"I Was The Only Black Child In My School': Hip-Hop and Gendered and Racialized Identities In Vancouver

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 5:30 PM
Room: 302
Oral Presentation
Gillian CREESE , University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
This paper examines how second generation youth with parents from sub-Saharan Africa negotiate racialization processes and gendered identities in Metro Vancouver. The study is based on interviews with second generation African-Canadian men and women who grew up in metro Vancouver, and explores the gendered impact of growing up in neighbourhoods where they, and their siblings, were often the only African/Black children. Although Vancouver is a diverse multicultural metropolis, the African/Black population is both very small (about 1%) and hyper-visible. In this context, the second generation engages with representations of ‘Blackness’ widely circulated through American popular culture, and especially through hip-hop, which forms a central element of North American youth culture. Hip-hop constitutes the dominant frame of reference for representations of Black masculinity and femininity among non-African peers, providing spaces of acceptance for African immigrant boys who can successfully perform hip-hop culture. In contrast, hip-hop culture provides few avenues of acceptance for African immigrant girls who must find other avenues of belonging.