and be together. America is a large mix of different people from many countries around the world. However, African American slang, code, and vernacular in general has become an American way of life.