Black cool One thousand streams of Blackness

Rebecca Walker, 1969 Nov. 17-

Book - 2012

"16 of the country's most innovative thinkers explore the ineffable aesthetic of Black cool"--P. [4] of cover.

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Subjects
Published
Berkeley, Calif. : Soft Skull Press c2012.
Language
English
Physical Description
xv, 164 p. : ill. ; 21 cm
ISBN
9781593764173
1593764170
Other Authors
Rebecca Walker, 1969 Nov. 17- (-)
  • Foreword / by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
  • Introduction / by Rebecca Walker
  • Audacity / by dream hampton
  • The geek / by Mat Johnson
  • Crazy / by Rachel M. Harper
  • Reserve / by Helena Andrews
  • The hipster / by Dayo Olopade
  • The break / by Valorie Thomas
  • Resistance / by Michaela angela Davis
  • Forever / by bell hooks
  • Hunger / by Veronica Chambers
  • Eccentricity / by Margo Jefferson
  • Soul / by Hank Willis Thomas
  • Authenticity / by Staceyann Chin
  • The scream / by Ulli K. Ryder
  • Evolution / by Miles Marshall Lewis
  • The posse / by Esther Armah
  • Swagger / by Dawoud Bey.
Review by Booklist Reviews

Walker offers up a collection of perspectives on black cool, the not easily defined state of being complex and unique in the context of the African diaspora. Clearly, variation rules over uniformity, as contributors from Henry Louis Gates Jr. to bell hooks to Dawoud Bey expound on black coolness, something ever expanding, fluid, evasive, and a safety valve for many complex emotions and experiences. Valerie Thomas focuses on the musical space referred to as the break as reflective of unknown possibility with the black experience. Mat Johnson recalls finding his cool in the counterintuitive inner geek as a young boy. Rachel Harper recalls the redemptive cool in her poetic-artistic father, who may have been depressed. Michaela Angela Davis finds cool in her resistance and asserts the need to resist exploitation of black cool. Others write of inner and outer struggles against racial anger, and cultural norms and traditions. Walker offers great space and span in this work, which is highly compatible with the postblack perspective, which is constantly expanding expressions of blackness. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Despite the slenderness of this collection of essays on the zen of cool by several influential cultural visionaries, Walker (Black, White and Jewish) knows how to approach a fashionable theme from all angles. After an informed foreword by historian Henry Louis Gates Jr., the various commentaries on the fundamentals and potential of this African-American cultural export domestically and globally are written by such trendsetters as writer Mat Johnson, performing artist Staceyann Chin, critic Dream Hampton, photographer Dawoud Bey, writer Veronica Chambers, essayist Miles Marshall Lewis, critic Margo Jefferson, fashion maven Michaela Angela Davis, and educator-activist bell hooks. Three of the standouts are Chamber's "Hunger," Chin's "Authenticity," and hooks's "Forever," where elements of the personal give meaning to the topic and touch the reader in a significant way. While Hampton discusses "Audacity" as mastering fear and Bey explains "Swagger" as "a way to reclaim and celebrate viscerally an aspect of self that has historically eroded," Lewis pays tribute in "Always Evoking" to the sound sorcerer Miles Davis, a musician of the cool sound whose constant mode was change. Walker and her band of scribes are in top form, giving a rich, varied picture of Black cool style at its most frosty. (Feb.) [Page ]. Copyright 2011 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A collection of essays authored by a diverse range of innovative thinkers that discusses the roots and current state of the aesthetic of “cool” as it relates to African Americans, from jazz musicians to fashion designers and even pop singer Rhianna. Original.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A collection of essays authored by a diverse range of innovative thinkers that discusses the roots and current state of the aesthetic of "cool" as it relates to African Americans, from jazz musicians to fashion designers and even pop singer Rhianna.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Black Cool explores the ineffable state and aesthetic of Black Cool. From the effortless reserve of Miles Davis in khakis on an early album cover, to the shock of resistance in black women’s fashion from Angela Davis to Rihanna, to the cadence of poets as diverse as Staceyann Chin and Audre Lorde, Black Cool looks at the roots of Black Cool and attempts to name elements of the phenomena that have emerged to shape the global expectation of cool itself.Buoyed by some of America’s most innovative thinkers on the subject?graphic novelist Mat Johnson, Brown University Professor of African Studies Tricia Rose, critical thinking and cultural icon bell hooks, Macarthur winner Kara Walker, and many more?the book is at once a handbook, a map, a journey into the matrix of another cosmology. It’s a literal periodic table of cool, wherein each writer names and defines their element of choice. Dream Hampton writes about Audacity. Helena Andrews about Reserve, Margo Jefferson on Eccentricity, Veronica Chambers on Genius, and so on. With a foreword by Henry Louis Gates that bridges historical African elements of cool with the path laid out for the future, Black Cool offers a provocative perspective on this powerful cultural legacy.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

This “probing collection”—edited by the author of Black, White and Jewish—explores Black Cool with entries from bell hooks, Margo Jefferson and many more (Kirkus).This collection of essays conceived of and edited by Rebecca Walker explores the ineffable state and protean aesthetics of Black Cool. From the effortless reserve of Miles Davis in khakis on an early album cover, to the shock of resistance in black women’s fashion from Angela Davis to Rihanna, to the cadence of poets as diverse as Staceyann Chin and Audre Lorde, Black Cool attempts to decode the mystery of this ever-changing yet historically rooted phenomenon.With essays by some of America’s most innovative thinkers on the subject—including graphic novelist Mat Johnson, Brown University Professor of African Studies Tricia Rose, critical theorist and cultural icon bell hooks, Macarthur winner Kara Walker, and many more—Black Cool offers a periodic table of cool, wherein each writer names and defines their element of choice. Dream Hampton writes about Audacity; Helena Andrews discusses Reserve; Margo Jefferson explores Eccentricity; Veronica Chambers illuminates Genius; and so on.With a foreword by Henry Louis Gates that bridges historical African elements of cool with the path laid out for the future, Black Cool offers a provocative perspective on this powerful cultural legacy.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

Soft Skull Press proudly offers this tenth-anniversary edition of visionary essays exploring the glory and power of Black Cool, curated by thought leader and bestselling author Rebecca Walker, with a foreword by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.Originally published in 2012, this collection of illuminating essays exploring the ineffable and protean aesthetics of Black Cool has been widely cited for its contribution to much of the contemporary discussion of the influence of Black Cool on culture, politics, and power around the world. Curated by Rebecca Walker, and drawing on her lifelong study of the African roots of Black Cool and its expression within the African diaspora, this collection identifies ancestral elements often excluded from colloquial understandings of Black Cool: cultivated reserve, coded resistance, intentional audacity, transcendent intellectual and spiritual rigor, intentionally disruptive eccentricity, and more. With essays by some of America’s most innovative Black thinkers, including visual artist Hank Willis Thomas, writer and filmmaker dream hampton, MacArthur-winning photographer Dawoud Bey, fashion legend Michaela angela Davis, and critical theorist and cultural icon bell hooks, Black Cool offers an excavation of the African roots of Cool and its hitherto undefined legacy in American culture and beyond. This edition includes a new introduction from Rebecca Walker, a powerful meditation on the genesis, creation, completion, and subsequent impact of this landmark volume over the last decade.