Daily Drip

Watch: Hip Hop Lecturer Kwame Ismail Breaks Down Black-Chinese Cultural Flows


Here’s an interesting video we wanted to pass along.

Kwame Ismail is a researcher, speaker, and creator of Black in China, a “guerrilla style ethnographic series [featuring] firsthand accounts of Black people living in the People’s Republic of China.” In this video he’s lecturing a multinational class at Harbin’s Heilongjiang University about the two-way relationship between China and black/hip hop culture.

He talks about Rich Chigga learning English to understand rap videos, Asian artists using black cosigns for validation, and the overlapping origin stories between people of color and Chinese immigrants during the era of hip hop’s birth (a fortunate collision that would give rise to Wu-Tang Clan, among others). It’s a subject that doesn’t get enough coverage, and now that China seems to be really dialing down on the hip hop thing, is all the more important to understand. Check out the lecture, and some of Kwame’s other work when you get the chance.

Adan Kohnhorst
Adan Kohnhorst is a US-based writer, producer, multimedia artist, and former associate editor at RADII. His work has been featured in publications such as Maxim and the Chinese-language StreetVoice, and he’s an active member of the hip hop and DIY music scenes in Shanghai, NYC, and Dallas. He learned Mandarin in high school to train at the Shaolin Temple but now uses it to interview rappers. He blogs about China and Asia on Instagram: @this.is.adan

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