How disenfranchised Black Brazilians use hip-hop to reinvigorate the Black radical tradition.
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 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: quilombos, 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.
Emergent Quilombos is a rich and provocative book that introduces the reader to the world of Bahian hip-hop and its cultural and political significance. In this moment in Brazilian history, Henson's work is an incredible contribution to the literature on the politics of Blackness in Brazil.
~Christen A. Smith, University of Texas at Austin, author of Afro-Paradise: Blackness, Violence, and Performance in Brazil
Bryce Henson has produced a historically grounded, theoretically sophisticated, and eminently readable account of Bahian hip-hop. With lyrical prose that reads like a love letter to the diaspora, Henson’s imagining of Bahian hip-hop as “emergent quilombo,” or maroon community, provides readers with soul-filling ways to reimagine Blackness outside of staid paradigms of inclusion and exclusion.
~Ralina L. Joseph, University of Washington, author of Postracial Resistance: Black Women, Media, and the Uses of Strategic Ambiguity
Stay connected for our latest books and special offers.
We live in an information-rich world. As a publisher of international scope, the University of Texas Press serves the University of Texas at Austin community, the people of Texas, and knowledge seekers around the globe by identifying the most valuable and relevant information and publishing it in books, journals, and digital media that educate students; advance scholarship in the humanities and social sciences; and deepen humanity’s understanding of history, current events, contemporary culture, and the natural environment.