Despite an unprecedented level of interest in the popular culture associated with the Arab reform and revolutionary movements that began in December 2010, American news media have provided only a superficial, and at times misguided, depiction of the music performed during the protests, as well as its larger sociocultural use and function. This depiction has focused almost entirely on hip hop at the expense of nationalist, political, classical, and folk song repertories indigenous to Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria. In this article I argue that this misinformed, partial, and superficial depiction of the protests, centered around hip hop and social media, has strategically shaped the ways in which the uprisings have been framed within the American public imaginary, attempted to control the direction and outcome of the uprisings in the streets, and further served to impose a neo-Orientalist discourse of American hegemony over forces of reform and democratization in the Arab Middle East.


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pp. 105-130
Launched on MUSE
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