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At the age of nineteen, Nasir "Nas" Jones began recording tracks for his debut album-and changed the music world forever. Released in 1994, Illmatic was hailed as an instant masterpiece and has proven one of the most influential albums in hip-hop history. With its close attention to beats and lyricism, and riveting first-person explorations of the isolation and desolation of urban poverty, Illmatic was pivotal in the evolution of the genre. In Born to Use Mics, Michael Eric Dyson and Sohail Daulatzai have brought together renowned writers and critics including Mark Anthony Neal, Marc Lamont Hill, Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. , and many others to confront Illmatic song by song, with each scholar assessing an individual track from the album. The result is a brilliant engagement with and commentary upon one of the most incisive sets of songs ever laid down on wax.
Over the last 20 years, Michael Eric Dyson has become one of America's most visible--and quotable--public intellectuals. Whether in his sixteen books, or in countless newspapers, television and radio appearances, or on stages, podiums, and pulpits across the world, Dyson has spun an enchanting web of words that has caught the attention of the masses and elites alike. He has weighed in on a myriad array of topics - from faith to fatherhood, and from race to sex, as well as sports, manhood, gender, music, leadership, politics, language, love, justice, literature, suffering, death, hope, relationships and much, much more. Can You Hear Me Now?, offers a sampling of Dyson's sharp wit, profound thought, and edifying eloquence on the enduring problems of humanity, from love to justice, and the latest topics of the day, including race and the presidency. It is both revealing and relevant, and at once thoughtful provoking and uplifting. Whether he is writing about Jay-Z or Barack Obama, addressing racial catastrophes or opportunities, or speaking about religion or the felicities of King's rhetoric, Dyson's intellect shines with insight and inspiration. Can You Hear Me Now? captures Dyson's incredible facility with words, and his prodigious intelligence, at a time when he has gained greater fame as a public intellectual, university professor, best-selling author, and most recently, as one of the first prominent blacks to endorse President Barack Obama. The time is ripe for his wit, wisdom and worldview, and this book is Dyson's most accessible compendium of thinking on a broad range of topics that haunt and shape the nation.
Combining a fresh look at the key players in the disaster with his deep knowledge of black migrations and government policy over decades, Dyson provides the historical context that has been sorely missing from public conversation about Hurricane Katrina. He explores the legacy of black suffering in America since slavery and ties its psychic scars to today's crisis, even exploring the agonizing question that came from both survivors and right-wing apologists, "Did God cause Katrina?" His critique of the way black people are framed in the national consciousness will shock and surprise even the most politically savvy reader.
Whether chronicling the class conflict in the African-American community or exposing the failings of the government response in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Michael Eric Dyson has never shied away from controversy. No stranger to intellectual combat, Dyson has always been ready to engage friends and foes alike in open conversation about the issues that matter. Debating Race collects many of Dyson's most memorable encounters and most poignant arguments. Dyson shows that he is as eloquent off the cuff as he is on the book page, and Debating Race gives readers a front row seat as he spars with politicians, pundits, and public intellectuals. From John Kerry and John McCain to Ann Coulter and the hosts of television's "The View"-Dyson shows the mental agility and rhetorical tenacity that have made him one of America's most astute intellectuals, and with topics ranging from civil rights, the legacy of the O. J. Simpson trial, and the authenticity of Colin Powell there is something in Debating Race to touch a nerve in all of us.
Acclaimed for his writing on Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. , as well as his passionate defense of black youth culture, Michael Eric Dyson is known as the "hip-hop intellectual. " With his Blackboard best seller Holler If You Hear Me, Dyson has reached his widest audience to date, bringing to life the hopes and dreams of slain hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur. Viewed by many as a "black James Dean," Tupac has attained cult status since his death six years ago, partly due to the posthumous release of several albums, three movies, and a collection of poetry. But Tupac lives on primarily because of the devotion of his loyal followers. Dyson helps us to understand why a twenty-five-year-old rapper, activist, poet, actor, and alleged sex offender looms even larger in death than he did in life. With his trademark skills of critical thinking and storytelling, Dyson examines the significance of Tupac Shakur for black youth, assessing the ways in which different elements of Shakur's persona-thug, confused prophet, fatherless child-are both vital and destructive. Deeply personal and sharply analytical at the same time, Dyson's book offers a wholly original way of looking at Tupac Shakur that will thrill those who already love the artist and enlighten those who want to understand him.
Michael Eric Dyson took America by storm with this provocative expose of the class and generational divide that is tearing black America apart. Nothing exposed the class and generational divide in black America more starkly than Bill Cosby's now-infamous assault on the black poor when he received an NAACP award in the spring of 2004. The comedian-cum-social critic lamented the lack of parenting, poor academic performance, sexual promiscuity, and criminal behavior among what he called the "knuckleheads" of the African-American community. Even more surprising than his comments, however, was the fact that his audience laughed and applauded. Best-selling writer, preacher, and scholar Michael Eric Dyson uses the Cosby brouhaha as a window on a growing cultural divide within the African-American community. According to Dyson, the "Afristocracy"-lawyers, physicians, intellectuals, bankers, civil rights leaders, entertainers, and other professionals-looks with disdain upon the black poor who make up the "Ghettocracy"-single mothers on welfare, the married, single, and working poor, the incarcerated, and a battalion of impoverished children. Dyson explains why the black middle class has joined mainstream America to blame the poor for their troubles, rather than tackling the systemic injustices that shape their lives. He exposes the flawed logic of Cosby's diatribe and offers a principled defense of the wrongly maligned black citizens at the bottom of the social totem pole. Displaying the critical prowess that has made him the nation's preeminent spokesman for the hip-hop generation, Dyson challenges us all-black and white-to confront the social problems that the civil rights movement failed to solve.
Cosby's stance against poor African American people was brought to the attention of the public during a speech he made at the 50th anniversary comemoration of Brown V. Board of Education, the Supreme Court Decision which desegregated the education system. In that speech, and many speechs since then, Cosby has accused poor African Americans of being uneducated; he blames the parents for not ensuring the education of their children and sees the pop culture of young Black people as an indication of their lack of education. Dyson provides facts, contraditions, and his own opinions in response to Cosby's standpoint, using quotes from the 2004 speech as a springboard.
Whether along race, class, or generational lines, hip-hop music has been a source of controversy since the beats got too big and the voices too loud for the block parties that spawned them. America has condemned and commended this music and the culture that inspires it. Dubbed "the Hip-Hop Intellectual" by critics and fans for his pioneering explorations of rap music in the academy and beyond, Michael Eric Dyson tackles the most compelling and controversial dimensions of hip-hop culture. Know What I Mean? addresses the creative expression of degraded youth; the vexed gender relations that have made rap music a lightning rod for pundits; the commercial explosion that has made an art form a victim of its success; and the political elements that have been submerged in the most popular form of hip hops.
Whether along race, class or generational lines, hip-hop music has been a source of controversy since the beats got too big and the voices too loud for the block parties that spawned them. America has condemned and commended this music and the culture that inspires it. Dubbed "the Hip-Hop Intellectual" by critics and fans for his pioneering explorations of rap music in the academy and beyond, Michael Eric Dyson is uniquely situated to probe the most compelling and controversial dimensions of hip-hop culture. Know What I Mean?addresses salient issues within hip hop: the creative expression of degraded youth that has garnered them global exposure; the vexed gender relations that have made rap music a lightning rod for pundits; the commercial explosion that has made an art form a victim of its success; the political elements that have been submerged in the most popular form of hip hop; and the intellectual engagement with some of hip hop's most influential figures. In spite of changing trends, both in the music industry and among the intelligentsia, Dyson has always supported and interpreted this art that bloomed unwatered, and in many cases, unwanted from our inner cities. For those who wondered what all the fuss is about in hip hop, Dyson's bracing and brilliant book breaks it all down.
Twenty years after his murder at the hands of his own father, Marvin Gaye continues to define the hopes and shattered dreams of the Motown generation. A performer whose career spanned the history of rhythm and blues, from doo-wop to the sultriest of soul music, Gaye's artistry magnified the contradictions that defined America's coming of age in the tumultuous 1970s. In his most searching and ambitious work to date, acclaimed critic Michael Eric Dyson illuminates both Marvin Gaye's stellar achievements and stunning personal decline--and offers an unparalleled assessment of the cultural and political legacy of R&B on American culture. Through interviews with those close to Gaye--from his musical beginnings in a black church in Washington, D. C. , to his days as a "ladies' man" in Motown's stable of young singers, from the artistic heights of the landmark album What's Going On? to his struggles with addiction and domestic violence--Dyson draws an indelible portrait of the tensions that shaped contemporary urban America: economic adversity, the drug industry, racism, and the long legacy of hardship. Published to coincide with the twentieth anniversary of Gaye's death in 1984, and infused with the soulful prose that has become Michael Eric Dyson's trademark, Mercy, Mercy Me is at once a celebration of an American icon whose work continues to inspire, and a revelatory and incisive look at how a lost generation's moods, music, and moral vision continue to resonate today.
Over the past ten years, the work of Michael Eric Dyson has become the first stop for readers, writers, and thinkers eager for uncommon wisdom on the racial and political dynamics of contemporary America. The Philadelphia Inquirer has called him ``a major American thinker and cultural critic,'' while the Chicago0 Tribune has raved, Dyson ``slings around the concepts of post-modern literary and philosophical thought with dazzling dexterity. '' Whether he's writing on religion or sexuality or notions of whiteness, on Martin Luther King, Jr. or Tupac Shakur, Dyson's keen insight and rhetorical flair consistently surprise and challenge. For the first time, this collection gathers the best of Dyson's vast and growing body of work: his most incisive commentary, his most stirring passages, and his sharpest and most broadminded critical analyses. From Michael Jordan to Jacques Derrida, affirmative action to the debate over multiculturalism, the mastery and ease with which Dyson tackles just about any subject is without parallel.
Here, collected for the first time, are interviews and essays representing Michael Eric Dyson's most important thinking on race and identity. Exploring such topics as "whiteness" as seen through a black man's eye, modernism and postmodernism in black culture, and the emancipating role of black music from the plantation to the ghetto, Open Mike is a perfect introduction to Dyson's work and a must-have for students and scholars in African American Studies and Cultural Studies.
Of the seven deadly sins, pride is the only one with a virtuous side. It is certainly a good thing to have pride in one's country, in one's community, in oneself. But when taken too far, as Michael Eric Dyson shows in Pride, these virtues become deadly sins. Dyson, named by Ebony magazine as one of the 100 most influential African Americans, here looks at the many dimensions of pride. Ranging from Augustine and Aquinas, MacIntyre and Hauerwas, to Niebuhr and King, Dyson offers a thoughtful, multifaceted look at this "virtuous vice. " He probes the philosophical and theological roots of pride in examining its transformation in Western culture. Dyson discusses how black pride keeps blacks from being degraded and excluded by white pride, which can be invisible, unspoken, but nonetheless very powerful. Dyson also offers a moving glimpse into the teachers and books that shaped his personal pride and vocation. Dyson also looks at less savory aspects of national pride. Since 9/11, he notes, we have had to close ranks. But the collective embrace of all things American, to the exclusion of anything else, has taken the place of a much richer, much more enduring, much more profound version of love of country. This unchecked pride asserts the supremacy of America above all others--elevating our national beliefs above any moral court in the world--and attacking critics of American foreign policy as unpatriotic and even traitorous. Hubris, temerity, arrogance--the unquestioned presumption that one's way of life defines how everyone else should live--pride has many destructive manifestations. In this engaging and energetic volume, Michael Eric Dyson, one of the nation's foremost public intellectuals, illuminates this many-sided human emotion, one that can be an indispensable virtue or a deadly sin.
In this provocative book, writer and cultural critic Touré explores the concept of Post-Blackness: the ability for someone to be rooted in but not restricted by their race. Drawing on his own experiences and those of 105 luminaries, he argues that racial identity should be understood as fluid, complex, and self-determined.ulture, and more. He knew he could not tackle this topic all on his own so he turned to 105 of the most important luminaries of our time for frank and thought-provoking opinions, including the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Cornel West, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Malcolm Gladwell, Michael Eric Dyson, Melissa Harris-Perry, Harold Ford Jr., Kara Walker, Kehinde Wiley, Glenn Ligon, Paul Mooney, New York Governor David Paterson, Greg Tate, Aaron McGruder, Soledad O'Brien, Kamala Harris, Chuck D, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and many others. By engaging this brilliant, eclectic group, and employing his signature insight, courage, and wit, TourÉ delivers a clarion call on race in America and how we can change our perceptions for a better future. Destroying the notion that there is a correct way of being Black, Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness? will change how we perceive race forever.
This text is a heartfelt plea to stop assaulting black women with vicious rhetoric and irresponsible generalizations. It is a catalogue of virtues, an unapologetically cheerful view of black women that rescues their strengths and beauties.
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