Who We Be: A Cultural History of Race in Post-Civil Rights America

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Race. A four-letter word. The greatest social divide in American life, a half-century ago and today.
During that time, the U.S. has seen the most dramatic demographic and cultural shifts in its history, what can be called the colorization of America. But the same nation that elected its first Black president on a wave of hope—another four-letter word—is still plunged into endless culture wars.
How do Americans see race now? How has that changed—and not changed—over the half-century? After eras framed by words like "multicultural" and "post-racial," do we see each other any more clearly? Who We Be remixes comic strips and contemporary art, campus protests and corporate marketing campaigns, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Trayvon Martin into a powerful, unusual, and timely cultural history of the idea of racial progress. In this follow-up to the award-winning classic Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation, Jeff Chang brings fresh energy, style, and sweep to the essential American story.
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About the author

Jeff Chang's first book was the award-winning Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation. He has been a USA Ford Fellow in Literature and was named by The Utne Reader one of "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World." He is the Executive Director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University.

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Additional Information

Publisher
St. Martin's Press
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Published on
Oct 21, 2014
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Pages
416
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ISBN
9781466854659
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Discrimination & Race Relations
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / General
Social Science / Sociology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Whenever we envision a world without war, without prisons, without capitalism, we are producing speculative fiction. Organizers and activists envision, and try to create, such worlds all the time. Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown have brought twenty of them together in the first anthology of short stories to explore the connections between radical speculative fiction and movements for social change. The visionary tales of Octavia’s Brood span genres—sci-fi, fantasy, horror, magical realism—but all are united by an attempt to inject a healthy dose of imagination and innovation into our political practice and to try on new ways of understanding ourselves, the world around us, and all the selves and worlds that could be. The collection is rounded off with essays by Tananarive Due and Mumia Abu-Jamal, and a preface by Sheree Renée Thomas.

PRAISE FOR OCTAVIA'S BROOD:


"Those concerned with justice and liberation must always persuade the mass of people that a better world is possible. Our job begins with speculative fictions that fire society's imagination and its desire for change. In adrienne maree brown and Walidah Imarisha's visionary conception, and by its activist-artists' often stunning acts of creative inception, Octavia's Brood makes for great thinking and damn good reading. The rest will be up to us." —Jeff Chang, author of Who We Be: The Colorization of America


“Conventional exclamatory phrases don’t come close to capturing the essence of what we have here in Octavia’s Brood. One part sacred text, one part social movement manual, one part diary of our future selves telling us, ‘It’s going to be okay, keep working, keep loving.’ Our radical imaginations are under siege and this text is the rescue mission. It is the new cornerstone of every class I teach on inequality, justice, and social change....This is the text we’ve been waiting for.” —Ruha Benjamin, professor of African American Studies at Princeton University and author of People’s Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier


"Octavia once told me that two things worried her about the future of humanity: The tendency to think hierarchically, and the tendency to place ourselves higher on the hierarchy than others. I think she would be humbled beyond words that the fine, thoughtful writers in this volume have honored her with their hearts and minds. And that in calling for us to consider that hierarchical structure, they are not walking in her shadow, nor standing on her shoulders, but marching at her side." —Steven Barnes, author of Lion’s Blood


“Never has one book so thoroughly realized the dream of its namesake. Octavia's Brood is the progeny of two lovers of Octavia Butler and their belief in her dream that science fiction is for everybody.... Butler could not wish for better evidence of her touch changing our literary and living landscapes. Play with these children, read these works, and find the children in you waiting to take root under the stars!” —Moya Bailey and Ayana Jamieson, Octavia E. Butler Legacy


“Like [Octavia] Butler's fiction, this collection is cartography, a map to freedom.” —dream hampton, filmmaker and Visiting Artist at Stanford University’s Institute for Diversity in the Arts


Walidah Imarisha is a writer, organizer, educator, and spoken word artist. She is the author of the poetry collectionScars/Stars and facilitates writing workshops at schools, community centers, youth detention facilities, and women's prisons.


adrienne maree brown is a 2013 Kresge Literary Arts Fellow writing science fiction in Detroit, Michigan. She received a 2013 Detroit Knight Arts Challenge Award to run a series of Octavia Butler–based writing workshops.

It's not just rap music. Hip-hop has transformed theater, dance, performance, poetry, literature, fashion, design, photography, painting, and film, to become one of the most far-reaching and transformative arts movements of the past two decades.American Book Award-winning journalist Jeff Chang, author of the acclaimed Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation, assembles some of the most innovative and provocative voices in hip-hop to assess the most important cultural movement of our time. It's an incisive look at hip-hop arts in the voices of the pioneers, innovators, and mavericks.With an introductory survey essay by Chang, the anthology includes: Greg Tate, Mark Anthony Neal, Brian “B+” Cross, and Vijay Prashad examining hip-hop aesthetics in the wake of multiculturalism. Joan Morgan and Mark Anthony Neal discussing gender relations in hip-hop. Hip-hop novelists Danyel Smith and Adam Mansbach on "street lit" and "lit hop". Actor, playwright, and performance artist Danny Hoch on how hip-hop defined the aesthetics of a generation. Rock Steady Crew b-boy-turned-celebrated visual artist DOZE on the uses and limits of a "hip-hop" identity. Award-winning writer Raquel Cepeda on West African cosmology and "the flash of the spirit" in hip-hop arts. Pioneer dancer POPMASTER FABEL's history of hip-hop dance, and acclaimed choreographer Rennie Harris on hip-hop's transformation of global dance theatre. Bill Adler's history of hip-hop photography, including photos by Glen E. Friedman, Janette Beckman, and Joe Conzo. Poetry and prose from Watts Prophet Father Amde Hamilton and Def Poetry Jam veterans Staceyann Chin, Suheir Hammad, Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Kevin Coval. Roundtable discussions and essays presenting hip-hop in theatre, graphic design, documentary film and video, photography, and the visual arts. “Total Chaos is Jeff Chang at his best: fierce and unwavering in his commitment to document the hip-hop explosion. In beginning to define a hip-hop aesthetic, this gathering of artists, pioneers, and thinkers illuminates the special truth that hip-hop speaks to youth around the globe.” (Bakari Kitwana, author of The Hip-Hop Generation)
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