In the age of Obama, racial attitudes have become more complicated and nuanced than ever before. Inspired by a president who is unlike any Black man ever seen on our national stage, we are searching for new ways of understanding Blackness. In this provocative new book, iconic commentator and journalist Touré tackles what it means to be Black in America today.
Touré begins by examining the concept of “Post-Blackness,” a term that defines artists who are proud to be Black but don’t want to be limited by identity politics and boxed in by race. He soon discovers that the desire to be rooted in but not constrained by Blackness is everywhere. In Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness? he argues that Blackness is infinite, that any identity imaginable is Black, and that all expressions of Blackness are legitimate.
The Black Panther Party for Self Defense, formed in the aftermath of the assassination of Malcolm X in 1965, remains one of the most controversial movements of the 20th-century. Founded by the charismatic Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, the party sounded a defiant cry for an end to the institutionalized subjugation of African Americans. The Black Panther newspaper was founded to articulate the party’s message and artist Emory Douglas became the paper’s art director and later the party’s Minister of Culture. Douglas’ artistic talents and experience proved a powerful combination: his striking collages of photographs and his own drawings combined to create some of the era’s most iconic images, like that of Newton with his signature beret and large gun set against a background of a blood-red star, which could be found blanketing neighborhoods during the 12 years the paper existed.This landmark book brings together a remarkable lineup of party insiders who detail the crafting of the Black Panther Party’s visual identity.
Fifteen years after the publication of Push, one year after the Academy Award-winning film adaptation, Sapphire gives voice to Precious’s son, Abdul.
In “The Kid” bestselling author Sapphire tells the electrifying story of Abdul Jones, the son of Push’s unforgettable heroine, Precious.
A story of body and spirit, rooted in the hungers of flesh and of the soul, “The Kid” brings us deep into the interior life of Abdul Jones. We meet him at age nine, on the day of his mother’s funeral. Left alone to navigate a world in which love and hate sometimes hideously masquerade, forced to confront unspeakable violence, his history, and the dark corners of his own heart, Abdul claws his way toward adulthood and toward an identity he can stand behind.
In a generational story that moves with the speed of thought from a Mississippi dirt farm to Harlem in its heyday; from a troubled Catholic orphanage to downtown artist’s lofts, “The Kid” tells of a twenty- first-century young man’s fight to find a way toward the future. A testament to the ferocity of the human spirit and the deep nourishing power of love and of art, “The Kid” chronicles a young man about to take flight. In the intimate, terrifying, and deeply alive story of Abdul’s journey, we are witness to an artist’s birth by fire.
Each of these sixteen “love poems” is spoken straight from the heart of a child. Riding on a train, listening to music, playing with a friend, with hand on hip, each poem loves everyday life. And each poem is accompanied by a beautiful drawing, both portrait and panorama, that deepens the insights contained in the singing words.
Eloise Greenfield and Diane and Leo Dillon have combined their rich talents to bring children a book that shows them the joys that come from seeing with a poet’s eyes–the eyes of love.
Reaching into her own family history, Woodson presents the stirring story of generations of African-American women who inspired each other with their strength, family traditions, and determination.
“This is the first time I’ve written a book based on some of my own family history. ’Show Ways”, or quilts, once served as secret maps for freedom-seeking slaves. This is the story of seven generations of girls and women who were quilters and artists and freedom fighters. It begins in Virginia and ends right here in Brooklyn.The story began in my grandmother’s living room in the Bushwick section of Broolyn. I wrote it here in Park Slope, Brooklyn mostly. After my grandmother died and my daughter was born, I wanted to figure out a way to hold on to all the amazing history in our family.
I wanted a Show Way for my own daughter.” Jacqueline Woodson
A candid, colorful memoir about a nerd from the Brooklyn projects who made it big Nelson George grew up in the Tilden housing project in the crime-and despair-ridden Brownsville section of Brooklyn during the 1960s and 70s. In this tough neighborhood, Nelson was the nerdy kid who, in between stickball and street games, devoured Captain America comics, Ernest Hemingway novels, and album liner notes. City Kid introduces us to Nelson’s family: his absent wanna-be-hustler father; his tough-minded sister, who is seduced by the streets; and his mother, who dreams of becoming a teacher and returning to the South. Amid the struggles of his family, Nelson finds himself drawn into the world of Black pop culture, first as a writer and then as a filmmaker, eventually collaborating with some of the major figures of the era: Spike Lee, Russell Simmons, Chris Rock, and many others.
Nelson’s story is ultimately one of triumph, of inspiration. Seeking transcendence through art and loving New York City, Nelson creates an insightful portrait of the emergence of Black artists in the 1980s and 90s and illuminates how the pain of life can be turned into thoughtful books and cinema.
“I also see all art as political, whether by commission or omission. . . The choice of what to focus on is a political act, the choice of what to reveal or conceal is a political act, the choice of what to assert or deny is a political act. The choice of writing for a broad audience, or writing a text that can only be understood with a specialized vocabulary and particular aesthetic training is a political act. The choice of being a formalist and only writing in accepted Euro- specific poetic forms, or writing experimental verse, or writing with a myriad of approaches and styles are all not just artistic choices, but because of their cultural impact, also political acts.
But that does not mean that creating art is, or should be, an act of creating propaganda. It is not about doctrine, or political parties, but about the body politic. By the same token, bringing poetry as performance, as written art, or as writing workshops to people in schools and jails, libraries and half-way houses, homeless shelters and community centers is also a political act. Encouraging people to not only listen and hear, but also to use their own voices to critically examine their selves, their lives, and the world around them, is a political act.”