Video

PASSING FOR WHITE; PASSING FOR BLACK in São Paulo

Emelie Chhangur

2007, 03:04 minutes, colour, English

TAPECODE 767.02

The expression of a first generation Canadian, who passes for black in her home country, finds herself passing for white in Brazil. In a performance for the camera, Chhangur perpetuates this position as she seeks to explore (albeit awkwardly) a suitable black cultural expression for this position (as a ‘white’ girl might try) by singing along with Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds”. While Marley represents one of the first musicians to encourage black Americans (south, central and north) to reconnect with their African roots, it is evident in this performance (out of tune singing and out of beat finger snapping) that Chhangur is neither black nor white, but brown; she can neither borrow from culture nor be the representation of one for others.

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