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Blacking Up: Hip-Hop’s Remix Of Race And Identity

Airs Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Rapper Blazek

Robert A. Clift is a filmmaker from Washington, DC, whose previous film "Stealing Home: The Case of Cuban Baseball" appeared nationally on PBS. He is currently writing his dissertation for the Department of Communication and Culture at Indiana University, where he also taught courses on documentary production and theory.
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Above: Robert A. Clift is a filmmaker from Washington, DC, whose previous film "Stealing Home: The Case of Cuban Baseball" appeared nationally on PBS. He is currently writing his dissertation for the Department of Communication and Culture at Indiana University, where he also taught courses on documentary production and theory.

"Blacking Up" explores racial identity through the lens of hip-hop music and culture. The film focuses in particular on the tensions that surround white identification with hip-hop. Popularly referred to by derogatory terms such as "wannabe" or "wigger," the white person who identifies with hip-hop often invokes heated responses. For some, it is an example of cultural progress - a movement toward a color-blind America. For others, it is just another case of cultural theft and mockery - a repetition of a racist past.

"Blacking Up" probes these different responses, constructing a dialogue on race that draws parallels from American history and incorporates the well-known rappers, and assortment of young fans and hip-hop hopefuls, among others. Watch additional video clips and learn more about the characters in this film online.

Video

Blacking Up: Hip-Hop's Remix Of Race And Identity

Above: Watch a video clip from "Blacking Up: Hip-Hop's Remix Of Race And Identity."