It’s clear that anti-blackness is everywhere. From Africans in India who face virulent discrimination to Whitenicious in Nigeria, it is not only Europeans who dismiss blackness as inferior, less than or other. Sometimes it comes from other folks of color, and China just stepped up to show that it, too, has skin in this losing game.
On Friday, China’s government banned hip-hop culture from television (that, and actors with tattoos).
And even though we now live in a time where Macklemore, Eminem and even Gerald “G-Eazy” Gillum are arguably the face of hip-hop, when I think of hip-hop, I still think of a culture that centers African-American men and boys and hypermasculinity. Sure, it’s genius mixed with pathology and hot beats, but let’s be clear that hip-hop was created by and grew up under the stewardship of black and Hispanic men.
Yet China wants no part of this culture, which is definitely black in origin, to be seen on television.
According to Time magazine, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China now “specifically requires that programs should not feature actors with tattoos [or depict] hip-hop culture, sub-culture (non-mainstream culture) and dispirited culture (decadent culture).”
The Chinese government seems intent on erasing all forms of hip-hop from the public, although it has already been entrenched there (and around the world) for years. Time reports:
The ban follows the removal of the prominent rapper GAI from Hunan TV’s Singer, a hit competition show. Clips of GAI, whose real name is Zhou Yan, were also removed from China Hunan TV’s official YouTube channel, but no official explanation has been given. He does however appear in the show’s trailer:
Wang Hao, aka PG One, another well-known rapper, was forced to apologize earlier this month after one of his songs, “Christmas Eve,” was criticized for promoting drug culture and insulting women.
Rapper Mao Yanqi, aka VaVa, was cut from the variety show Happy Camp, according to Tecent News. Music by Triple H, an influential underground rapper, has also been removed from major streaming sites. And a contestant on the show Super Brian, which is not hip-hop related, even had his hip-hop style necklace blurred out.
Time reports that many on Chinese social media have responded angrily to the ban, but the government controls that, too.
Things that have a subtext of blackness always seem to get hit with the “deviant” label—so what does that say about your thoughts on the people who created it?