The “Hip-hop Nation” has been scouted, staked out, and settled by journalists and scholars alike. Antonio T. Tiongson Jr. steps into this well-mapped territory with questions aimed at interrogating how nation is conceptualized within the context of hip-hop. What happens, Tiongson asks, to notions of authenticity based on hip-hop’s apparent blackness when Filipino youth make hip-hop their own?
Tiongson draws on interviews with Bay Area–based Filipino American DJs to explore the authenticating strategies they rely on to carve out a niche within DJ culture. He shows how Filipino American youth involvement in DJing reconfigures the normal boundaries of Filipinoness predicated on nostalgia and cultural links with an idealized homeland. Filipinos Represent makes the case that while the engagement of Filipino youth with DJ culture speaks to the broadening racial scope of hip-hop—and of what it means to be Filipino—such involvement is also problematic in the sense that it upholds deracialized accounts of hip-hop and renders difference benign.
Looking at the ways in which Filipino DJs legitimize their place in an expressive form historically associated with African Americans, he examines what these complex forms of identification reveal about the contours and trajectory of contemporary U.S. racial formations and discourses in the post–civil rights era.