Boyd, an assistant professor of critical studies at the University of Southern California, fuses academic analysis with hipness in his compassionate and insightful dissection of how the media, especially Hollywood, define African American culture, particularly images of black men, and, conversely, how African Americans define American culture. The entertainment marketplace has become so enormous that there is finally some room for minorities, contends Boyd, but excess still sells best, and excessive and damaging images of black men still dominate. To understand why, Boyd examines the perspectives of two distinct generations, the "affirmative action" group that was "nurtured under the guise of upward social mobility" arising from the civil rights and Black Power movements, and the "Reaganomic" group that grew up under harsh and hopeless economic and social realities. Boyd considers the influence of figures such as Bill Cosby, Spike Lee, gangsta rappers and the filmmakers who chronicle their nihilistic ethos, and black basketball players. Boyd, compelling and thought-provoking, reveals how paradoxical life is for African Americans, even those at the top of their game. Donna Seaman
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In Am I Black Enough for You? race, classic, and links to black popular culture are considered in a college-level discourse which probes American society and issues of Afro-American cultural experience. From how rap music relates to politics and black masculinity to differences between folk and popular culture in the black community, this provides much food for thought. -- Midwest Book Review