This article is a case study of a local reggae DJ (DJ Derek) lauded for transgressing musical and ethnic boundaries and produced through discourses of racialized authenticity as flexible and heroic. While DJ Derek’s ethnically stylized performance could be construed as embodied minstrelsy, other aspects of his musical capital were equally significant in the localized context and were drawn into a wider dialogue of sustainability and collective belonging defined by Caribbean migrants. I argue that ambiguous cultural figures such as Derek have an organic, productive role within local music cultures, positioned at intergenerational moments in the process of identification and belonging for ethnically diverse audiences/producers and in this case where the cultural geography of music tastes are becoming embedded within a complex set of relations among local, national and transnational cultures. It is therefore analytically instructive to examine how racist, racializing and redemptive elements intersect to produce authentically syncretic music cultures and sustain transnational identifications and belonging.
- SPAIS Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship
- cultural appropriation
- DJ Derek
- popular music
- the Bristol Sound