Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)


School of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name



Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Robert DeJanes

Second Advisor

Dr. Abi Awomolo

Third Advisor

Dr. William J. Cobb


This research addressed two areas of interest: the contemporary role of American public diplomacy in the post-9/11 world and the formal and informal role of hip-hop music in 21st century American public diplomacy. This study examined the formal and informal role of hip-hop music in American public diplomacy to determine the degree to which the U.S. government is formally employing hip-hop music as a tool for public diplomacy. The researcher hypothesized that the U.S. government uses hip-hop music as means to champion its foreign policy objectives and American democratic values vis-à vis cultural imperialism. This study employed the case study model as its principal research method and used three data analysis techniques: content analysis, process model analysis, and voice analysis. The conclusion whether hip-hop reflects or champions American cultural imperialism is mixed. From a formal perspective, the answer is no for three reasons: the stated objectives of the Rhythm Road program, the types of artists that are chosen to serve as cultural diplomats, and the prior existence of hip-hop communities throughout the world. On the other hand, when considering informal hip-hop diplomacy from an economic and political perspective, it is feasible to argue that it does reflect what James Petras describes as American cultural imperialism. In the final analysis, the researcher concludes that the U.S. government does in fact practice and promote cultural imperialism vis-à-vis public diplomacy: however, the use of hip-hop music in the formal process plays no significant role in this process.

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