Hip hop is fed by the age-old traditions of the African diaspora, in which language is more than words alone. Who says it, when it is said, and how it is said is important. This also applies to the language in Speak Up!
Classic hip hop albums
Titles of classic hip hop albums, such as Fear of a black Planet by Public Enemy, Ready to Die by The Notorious B.I.G., and Mama's Gun by Erykah Badu can be recognized in the stage decor. In hip hop, legal language is often used, for example in Reasonable Doubt by Jay-Z and Death Certificate by Ice Cube. This way the language that is used against you becomes yours.
The text is used in Speak Up! as a ritual language - mesmerizing, sometimes uplifting. They are mantras, spells, prayers and confessions. The scene with Donna is a confession in which she admits her vulnerability and failure. Through her surrender, her weakness becomes strength, and her pain is joyful. This reflects the power of hip hop, a culture that has unabashedly exposed the vulnerability and pain of the African-American underclass and has now become one of the most important cultural movements worldwide.
During the whisper scene, with Surinamese words like watra, there is a reference to the Wasi, a ritual bath with which in the Winti the bad is washed away. The water is seasoned with flowers, perfume and herbs.
Black Lives Matter
In a song sung by Maciej, a quotation from the black writer Zadie Smith is sampled: "I feel like the Black Life Matter movement is part of that movement, we are our people and we will protect our people.
"I can not breathe", in the performance by Carla pronounced, refers to the repeated exclamation of the American Eric Gardner during his arrest where an officer gave him a neck clamp. Eric died after his arrest. The sentence also indirectly refers to the death of Mitch Henriquez, who died in the Netherlands after his arrest.
Trump's inaugural speech is sampled in a song in which the dancers seem full of energy and joy to surrender to his words, which are often open to multiple interpretations.
A change is going to come
In the scene in which Bilal directs the word to the auditorium, but what is almost incomprehensible due to the distortion of the microphone, he pronounces the text of the iconic Sam Cooke A Change is Gonna Come. Cooke wrote this song when he was refused in the sixties with his family during a tour by a whites-only hotel in Louisana. The song is an important song of the black American civil rights movement
The iconic song of Sam Cooke