Accepted Paper:

has pdf download The promise of a utopian home, or capitalism's commoditisation of blackness  

Author:

Francio Guadeloupe (University of St. Martin, Dutch Caribbean)

Paper short abstract:

The manner in which black, brown, and white youngsters in European metropolises are taking on the new identity of urban blackness (an effect of commoditisation of black music) and its impact on prevalent notions of racial categorisation are the main themes that will be explored in this essay.

Paper long abstract:

Amidst all the noise of misogyny and bling-bling talk, black music also asserts the need for a utopian home. A home where black, brown, and white (the way we currently understand these markers) will be no more. Instead a new meta-ethnicity, urban blackness, based on ones love of black music and not upon the colour of ones skin, will render older racial categories obsolete. With the exponential rise of the culture industry however, nowadays this utopian dream is incorporated into corporate capitalism. Urban blackness is a commoditised identity marker sold to black and white youngsters who wish to be down MTV style. The manner in which black, brown, and white youngsters in European metropolises are taking on the new identity of urban blackness is the main theme that I will explore in this essay. As such it contributes to a growing body of work in Cultural Studies (Hall 1991, Mercer 1994) and Anthropology (Nassy Brown 1998, Cornips & de Rooij 2004, Guadeloupe 2005) that alerts us to the role of commoditised black popular culture in the construction of new ethnicities and concomitant racial categorisations in the urban settings of Western Europe.

Panel W115
Urban marginalization and popular culture