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The Case for the Hip Hop Musical

The Case for the Hip Hop Musical

(p.39) 1 The Case for the Hip Hop Musical
Hip Hop on Film
Kimberley Monteyne
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter provides a revisionist history of the postclassical musical that makes room for early hip hop-oriented cinema, and significantly alters theories about the trajectory of the generic development of American musical film. It argues that hip hop culture made its biggest entrance into mainstream media through the narrative format of the musical. These productions envisioned a progressive postclassical “music man” who appropriated city spaces (and in some cases enacted important social transformations) through the various performative outlets of hip hop culture. This is a crucial development to bring to light since classical-era Hollywood musicals have habitually denied African American performers and other people of color the transcendent abilities of the “music man” embodied by hoofers such as Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire.

Keywords:   Postclassical musical, “music man,” Hollywood musicals, hip hop cinema, classical-era Hollywood

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