In Negro Soy Yo Marc D. Perry explores Cuba’s hip hop movement as a window into the racial complexities of the island’s ongoing transition from revolutionary socialism toward free-market capitalism. Centering on the music and lives of black-identified raperos (rappers), Perry examines the ways these young artists craft notions of black Cuban identity and racial citizenship, along with calls for racial justice, at the fraught confluence of growing Afro-Cuban marginalization and long held perceptions of Cuba as a non-racial nation. Situating hip hop within a long history of Cuban racial politics, Perry discusses the artistic and cultural exchanges between raperos and North American rappers and activists, and their relationships with older Afro-Cuban intellectuals and African American political exiles. He also examines critiques of Cuban patriarchy by female raperos, the competing rise of reggaetón, as well as state efforts to incorporate hip hop into its cultural institutions. At this pivotal moment of Cuban-U.S. relations, Perry's analysis illuminates the evolving dynamics of race, agency, and neoliberal transformation amid a Cuba in historic flux.
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Marc D. Perry is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and African and African Diaspora Studies at Tulane University.Review:
"Offering a wealth of ethnographic detail, Negro Soy Yo is a welcome addition to the study of international hip-hop, contemporary Cuban culture and society, and the Black Atlantic. Marc D. Perry's foregrounding of the role of race in the history of Cuban hip-hop, and in the transnational engagements of Afro-Cuban culture more broadly, is a crucial contribution." (Wayne Marshall, coeditor of Reggaetón)
"In this much anticipated book, Marc D. Perry provides a nuanced and compelling analysis of how Cuban raperos are crafting new understandings of black selfhood and citizenship in the wake of the collapse of the USSR and Cuba’s ambivalent embrace of neoliberal capitalism. Boldly reflexive, Perry’s intensive, long-term ethnographic research yields a theoretically nuanced and historically attuned perspective on the politics and poetics of racialization both within Cuba’s rapidly changing political imaginary, and across diasporic fields of black cultural production. By all measures, Negro Soy Yo is a masterful contribution to the literature and an ethnographic tour de force." (Steven Gregory, author of The Devil behind the Mirror: Globalization and Politics in the Dominican Republic)
"If you're not familiar with Cuban hip hop,Negro Soy Yo is an excellent starting point to get the wheels turning in your head, to start thinking about the music and all of the different places it is coming from, what it’s discussing and why. Perry has given us an excellent text to get people from outside of the island to consider how the music communicates things about society that we don’t get elsewhere." (Scratched Vinyl)
"Negro Soy Yo makes a distinguished contribution to the study of raced citizenship and the performance of blackness through the self-fashioning of Cuban hip-hop." (Melisa Riviére Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 2017-06-01)
"A necessary guide for understanding the present and future of racialized social stratification [in Cuba]. . . . Perry’s most important contribution lies in how he unites the genealogy of Cuban hip-hop with that of the contemporary Cuban anti-racist movement and points sharply toward the political urgency of continued antiracist critiques in the present and future." (Maya Berry Latin American Music Review 2017-03-01)
"Negro Soy Yo provides an insightful and grassroots account of the Cuban hip hop movement’s discursive and affirmative evolution in an emerging neoliberal moment." (Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier Journal of Anthropological Research 2017-06-01)
"Perry effectively cuts between lyrics, house parties, run-ins with the police, music festivals, conversations, and theoretical reflections in a multilayered 'raced ethnography' that glistens with his desire to describe an enormous range of details about life in neoliberal Cuba. . . . He contributes wonderfully to Latin American and Caribbean studies, as well as African diaspora studies, cultural studies, cultural anthropology, and ethnomusicology." (Daniel Castro Pantoja & Jacob Rekedal Latin American Research Review 2017-01-01)
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