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Mohamed "Hame" Bourokba at La Maison Francaise

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Date and time
Monday, November 01, 2010

**AUDIO ONLY** **Mohamed Bourokba (Hame)**, is a French-Algerian rapper and filmmaker. He developed a style of rap with the group [la Rumeur](http://www.la-rumeur.com/ ""). He joined hip hop pioneer Fab 5 Freddy, Professor Judith Miller, and Professor Emmanuelle Ertel for a discussion about early rap and his part in it. Listen to some of Hame's music [here](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbKZ28ftou8). This discussion is part of [**"Bodies on the Line"**](http://contemporaryperformance.com/2010/10/31/featured-bodies-on-the-line-colloquium-nyc/ ""), a 9-day colloquium at New York University recorded by [Thirteen Forum](http://www.thirteen.org/forum/ ""), bringing together 9 artists and writers from across genres and around the world to share work, ideas and process. Our subject is borders. There are the real borders, such as the ones that are the focus in debates about immigration policy in this country and around the world. There are also political and ideological borders that divide us. On the one hand, borders limit us, and make us vulnerable. On the other hand we want to look at the possibilities and opportunities at border lines. [_Bodies on the Line_](http://contemporaryperformance.com/2010/10/31/featured-bodies-on-the-line-colloquium-nyc/ "") considers the border as a point of energy and creativity in different regions and spheres of life. The symposium is structured around small working groups and some public presentations. Assisted by respondents, expert witnesses, and the collaboration of several universities and cultural organizations, Bodies on the Line Fellows explore each other's artistic representations and investigations of immigration, statelessness, and identity in the contemporary world. The goal of the colloquium is to create new artistic partnerships, to inspire future projects, and to use artistic practice as a way of investigating new and historical ideas. Above all, we seek to bring artists around a table to discuss, in their own unique ways, and with their own unique creative resources, some of the world's most pressing problems.

Mohamed Bourokba, aka Hame, was born in 1975 in Perpignan. He was the fifth in a family of six children, from two different parents. The family settled in France during the 1950s. His Algerian father, who could neither read nor write, spent his life working like a slave in the fields as a farm labourer. After the death of his wife in the early 70s, he remarried quickly for the sake of his three daughters. His new wife, Hame's mother, was twenty years younger than him. She also came from Algeria. She became a housekeeper, learned to read and write, and quickly turned the conditions imposed on her to her advantage. Hame watched movies with his father: spaghetti westerns, Chaplin, stories about the war in Algeria (L'opium et le baton, Chroniques des annees de braise, Les deracines, La Bataille d'Alger). During the holidays he returned home, doing his first paintings there. Men smoked in cinemas, Bruce Lee fought on the screen. Mohamed loved stories: he drew, he read. But when he discovered rap, he grabbed hold of it, but in a scientific way, in order to open doors to the future. He left the province when he passed his bac. And started making money. Wanting to surround himself with images, Hame studied cinema at the Sorbonne. Rap played a big part in his life; he collaborated with the group La Rumeur, which emerged in an environment increasingly weakened by commercialism. He made several videos for the group. After obtaining his masters in film and literature, Hame was awarded a scholarship. He spent a year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Five short films later, Hame returned to France, determined to move to the other side of the camera. He wanted to write and direct films dealing with those subjects that were of greatest importance to him. Je ne suis pas le gardien de mon frere ('I am not my brother's keeper'), his first short film, received the support of CNC and French TV channel Arte, and addresses the subject of post-colonial immigration. Canal Plus has signed him to write a hip-hop musical about integrity and temptation. He has also written a feature film, Faux, the story of an imposter, which he hopes to shoot in 2012. Hame is also working on writing a novel to be published by Les Editions du Seuil. Since 2002, Hame has been involved with a series of legal proceedings which became a political tug of war, and which, due to their novelty, have been covered by the international press (Herald Tribune, El Pais, Frankfurter Allgemeine, Le Monde ). After a pamphlet was published in the magazine La Rumeur, Nicolas Sarkozy, who was then interior minister, filed a complaint against Hame. In his article, the author addressed the issue of insecurity in urban neighborhoods, concentrating on the role of the police and power politics. Hame defended his statements on their merits, citing witnesses that included academics, historians, sociologists and linguists. In the name of freedom of expression, he was acquitted at trial and on appeal. Hame now faces returning to court for the third time. The interior ministry has never before pursued defamation charges so persistently. In 2010, the case remains at large.
Judith Miller is Collegiate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in The Department of French at NYU. Her areas of research include French theatre (text and production) and French-language theatre from outside of "the hexagon." She is widely published in these fields and has translated some twenty plays from the French. Her last book focused on French director Ariane Mnouchkine and Le Théâtre du Soleil (Ariane Mnouchkine, Routledge, 2007). Her edition of Israeli writer Michal Govrin's stories and essays, Hold On To The Sun, has just been published by The Feminist Press. She is currently working on two anthologies of plays by African Francophone writers.
Fab 5 Freddy is a pioneer, a cultural legend and one of the key architects who brought hip-hop culture worldwide and mainstream. Born in the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, Fab 5 Freddy began his journey as a young visual artist, executing graffiti pieces throughout New York City. His 1980 homage to Andy Warhol, a subway car covered in Campbell's soup cans is considered one of the all-time classics of subway graffiti. Fab then begins to exhibit his paintings on canvas in major galleries here and abroad. At that time he became the liaison between New York's downtown film, music and art scenes and the new hip-hop scene developing in Harlem and the Bronx. He was affiliated with close friends and art world titans Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring and appeared along with Basquiat in Blondie's ground breaking 1981 music video, "Rapture", in which lead singer Debbie Harry immortalized him in that song with the lyrics, "Fab 5 Freddy told me everybody's fly..." He's also featured in Basquiat's film, "Downtown 81. Fab soon brought his vision to the big screen and produced, composed all the original instrumental music, and starred in the 1981 cinematic classic, Wild Style. Wild Style is the first hip-hop feature film, recently recognized by Rolling Stone magazine as number 7 on their list of the top 25 Music DVDs of All Time. His 1982 single, "Change The Beat", is a hip-hop classic that has been sampled and scratched by producers and DJ's countless times. In 1988, MTV tapped Fab 5 Freddy to be the first host of Yo! MTV Raps, which quickly becomes the highest rated show on the channel. It was his idea to be the first VJ to take a show out of MTV's studios onto the streets, across the country and then over seas. He brought MTV instant credibility along with his intelligent, engaging and insightful forays into the depths of hip hop culture and it's major players. Fab 5 Freddy is also a prolific film director having lensed dozens of ground breaking music videos and commercials for artists like Queen Latifah, KRS-One, Nas, Snoop Doggy Dog and many more. In addition, Fab has published numerous articles and essays on pop cultural topics for publications like Vibe, XXL, Interview and The New York Times Magazine and he penned the first dictionary of Hip Hop slang titled, "Fresh Fly flavor". Beyond the page and the small screen, Fab 5 Freddy was an associate Producer of the classic New Jack City and a consultant on and appeared in 2007's block buster hit, American Gangster. Fab also recently guest stared on Law And Order: Criminal Intent where he played the gunned down rapper, "Fulla-T". And in 2007 Fab 5 Freddy, as well as being an executive producer for the show was awarded with a VH1 Hip-Hop Honor award for his involvement in Hip Hop's first feature film, Wild Style.
Emmanuelle Ertel is an Assistant Professor of French literature and of translation at New York University. Her translations of American novels into French include Louis Begley’s The Man Who Was Late and As Max Saw It, Rick Moody’s The Black Veil, and Tom Perrotta’s Little Children. Her current work focuses on North African and Caribbean fiction and poetry, and more broadly, on the poetics of biculturalism, bilingualism, and diglossia.