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Sparked: George Floyd, Racism and the Progressive Illusion
Publication date: May 18, 2021

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was killed by Minneapolis police officers, sparking months of unrest at home and around the world. As millions took to the streets to express their outrage and speak out against systemic racism, injustice, and institutionalized violence, the city of Minneapolis and its residents were deeply shaken. 

Sparked brings together the perspectives of social scientists, professors, and other academics who work or have worked in Minnesota. The essays present reflections on racial dynamics in the Twin Cities and the intersection of the wonderful and wretched sides of that existence, revealing deep complexities, ingrained inequities, and diverse personal experiences.


Brittney C. Cooper, Susana M. Morris, Robin M. Boylorn

For the Crunk Feminist Collective, their academic day jobs were lacking in conversations they actually wanted—relevant, real conversations about how race and gender politics intersect with pop culture and current events. To address this void, they started a blog. Now with an annual readership of nearly one million, their posts foster dialogue about activist methods, intersectionality, and sisterhood. And the writers' personal identities—as black women; as sisters, daughters, and lovers; and as television watchers, sports fans, and music lovers—are never far from the discussion at hand.


Gwendolyn Pough, Elaine Richardson, Aisha Durham & Rachel Raimist

Home Girls Make Some Noise: Hip Hop Feminist Anthology seeks to complicate understandings of Hip-Hop as a male space by including and identifying the women who were always involved with the culture. The anthology explores Hip-Hop as a worldview, as an epistemology grounded in the experiences of communities of color under advanced capitalism, as a cultural site for rearticulating identity and sexual politics. With critical essays, cultural critiques, interviews, personal narratives, fiction, poetry, and artwork. The contributors are varied, from women working within the Hip-Hop sphere, Hip-Hop feminists and activists "on the ground," as well as scholars, writers, and journalists.


Purchase HOME GIRLS Here





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My Beautiful, Broken Minnesota
Special Feature: June 15, 2020

It was a deep freeze in January 2002 when I moved to Minneapolis with my then five-year-old daughter, Tiana. I arrived as a Ph.D. student in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies with the heart of a feminist, tired from the sexism, homophobia and misogyny of what I call my former #RapLife...





LIMINALITIES: The Storyteller Project:
Digital Storytelling for Women of Color
volume 15, issue 4 (2019)
Editors: Robin M. Boylorn, Veralyn Williams and Rachel Raimist
storytelling_flier_v3.jpg The Pedagogy of Digital 
Storytelling in the College Classroom

In the fall of 2008, Rachel Raimist and Walter Jacobs collaboratively designed and taught the course “Digital Storytelling in and with Communities of Color” to 18 undergraduate students from a variety of disciplines. Candance Doerr-Stevens audited the class as a graduate student. This article examines the media making processes of the students in the course, asking how participants used digital storytelling to engage with themselves and the media through content creation that both mimicked and critiqued current media messages. In particular, students used the medium of digital storytelling to build and revise identities for purposes of rememory, reinvention, and cultural remixing. We provide a detailed online account of the digital stories and composing processes of the students through the same multimedia genre that students were asked to use, that of digital storytelling.


Read the Article and WATCH VIDEO Here

Liminalities: Journal of Performance Studies
If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again

“If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again” is a performance ethnography project that has matured over several years since its inception as part of my doctoral thesis, which dealt with the lived experiences of four generations of African American women and the impact of racism, sexism, classism, and stereotypical images on the maternal connections among generations. It is based on the premise that to fully appreciate the issues that influence Black women as mothers, we must examine the images of the idealized mother and of Black womanhood in U.S. culture and how these contradictory images are burdensome for Black women. Asserting that Black women should express and define their own experiences, the thesis used the lens of Black feminist thought and theory to address the lived experiences of Black women as women and as mothers. This multi-media performance ethnography is about death, grief, and mother-loss in the Black community, and embodies my claim that to adequately tell the narratives/stories of Black women as mothers, we must move theory into narrative and performance. 


Read the Article and WATCH VIDEO Here




In Media Res: Bringing Wreck:
The Films of Ava DuVernay
Published: September 4, 2012
In Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop Jeff Chang writes, “Hip-hop began as an early ‘70s youth street culture in New York City, with all the peculiarities of place embedded in it—the slang, the cadence of talk, the way people moved [… and] by the ’90s, hip-hop had helped foster a dramatic increase of representations of people of color.” In Ava Duvernay’sfilms, rap doesn’t blast as the score to every scene, but her work centers the lives of black and brown hip-hop generation folks with lives rooted in these aesthetics...


Read and WATCH VIDEO Here

In Media Res:Rap Video Remake:
Activism (Re)Mixed With Viewer Generated
Documentary Footage
Published: January 24, 2012


Raptivist Rapper B. Dolan posted a music video remake of NWA’s "F*ck the Police" on YouTube on December 8, 2011, in connection to occupy movements, a month after alleged violence and media blackout of occupy evictions. In less than three days, "Film the Police" reached over 70,000 views, big numbers for an indie video and homemade grassroots activist documentary alike.


Read and WATCH VIDEO Here

What I Value Most (digital story)
Published: October 11, 2010

Yesterday would have been my mother’s 66th birthday. She didn’t make it to her 55th though; she died of ovarian cancer.  The tumor was the size of a grapefruit when it was discovered, three weeks before my college graduation.  The doctors said that she probably wouldn’t live four months, but that was only because they didn’t (yet) know her strength. She fought through surgery, chemo, a stem cell bone marrow transplant, and more chemo.  She battled cancer for three years before she eventually passed away. When she died it wasn’t the furniture or new cars my brothers and I argued …


Read the Essay and WATCH DIGITAL STORY Here

Lensing The Culture:
(Hip-Hop) Women Behind The Camera
Published: September 7, 2010

An essay on Ava DuVernay's BET doc, My Mic Sounds Nice.


Read the Essay Here

TOTAL CHAOS: The Art & Aesthetics of Hip-Hop
Editor: Jeff Chang
Published: January 9, 2007

This companion anthology to Jeff Chang's Can't Stop Won't Stop is a deep, incisive look at the hip-hop arts movement in the voices of its pioneers, innovators, and mavericks. The book's release will be accompanied by the Total Chaos Hip-Hop Forum Series, an unprecedented set of panel talks on hip-hop arts across the country. Enter the website for more information on the book, the forum series, and much more.

CHAPTER 30: Put Your Camera Where My Eyes Can See: Hip-Hop Video,

Film and Documentary. A Roundtable Curated by Eric K. Arnold with Rachel Raimist, Kevin Epps and Michael Wanguhu.




Author: Nika Kramer
Photographer: Martha Cooper
Published: September 1, 2005


In 1985, B-Boys were all the rage, but where were the girls? Fast-forward twenty years for the answer: We B*Girlz, a lively look at the hot and happenin’ world of B-Girlz of the twenty-first century as documented by photographer Martha Cooper and writer Nika Kramer. Breaking is back with a new twist as today’s stylish fly girls can battle the best of them. Featuring pioneering B-Girlz like Rokafella from the Bronx, who now dances professionally, and Asia-One from L.A., who organized and promoted the B-Boy Summit for ten years, We B*Girlz—the first handbook for accomplished or aspiring B-Girlz and the boys who admire them—showcases the dynamic style and nonstop energy of B-Girlz in action, in practice, and on stage. Providing inspiring insight into a previously little-known subculture that has swept the world, We B*Girlz includes chapters on Herstory, Girlz n’ Crewz, B-Boys, Floor Warz, We B-Family, We B-Stylin’, B-Girl Careers, and B-Girl resources, including information on websites, gear, events, competitions, and classes. Cooper and Kramer first began documenting the new breed of B-Girlz in a breaking competition in Germany in 2004. 

Editors: Martha Diaz, Irma McClurin & Rachel Raimist
Published: 2011

Fresh, Bold, & So Def (FBSD) is a women and gender research and archive project created to empower and cultivate women in Hip-Hop through a social enterprise solution’s model that is both educational and entrepreneurial. Incubated at the Hip-Hop Education Center at New York University's Metropolitan Center, the objective of FBSD is to promote positive images and motivational stories of powerful women in diverse roles and leadership positions within Hip-Hop culture through an educational platform that can be used in classrooms, libraries, museums, community centers, public forums, employment centers, and correctional facilities.


 See the full site here.

This photo spread features B-Girl Be: A Celebration of Women in Hip-Hop, co-founded by Rachel Raimist.

Author: S. Craig Watkins
Published: August 1, 2006

Avoiding the easy definitions and caricatures that tend to celebrate or condemn the "hip hop generation," Hip Hop Matters focuses on fierce and far-reaching battles being waged in politics, pop culture, and academe to assert control over the movement. At stake, Watkins argues, is the impact hip hop has on the lives of the young people who live and breathe the culture. He presents incisive analysis of the corporate takeover of hip hop and the rampant misogyny that undermines the movement's progressive claims. Ultimately, we see how hip hop struggles reverberate in the larger world: global media consolidation; racial and demographic flux; generational cleavages; the reinvention of the pop music industry; and the ongoing struggle to enrich the lives of ordinary youth.


Chapter 8: "We Love Hip-Hop, But Does Hip-Hop Love Us" (see page 220)

Editors: Dipannita Basue & Sidney J. Lemelle
Published: April 20, 2006

In the preface of The Vinyl Ain't Final, Robin Kelley exclaims 'Hip Hop is Dead! Long Live Hip Hop', and the rest of the contributors in this edited volume respond by providing critical perspectives that bridge the gap between American-orientated hip hop and its global reach. From the front lines of hip hop culture and music in the USA, Britain, France, Japan, Germany, Hawaii, Tanzania, Cuba, Samoa and South Africa, academics, poets, practitioners, journalists, and political commentators explore hip hop -- both as a culture and as a commodity. From the political economy of the South African music industry to the cultural resistance forged by Afro-Asian hip hop, this potent mix of contributors provides a unique critical insight into the implications of hip hop globally and locally. Indispensable for fans of hip hop culture and music, this book will also appeal to anyone interested in cultural production, cultural politics and the implications of the huge variety of forms hip hop encompasses.


Chapter 4: 'Nobody Knows My Name' an Interview with Director Rachel Raimist

(see pages 56 - 70)

Black Womanhood, Hip-Hop Culture
and the Public Sphere
Author: Gwendolyn Pough
Published: May 26, 2004

Hip-hop culture began in the early 1970s as the creative and activist expressions -- graffiti writing, dee-jaying, break dancing, and rap music -- of black and Latino youth in the depressed South Bronx, and the movement has since grown into a worldwide cultural phenomenon that permeates almost every aspect of society, from speech to dress. But although hip-hop has been assimilated and exploited in the mainstream, young black women who came of age during the hip-hop era are still fighting for equality.











This book opens by sharing, "In Rachel Raimist's groundbreaking film about women and Hip-Hop, Nobody Knows My Name..."


It also features a photography by Rachel Raimist, see pages 74 - 75



Cover Photo of MC Lyte and Queen Latifah

was photographed by Rachel Raimist

Author: Shannon McCabe
Published: 2011

With over thirty-five years in the making, hip-hop has grown and developed into a global phenomenon. Despite its global expansion from the Bronx, New York, in the 1970s, the hip-hop arts confront criticism, both aesthetically and culturally. Repeatedly criticized as an art that glorifies misogyny, pimping, prostitution, objectification of women, crime, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination, scholars denounce the hip-hop arts as ignorant, offensive garbage, devoid of any aesthetics and culture. However, this is a limited, one-sided view of the hip-hop arts and culture. From local urban streets to global metropolitan stages, the hip-hop arts and culture continue to evolve many artistic and cultural traditions from across the globe, which are in opposition with the image of commercial, media-driven hip-hop. Through its commercial, media- driven image, which rap music represents, hip-hop identifies with that which is unaesthetic and not cultural. The dissertation argues that the hip-hop arts, especially hip- hop theatre, return to an aesthetic sensibility. 


See page 216.

VLT: An Interview with Rachel Raimist
Author: The Editors


Q: Describe the process you underwent while making Nobody Knows My Name. Include details about finding funding, contacting your subjects, encountering difficulties, etc.


A: The film was made as my thesis project for my M.F.A. in directing at UCLA Film School. I received a small thesis award, but primarily I funded the film with a credit card. Although most people in film school as well as in the hip-hop community couldn't understand my vision for the documentary or my filming women no one had heard of, I believed in the project, so I made the film. The results have been overwhelming. Here's some of my story, how I got into hip-hop, hip-hop films, and Nobody.



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