I was already familiar with Raquel Cepeda from her work as a hip-hop journalist and was interested to hear more of her personal story. As a Latina froI was already familiar with Raquel Cepeda from her work as a hip-hop journalist and was interested to hear more of her personal story. As a Latina from the Dominican Republic, Cepeda explores the concepts of race, culture and belonging in the telling of her and her family's history.
The first part of her book is pure memoir: from her parents' doomed relationship and how it affected her childhood, to her escape into the world of a burgeoning hip-hop movement, Cepeda writes honestly about her identity a need to know her genetic roots. The second part of the book discusses the DNA results she acquired in order to learn more about herself and her ancestry. Her trips abroad and back to the Dominican Republic proved to place the results in context and answer the ancestral, spiritual, and emotional questions she's always had. A great story of family, identity and belonging....more
As I've probably mentioned before, I used to manage a couple of Black bookstores back in the day. And besides being able to do my favorite thing, talkAs I've probably mentioned before, I used to manage a couple of Black bookstores back in the day. And besides being able to do my favorite thing, talk about books all day long, I also learned so much about Black history, African history, and the many cultures within the African diaspora. I came to meet Rastafarians, Hebrew Israelites, Muslims and felt my world become bigger because of it.
Raboteau, the biracial daughter of a Princeton professor of religion, grew up hearing about the concept of "Zion" and the promised land as it relates to the African-American experience. Her childhood best friend was a Jewish woman who relocated to Israel, a place considered "home" for her people and visiting her, comes across a community of Black Jews while in Israel and she begins to take an interest in other black communities who have set off from their place of birth to find their Zion or Promised Land.
Her journey finds her in contact with Black Hebrew Israelites who left America to establish a home in Israel, Ethiopian Jews who have done the same, and Rastafarians who have relocated to their spiritual home of Ethiopia. In visiting these communities and hearing the stories of the seekers, she also reflects on her own need to find a "home" and where she, as a half black woman, belongs in the world. Although this memoir tends to go off the rails at times, it was in the interest of providing historical context to Raboteau's experiences. Quite a unique memoir....more
I didn't grow up in New York City and my first introduction to the art form was through Rapper's Delight (unfortunately), but hip-hop is my favorite mI didn't grow up in New York City and my first introduction to the art form was through Rapper's Delight (unfortunately), but hip-hop is my favorite music genre. I use it to lift my spirits when I'm depressed, and to make me feel powerful when I need a boost of confidence. I've also been known to actually tear up when I hear a good sample used in a particularly masterful way or an intricate scratching routine. Seriously.
So I was excited to read this new book by music historian, Mark Katz. He specifically chose to focus on DJs that actually manipulate records, not the DJ/producers that are so popular today. Even though I've learned about the history from reading other books, it was still interesting to hear about who invented what scratch and how the technology has advanced and its effect on the industry. The inclusion of female DJs was nice, because they are so often overlooked, but I would have liked for that chapter to have been a little longer. This is a great addition to the growing canon of books about hip-hop....more