Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Jamaican dancehall kufiyas

I'm lucky to have a few readers who kufiyaspot for me. Thanks to Wayne (of the invaluable wayne&wax) who alerted me to this one--from Jamaica, with Wacky French Prince and Ding Dong introducing new dance moves, Nuh Linga and Ho mi look. You can't miss the kufiyas on a couple of the dancers. The kufiya presence can't simply be read as Jamaicans slavishly borrowing from US hipsters, although US rappers might be a source. But it's just as, and maybe even more, likely that thirdworldist solidarity with the Palestinians could be a motivation. Read wayne's post on this, and other dance move videos. He notes that this one bears a marked resemblance to voguing.

This makes me nostalgic for the good old days of the b-boys in South Bronx in the seventies. (Not that I was there, by any means.) And it calls to mind the heavy Caribbean influence on the foundational hip-hop scene. The three most important early hip-hop DJs all had a Caribbean foundation. DJ Kool Herc, who essentially invented sratching, immigrated to the US from Jamaica in 1967. (And Herc hung around with the Five Percenters.) Afrika Bambaata's parents were from the West Indies, and Grandmaster Flash's parents were from Barbados.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if dancehall aficionados wear when they set homosexuals on fire? I suppose that might be common ground between them and Islamists. kuffiyas

Ted Swedenburg said...

Read the wayne&wax post I provide a link to. Wayne and several folks who comment on his posts note that the kufiya dance vid I comment on, as well as several others, point to a gaying or at least a metrosexualization going on in Jamaican dancehall culture, both in Jamaica and in the diaspora. Apparently the kufiya isn't contradictory to this phenomenon.

Anonymous said...

OK--I read it.
On the one hand there are gays and lesbians calling on this music to be denounced and boycotted because it celebrates horrific violence, while on the other hand there are academics analyzing its "trangressive" and "contradictory" nature. It DOES remind of the kuffiyah, in fact--a vicious symbol of hatred and murder that is adopted by rich, detached, hipsters.
It really brings into stark relief the contrast between what academics in Arkansas (and elsewhere) wish were the case, and the violence that gays and Jews actually live with.