Explores expressions of Blackness in Hip-Hop performance by non-African American artists
Sampling and Remixing Blackness is a timely and accessible book that examines the social ramifications of cultural borrowing and personal adaptation of Hip-hop culture by non-Black and non-African American Black artists in theater and performance. In a cultural moment where Hip-hop theater hits such as Hamilton offer glimpses of Black popular culture to non-Black people through musical soundtracks, GIFs, popular Hip-hop music, language, clothing, singing styles and embodied performance, people around the world are adopting a Blackness that is at once connected to African American culture--and assumed and shed by artists and consumers as they please. As Black people around the world live a racial identity that is not shed, in a cultural moment of social unrest against anti-blackness, this book asks how such engagements with Hip-hop in performance can be both dangerous and a space for finding cultural allies. Featuring the work of some of the visionaries of Hip-hop theater including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Sarah Jones and Danny Hoch, this book explores the work of groundbreaking Hip-hop theater and performance artists who have engaged Hip-hop's Blackness through popular performance. The book challenges how we understand the performance of race, Hip-hop and Blackness in the age of Instagram, TikTok and Facebook. In a cultural moment where racial identity is performed through Hip-hop culture's resistance to the status quo and complicity in maintaining it, Hodges Persley asks us to consider who has the right to claim Hip-hop's blackness when blackness itself is a complicated mixtape that offers both consent and resistance to transgressive and inspiring acts of performance.
Nicole Hodges Persley is Associate Professor of American Studies and African & African American Studies at The University of Kansas.
“Expands the critical conversation on Hip Hop by considering how blackness as a culture/trait can be appropriated and performed by non-African Americans… Hodges Persley, writing on Hamilton, powerfully and convincingly demonstrates how essential Black culture is to the creation of American theatre, the telling of American history, and the sharing of African American experiences.”
—Harvey Young, Boston University
“Hodges Persley’s passion for Hip Hop as a cultural aesthetic and methodology is second only to the fascinating case studies she analyzes. Like no other scholar before her, her multimodal engagement of Hip Hop pushes the field of theater studies and race to new heights.”- E. Patrick Johnson
– E. Patrick Johnson, Northwestern University
“Expands the critical conversation on Hip Hop by considering how blackness as a culture/trait can be appropriated and performed by non-African Americans… Hodges Persley, writing on Hamilton, powerfully and convincingly demonstrates how essential Black culture is to the creation of American theatre, the telling of American history, and the sharing of African American experiences.”- Harvey Young
—Harvey Young, Boston University
"The book succeeds in generating a blend of personal anecdotes alongside robust scholarly critique to boost readability. ... Hodges Persley adds a worthwhile contribution to the evolving realm of hip hop theater studies, much of which has ballooned in recent years amid the introduction of Hamilton to Broadway and subsequently to Disney+."- Ethnic and Racial Studies
—Ethnic and Racial Studies
"Dance history and performance scholars should applaud Hodges Persley’s book overall for how it contributes widely to understanding hip-hop’s layered cultural history, interpretations, lifestyles, practices, and receptions. Furthermore, the book addresses how non-African American artists have both appreciated and appropriated hip-hop, mainly through its messages of collective action, language of physical movement, and mixing practices."- Dana Venerable
—New England Theatre Journal
Read: Interview with Nicole Hodges Persley in KC Studio | 09/06/2022