23 May 2011

On Hip-Hop in South Africa and beyond

I am always happy to see people who have taught me to do great things. Perhaps my CV gets elevated by association and I must say, I have been very lucky in that I have been taught academically by some brilliant minds both in UK and in South Africa. Of course not every lecturer I’ve ever had was mind-blowing, a few were a lot less, but one of the ones I proudly say I was taught by is Dr Adam Haupt. Adam is the original South African Hip Hop scholar, but of course he focuses on other things as well. I attended his classes where he talked a lot about copyrights and other intellectual property related matters. He has written a book well worth recommending - Stealing Empire - which, besides buying, you can also actually download as PDF for free and more recently he went to Harvard University for some time. This lecture which lasts for 35 minutes and a bit is from that time. 

He talks about Hip Hop in South Africa and the meeting of culture and industry of the art form. In the end, Dr Haupt explores the internet phenomenon Die Antwoord and asks is it possible to understand it as anything but blackface. I by the way have never seen or heard any of their music. Even the short clip as part of this lecture, I just kind of skipped. So I cannot say much about them personally – I am not very interested in such gimmicks - but I am inclined to trust Dr Haupt’s analysis and I doubt there is anyone more equipped to talk about the topic anyway. So this is a great talk by an interesting person and at least in my opinion, on a very interesting topic – have a look.

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