Tag Archives: BBC

Excerpt: The Guardian On Hackney Weekend And Hip-Hop’s Social Costs

Nicki Minaj at Hackney Weekend. Courtesy: The Sun (U.K.)

The Hackney Weekend’s lineup proved that hip-hop artists have little difficulty finding their mainstream flow. On Saturday night, Nicki Minaj spat her brand of hip-hop pop before Jay-Z took to the stage, while on Sunday Britain’s Plan B –back in the arms of his first love, hip-hop, having left the crooning and smart suits of his Strickland Banks era behind him–Professor Green and Tinie Tempah will warm the stage by the Olympic Park for headliner Rihanna. “This is hip-hop’s moment,” said 1Xtra DJ and hip-hop artist Charlie Sloth. “For the BBC to acknowledge that hip-hip is the dominant force in modern culture is huge.”This weekLast week, Ben Cooper, head of Radio 1, said of the Hackney Weekend: “We’re going into an area that I don’t think any commercial operator would have gone into after the unrest of last year. That is the job of the BBC.”

Sloth added that local boys Labrinth–born and raised with nine siblings in Hackney–and Tottenham rapper Wretch 32 playing alongside stars like Jay-Z would send a positive message to the crowd, many of them residents of one of London’s poorest boroughs, who were given priority in the ballot for free tickets. “Seeing these artists up there, coming from the same place as they come from–it gives them hope, it shows what they can achieve.”

But for youth worker turned government youth adviser Shaun Bailey, the gangster lifestyle vaunted by some rappers creates a lack of respect for the black community. “You’ve got a few people who do live a fug-life, a gangster life, and everybody else with their faces pressed up against the glass. They get to see it all, they get to hear it all but they don’t have to suffer any of the consequences, any of the danger,” he said, in a video trailing the debate. “It says to our young people, someone messes with you–blow their head off, literally. And you need to ask yourself: are we building massive hip-hop revenues on the backs of our young dead people?”

- From “Jay-Z at Hackney Weekend: but does hip-hop degrade or enhance?” by Alexandra Topping

Risky Business: The Racialicious Review Of The Shadow Line

Courtesy The Telegraph

By Arturo R. García

The feel-good hit of last summer…this was not.

During its original run, some people called The Shadow Line ”the British Wire,” which isn’t quite fair. In fact, it’s more accurate to call Chiwetel Ejiofor’s seven-part miniseries, currently airing on DirecTV’s Audience Network, an appropriately somber example of British gangster fiction done right. Some spoilers are under the cut

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Top Gear Goes From Zero to Racist in Under Two Minutes

By Arturo R. García

Top Gear, the long-running British auto review show, is built upon a foundation of “guy talk.” But an outburst by the show’s three hosts this week once again crossed the line from mildly boorish to positively unnerving, this time prompting a political response.

The incident occurred during Sunday’s episode, when the trio – Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May (above l-r) – turned a review of a Mexican sports car into an exercise in racist “banter” about the country and its’ people. Video and transcript are under the cut.

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Blood & Guts: The Racialicious Review of Luther 1.1

By Arturo R. García

Formulaic? Sure. But in a year of feel-good network pap like Hawaii Five-O and Undercovers, Luther at least provides a taut, nasty little respite, and a place where Idris Elba can stretch his character-building muscles a bit.

As I said in previewing the show, Elba’s title character is something relatively rare in the realm of POC tv gumshoes: he’s not the Cool Guy. In fact, the show wastes little time in establishing him as a latter-day pulp figure: he may be smart, but he’s far from smooth.

SPOILERS AHEAD

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Coming Attractions: Idris Elba’s Luther

By Arturo R. García

TV Guide lists 28 “must-watch” new shoes in its’ fall preview section. Of those, six are police procedurals. None of them has a POC protagonist.

Not listed in that summary, and not made in this country, is Luther, a BBC production starring The Wire’s Idris Elba. The show starts airing on BBC America Oct. 17, but from what I’ve seen, Elba, who also served as an executive producer on the show, has helped craft something occasionally creepy, sometimes unnerving, but not bad at all.

No spoilers here, but the show does follow the Law & Order storytelling style: the crimes are presented “realistically” enough to warrant a trigger warning and the baddies are true bastards, indeed. But the show’s less about whodunit than what DCI John Luther is going to do next.

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Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game: the Racialization of Labor in World of Warcraft [Conference Notes]

by Latoya Peterson

These are the notes for “Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game: The Racialization of Labor in World of Warcraft.” The notes are for the keynote presentation given by Dr. Nakamura at the Texas A & M University Race and Ethnic Studies Institute’s Symposium exploring Race, Ethnicity and (New) Media.

The full paper is available on Lisa Nakamura’s research site. The abstract is as follows:

This article examines the racialization of informational labor in machinima about Chinese player workers in the massively multiplayer online role playing game World of Warcraft. Such fanproduced video content extends the representational space of the game and produces overtly racist narrative space to attach to a narrative that, while carefully avoiding explicit references to racism or racial conflict in our world, is premised upon a racial war in an imaginary world—the World of Azeroth.

This profiling activity is part of a larger biometric turn initiated by digital culture’s informationalization of the body and illustrates the problematics of informationalized capitalism. If late capitalism is characterized by the requirement for subjects to be possessive individuals, to make claims to citizenship based on ownership of property, then player workers are unnatural subjects in that they are unable to obtain avatarial self-possession. The painful paradox of this dynamic lies in the ways that it mirrors the dispossession of information workers in the Fourth Worlds engendered by ongoing processes of globalization. As long as Asian “farmers” are figured as unwanted guest workers within the culture of MMOs, user-produced extensions of MMO-space like machinima will most likely continue to depict Asian culture as threatening to the beauty and desirability of shared virtual space in the World of Warcraft.

Notes

  • People don’t hold video games accountable for racism; however they do hold them responsible for violence. Gaming has to constantly defend its portrayals of violence, but almost never discusses how it reinforces racism.
  • More people play Warcraft now than were on the internet in 1995. There are a significant number of players in China and S. Korea. Digital games are one of the only platforms we had that were transnational from the inception. People who would never think of trying out Japanese media has actually been engaging for a long time without being aware of it through the gaming world.
  • Nakamura starts her presentation off with a clip from South Park from the episode Make Love, Not Warcraft. In the segment she plays, the following conversation happens:
      Cartman: “I am the mightiest dwarf in all of Azeroth!”
      Kyle: “Wow, look at all these people playing right now.”
      Cartman: “yeah, it’s bullcrap. I bet half of these people are Koreans.”

    With that, Nakamura starts the discussion on how Cartman’s off-handed comment reveals how many think of Asian players – specifically Korean and Chinese – as “not real” players in this online world and begins to explore how racial bigotry is manifesting itself in the World of Warcraft.

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