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Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

Ms. Currier, thank you for the excellent piece on democracy in Dakar and political engagement (or lack thereof) in American hip-hop. It is important, I believe, to remember that we are often comparing American hip-hop with international hip-hop movements that are at a much earlier stage of development. If you compare, instead, those movements to the era of American hip-hop that saw the rise of KRS-One, Eric B & Rakim, et al., you might find a more similar orientation towards "political" awareness.

I found a similar situation when I traveled to Morocco a few years ago to study the emergence of an indigenous hip-hop movement there. I invite you to check out the film that I eventually produced from that experience, I Love Hip-Hop in Morocco, which shows a different kind of political approach, one that reflects a society under strict restraints from religion and monarchy, without even the notion of democratic elections. Perhaps this is why those artists tend to steer clear of overtly political issues and focus more on achieving broader popularity and commercial success.

Again, thank you for addressing the issue and opening many eyes to some excellent work in the field of documentary film.

Joshua Asen

Brooklyn, NY

Nov 18 2009 - 3:56pm

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