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The Games Black Girls Play: Learning the Ropes from Double-Dutch to Hip-Hop

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ISBN-13: 978-0814731208
ISBN-10: 0814731201
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Editorial Reviews

Review

̶-;Fusing academic prose with vividly rendered memories, Gaunt’s journey is refreshing. . . . Gaunt successfully lifts ignored girls from obscurity to center stage. . . . With The Games Black Girls Play, Gaunt has created a necessary space for translating black girls’ joy in a society that typically overlooks it. Hopefully, others will take their turn and jump in to keep the games going.”
-Bitch



The Games Black Girls Play is an insightful inquiry into a frequently overlooked and influential site of cultural production.”
-Popular Music



“Gaunt provides a layered and rich analysis of a cultural form that has been all but ignored by scholars far and wide.”
-Gender and Society



“In thoughtful and affectionate prose, Gaunt makes plain how the schoolyard syncopations of body and voice are both oral-kinetic play and improvised lessons in socializing girls into the unique social practices of black urban life. . . . The Games Black Girls Play is a smart, delightful and witty polemic of attributions; a cultural benchmark of the complex web of history, race and gender to suggest a ‘gendered musical blackness’ and an ‘ethnographic truth’ linking the ‘intergenerational cultures of black musical expression’ as embodied in the infectious playfulness of black girls.”
-Black Issues Book Review



The Games Black Girls Play is beautifully and passionately written. This book presents an engaging reflexive narrative that ranges from childhood memories to involvement with ethnomusicological scholarship. Gaunt makes a convincing argument that the playsongs of African American girls is the foundation of African diasporic popular music-making. In a radical counter-history, she shows how African American girls-interlocutors who are triply minoritized through race, gender, and age-are producing music culture that has profound influences on popular music and the popular imagination. She calls for an engaged ethnomusicology and moves gracefully through an array of anti-essentialist perspectives on race and gender. She argues that “kinetic orality’ is key to African American musicking and that the body is always a locus of memory and communality. From somatic historiography to serious cross-talk with girls, Gaunt offers new methodologies for ethnomusicological work. The reader is pulled into a world in which Black girls are masters of musical knowledge, and in emerging from the book, we can't see the world of American popular music in the same way. When we chant Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack is dressed in black, black, black, with silver buttons, buttons, buttons, all down her back, back, back, we suddenly see how musical play and embodied knowledge generates a world of raced and gendered sociality. Oo-lay oo-lay! Congratulations, Kyra!”
-President Elect Professor Deborah Wong,Society for Ethnomusicology

About the Author

Kyra D. Gaunt is associate professor of ethnomusicology at Baruch College-CUNY. She lectures nationally and internationally on African Americans and Africans in the U.S. She is also a jazz vocalist, songwriter and recording artist.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (February 6, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814731201
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814731208
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #351,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was inspirational and because I am a female I was truly interested in this book. It went into details about the what and the why's of the hand or rope games girls play.
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8 of 17 people found the following review helpful By K. Gaunt on February 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
"By placing black girls at the center of her analysis, Kyra Gaunt challenges us to be ever mindful of the importance of gender, the body, and the everyday in our discussions of black music. The Games Black Girls Play is an exciting and original work that should forever transform the way we think about the sources of black, indeed American, populat music. This is a bold, brilliant, and beautifully written book."-Farah Jasmine Griffin, Columbia University

"The Games Black Girls Play not only makes the point that black girls matter, but that the games, thoughts, and passions of black girls matter in a world that regularly renders black girls invisible and silent. Gaunt brilliantly argues that the culture of black girls is a critical influence on contemporary black popular culture."

- Mark Anthony Neal, author of New Black Man: Rethinking Black Masculinity
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