“Sampled Sirens in the City of Los Angeles: Sound Effects and Panopticism on the Contemporary Black Film Screen”
Focusing on John Singleton’s Boyz ‘N’ The Hood (1991) and Allen and Albert Hughes’ Menace II Society (1993) as prominent case studies in New Black Realist cinema, this research reads the sound and music of these films through the aesthetics of hip hop, the culture and media which have influenced its composition. It explores the space between subcultural utterance and mainstream medium, arguing that in this clash the use of these “sound effects” on the film soundtrack create a very pertinent expression of surveillance in the mediation of contemporary Black culture. So, while sirens, police radios, gunshots, and whirring helicopter blades are tangential elements of mainstream narrative soundtracks, in New Black Realism, these sounds are the sounds of sonic supervision and scrutiny: these are the sounds of panoptic surveillance.
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