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Jeff Chang on the "afro-asian connection"

When political institutions shut out wide swaths of people, the path to change is often through culture. Hip-hop scholar Jeff Chang gets political with Justin, calling out the strengths and stressors among black and Asian communities in California and American culture more broadly.

Jeff Chang, Author of "How We Be"


Hip-hop was not only one of great musical inventions of the 20th Century, it’s part of a long movement for black freedom. That’s how hip-hop scholar and author Jeff Chang understands it. Hip-hop is a language and cultural touchstone that creates space for power and political expression that black Americans are routinely denied. Likewise, Jeff sees a roadmap in the black freedom movement for all people fighting for their rights: LGBTQ people, Asians, Latinos, women, and those who have been economically disenfranchised.

We go deep on the future of racial equity and how groups who have been divided can unite as a political force. There are long historical links between black and Asian communities, from the black Americans who tended their Japanese neighbors’ stores and properties during the internment, to the embrace of kung fu in the black community, to Jeff’s own childhood in Honolulu taking cues from hip-hop films and graffiti culture.


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