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Why White Kids Love Hip Hop: Wangstas, Wiggers, Wannabes, and the New Reality of Race in Americaby Bakari Kitwana
Synopses & Reviews
In this bold bombshell of a book, Bakari Kitwana argues that hip hop has broken down more racial barriers than any other social development of the past three decades.
Our national conversation about race is ludicrously out of date. Hip hop is the key to understanding how things are changing. In a provocative book that will appeal to hip hoppers both black and white and their parents, Bakari Kitwana deftly teases apart the culture of hip hop to illuminate how race is being lived by young Americans. This topic is ripe, but untried, and there is a plethora of questions that he is the first to articulate.
"Bakari Kitwana has provided a myth-busting, stereotype-shattering, paradigm-shifting examination of the complex relationship between white youth and black popular culture. Eschewing tired cliches, refusing racial pieties, and resisting old habits of thought, Kitwana clears a brilliant path to fresh insight." Michael Eric Dyson, author of Holler If You Hear Me and Is Bill Cosby Right?
"A fearless, bracing, and expansive intellect, Bakari Kitwana persuasively argues that the hip-hop generation has transformed how race is lived in America, and could be ready to transform its political realities, too. Why White Kids Love Hip-Hop confirms his place as one of the most important thinkers of our generation." Jeff Chang, author of Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation
"Why White Kids Love Hip-Hop is a powerful, provocative book. Bakari Kitwana demonstrates not only that hip-hop is vibrantly alive, but also that its importance goes way beyond the usual controversies over lyrics and video images. In fact, it's crucial for understanding youth culture and contemporary racial politics in the United States." Raquel Z. Rivera, author of New York Ricans from the Hip Hop Zone
Book News Annotation:
Kitwana (a former executive editor of The Source and visiting scholar in the political science department of Kent State U.) argues that the wide acceptance of hip-hop culture among the first generation of Americans to live without de facto segregation points to a new reality of race in America. Viewing many of these changes positively, he reviews a number of aspects of the phenomena, arguing that hip-hop has provided a voice to the voiceless for challenging the status quo, provided a new arena of public space for young people at local and national levels, and served an place for cross-cultural engagement of greater nuance and complexity than the "old racial politics."
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kitwana addresses uncomfortable truths about America's level of comfort with black people, challenging preconceived notions of race. With this brave tour de force, Kitwana takes his place alongside the greatest African-American intellectuals of the past decades.
In this bold book, the author argues that hip hop has broken down more racial barriers than any other social development of the past three decades.
Our national conversation about race is ludicrously out-of-date. Hip-hop is the key to understanding how things are changing. In a provocative book that will appeal to hip-hoppers both black and white and their parents, Bakari Kitwana deftly teases apart the culture of hip-hop to illuminate how race is being lived by young Americans. This topic is ripe, but untried, and Kitwana poses and answers a plethora of questions: Does hip-hop belong to black kids? What in hip-hop appeals to white youth? Is hip-hop different from what rhythm, blues, jazz, and even rock 'n' roll meant to previous generations? How have mass media and consumer culture made hip-hop a unique phenomenon? What does class have to do with it? Are white kids really hip-hop's primary listening audience? How do young Americans think about race, and how has hip-hop influenced their perspective? Are young Americans achieving Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream through hip-hop? Kitwana addresses uncomfortable truths about America's level of comfort with black people, challenging preconceived notions of race. With this brave tour de force, Bakari Kitwana takes his place alongside the greatest African American intellectuals of the past decades.
About the Author
Bakari Kitwana was the Executive Editor of The Source, the country's best-selling music magazine, for much of the nineties, and has served as Editorial Director at 3rd World Press and as music reviewer for NPR's All Things Considered. He freelances for the Village Voice, Savoy, The Source, and the Progressive, and his weekly column, "Do the Knowledge," is published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He is the author of The Hip Hop Generation, and he lives in Westlake, Ohio.
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