Epilogue
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190 Thepublicationprocessissuchthatonceanethnographygoestoprint,thesocial phenomena described in it have already changed, with actors growing up, moving on, and becoming involved in new cultural productions. Ukrainianlanguage folk music fusions have begun incorporating Russian-language pop music influences, mirroring changes in Ukraine’s language laws that make Russian the official language in areas like Kharkiv, where Russian-language speakers are the majority. Scenes that were predominantly Russian-speaking in hip hop clubs in Kharkiv have seen the increasing use of English as more languageclassesareofferedinhighschoolsanduniversitiesandasyoungpeople recognize the value of English for commercial and educational exchange. The growing familiarity with English has introduced numerous new words into Ukrainian and Russian languages, anglicizing even common Ukrainian wordslike lytse (face),now“feisa.”Theselinguisticchangesreflectbroaderintellectual ,psychological,emotional,andpracticalchangesasUkraine’smedia spheres continue to reflect stronger associations with Western (that is, modern ) culture and greater embracings of capitalist norms and class divisions. Migrations into Ukraine have increased as well, with more and diversified Africans arriving in communities. Whereas the dominant representationswere East AfricansandNigerians,agrowingnumberof immigrants and students from West African countries have introduced French language and music into social scenes in Kharkiv, Kyiv, and other larger cities in Ukraine. Negotiations between English- and French-speaking Africans have led to diversity in hip hop, R&B, and “Africa”-themed music parties where each language receives a certain amount of play time from DJs who alternate by country. Whereas French and English are former colonial languages and the languagesofeducatedAfricanelites,pan-regionalidentitiesbasedoncolonial EPILOGUE 191 Epilogue disjunctures solidify and form new language-based cultural contingents in diaspora. These developments intersect with growing Indian communities of students and immigrant workers who engage increasingly with strengthening African communities in industrial, economic, and university cities like Donetsk, where such immigrant communities were not visible or did not exist at the time of my fieldwork between 2004 and 2010. Organizations like the African Center in Kyiv are a strong indicator of the long-term plans that Africans and other immigrants have, viewing Ukraine less as a transitory space and more as a place for long-term settlement. Regardingracism:itisnotenoughtocallitracism,becauseeverycountry has different forms of racial discrimination, and racism in Ukraine cannot be compared to the history of racism in the United States. Though no violent attacks against foreigners were reported during the 2012 Euro Cup, which many football fans in the United Kingdom avoided for fear of assault, many racially motivated attacks are not reported in the media. Ukrainians do not differentiate between bizhentsi, refugees who eascape from war or political persecution, and those who move to Ukraine for economic reasons. All are simplycastasforeigners.Xenophobiaisontheriseintermsofsocialdiscrimination .Educationreformisneededthatteachesracialtoleranceandalsohelps people identify which aspects of their behavior and language may be deemed offensive and racist. There also needs to be more stress on implementing laws againstdiscriminationandoncreatingstructuresforimmigrantsandforeigners to secure assistance, legal council, and help in dealing with cultural and social institutions with which they engage. Racial construction is nuanced, and it changes in relation to broader political ideologies and cultural rhetoric of difference that cast people onto spectra of whiteness and blackness. The pendulum swings in Ukraine vis-à-vis how people perceive their class status and how they engage with cultural products from the United States. African American experiences with racism in the United States have served as the backdrop for people across the world to draw on civil rights discourse and to model forms of dissent and social consciousness from black voices. It is a consciousness that augments civil rights discourse in the United States, as seen when African American musicians now interact with hip hop musicians in other countries, as for instance on the 2010 album Distant Relatives put forth by African American rapper Nas and Jamaican reggae artist Damian Marley. The song “Tribes at War” features a collaboration with Somali Canadian rapper K’naan. The song “Patience” features collaborations 192 Hip Hop Ukr aine with Amadou Bajayoko and Marian Doumbia, a blind couple from Mali who performafusionofstyleswithvoiceandguitar.Thesemusicalco-productions point to a feedback loop between African musicians and African Americans that goes back to the days of Afrika Bambaataa’s Zulu Nation philosophies that established enclaves of hip hop worldwide.1 The height of the Afrocentric movement in hip hop incorporated tribal motives and philosophies from the Nation of Islam. Today, a more cosmopolitan image of Africa returns to influence hip hop directions in the United States as immigrants such as K’naan and musicians facilitated by technology connect with musicians in America and collaborate on projects. These collaborations also take place with white immigrants from Eastern Europe who move to inner-city...


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Subject Headings

  • Rap (Music) -- Ukraine -- History and criticism.
  • Hip-hop -- Ukraine.
  • Blacks -- Race identity -- Ukraine.
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