The Semiotics of Malcolm X from Harlem to Tahrir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


With no ambition to provide a complete inventory, this article introduces
the reader to the ways in which Malcolm X and his legacy have been used
within US hip-hop music. The central argument is that US hip-hop artists,
since the birth of hip-hop, have been participating in the processes of
reinventing Malcolm X and his legacy by not only casting him as a symbol
of local African American resistance against racial inequalities, but also
by fashioning him as a global Sunni Muslim revolutionary by creatively
name-, image-, or sound-dropping him in different sound and visual settings.
More extensive usages mainly involve key quotes of Malcolm X or
lengthy sound bites of classic speeches. The usage of certain iconic photos
is comparable to key quotes as these are clearly meant to trigger established
associations. It is important to stress that the legacy of Malcolm
X and his political theology within hip-hop culture goes beyond national
borders, religious beliefs, and political goals.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • History of Religions
Original languageSwedish
Article number4
Pages (from-to)47-61
JournalSvensk Teologisk Kvartalskrift
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Mar 30
Publication categoryResearch

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