Friday, April 27, 2018

Blacking Up: Hip-Hop’s Remix of Race (video)

Hezakya Newz; Seth Auberon, Crystal Quintero, Pat Macpherson (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

Blacking Up: Hip-Hop's Remix of Race and Identity
Hip-hop was created by urban youth of color more than 30 years ago amid U.S. racial oppression and economic marginalization.
LAPD Chief Chucky Beck and his killa crew
It has moved beyond that specific community and been embraced by young people worldwide, elevating it to a global youth culture. The ambitious and hard-hitting documentary Blacking Up: Hip-Hop’s Remix of Race and Identity looks at the popularity of hip-hop among America’s white youth.

It asks whether white-identification is rooted in admiration and a desire to transcend race or if it is merely a new chapter in the long continuum of stereotyping, white privilege, mimicry, and cultural appropriation?
This scourge must be stopped! Save our youth!
Does it reflect a new face of racial understanding in white America, or does it reinforce an ugly history?
The film presents a diverse group of white rap fans (often referred to by derogatory terms such as “wannabe” or “wigger”) and performers with very different ways of expressing their relationship to hip-hop music and culture.
"True Killaz": criminal LAPD cops
Against the unique backdrop of American popular music, Blacking Up explores racial identity in U.S. society:
  • How do white youth define and express themselves culturally?
  • Why would creating an alternative persona be attractive to white suburban youth?
  • What does “authenticity” mean in reference to hip-hop, an art form often based on “sampling” music from other performers?
  • How does this type of performance affect the communities being emulated?
  • How do white performers impact interracial dialogue and the cultural landscape?
These questions are examined in fascinating vignettes featuring:
  • a tense hip-hop battle between white and black students at Indiana University-Bloomington
  • a backlash against "wiggers" in a Midwestern white community
  • a revealing analysis of how rapper Vanilla Ice (Mr. Rob Van Winkle as exalted by the comic-genius band the Bloodhound Gang) was marketed to mainstream audiences
  • performers whose use of racially-charged symbols beg comparison to minstrelsy
  • a black-owned New York bus tour that specializes in bringing outsiders into the neighborhoods where hip-hop was first invented -- replete with complimentary "bling."
(Bloodhound Gang) Imagine the worst: "Nightmare at the Apollo"
    I'll kill my kids if they turn into [blankers]!
    The documentary places the issues of cross-cultural appropriation and desire in historical context, drawing parallels between the figure of the white hip-hop fan and previous incarnations of white identification with black culture.
    Blacking Up addresses the legacy of blackface performers such as Al Jolson (introducing us to the contemporary Al Jolson Fan Club).
    The Godmother of Rock 'n Roll: Sr. Tharpe
    In addition, jazz figures like the "hipster" and rock and roll icons like Elvis Presley and the Rolling Stones are considered within a broader context of white appropriation of black cultural expression. [What about Dr. Dre's Marshall Mathers?]
    The film posits that identifying with black culture has offered white performers and consumers a means to lift inhibitions. And in the case of hip-hop, it has given white men license to act aggressively masculine.

    I'm all masculine all the time. Respect! I got Dr. Dre to vouch for me, boy!

    Dear White People, please
    Throughout the documentary there is insightful commentary by African American cultural critics such as poet Amiri Baraka (who draws parallels to the Beatnik era), Nelson George, Greg Tate, comedian Paul Mooney, and hip-hop figures Chuck D, Russell Simmons, M1 of Dead Prez, and DJ Kool Herc.
    Blacking Up will be a useful resource for college courses in media studies, cultural studies, sociology, African American studies, anthropology, and cross-cultural dialogue as well as for student services programs.

    ( Funny compilation of Wiggers and wannabes

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