Zimbabwe urban grooves music and the interconnections between youth identities and celebrity culture
Tivenga, Doreen Rumbidzai
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Zimbabwe urban grooves music is an urban contemporary hybrid genre of music that fuses local music, beats and cultural practices with global popular youth music and cultural practices, is sung predominantly in vernacular languages, and is popular with the urban youth. This thesis examines the interconnections between youth identities and celebrity culture through the lenses of urban grooves music. The study focuses on how Zimbabwean youth react to fundamental societal shifts and the convergence between their everyday local experiences and global cultural experiences through music. I show how these local and global changes have led to a significant rise in popularity and influence of urban grooves music as youth seek to express their identities and cultures in light of these changes and intercultural experiences. My study addresses these significant youth experiences by engaging in a textual analysis of urban grooves music and video texts. Textual analysis is complemented by interviews with urban youth, urban grooves musicians, music promoters and producers, while some of the research findings are based on observations I made during some musical shows I attended as part of the audience or consumers of urban grooves. Field work for the research was delimited to Harare and Chitungwiza where the genre has its roots and has developed rapidly to influence the youth. In addition, the study is mainly informed by theories of globalisation, popular culture and celebrity culture, which are complemented by other relevant concepts such as the concept of the everyday, power, recognition and feminist theories. These theories are key in comprehending the significance of the urban grooves genre and its linkages with trajectories of youth identities that are mapped in ambivalent and intricate ways involving complex gender dynamics, spatial attachments, group affiliations, celebrity culture and the quest for visibility and power. I argue that interactions between complex everyday local and global cultural and societal changes have contributed to Zimbabwean youth’s everyday experiences, intercultural encounters and identities that resonate and are influenced by celebrity culture and constituted in urban grooves.