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American Studies Encounters the Middle East$
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Alex Lubin and Marwan M. Kraidy

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469628844

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469628844.001.0001

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“Race” and “Blackness” in Moroccan Rap

“Race” and “Blackness” in Moroccan Rap

Voicing Local Experiences of Marginality

(p.81) “Race” and “Blackness” in Moroccan Rap
American Studies Encounters the Middle East

Cristina Moreno Almeida

University of North Carolina Press

Until recently in Morocco, issues of ‘race,’ racism, and slavery have been absent of the public sphere. The formation of the hegemonic narrative of the Moroccan national identity based on the idea of an Arab-Muslim nation depicts a country racially and ethnically homogenous blind to alternative racial and ethnic differences. Yet, music and the cultural field in Morocco have acted as catalyst to insert narratives on ‘race’ and an African consciousness within the discourse of the dominant Arab-Muslim Moroccan identity. Furthermore, Moroccan media’s continuous association of ‘Blackness’ to a foreign ‘other’ perpetuates the idea that ‘Blackness’ is not part of the country’s national identity. Despite media’s depiction of ‘race,’ Moroccan rappers have, however, drawn on prominent African American activists such as Martin Luther King or Malcolm X in relation to their own local context of oppression and despair. This chapter examines the local politics of ‘Blackness’ in Moroccan rap as part of a cultural connection with the US that allows urban youth to construct new narratives in relation with global forms of marginality. It particularly looks at how some rappers have reflected on racism and marginality to explore their own local urban youth marginality.

Keywords:   ‘Blackness’, marginality, Morocco, ‘race’, rap, youth

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