A 3d View of Hip Hop

imagesAs a trend, the connectivity of Hip Hop, has manifested itself all over the modern world. Today, we see young and old, all partaking in this form of movement as an expression of dance. However, culturally, this was not always accepted within society. New Zealand Anthropologist, April K. Henderson’s article The Vinal Ain’t Final: Hip hop and globalisation of black culture highlights a the different lenses we use to view Samoan hip hop dancers. Like 3d glasses, one lens is blue (tradition) and one red (modernity).

Through the red lens, we see “a young boy on the island of Savai’I, then Western Samoa, sailing a hand made canoe along the shore. He is smiling, waist-deep in seawater, clad only in a floral wraparound lavalava” and through the blue lens, we see a different depiction of Samoan youth…young male dancers in the graffiti-tagged clubhouse of the American Samoan dance crew Famous Original Blood Brothers… the dancers are clad head-to-toe in athletic gear-bandannas or hats on their heads, Adidas jackets or hooded sweatshirts, and converse or Adidas brand shoes”.

This cross-eyed confusion between red and blue lenses creates a new and complex image to appear. This complex 3d image is of a mixture of elements including globalisation, (refer to my article here), concerns of loss of culture through Americanisation and also the idea of monotonous uniformity as well as the connectivity of hip hop via globalisation, with special regards to Samoan youth as examined by Henderson’s article.

Just like the idea of 3d movies, Hip Hop is more than simply a form of dance, rather it is a gateway into connecting people together through, a consecutive experience between a group of people. For Samoan dancer Petelo Petelo, this new 3d image merges traditional forms of Samoan dance and hip hop and “enables the children of migrants to have the confidence to learn and perform dance”. His testimony to dance has inspired many other Maori and Pacific Islander dancers into a new cultural pride and national identity consecutive with the merging of tradition and modernity. This merging of red and blue has created a powerful new 3d image incorporating a modern sense of identity and connectedness within the Maori community.