Filmmakers and Producers

Jesse W Shipley

Jesse Weaver Shipley, Ph.D. Sociocultural Anthropology, University of Chicago, is Associate Professor of Anthropology, Coordinator of Africana Studies, and a member of the Peace, Justice, and Human Rights Program at Haverford College. His research focuses on performance, theatre, sound, image, popular culture, music, and film in Ghana and recent African Diasporas. He is concerned with urban life, labor, entrepreneurship, mobility, and new media technologies as they relate to life under changing economic regimes. He has conducted field research in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Britain, and the United States. He is the author of LIVING THE HIPLIFE: Celebrity and Entrepreneurship in Ghanaian Popular Music (Duke University Press 2013) and TRICKSTER THEATRE: The Poetics of Freedom in Urban Africa (Indiana University Press, 2015). He is a filmmaker and visual-performance artist with recent work including feature documentaries LIVING THE HIPLIFE: Musical Life in the Streets of Accra and IS IT SWEET?: Tales of an African Superstar in New York, the multi-channel video installations "Black Star" and "Investigated" (with Khadija von Zinenburg Carroll), and experimental films "High Tea." Journal articles include publications in Public Culture, American Ethnologist, American Anthropologist, Social Text, Cultural Anthropology, and Anthropological Quarterly. He is completing two new book manuscripts, one on the historical relationship between public culture, political spectacle, and charismatic leadership, and the other on global parody. His other new research examines boxing and football as transnational sports.


Is It Sweet? Tales of an African Superstar in New York
Jesse W Shipley
Color, US
Reggie Rockstone is a celebrity rap musician in Accra, Ghana, where he inspired a young generation of musicians and continues to draw huge crowds. But when he comes to New York to play for the Ghanaian community, he experiences the unexpected struggles and pleasures of life as an anonymous African s...

Living the Hiplife
Jesse W Shipley
2007, 61 min., Color, US/Ghana
This film is a musical portrait of street life in urban West Africa. It follows the birth of Hiplife music in Accra, Ghana, a mix of various African musical forms and American hip hop. Archival footage and hip hop music videos are remixed with interviews and the daily lives of rap artists. We follow...

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TWN acknowledges that in New York we are on the unceded territory of the Lenni Lenape, Canarsie, Shinecock, and Munsee peoples and challenges the harm that continues to be inflicted upon Indigenous and People of Color communities here and abroad, which is why we all need to be part of the struggle for rights, equality and justice.

TWN is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Color Congress, MOSAIC, New York Community Trust, Peace Development Fund, Ford Foundation, Golden Globe Foundation, Kolibri Foundation and individual donors.