Consciousness refers to the state of being politically and racially aware. Often, conscious folks were those who were viewed as having studied aspects of black diasporic histories, peoples, cultures, the politics of race, and the effects of anti-racism. Many grassroots scholars and cultural activists view Malcolm X as the epitome of someone who embodied black consciousness.
"Around 1988, rappers became, as we called it then, 'conscious,'" noted Ta-Nehisi Coates. "I always thought there was something beautifully simplistic about describing the state of mind in which you are politically aware and concerned with race in this country as being 'conscious.'”