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Filipinos Represent

DJs, Racial Authenticity, and the Hip-hop Nation

2013
Author:

Antonio T. Tiongson Jr.

Filipinos Represent

What does it mean when Filipino youth lay claim to an art form associated with African Americans?

Antonio T. Tiongson draws on interviews with Bay Area–based Filipino American DJs to explore the authenticating strategies they rely on to create a niche within DJ culture. He shows that while the engagement of Filipino youth with DJ culture speaks to the broadening racial scope of hip-hop, such involvement also upholds deracialized accounts of hip-hop and renders difference benign.

This book offers a compelling account of Filipino American DJ culture as a site for negotiating cultural authenticity, racial identity, and gender politics. Antonio T. Tiongson Jr. gives us a highly engaging and nuanced critique of what is at stake when young Filipino Americans enter the ‘Hip-hop nation’ and rethink Filipinoness in the post-Civil Rights era. It will be of interest to anyone grappling with questions of interracial solidarity, colorblindness, diasporic culture, and globalization that loom large today.

Sunaina Maira, University of California, Davis

The “Hip-hop Nation” has been scouted, staked out, and settled by journalists and scholars alike. Antonio T. Tiongson Jr. steps into this well-mapped territory with questions aimed at interrogating how nation is conceptualized within the context of hip-hop. What happens, Tiongson asks, to notions of authenticity based on hip-hop’s apparent blackness when Filipino youth make hip-hop their own?

Tiongson draws on interviews with Bay Area–based Filipino American DJs to explore the authenticating strategies they rely on to carve out a niche within DJ culture. He shows how Filipino American youth involvement in DJing reconfigures the normal boundaries of Filipinoness predicated on nostalgia and cultural links with an idealized homeland. Filipinos Represent makes the case that while the engagement of Filipino youth with DJ culture speaks to the broadening racial scope of hip-hop—and of what it means to be Filipino—such involvement is also problematic in that it upholds deracialized accounts of hip-hop and renders difference benign.

Looking at the ways in which Filipino DJs legitimize their place in an expressive form historically associated with African Americans, Tiongson examines what these complex forms of identification reveal about the contours and trajectory of contemporary U.S. racial formations and discourses in the post–civil rights era.

Filipinos Represent

Antonio T. Tiongson Jr. is assistant professor of American studies at the University of New Mexico. He is coeditor of Positively No Filipinos Allowed: Building Communities and Discourse.

Filipinos Represent

This book offers a compelling account of Filipino American DJ culture as a site for negotiating cultural authenticity, racial identity, and gender politics. Antonio T. Tiongson Jr. gives us a highly engaging and nuanced critique of what is at stake when young Filipino Americans enter the ‘Hip-hop nation’ and rethink Filipinoness in the post-Civil Rights era. It will be of interest to anyone grappling with questions of interracial solidarity, colorblindness, diasporic culture, and globalization that loom large today.

Sunaina Maira, University of California, Davis

Filipinos Represent boldly asks what is at stake in defining the public meanings of hip-hop, identifying the stakes of hip-hop as an ethnic and racial practice that elucidates how Filipino American DJs experience race. Particularly compelling about Tiongson Jr.’s research are the interviews he provides with practitioners of the craft. Their narratives and his contextualization of what meanings accrue around these symbols and performative modes are rich and nuanced.

Anita Mannur, Miami University of Ohio

Filipinos Represent

Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Claiming Hip-hop
1. The African Americanization of Hip-hop
2. The Racialization of DJ Culture
3. "The Scratching is What Got Me Hooked": Filipino American DJS in the Bay Area
4. "DJing as a Filipino Thing": Negotiating Questions of Race
5. The Normative Boundaries of Filipinoness
Conclusion: Reimagining the Hip-hop Nation

Notes
Index

Filipinos Represent

UMP blog: On hip-hop, DJs, and racial parameters

What does it mean to claim culture and for a culture to “belong” to a particular group? If the notion of hip-hop as an African American expressive form is no longer tenable, does it mean that any group can claim it as their own? How are the contrasting and competing claims of different groups to be adjudicated?

Read the full article.