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Filipinos Represent

Filipinos Represent: DJs, Racial Authenticity, and the Hip-hop Nation

Antonio T. Tiongson
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 152
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  • Book Info
    Filipinos Represent
    Book Description:

    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.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8783-1
    Subjects: Music, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Introduction Claiming Hip-hop
    (pp. xi-xxiv)

    ON SEPTEMBER 7, 1997, the International Turntablist Federation (ITF) held its second annual World Championships at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco in various skill categories: scratching, beat juggling, team or DJ bands, and best all around.¹ In all these categories, Filipino DJs made up the bulk of the competitors, prompting the host to remind the audience that even though Filipinos dominate DJ competitions across the nation and the globe, ITF actually does not stand for “It’s Totally Filipinos.” This elicited laughter from the crowd, which also largely comprised Filipino youth in their teens and early twenties.


  5. Chapter 1 The African Americanization of Hip-hop
    (pp. 1-16)

    IN RECENT YEARS, scholarly and popular discourse addressing hip-hop and its various articulations has grown exponentially to the point where there is now a fairly substantial body of work that can be categorized under the rubric of “hip-hop studies.” The growth of this literature, however, has not proven to be seamless. Instead, it has come to be characterized by contentious debates and discussions revolving around a particular set of issues, what I consider fault lines within the literature. As hip-hop has emerged as a cultural force on a global scale, it has come under critical scrutiny not just among those...

  6. Chapter 2 The Racialization of DJ Culture
    (pp. 17-32)

    IN THE ONGOING DEBATE over the racial scope and boundaries of hiphop it has been underspecified how the African Americanization of hip-hop has largely been an uneven process with particular elements (i. e., MCing and DJing) more closely aligned to blackness at particular historical moments, while other elements (such as writing and breaking) are perceived in more “inclusive” terms—that is, as forms that cut across ethnic, racial, and class lines. Media representations of b-boying and writing, for instance, configured these expressive forms in terms more of class than race.¹ This would have implications in terms of how particular groups...

  7. Chapter 3 “The Scratching Is What Got Me Hooked”: Filipino American DJs in the Bay Area
    (pp. 33-48)

    FILIPINO YOUTH INVOLVEMENT WITHIN DJING only makes sense in relation to the cultural landscape of the Bay Area. It is very much a function of developments specific to the region at a particular historical juncture. In particular, the DJs I interviewed were very much influenced, one way or the other, by the burgeoning mobile DJ scene that took hold of the Bay Area in the 1980s, although my respondents did not get into DJing until well after the peak of that scene. In this chapter, I provide a profile of Filipino DJs I interviewed and shed light on the nature...

  8. Chapter 4 “DJing as a Filipino Thing”: Negotiating Questions of Race
    (pp. 49-64)

    THE DJS I INTERVIEWED ARE WELL AWARE of the history of hip-hop, or what has come to be constructed as the conventional narrative of hip-hop. They are very much aware of the racialized discourses that have come to define the contours of hip-hop, and they acknowledge hip-hop’s black ante-cedents and subscribe to the notion that it began as an African American mode of cultural expression. Yet there is also a sense and recognition among my respondents that the boundaries of hip-hop based on its perceived blackness have been in constant flux. In other words, hip-hop may have started out as...

  9. Chapter 5 The Normative Boundaries of Filipinoness
    (pp. 65-88)

    IN CLAIMING HIP-HOP AS THEIR OWN, the DJs I interviewed are en-gaging in a practice that is not completely new. Instead, these DJs are building on a tradition when they look to new cultural options and alternatives and claim as their own an expressive form not considered Filipino in a way that speaks to their specific circumstances and concerns. At the same time, they bring attention to the complex subject positions and shifting identifi-cations of Filipinos from one era to another and from generation to generation, but also the contested and ambivalent nature of this process. They raise questions over...

  10. Conclusion Reimagining the Hip-hop Nation
    (pp. 89-102)

    IT HAS NOW BECOME COMMONPLACE to refer to hip-hop and its constituency as part of a nation: the hip-hop nation. In an article on hip-hop nationalism, Jeffrey Louis Decker traces the initial usage of the phrase “hip-hop nation” to a Village Voice article published January 19, 1988. Since its initial usage, the term “hip-hop nation” has enjoyed a great deal of currency, and is a phrase often invoked in both popular and scholarly accounts of hip-hop. Halifu Osumare, for example, speaks of the political and economic clout of the hip-hop nation and how it has evolved into a force to...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 103-118)
  12. Index
    (pp. 119-126)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 127-127)