This project employs a close textual reading of Cambodian Canadian hip-hop artist Honey Cocaine's 2016 music video "Bad Gal." Drawing from the fields of Critical Refugee Studies, comparative racialization, and neoliberal critique, I delineate the processes of gendered racialization for the Cambodian diasporic subject, and begin to unpack its racialized relationship to Blackness. In observing "Bad Gal" for its audiovisual content, temporal narrative, themes of deviance and Blackness, as well as supplemented by historical and spatial contexts, and interviews with Honey Cocaine, I argue that the construction of the "bad gal" or "bad refugee" persona is racialized through the genre of hip-hop and Blackness, and acts as a way for the Cambodian diasporic subject to negotiate against neoliberal logics and binary discourses of the "good" versus "dysfunctional" refugee. Through engaging with a cultural studies lens, this project encourages a reading of Asian diasporic hip-hop that complicates static understandings around authenticity, appropriation, and race relations, and to read the texts for their contradictions in revealing the ways it negotiates systems of neoliberalism, rather than to assess work for their "critical" or "politically resistive" value.


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pp. 484-508
Launched on MUSE
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