A Tribute to the Glocal.

by maddicook


Although today hip-hop is commonly associated with the likes of Snoop-dog and all of his ‘bitches’ and Nicki Minja and all of her ‘booty’, the once unnamed culture was characterised as a result of structural inequality and ghetto conditions, and became a chance for young teenagers in the Bronx of America to steer away from of street violence and gang culture.

Formed in New York City’s ghettos in the 1970’s, this genre  of dance, today known as ‘hip-hop’, drew on its’ influences from African-American and African cultures and cultural dance.

Throughout history, hip-hop has commonly been used to comment on political and social problems. It has always been more than a genre of dance; rather it is a form of connection and a chance for others to have a say.

Hip-hop includes many genres and distinctions, such as commercial, gangsta, conscious, grime and booty, however hip-hop is most commonly related to four genres, MCing, DJing, graffiti and breaking.

The spread of hip-hop is evidence of the hybridity and ‘glocalisation’ of todays’ culture. In her reading, April K Henderson highlights Samoan’s as being amongst the first breakers who understood the importance of performing and embodying their local languages and culture through the genre of hip-hop. Henderson acknowledges that, “young Samoans in multi-ethnic neighborhoods earned status and respect through mastering the physical vocabularies of dance or sport”.

Hip-hop was first influenced to the Samoans by hip hop artists and dancers whom travelled back and forth between Samoa and their other homes, creating a global corridor for the development and reformation of Samoan hip hop.

Samoan hip-hop combines traditional forms of Samoan dance and hip-hop and “enables the children of migrants to have the confidence to learn and perform dance”. They not only embraced this form of dance, but glocalised the form of dance by merging hip-hop into the Samoan culture. It empowered the youth to become affiliated with their history and appreciate their traditions.

Samoan hip-hop dancers, such as Petelo Petelo, King Kapisi, Scribe, Dei Hamo, and Savage have become an inspiration for many other Maori and Pacific Islander dancers. They have revolutionized a new national identity and respect for their culture, old and new.

Hip-hop is an important part of our worldwide culture. It is a tribute to the glocalisation of culture, and proof that globalisation has the ability to affect countries all over the world, from the West Coast to the East Coast of America, from New York to the Samoan Island.