Hiding Our Weaknesses Behind Our Coolness

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Jason Tanz in his essay, ““Selling Down: The Marketing of the Hip-Hop Nation,” expresses the idea of how corporations view teenagers as their main source of profit. They target on teenagers because they like hip-hop. According to Tanz hip-hop “since it early days hip-hop was galvanizing its audience around certain kinds of values” (Tanz 93). Now hip-hop is galvanizing its audience to purchases merchandise. Corporation use hip-hop to promote products and make money of the likes of teenagers, who are heavy consumers. Corporations operate based on the consumers’ tastes to make profit out of their products, which arises the issue that companies are using teenagers to make profit.
Although the main target is mostly teenagers, Tanz primary focuses on “white kids,” as he calls. Corporations are taking advantage of the weaknesses that “white kids” have as Tanz expresses, such as lack of honesty, confidence, style and swagger. Teenagers want to hide their weaknesses behind the coolness of hip-hop. They can achieve this because “hip-hop has always tossed up rapper-approved signifiers, commodities that promised to grant down status to anyone that consumes them” (Tanz 89). By obtaining the down status, white kids can hide their weaknesses behind that because they will “gain” all those things that they were lacking. For example, if they lack security, then pertaining to the hip-hop down status will help them feel more secure because they feel that they belong black community. Belonging to the black community means that you are going to be cool and tough and that is exactly what teenagers want to feel more secure about them. Since companies know their products will be sold if the consumer feels attached to the product that is why they sell pro...

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... think that they are going to be cool and down. They use hip-hop artist, so they can grab our attention and they use persuasive language to make us buy the product. Those two components make a lethal and successful advertisement that it is impossible to escape from.
Teenagers are the most susceptible to this issue because they lack that security that older adults posses; they want to belong and fit in so they buy such products to belong in the hip-hop “down status” and be popular. Companies know that teenagers are an easy target for this matter of secureness and that is why they use psychological techniques based on the consumers’ tastes to make profit out of their products.

Works Cited

Tanz, Jason. “Selling Down: The Marketing Of The Hip-Hop Nation.” Reading Pop Culture: A Portable Anthology. Ed. Jeff Ousborne. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013. 87-96. Print.

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