The Blacker the Berry is inspired in part by the
title of the 1929 novel by American author Wallace Thurman, associated with the Harlem Renaissance. Notably, The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural, social, and artistic explosion that took place in Harlem, New York spanning the 1920s. This movement included new African-American cultural expressions and was considered to be a rebirth of African-American arts. 80 years later, long past the context of a Harlem Renaissance, Kendrick Lamar, the Compton rapper released a 2015 track titled “The Blacker the Berry” laced with lyrics that respond powerfully and emotionally to the ongoing race and violence issues in America. Lamar is known for rapping about loving yourself in a culture that degrades you. “The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice,” was also used in Tupac Shakur’s “Keep Your Head Up” in 1993.