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Hapa Music is Black and Brown

Jan. 29, 2019 - Jan. 29, 2019

“Hapa Music is Black and Brown” is a blog series that looks at the racial politics of multicultural Japanese American musicians. The first blog in the series features Jhené Aiko, while the others will comment on musician Judith Hill, and one of the most famous enka singers, Jero.

Originally the series, “Hapa Music is Black and Brown,” was going to feature Chicago based rapper, Towkio—born Preston Oshita to a Mexican American mother and Japanese American father. On January 6, 2019, Towkio was publicly accused of rape. Since, he has issued a statement denying the allegations, deleted his social media accounts, and was dropped by his management team. In an effort to respect survivors of sexual assault, Towkio is no longer part of the series.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or the National Organization for Victim Assistance helpline at 800-879-6682 (800-TRY-NOVA). Or visit RAINN at

hapa Japanese Americans Jero Jhené Aiko Judith Hill music musicians Towkio

Stories from this series

Thumbnail for Jhené Aiko and the Problem of Multiracial Self-Representation
Jhené Aiko and the Problem of Multiracial Self-Representation

Jan. 29, 2019 • Sonia C. Gomez

At the 2018 VH1 Mother’s Day music tribute concert titled, Dear Mama: A Love Letter to Moms, Grammy nominated singer and songwriter Jhené Aiko recited this poem she wrote for her mother, Christina Yamamoto, a woman of African American and Japanese ancestry: “I found another grey hair today but I was not bothered at all. I feel like I earned it. I’m better, I’m wiser, I’m leveling up overall. I am becoming my mother, my beautiful mother, who taught me …

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Author in This Series

Sonia C. Gomez is a historian of the modern United States. She earned a BA from Berkeley and a PhD from the University of Chicago. She is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University working on a book that examines the ways in which ideas about marriage, the nuclear family, and female domesticity shaped Japanese immigration and settlement. 

Updated January 2019