BC event examines hip-hop music, race

When young whites embrace rap and hip-hop culture, is it an example of America moving toward being a colorblind society, or is it just another case of cultural theft and mockery?

That is the fundamental question of Robert Clift’s documentary, “Blacking Up: Hip Hop’s Remix of Race and Identity.” Parts of the documentary will be shown along with lecture by Clift at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27, in Cole Hall at Bridgewater College.

Clift’s documentary travels back and forth between urban, suburban and rural settings, showing whites with very different ways of expressing their relationship to hip-hop.

Originally airing on PBS in January 2010, Clift interviewed a number of notable entertainers, historians and cultural critics for “Blacking Up.” They included Amiri Baraka, author of Blues People; Russell Simmons, CEO of Def Jam Records; Chuck D of Public Enemy; Oliver Power Grant, manager of Wu-Tang Clan; rapper Vanilla Ice; and Paul Mooney, comedian and writer for “The Dave Chapelle Show.””

In addition to making documentaries, Clift has taught classes on documentary production and theory at Indiana University in Bloomington where he earned a master’s degree and is pursuing a doctorate.

Sponsored by the Harold H. Hersch Endowed Lecture Series, the program is open to the public at no charge.

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