Redefining the Labyrinth: Track 5

Redefining the Labyrinth was a project I began while teaching at a local Memphis High School. With the current uproar about all that is wrong in the Memphis City Schools, I thought it would be interesting to post the work generated by four high school seniors, who are products of a system that everyone assumes is not capable of developing and producing productive students who can compete in this socioeconomic culture. I edited the book and contributed essays to give the book a shape and form, but it was the work of the students that allowed for the completion of this work. The artwork was completed by the student author DeVarius Fisher and the idea to make the name of each chapter an allusion to a song in Hip-Hop was a collaborative effort. I will post each student essay here on the blog. There is also a Question and Answer section in the book. If you would like to purchase a copy click here. 


Featured Artist: DeVarius Fisher

Trapped: The African American Nihilist

African Americans often have a misplaced affinity for the images of the hood. These influences affect the way we speak, act, and live. This is an issue that is primarily shaped by the things that happen in entertainment. While entertainers say that these images do not affect people, it is the root cause of how we assert ourselves in society. The media market displays images that do not inspire or give hope, they only contribute to the behavior of everyone which leads to nihilism.

Unconscious Nihilist

African Americans are often unconscious nihilist. We sometimes show no hope or inspiration for doing things in society. The images that are presented in the media market highly influence the way we act without us knowing. The media market often manipulates the desire for personal pleasure in order to stay in business or maintain a profit. All forms of entertainment are flooded with hedonistic images which affect our behavior. African Americans usually focus only on receiving pleasure, thinking only of themselves and viewing the future as a constant state: that things will never get better or change. The images of pleasure dominate the market instead of inspiring nonmarket values such as love, care, and services to others. Those that are unconscious nihilist are experiencing a life of meaninglessness, hopelessness and lovelessness without being aware that they feel these things. This has caused a crisis of black leadership in our society and a universal lapse into nihilism for African Americans.

The Media Generated Nihilist

Typically, African Americans can be compared to Pavlov’s Dog. The condition and response of African Americans is generated through images seen in the media. After viewing these images, we may try and do these things to pacify our egos. The media shows us a fantasy world that does not exist and allows us to think that the best way to live is to have the things we see in the media. If a person really wants something, they will be determined to get it, but after so many tries people begin to feel hopeless. Their hope, of doing something that does not resemble or relate to their constant state, is quickly demolished because of their failure to turn those images they see in the media, into a reality. The market manipulates these images only to make money or profit from those attempting to pacify themselves with what they are shown. This is a precarious situation that continues to grow and hurt the entire African American race.

Overcoming Nihilism

African Americans will continue to pay attention to things they enjoy, but if they are informed on how it affects them then it will allow many to be aware of how they are influenced. We can begin to change our image in the public eye by selecting better community leaders. Our leaders should not be people who are famous because they entertain, or because they have a lot of money. The leaders need to be people who are influential figures in our local communities. We should appoint leaders who do not involve themselves in the status quo and they should give inspiration to those who are hopeless. If African Americans see that they do not need things that are promoted by the media, then they will gain more confidence about what they can do for themselves. African Americans can choose their own path and do not have to always rely on images seen in the media to know how to assert themselves in society.


African Americans are not aware of how much the influences of the hood affect them. These influences are not just what we see in society but mainly what is shown in the media. Images in entertainment are hedonistic influences that change the way we act in society. While entertainers do not think that these images could affect our situation, these images highly influence the way we act in society. The media will continue to only concern itself with making a profit and does not care about how it changes behaviors and approaches in society.


DeVarius Fisher is a sophomore student at Mississippi State University. He is founder of EternaLove a multimedia company that is multifaceted in its approach to business. Check him out on Facebook. Buy his apparel here.