Social Issues In Tupac Shakur’s Song Brenda’s Got A Baby

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Poems are used around the world to make the audience feel a specific way, and for the artists to express their feelings and emotions. Poetic devices are a very important method in voicing our message. In poems, different types of poetic devices are used to engage the audience to hear their message, and to evoke feelings in the reader. Lyrical poetry is the most common form of poem as it allows all artists to express the themes and messages of their songs. Songs and poems are used to emotionally respond to social issues that are being faced around the world. The writer portrays their feelings in a way that makes the audience feel sympathetic. In today’s era, many writers speak about current worldwide social issues, such as poverty, racism, sexism, and abuse. The song “Brenda’s got a baby” written by Tupac Shakur, in the early 90’s, about a 12 year old girl who suffered from a large array of social issues, mainly poverty and all forms of abuse.

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Written as a form of plea, Tupac Shakur grew up in a violent neighbourhood where guns, drugs, and abuse were a major problem being faced. It was written to make people realise the struggle of surviving in poverty, as well as being a ‘black’ African American citizen, during a time of frustration for his race. His race, African Americans, were being mistreated and were also dealing with heavy racial threats and racial bullying. It has effectively raised awareness for the poverty stricken, abused, and racially discriminated. Children weren’t considered family, more-so a cheque for money. The song “Brenda’s got a baby” was written in 1991, was a true story based off a girl named Ethel (portrayed as Brenda). “Brendas got a baby” is derived from the predicament of the poverty stricken circumstances from the ghetto. It was written after the artist, Tupac, read an article about a young woman whom was also a prostitute, was found dead on the road side, “prostitute, found slain” was not only the last line of his lyrical poem, but the title of the article he read about Ethel’s death (Brenda). Tupac used Brenda’s (Ethel) story to represent and raise awareness for the struggle of young mothers. Shakur criticizes the low level of support from the girls family, when he says, “can’t go to her family, they won’t let her stay.”

This message signifies that she couldn’t turn to her family for help as she was kicked out of home. The song positions the audience to feel sympathetic for the child’s upbringing. Tupac Shakur was committed to using rap as a way to demonstrate social injustices towards his race.

Tupac’s raw and unpolished song, “Brenda’s got a baby,” was presented to the world with the effective use of poetic techniques and devices, which made the song as great as it is. The foreground of the poem is that society disregards those that live in unfortunate circumstances, whilst everybody else has the privilege to afford the basic necessities, others suffer through the pain of living day to day. Whilst this song is written as a response to a world epidemic, nearly half of the globe is affected by poverty. Tupac tried to make the song as revealing as possible, by not editing the imperfections in his voice. The tone he used has made the song as realistic as he possibly could. The song makes all audience members feel insecure and unsafe from the troubles of the real world. Tupac used a large collection of visual imagery throughout the song, by stating,

“Shee left her and she had tha baby solo, she had it on tha bathroom floor…”

“She wrapped that baby up and threw him in tha trash heap.”

These lines evoke the audience to feel unsettled about the situation this young woman was left in. The use of visual imagery throughout these lines makes the audience view a young African American girl throwing a new born baby into a trash compactor, “Brenda’s barely got a brain, a damn shame the girl can hardly spell her name”.

This forcible statement is demonstrating that this young woman was barely old enough to spell. Her inability to understand on why her actions were so wrong is because of her misguidance throughout her life time. This would be the demise of her brutal slain. The key lines in the song that convey the social issue of poverty are, “and her dad was a junkie, puttin’ death into his arms… Just ’cause you’re in the ghetto doesn’t mean you can’t grow”.

“Do whatever it takes to resist the temptation.”

By saying this they are implying that for children it is hard to resist something that they’ve grown up watching and have always viewed as acceptable behaviour. A large rang of poetic devices has been used throughout the song, “Brenda’s got a baby,” by Tupac Shakur to effectively raise awareness for poverty stricken regions of the world.

Tupac’s song is a powerful message that has been recognised on a worldwide scale. The use of poetic devices made the song great. The song reflects the issue of poverty, whether it’s the same matter or the complete opposite situation. The use of poetic devices and figurative language makes the audience feel a specific way when they listen to the music, that feeling makes them reflect upon their own personal lifestyle. People listen to Tupac’s song and feel his pain of his life which makes his music so loved, as its raw and from the heart. The audience is invited to respond to the song in a way in which they connect but feel sick at heart about the lifestyle that these people had to live in. If this young woman couldn’t even spell her name then how will she understand the consequences of her actions.

“Songs are created to show people the truth, it may not be pretty, but it’s always real.” – Tupac Shakur

16 August 2021

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