Tracy Chapman x Affirmative Action

View DescriptionShare


Tracy Chapman became one of the biggest musicians in the world thanks to two critical 80s concepts—affirmative action and the diasporic mindset. Because of the diasporic mindset, many Americans thought of Africa as part of their world, as if Africa’s problems are our own, and we are not truly free until South Africans suffering under Apartheid are free. And affirmative action did nothing less than change Chapman’s life. We’ll explore how those ideas  helped Chapman and how they relate to ‘Fast Car.’ We’ll also look at what Chapman’s life might have been like if she’d never been helped by affirmative action.

Guests: Jelani Cobb, Dean, Columbia Journalism School


Tracy Chapman – Fast Car

  • Label: Elektra
  • Writer: Tracy Chapman 

Tracy Chapman – Fast Car (Live Version)

  • Label: Elektra
  • Writer: Tracy Chapman 
  • Publisher: Purple Rabbit Music

Elizabeth Cotten – Freight Train

  • Writer: Elizabeth Cotten, James Paul, William Frederick
  • Label: Folkways Records FG 3526
  • Publisher: Figs D Music

Elizabeth Cotten – Goin Down the Road Feelin Bad

  • Writer: Elizabeth Cotten
  • Label: Folkways Records FG 3526
  • Publisher: Folkways Records FG 3526

Tracy Chapman | Rare Interview, Planet Rock Profiles

Tracy Chapman 1996, Charlie Rose

Tracy Chapman Talks Bob Dylan, Tracy Chapman Online

Elizabeth Cotten, Series Down Home

Elizabeth Cotten, Rainbow Quest TV

I Am Somebody, Jesse Jackson LP, Respect Records (1971)

Living History presents Jesse Jackson, Rutherford Living History

Being Black: The 80’s with Touré

Follow the show:

Follow the podcast: