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4 Reasons to Watch VH1

The four-part documentary, based on producer Steve Stoutes book, explores hip-hops history and impact.

Next week VH1 is set to air The Tanning of America: One Nation Under Hip Hop, a four-part documentary series based on Steve Stoute’s similarly titled book, The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy. It was a fascinating read and remix of hip-hop’s history and impact, and I turned the last page wanting to know more about how the “tanning” effect—as Stoute describes it—is mapped to spaces outside the commercial industry. I’m hoping that’s where the TV version ofTanning ventures.

Here are four more reasons to set your DVR, starting Monday:

To find out what “tanning” is. African-American culture is ingrained in our nation’s identity. Ways of talking, styles of dress, intellectual perspectives and other “norms of cool” get tossed into a goody bag of tools that continue to shift music-industry standards and the socio-political landscape.

Tanning isn’t “selling out” or “assimilation.” In fact, it’s better understood as assimilation in reverse. To sell out is to promote inauthenticity in one’s identity in order to gain some sense of power, fame or money. To forget where ya came from, as my “mudear” would say. Here, I’m thinking of Vanilla Ice, who tried to boast about growing up in the hood as a way to identify with black rappers—but who was later called out for it and hung over a hotel balcony—in contrast with the rap community’s acceptance of other white rappers like the Beastie Boys and Eminem, who figured out how to be their authentic selves within the genre.

Tanning is a psychological shift—an energetic force, according to Stoute, that “went beyond musical boundaries and into the psyche of young America, blurring cultural and demographic lines so permanently that it laid the foundation for a transformation.”

Mighty Hannibal: The late, great funk showman you

Angelique Kidjo | Lisner Auditorium | The George Washington University

February 16, 2014 7:00pm

Angelique Kidjo is a Grammy award-winning vocalist deemed “Africa’s premier diva” by Time Magazine. Known for her dynamic and uplifting music, Kidjo’s internationally acclaimed repertoire crosses boundaries, genres and ethnicities, blending Western pop & African traditions.

This wonderful woman is performing in GWU this Sunday. Illoon and I are planning to go! We’ve featured some of her music on our tumblr. This is gone be da bestttt!

Labrinth feat. Emeli Sandé - Beneath Your Beautiful

Beneath Your Beautiful is available now, click here to download from iTunes http://smarturl.it/BYBDigi?IQid=youtube.
The album Electronic Earth is also out now, click here to buyhttp://smarturl.it/EEDigidlxiTunes?IQ… &http://smarturl.it/EEDigiiTunes?IQid=…

Music video by Labrinth feat. Emeli Sande performing Beneath Your Beautiful. (C) 2012 Simco Limited under exclusive license to Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited

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