This winter California State University, Los Angeles is holding an African Hip Hop Film Series. The films feature hip hop scenes from all over Africa, including Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, South Africa, and Uganda. All films are free and open to the public. For more information contact Msia Clark @ email@example.com.
Abstract: This paper looks at the use of African hip hop as social commentary in Accra, Ghana and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Hip hop is by its definition a tool of self- expression and self-definition, and is often used as a tool of resistance. Young artists are using the platform of hip hop to speak out on a host of social and economic issues. A transcontinental conversation is now happening with artists all over Africa and the Diaspora. This paper focuses on the hip hop communities in Accra, Ghana and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Both nations have hip hop communities in which socially conscious hip hop is marginalized. In addition, the histories of these two nations are linked by their histories as battlegrounds in the struggle for Pan Africanism, non-alignment, and socialist ideals. These factors have influenced the use of hip hop for social commentary in both cities. This examination of hip hop in Accra and Dar es Salaam reveals important conversations occurring around politics and economics, on both a national and international level. Hip hop artists and the youth they represent are an important component of any social or political struggle towards progress. This research contributes to the need to engage with African hip hop culture and understand its growing implications for Africa.
This issue explores the ways in which African hip hop artists have turned to hip hop as a way to give voice to important social and political questions. The music of Africa and the African Diaspora have a long tradition of borrowing from each other. Emerging from the South Bronx in the 1970s, hip hop’s origins are rooted in African storytelling and musical traditions and built on African American social and political resistance. In the 1980s hip hop made its way to Africa, where youth identified with the stories being told by the Black youth of urban America. Building upon hip hop’s roots as a platform for social and political discourse, African hip hop has evolved the genre to fit the contours of contemporary African society. The objective of this issue is to explore the new and complex ways African hip hop artists are using hip hop as a means for social and political commentary.
There exists significant crossover between hip hop and other urban youth music in Africa, such as Kwaito in South Africa, Hiplife in Ghana, Genge in Kenya, and Bongo Flava in Tanzania. However, a focus on hip hop to the exclusion of other genres of African music allows for an enhanced investigation into the ways in which African hip hop artists are building upon the foundations laid by hip hop’s origins. Therefore putting the research in the context of broader linkages with African American hip hop, assists in revealing African hip hop artists own participation in social and political discourses. SUGGESTED TOPICS INCLUDE (BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO) THE FOLLOWING:
*African hip hop artists as agents of social change
*The importance of language in hip hop’s social and/or political critique in Africa
*Hip hop and linkages between Africa and the African Diaspora
*Interactions between hip hop and the state in Africa
*Representations of Africa in African hip hop
*Representations of the African Diaspora in African hip hop
*Representations of women and gender in African hip hop
*African hip hop representations of Black identities
*Hip hop and social resistance in Africa
*Hip hop and confrontations with African social institutions *Articulations of hip hop’s fifth element (knowledge of self) in African hip hop
Submissions for this special issue should include an abstract of the proposed paper (approximately 300-500 words), the author’s contact details and institutional/community affiliation, as well as a short biography of the author(s) (200 words). Within the paper, do not include page numbers or the title on each page; place all end notes, footnotes and bibliographic information at the end of the paper. Abstracts (including submission queries) must be sent to guest editor, Msia Kibona Clark (firstname.lastname@example.org) in MS word format via e-mail by 3 September 2012. Full papers are due by 1 February 2013. Potential authors should first review The Journal of Pan African Studies website (http://jpanafrican.com) to get a sense of the aim and scope of the journal. Authors should also follow the guidelines for authors at http://www.jpanafrican.com/submission.htm.
Tanzanian hip hop emerged in the late 80s, and by the late 90s was being labeled: Bongo Flava. As this new genre went in the direction of pop and incorporated rap and R&B there continued to be confusion between the two. By the early 2000s Bongo Flava began to eclipse hip hop in popularity, air play, and sales. As a result, several hip hop artists began distancing themselves from Bongo Flava.
The divisions within the music industry in Tanzania center not on a need to destroy popular music and culture, but on the perceived need to save hip hop and its culture. Out of this desire to “save” hip hop came the need to define its boundaries. which allowed artists to define their movement and have an identifiable goal, even if some of the specifics get lost in individual ambitions.
Los Angeles — The new documentary by Kenyan filmmakers Michael Wanguhu and Russell Kenya premiered at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles this year. It proved to be a good year for Kenyan film, with eight films set in the country.
Ni Wakati is a documentary that deals with issues including the state of hip hop, connections between Africans and African Americans, and the struggles between commercialized and conscious hip hop.
Interview | By Msia Kibona Clark | 15 SEPTEMBER 2010
Dar es Salaam — Hip hop has often been used by artists as a form of social commentary against poverty, corruption and inequality. Now, some of these artists are aiming to effect change from the inside and are seeking political office themselves.
Joseph Mbilinyi, known by his fans as Sugu, helped pioneer Swahili rap in Tanzania. He has been an emcee for 20 years and has 10 albums to his name. The hip hop artist is now a candidate in next month’s parliamentary elections.