DR. JESSE W. SHIPLEY, Haverford College, Haverford, Pennsylvania, was awarded a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship in April 2008 to aid research and writing on 'Living and Preaching the Hiplife: Afro-Cosmopolitanism and Moral Mediation in Ghanaian Popular Culture.' In the 1990s in Accra, Ghana, musicians and producers created hiplife, a musical genre blending local highlife and hip hop-oriented Black diasporic music. This research examines how young entrepreneurial artists create and circulate music reshaping styles, aspirations, and possibilities for Ghanaian urbanites. The book argues popular music practices are central to a rising aesthetics of entrepreneurship. Ghanaian subjectivities and public life are reshaped by the conjuncture between popular culture and business practice. To make this case the book focuses ethnographically on young Ghanaians in Accra, New York, and London as they produce hiplife music in studios, perform live, and use new digital production and circulation technologies, reshaping how Ghanaians imagine their relationship to globalization, race, and nationhood. Music provides a set of daily practices shaped through free market sensibilities. The valorization of the entrepreneur associated with neo-liberalism has particular resonance due to the historical centrality of trade networks and complex value conversions in West Africa. For critics and fans alike hip hop provides a historically premeditated idea of what Blackness entails. For young Africans hip hop music maps a contested global language of Black racial affiliation which simultaneously refracts more specific Ghanaian political conflicts of generation, gender, and class.
Shipley, Jesse Weaver. 2009 Comedians, Pastors, and the Miraculous Agency of Charisma in Ghana. Cultural Anthropology 24(3):523-552.