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The Hip Hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisis in African American Cultureby Bakari Kitwana
Synopses & Reviews
For black youth, can hip hop can be this generation's salvation?
Young blacks born between 1965 and 1984 belong to the first generation to have grown up in post-segregation America. Their historical significance is tremendous, but until now there has been no in-depth study of the African American youth who are making this important chapter in our nation's history.
Bakari Kitwana, one of black America's sharpest young cultural critics, offers a sobering look at his generation's disproportionate incarceration and unemployment rates, as well as the collapse of its gender relations, and gives his own provocative social and political analysis. He finds the pain of his generation buried in tough, slick gangsta movies, and their voice in the lyrics of rap music, "the black person's CNN." By turns scathing, funny, and analytic, The Hip Hop Generation will stand as the testament of black youth culture at the turn of the century. With extraordinary insight and understanding, Bakari Kitwana has combined the culture and politics of his generation into a pivotal work in American studies.
"Kitwana is an astute observer....The author does a superior job of depicting the hip-hop generationers' worldview and convincingly explaining why young African-Americans do not share their parents' optimism....Kitwana's analysis may be overly pessimistic, but his candid overview deserves a hearing." Kirkus Reviews
"Bakari Kitwana has written a bold and honest book, a much needed salvo that not only exposes the war on youth but their war on each other. Unlike most self-proclaimed critics out there, Kitwana offers solutions rather than apologetics. He challenges the Hip Hop generation to embrace values that can transform us from spectacle to a real force for social change." Robin D.G. Kelley, author of Yo' Mama's Disfunktional!: Fighting the Culture of Wars in Urban America
"This book should be huge because Bakari Kitwana tells us with humor and sensitivity the real deal about this generation. Will this hip-hop generation bring us pain or honor? Will they as Fanon said: 'speak and assume a culture and bear responsibility for a civilization?' Will they realize as Chuck D realized that he was 'a voice that people listened to,' so he realized that he 'had to fill his voice with something of substance?' This book is full of substance. And we welcome Brother Bakari's words. Analysis. Love for a hip-hop generation walking in thunder." Sonia Sanchez, author of Shake Loose My Skin
"Bakari Kitwana's The Hip Hop Generation is direct and informative, providing a more complicated view of Hip Hop culture than that found in the mainstream media. His discussion of Hip Hop activism is particularly important." Ishmael Reed, author of Airing Dirty Laundry
"As the Notorious B.I.G. rapped, 'Things Done Changed' — but Bakari Kitwana wants to know how and why that happened. The Hip-Hop Generation is a thorough, thoughtful examination of the dramatic forces that have shaped black Americans raised in the post-Civil Rights era." Alan Light, editor-in-chief, SPIN magazine and editor of The VIBE History of Hip Hop
"Without dogma or jargon, Bakari Kitwana's important new book...cuts to the chase....Equal parts generational critique, pro-Black youth polemic, op-ed analysis, and hip-hop Molotov, Kitwana's book has already garnered comparisons to Harold Cruse's brilliant 1967 rant against Black leaders, The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual....The Hip-Hop Generation passionately makes its point: The Black community can only move forward if it stops living in the past." Jeff Chang, The Village Voice Literary Supplement
The Hip Hop Generation is an eloquent testament for black youth culture at the turn of the century. The only in-depth study of the first generation to grow up in post-segregation American, it combines culture and politics into a pivotal work in American studies. Bakari Kitwana, one of black America's sharpest young critics, offers a sobering look at this generation's disproportionate social and political troubles, and celebrates the activism and politics that may herald the beginning of a new phase of African-American empowerment.
This brilliantly provocative work is a focused, passionate, inspiring, and extremely thoughtful attempt not only to examine the problems facing young blacks, but also to point to a way out.--Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Kitwana, one of black America's sharpest young critics, offers a sobering look at this generation's disproportionate social and political troubles, and celebrates the activism and politics that may herald the beginning of a new phase of African-American empowerment.
About the Author
Bakari Kitwana has been Executive Editor of The Source, Editorial Director of 3rd World Press, and a music reviewer for NPR's All Things Considered. He has also lectured extensively on rap music and black youth culture, and is a regular contributor to the Village Voice, The Source, and The Progressive. His previous book, The Rap on Gangsta Rap, is regarded as one of the most influential analyses of contemporary black culture. He lives in Westlake, Ohio.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Confronting the Crises in African American Culture
Pt. 1 The New Crises in African American Culture
1 The New Black Youth Culture: The Emergence of the Hip-Hop Generation 3
2 America's Outcasts: The Employment Crisis 25
3 Race War: Policing, Incarceration, and the Containment of Black Youth 51
4 Where Did Our Love Go?: The New War of the Sexes 85
5 Young, Don't Give a Fuck, and Black: Black Gangster Films 121
Pt. 2 Confronting the Crises In African American Culture
6 Activism in the Hip-Hop Generation: Redefining Social Responsibility 145
7 The Politics of the Hip-Hop Generation: Identifying a Political Agenda 175
8 The Challenge of Rap Music: From Cultural Movement to Political Power 195
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