Oreo, Topdeck and Eminem: Hybrid identities and global media flows

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Arts, Communications/Media Studies, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2011-07-17 01:36Z by Steven

Oreo, Topdeck and Eminem: Hybrid identities and global media flows

International Journal of Cultural Studies
Volume 14, Nubmer 2 (March 2011)
pages 153-172
DOI: 10.1177/1367877910387971

Jane Stadler, Senior Lecturer in Film and Media Studies
University of Queensland, Australia

The slang terms Oreo (someone who looks black but acts white) and Topdeck (someone who looks white but acts black) draw on the language of popular culture to signify racial hybridity, superseding slurs such as ‘black honkie’ and ‘wigger’. Using the terms Oreo and Topdeck to frame the analysis, this article investigates how identity politics finds expression in language, youth media and popular culture. It questions how global media flows affect conceptions of black masculinity by contrasting cinematic representations of African-Americans and black Africans in Shaft and the South African film Hijack Stories, and by examining class, ethnicity and rap culture in 8 Mile. I argue that, as South African media culture reflexively reworks messages about black identities, it produces terminology and texts that neither simply reinforce nor resist racial stereotypes, but legitimate the diversification of blackness by making cultural transition and difference visible.

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