“That same dude you gave nothing, I made something doing
what I do, through-and-through and
I give you the news, with a twist. It’s just his ghetto point-of-view.”
—Jay-Z, “Renegade” [with Eminem] from The Blueprint, 2001
… If, as is posited in COLD, the aim is to “write in Hip-Hop” [as Karl Shapiro celebrates the author of the poetry collection Harlem Gallery in its introduction, stating “[Melvin] Tolson writes in Negro.” ], “Owning My Masters” consequently stands as evidence of the policed body, the voice that comes from the body, resisting arrest and surveillance, making itself known as that upon which law is dependent. Its evaluation and adjudication by this [or any] academic institution can be viewed as “a pushing forward” because of the tension created by its thesis and execution.
If this performance of scholarship [and others like it] is indeed interpreted as inferior to “proper” or “properly academic” performances, its evaluation and rejection could easily be understood as confirmation of the thesis. Its acceptance doesn’t exactly disprove the argument, however it could easily be interpreted, because of the necessary pushing back that occurs in the evaluative dissertation process, as a pushing forward. In this way, “Owning My Masters” is also in conversation with Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, who offer in The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study, among other poignant thoughts, perspectives of how one might engage the university and fugitivity, writing, “[T]he subversive intellectual came under false pretenses, with bad documents, out of love. Her labor is as necessary as it is unwelcome. The university needs what she bears but cannot bear what she brings.” They go on to say that eventually “[s]he disappears into the underground…into the undercommons of enlightenment, where the work gets done, where the work gets subverted, where the revolution is still black, still strong” .
This project—this tension—is black study, the work of fugitive planning. It is work for and against the university, for and against disciplines, for and against verification and validation. The object of “Owning My Masters” is the aim of “Owning My Masters.” This introduction is a bad document identifying the fugitive as a citizen.