“In clear, concise, and immensely readable prose, Right to Rock asks important—often uncomfortable but always necessary—questions about the power and limits of racially identified aesthetics in social, artistic, political, and economic contexts. In looking at the triumphs and struggles of rock ’n’ roll bands such as Screaming Headless Torsos, Bad Brains, Living Colour, and Fishbone, Maureen Mahon opens a window on to an American music and culture that has historically sought to disenfranchise, marginalize, and even deny the existence of the vital contributions of African American musical artists from Blind Tom to Me’Shell NdegéOcello. Anyone seeking to understand the ideas behind ‘Black Rock’—whether one hears that phrase as divisive or inclusive—would do well to pick up a copy of Right to Rock and read it.”—Vernon Reid, guitarist, founder of the band Living Colour, and cofounder of the Black Rock Coalition
“Maureen Mahon’s Right to Rock presents a fascinating description of the meaning of rock music for black artists and audiences. Devoted to a form of commercialized leisure for which they are not the target demographic, these committed musicians and listeners write themselves into a story from which they have largely been excluded. Important as a study of a fascinating cultural practice, Right to Rock also makes indispensable contributions to our understanding of larger issues about both the fixity and the fluidity of market categories and social identities.”—George Lipsitz, author of American Studies in a Moment of Danger
About the Author
Maureen Mahon is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and the African American Studies Program at the University of California, Los Angeles.