Post Black: How a New Generation Is Redefining African American Identity

Overview

As a young journalist covering black life at large, author Ytasha L. Womack was caught unaware when she found herself straddling black culture’s rarely acknowledged generation gaps and cultural divides. Traditional images show blacks unified culturally, politically, and socially, united by race at venues such as churches and community meetings. But in the “post black” era, even though individuals define themselves first as black, they do not necessarily define themselves by tradition as much as by personal ...
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Overview

As a young journalist covering black life at large, author Ytasha L. Womack was caught unaware when she found herself straddling black culture’s rarely acknowledged generation gaps and cultural divides. Traditional images show blacks unified culturally, politically, and socially, united by race at venues such as churches and community meetings. But in the “post black” era, even though individuals define themselves first as black, they do not necessarily define themselves by tradition as much as by personal interests, points of view, and lifestyle. In Post Black: How a New Generation Is Redefining African American Identity, Womack takes a fresh look at dynamics shaping the lives of contemporary African Americans. Although grateful to generations that have paved the way, many cannot relate to the rhetoric of pundits who speak as ambassadors of black life any more than they see themselves in exaggerated hip-hop images. Combining interviews, opinions of experts, and extensive research, Post Black will open the eyes of some, validate the lives of others, and provide a realistic picture of the expanding community.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Ytasha Womack is rewriting the script for Hip Hop generation authors. Her work challenges norms, as she seeks to represent the multiple and intersectional identities of contemporary black professionals that have yet to be adequately illustrated in popular culture."  —Dawn-Elissa Fischer, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Africana Studies, San Francisco State University; associate director, Hip Hop Archive, Harvard University

"An innovative, fresh take on black identity in the 21st Century. This book shows the unique diversity in the black community, one often mistaken to be monolithic, but is anything but. A must read."  —Bob Meadows, writer, People Magazine

"Post Black hits home with sincerity, courage, hope, and passion that empowers the reader to look deep into the heart of one of most intriguing and pervasive debates in the African American experience."  —John Jennings, associate professor of design; teacher, The Visual Culture of Hip Hop; and illustrator, The Hole: Consumer Culture

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

Using the 2008 election of Pres. Barack Obama as a springboard, Chicago writer and editor Womack (Beats, Rhymes and Life: What We Love and Hate About Hip-Hop) launches an engaging and ambitious discussion of African American identity in the 21st century. Rather than concentrate on the spectacular or "every pathological condition that ever existed in African American life," Womack shines a bright light on the ever broadening, increasingly visible black middle classes that remain largely unseen by white America: young black professionals, immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean, LGBT members, community-based artists, and others. A chapter on generation gaps pinpoints key differences amongst successful black baby boomers ("the so-called defenders of black identity"), Gen Xers, and millennials, especially in their views on community and tradition (a common trait among boomers and millennials: disdain for Xer extravagance and solipsism). Womack also charts the practicalities and bizarre ironies of greater cultural exposure (one chapter addresses the awkwardness of encounters with people-friends and strangers-who ask the question "What are you?"). Adjusting the lens on black America, Womack focuses in on a population diversifying in a number of positive directions, making headway against those who would rather ignore change: "in shifting the paradigm, these outliers shift the power to define what being African American truly is."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556528057
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/1/2010
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 825,477
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Ytasha L. Womack is a journalist, a filmmaker, and the coeditor of the award-winning anthology Beats, Rhymes, and Life. She is the director and producer of several award-winning films, including The Engagement, Love Shorts, and Tupac. A current guest editor with NV Magazine and frequent contributor to Ebony, she is a former editor at Upscale and former staff writer for the Chicago Defender. Her work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Emerge, Essence, Honey, King, VIBE, and XXL, as well as the comic book DeleteDerek T. Dingle is the senior vice president and editor in chief of Black Enterprise magazine.

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Table of Contents

Foreword: A New Age Derek Dingle Dingle, Derek

Introduction Identity Theft 1

1 The Generation Gap: The Young Black Professional 29

2 The African Diaspora: New Immigrants in African America 49

3 Bridges: Biracial, Bicultural Identity 65

4 Black, Gay, Lesbian, and Proud: GLBT in Black America 81

5 Spirituality: The New Black Religious Experience 97

6 The Hip-Hop Factor: Black Art in a Commercial Landscape 113

7 Black Entrepreneurs: New Urban Impresarios and Postracial Shopkeepers 127

8 Talented Tenth Revisited: Capitalism Versus Social Responsibility 139

11 Neofeminism: Womanist Values in the Age of the Video Girl 157

10 The Obama Factor: Redefining Possibility 173

Acknowledgments 191

Sources 193

Index 202

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