Bryce Henson

Feb 7, 2024

Emergent Quilombos

Black Life and Hip-Hop in Brazil

University of Texas Press 2024

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Known as Black Rome, Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, is a predominantly Black city. The local art, food, and dance are closely linked to the population's African roots. Yet many Black Brazilian residents are politically and economically disenfranchised. Bryce Henson details a culture of resistance and activism that has emerged in response, expressed through hip-hop and the social relations surrounding it.

Based on years of ethnographic research, Emergent Quilombos: Black Life and Hip-Hop in Brazil (University of Texas Press, 2024) illuminates how Black hip-hop artists and their circles contest structures of anti-Black racism by creating safe havens and alternative social, cultural, and political systems that serve Black people. These artists valorize and empower marginalized Black peoples through song, aesthetics, media, visual art, and community action that emphasize diasporic connections, ancestrality, and Black identifications in opposition to the anti-Black Brazilian nation. In the process, Henson argues, the Salvador hip-hop scene has reinvigorated and reterritorialized a critical legacy of Black politicocultural resistance: the quilombo, maroon communities of Black fugitives who refused slavery as a way of life, gathered away from the spaces of their oppression, protected their communities, and nurtured Black life in all its possibilities.

Bryce Henson is an assistant professor of media, culture, and identity in the Department of Communication and Journalism and associate faculty in the Africana Studies Program at Texas A&M University.

Reighan Gillam is an Associate Professor in the Department of Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies at Dartmouth College. Her research examines the ways in which Afro-Brazilian media producers foment anti-racist visual politics through their image creation. She is the author of Visualizing Black Lives: Ownership and Control in Afro-Brazilian Media (University of Illinois Press).

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Reighan Gillam

Reighan Gillam is an Associate Professor in the Department of Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies at Dartmouth College. Her research examines the ways in which Afro-Brazilian media producers foment anti-racist visual politics through their image creations. She is the author of Visualizing Black Lives: Ownership and Control in Afro-Brazilian Media (University of Illinois Press).
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