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Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness [Kindle Edition]

Rebecca Walker , Jr., Henry Louis Gates
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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.

Editorial Reviews


Praise for Black Cool

"Walker and her band of scribes are in top form, giving a rich, varied picture of Black cool style." —Publishers Weekly

Product Details

  • File Size: 314 KB
  • Print Length: 194 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1593764170
  • Publisher: Soft Skull Press; Original edition (February 1, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006W9556C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #422,286 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stories Told With Heart: A Positive Social Change February 19, 2012
Black Cool was a teaser-trailer to me of why education and sacred dialogue about topics concerning the evolution of African American people is invaluable. Each voice left me wanting to seek their work, the work of artists, authors, healers and educators I felt something deeply in common with. This collection of essays touched on topics such as bravado, defiance and healing that, at one time, have provoked distance in intimacy rather than bridged trust and tolerance. They were examined, confronted and left agape to be admired, mourned and sympathized with.

This easy read invokes memories of black values and the varying impressions collectively understood which influenced expression, fashion, education and self forgiveness over several decades. The power in this book is it's authors have in common current interests in the development of the self AND the community as well as being active contributors to what is perpetuating positive social change by sharing their stories; this is a movement. Storytelling is my all time favorite way to destroy cliche's that cripple the African American community. Dialogue about personal experiences, shared for the sake of the message, blow the whistle on urban myths that target style, choices and flavor of men, women and children in the midst of growth and claims our journey and history as our own. I hope for the continued honesty about people that have been an enemy to their own, this was refreshing and gave me a chance to just hear the story, be with the authors while relieving my own social angst about people over-protecting those who contribute to our destruction, no matter their creed or culture.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kola Boof was so right! April 11, 2012
By Lolly
I read this book because Kola Boof kept talking about it on her Twitter. I knew by the title it would be some type of affirmation essays by people I've mostly never heard of. I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be more than that! These essays are gritty, heart pounding and honest. This isn't the standard feel good schlock. *Black Cool* is really intriguing, surprising and life-affecting! I have to thank Kola Boof for constantly talking about it and I have to mention my favorites essays in here, first and foremost Michaela Angela Davis. Wow! She wrote what I think in *Resistance.* Then there's powerful stuff from Mat Johnson, Dream Hampton, Helena Andrews and of course Rebecca Walker, who I already knew was awesome because of another book *forgot the title* but she's Alice's daughter and is known for mind triggering works. This book is no exception.

Every person of any race in my opinion should read it! You'll get a lot more than you're expecting and you'll find yourself revisiting it over and over again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book is great! December 31, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Talks to the reality of being Black in America. Grabbed it for a paper I was writing but makes a great coffee table book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great read for everyone November 14, 2013
The group of essays that Rebecca Walker has compiled in Black Cool creates a tremendously useful resource for the study of what Blackness is for diasporic American natives and disaporic immigrants to America. Another aspect of this book that makes it valuable as a cultural studies tool is that it provides a wonderful space for contemporarily diverse gendered voices.
I drank this book in finding sustenance in it for several reasons. Each piece stands strongly by itself, uniquely demonstrating each author’s view of Blackness. Taken in concert, this group of writings demonstrates as Henry Louis Gates, Jr. states in the forward “a compelling and sustained conversation about the multiple meanings of blackness in the United States today” (X). One Thousand Streams of Blackness gains strength on this theme by “sustaining the conversation” in a varied and meaningful way. Certainly, I wonder if part of the pull of this book for me is the desire to be near that which is Black Cool, as so many other white folks have done before me in envy and in misunderstanding. But, the masterful way in which each author articulates the theme of Black Cool by celebrating both its humanity and resiliency is what truly bowled me over.
In her piece entitled “The Break” Valorie Thomas takes several components of Blackness in an American context and laces them together with a musical metaphor that incorporates everything from funk and feminism to DuBoisian theory to define Black Cool. By defining the “cultural and personal vertigo” that comes with the experience of being a Black American, Thomas teaches us to study and appreciate the awe-inspiring display of skill that exists in the break.
Michaela angela Davis defines Black Cool as black style.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed May 13, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Really enjoyed reading this book.
Read it three times.
Keep it in my bag and read it when Im sitting in the doctor's office.
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