Hip Hop Desis: South Asian Americans, Blackness, and a Global Race Consciousness
Hip Hop Desis explores the aesthetics and politics of South Asian American (desi) hip hop artists. Nitasha Tamar Sharma argues that through their lives and lyrics, young “hip hop desis” express a global race consciousness that reflects both their sense of connection with Blacks as racialized minorities in the United States and their diasporic sensibility as part of a global community of South Asians. She emphasizes the role of appropriation and sampling in the ways that hip hop desis craft their identities, create art, and pursue social activism. Some desi artists produce what she calls “ethnic hip hop,” incorporating South Asian languages, instruments, and immigrant themes. Through ethnic hip hop, artists, including KB, Sammy, and Deejay Bella, express “alternative desiness,” challenging assumptions about their identities as South Asians, children of immigrants, minorities, and Americans. Hip hop desis also contest and seek to bridge perceived divisions between Blacks and South Asian Americans. By taking up themes considered irrelevant to many Asian Americans, desi performers, such as D’Lo, Chee Malabar of Himalayan Project, and Rawj of Feenom Circle, create a multiracial form of Black popular culture to fight racism and enact social change.
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African African American album American desis articulate Asians and Blacks authenticity Bay Area Black culture Black music Black popular culture Brown California Chee co-ethnics communities conceptions context create cross-racial D’Lo Deejay Bella desi artists desi hip hop desi women desi youths diasporic difference discourses ethnic identity experiences express female artists gender and sexual groups highlight Hindi hip hop artists hip hop culture hip hop desis hip hop music his/her hop’s identify ideologies immigrants impact Indian American individuals interactions Jay-Z Jonny Karmacy Latinos lives mainstream desis Maira male model minority multiracial nation non-Black non-White one’s panethnic parents performers perspective polycultural Prashad producers racial politics racism Raje Shwari rap music rappers Rawj relations remix rhymes s/he sampling says second-generation shared social song South Asian American Sri Lankan status stereotypes tion understand United urban Vivek White women in hip