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2014 Locus Awards Finalist, Nonfiction Category In this hip, accessible primer to the music, literature, and art of Afrofuturism, author Ytasha Womack introduces readers to the burgeoning community of artists creating Afrofuturist works, the innovators from the past, and the wide range of subjects they explore. From the sci-fi literature of Samuel Delany, Octavia Butler, and N. K. Jemisin to the musical cosmos of Sun Ra, George Clinton, and the Black Eyed Peas' will.i.am, to the visual and multimedia artists inspired by African Dogon myths and Egyptian deities, the book's topics range from the "alien" experience of blacks in America to the "wake up" cry that peppers sci-fi literature, sermons, and activism. With a twofold aim to entertain and enlighten, Afrofuturists strive to break down racial, ethnic, and social limitations to empower and free individuals to be themselves.
From the first white performer who painted his face black to Eminem, white America's obsession with black music spans centuries. In Souled American, author Kevin Phinney takes a thoughtful and thought-provoking look at how genres such as rock 'n' roll, jazz, blues, soul, country, and hip-hop emerged through changing social and political times and the dynamic black and white personalities that shaped them. It includes dozens of exclusive celebrity interviews and anecdotes. Equal parts social history and pop culture, the book argues that no form of American music can be described accurately as ethnically pure, and fleshes out the tug-of-war between blacks and whites as they create, recreate, and claim each phase of popular music.
Chicago is home to more intact African American street murals from the 1970s and '80s than any other U.S. city. Among Chicago's greatest muralists is the legendary William "Bill" Walker (1927-2011), compared by art historians to Diego Rivera and called the most accomplished contemporary practitioner of the classical mural tradition. Though his art could not have been more public, Walker maintained a low profile during his working life and virtually withdrew from the public eye after his retirement in 1989. Author Jeff W. Huebner met Walker in 1990 and embarked on a series of insightful interviews that stretched over the next two decades. Those meetings and years of research form the basis of Walls of Prophecy and Protest, the story of Walker's remarkable life and the movement that he inspired. Featuring forty-three color images of Walker's work, most long since destroyed or painted over, this handsome edition reveals the artist who was the primary figure behind Chicago's famed Wall of Respect and who created numerous murals that depicted African American historical figures, protested social injustice, and promoted love, respect, racial unity, and community change.
Post-Blackness. Post-Soul. Post-Black Art. New Blackness. How has the meaning of blackness changed in the twenty-first century? Cameron Leader-Picone suggests that this proliferation of terms, along with the renewed focus on questioning the relationship between individual black artists and the larger black community, indicates the arrival of novel forms of black identity and black art. Leader-Picone defines these terms as significant facets of a larger post era, linking them with the social and political context of Barack Obama's presidency. Analyzing claims of progress associated with Obama's election and post-era thinking, he examines the contours of black aesthetics in the new century. To do so, he sifts through post-era African American fiction, considering both celebrations and rejections of an early twenty-first-century rhetoric of progress. In addition, he maps the subsequent implications of these concepts for rearticulating racial identities. Through the works of Colson Whitehead, Alice Randall, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Paul Beatty, Kiese Laymon, and Jesmyn Ward, Leader-Picone tracks how recent fiction manifests the tension between the embrace of post-civil rights era gains and the recognition of persistent structural racism. Ultimately far less triumphal than the prefix post would imply, these authors address the Black Arts Movement and revise double consciousness and other key themes from the African American literary tradition. They interrogate their relevance in an era encompassing not only the election of the nation's first black president, but also the government's failed response to Hurricane Katrina, the expansion of class divisions within the black community, mass incarceration, and ongoing police violence.
The triple crown of Oscars awarded to Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, and Sidney Poitier on a single evening in 2002 seemed to mark a turning point for African Americans in cinema. Certainly it was hyped as such by the media, eager to overlook the nuances of this sudden embrace. In this new study, author David Leonard uses this event as a jumping-off point from which to discuss the current state of African-American cinema and the various genres that currently compose it. Looking at such recent films as Love and Basketball, Antwone Fisher, Training Day, and the two Barbershop films_all of which were directed by black artists, and most of which starred and were written by blacks as well_Leonard examines the issues of representation and opportunity in contemporary cinema. In many cases, these films-which walk a line between confronting racial stereotypes and trafficking in them-made a great deal of money while hardly playing to white audiences at all. By examining the ways in which they address the American Dream, racial progress, racial difference, blackness, whiteness, class, capitalism and a host of other issues, Leonard shows that while certainly there are differences between the grotesque images of years past and those that define today's era, the consistency of images across genre and time reflects the lasting power of racism, as well as the black community's response to it.
This thought-provoking work examines the dehumanizing depictions of black males in the movies since 1910, analyzing images that were once imposed on black men and are now appropriated and manipulated by them. Moving through cinematic history decade by decade since 1910, this important volume explores the appropriation, exploitation, and agency of black performers in Hollywood by looking at the black actors, directors, and producers who have shaped the image of African American males in film. To determine how these archetypes differentiate African American males in the public's subconscious, the book asks probing questions--for example, whether these images are a reflection of society's fears or realistic depictions of a pluralistic America. Even as the work acknowledges the controversial history of black representation in film, it also celebrates the success stories of blacks in the industry. It shows how blacks in Hollywood manipulate degrading stereotypes, gain control, advance their careers, and earn money while making social statements or bringing about changes in culture. It discusses how social activist performers--such as Paul Robeson, Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, and Spike Lee--reflect political and social movements in their movies, and it reviews the interactions between black actors and their white counterparts to analyze how black males express their heritage, individual identity, and social issues through film. Discusses the social, historical, and literary evolution of African American male roles in the cinema Analyzes the various black images presented each decade from blackface, Sambo, and Mandingo stereotypes to archetypal figures such as God, superheroes, and the president Shows how African American actors, directors, and producers manipulate negative and positive images to advance their careers, profit financially, and make social statements to create change Demonstrates the correlation between political and social movements and their impact on the cultural transformation of African American male images on screen over the past 100 years Includes figures that demonstrate the correlation between political and social movements and their impact on cultural transformation and African American male images on screen
Makes a persuasive case for a black Atlantic literary renaissance & its impact on modernist studies These 10 new chapters stretch and challenge current canonical configurations of modernism in two key ways: by considering the centrality of black artists, writers and intellectuals as key actors and core presences in the development of a modernist avant-garde; and by interrogating 'blackness' as an aesthetic and political category at critical moments during the twentieth century. This is the first book-length publication to explore the term 'Afromodernisms' and the first study to address together the cognate fields of modernism and the black Atlantic. Key Features Sets a new agenda for the study of blackness and modernism Specially commissioned contribution from Tyler Stovall on Black Modernism and an Afterword from Demetrius Eudell on 'What to the Negro is Modernism?' Identifies key locations of modernism: Harlem, Paris, Haiti Addresses the question of gender, often overlooked in black Atlantic scholarship
Hip Hop's Inheritance arguably offers the first book-length treatment of what hip hop culture has, literally, 'inherited' from the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Arts movement, the Feminist Art movement, and 1980s and 1990s postmodern aesthetics. By comparing and contrasting the major motifs of the aforementioned cultural aesthetic traditions with those of hip hop culture, all the while critically exploring the origins and evolution of black popular culture from antebellum America through to 'Obama's America, ' Hip Hop's Inheritance demonstrates that the hip hop generation is not the first generation of young black (and white) folk preoccupied with spirituality and sexuality, race and religion, entertainment and athletics, or ghetto culture and bourgeois culture. Taking interdisciplinarity and intersectionality seriously, Hip Hop's Inheritance employs the epistemologies and methodologies from a wide range of academic and organic intellectual/activist communities in its efforts to advance an intellectual history and critical theory of hip hop culture. Drawing from academic and organic intellectual/activist communities as diverse as African American studies and women's studies, postcolonial studies and sexuality studies, history and philosophy, politics and economics, and sociology and ethnomusicology, Hip Hop's Inheritance calls into question one-dimensional and monodisciplinary interpretations or, rather, misinterpretations, of a multidimensional and multivalent form of popular culture that has increasingly come to include cultural criticism, social commentary, and political analysis