Rashaad Newsome, ‘Duck Walking (Justin Monster Labeija)’, 2016, Tamarind Institute

Publisher: Tamarind Institute

About Rashaad Newsome

Mashing together American hip-hop culture and the European heraldic tradition, Rashaad Newsome produces collages, installations, performances, videos, and songs that send-up and celebrate African-American culture. Drawing from sources high and low, he masterfully appropriates the gestures, sounds, and symbols of black culture and European heraldry (coats of arms), demonstrating the surprising similarities between them. As he explains: “A coat of arms is really a collage of objects that represent social status and economic status and status as a warrior. […] Everybody wants to be the king of hip-hop.” For his exuberant, meticulously composed collages, for example, Newsome culls images from hip-hop and luxury magazines. Like coats of arms, they represent success and opulence, hip-hop style. In his “Shade Compositions” (begun 2005), he builds musical rhythms from what he calls “ghetto gestures,” revealing the grace and humor in head-cocking, tongue-clicking, and other expressions of displeasure.

American, b. 1979, New Orleans, Louisiana, based in New York, New York