Document Type

Honors Project


Responding to a recent resurgence in Afro-Asian imagery in the American consciousness, this paper examines the meaning and direction of the contemporary Afro-Asian relationship in post-Internet American popular culture. To investigate these questions, this paper constructs a brief history of the American Afro-Asian relationship through the performance of racial identity and cross-cultural production and consumption from the 1850s through the 2000s. An increase in American Afro-Asian imagery has not come from a place of abstraction, but rather stems from a lengthy and complex history of cross-cultural collisions, collaboration, and convergence along with a post-Internet that allows for the ready flow of cultural origin and loose identity policing. In the contemporary moment, the instability and dislocation of cybernetics meets the transnational, transcultural character of technocapitalism to paint a picture of the swallowing of subculture and cultural difference through an increasingly superhybrid Internet. This paper works through the formulations of these histories and theories to create a context for present-day cross-cultural intersections of American Blackness and East Asianness. Using the case studies of the video work of African-American rapper Kendrick Lamar and Asian-American music label 88rising, this paper argues that this contemporary moment offers room for both the continuation of hegemonic, non-resistant, racist practices and oppositional counterculture.



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