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ERIC Number: EJ960101
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 29
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0161-6463
"Bloodline Is All I Need": Defiant Indigeneity and Hawaiian Hip-Hop
Teves, Stephanie Nohelani
American Indian Culture and Research Journal, v35 n4 p73-101 2011
During the late twentieth century, Kanaka Maoli have struggled to push back against these representations, offering a rewriting of Hawaiian history, quite literally. Infused by Hawaiian nationalism and a growing library of works that investigate the naturalization of American colonialism in Hawai'i, innovative Kanaka Maoli representations in the realms of visual arts, music, dance, and film attempt to increase visibility in a manner that references and attempts to remake the stereotypes of yore. Narratives of resistance, resilience, and revitalization have become common, but as evidenced by Krystilez and the other performers at the Hawai'i Hip-Hop Festival, the internalization of heteropatriarchy is business as usual, and it reenacts Kanaka Maoli subjection in gendered and problematic ways. To push back against commodified and feminized versions of Hawaiian culture, the discursive performances of Kanaka Maoli men walk a fine line in their attempt to reaffirm Kanaka Maoli identity, which occurs through patriarchal discourse. Scholarship in Pacific studies has been attentive to these gendered dynamics, analyzing representations that render Kanaka Maoli or Polynesian men as nothing more than hypermasculinized professional athletes or, in the case of military service, as modern-day "warriors." This article maps out the ways in which these performances of Kanaka Maoli identity can be liberatory and deeply contradictory and addresses a Hawaiian hip-hop performer's navigation of these conditions and the media he employs to do so. Through a close reading of Krystilez's album "The "O"," the author examines contemporary Kanaka Maoli cultural production in order to articulate the intersection of indigeneity and performance in modern Hawai'i. In his performance of "defiant indigeneity," Krystilez insists on an identity that is simultaneously amorphous, disarticulated, and conceptualized through state logics; yet it perpetually defies its own construction. The author begins by conceptualizing defiant indigeneity. She then contextualizes the emergence of Hawaiian hip-hop and Krystilez's particular narrative while interrogating the appropriation of "blackness" within Hawaiian hip-hop. Finally, she analyzes "The "O"" from a Native feminist perspective and assesses the broader political stakes of contemporary Kanaka Maoli cultural production. (Contains 1 figure and 94 notes.)
American Indian Studies Center at UCLA. 3220 Campbell Hall, Box 951548, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1548. Tel: 310-825-7315; Fax: 310-206-7060; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Hawaii