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Mohamed "Hame" Bourokba

hip-hop artist

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.