Who do aspiring artists look up to in a culture that doesn’t represent them? Following several rappers, director Salima Koroma paints a portrait of what it means to be Asian in North America’s hip-hop culture. Facing stereotypes, rappers Dumbfoundead, Awkwafina, Rekstizzy, and Lyricks (to a name a few) are caught in the constant battle of who they are versus how the public sees them.“Visibility is 100% the most important thing for Asian Americans, for all minorities right now,” proclaims Awkwafina.
In the limelight, it all comes down to image, and skin colour, gender, and ethnic background are all taken into account. But as these artists show, such factors should not determine what an artist can and cannot do. Koroma’s rappers push boundaries that have been set by a predominantly non-Asian culture and in a media landscape characterized by a serious lack of diversity, Bad Rap delivers the message that we can be anything we want to be, despite what others think.
Jonathan “Dumbfoundead” Park
David “Rekstizzy” Lee
Richard “Lyricks” Lee
Nora “Awkwafina” Lum
Salima Koroma’s first movies were three-minute cat videos edited on Windows Movie Maker when she was 12. Now, she still watches cat videos, but thankfully, has moved on to other things. A former writer for Hip-Hop DX and editor at Current TV, she now works as a news producer.
Tribeca Film Festival 2016