“LaBennett’s depiction of how young girls actively and often successfully negotiate the seductiveness of popular culture—as active and self-conscious consumers and not just passive victims of stereotypes—is a powerful reminder of ethnography’s analytical value…This thoughtful and sophisticated piece of work is not about ‘model minorities’ or ‘welfare wannabees,’ but about complicated young women learning to live in their bodies amidst a world that sometimes uses those very bodies—in all their racial and gendered specificity—against them.”
-John L. Jackson, Jr., University of Pennsylvania
“LaBennett is deeply attuned to her subjects. Together, researcher and research subjects explore the wide world around them: hip-hop culture, opportunities for mobility, sexual life, issues of risk, relationships with mom…it’s all here! LaBennett develops incisive new interpretations of such concepts as ‘play-labor’ and ‘authenticity.’ She’s Mad Real both joins a rich ethnographic literature and expands it in revealing politically conscious and hip ways. A fantastic text for in-class use.”
-Howard Winant, University of California, Santa Barbara
About the Author
Oneka LaBennett is Associate Professor of Africana Studies at Cornell University.