Are You Entertained?

Black Popular Culture in the Twenty-First Century

Book Pages: 336 Illustrations: 19 illustrations Published: February 2020

African American Studies and Black Diaspora, Cultural Studies, Media Studies

The advent of the internet and the availability of social media and digital downloads have expanded the creation, distribution, and consumption of Black cultural production as never before. At the same time, a new generation of Black public intellectuals who speak to the relationship between race, politics, and popular culture has come into national prominence. The contributors to Are You Entertained? address these trends to consider what culture and blackness mean in the twenty-first century's digital consumer economy. In this collection of essays, interviews, visual art, and an artist statement the contributors examine a range of topics and issues, from music, white consumerism, cartoons, and the rise of Black Twitter to the NBA's dress code, dance, and Moonlight. Analyzing the myriad ways in which people perform, avow, politicize, own, and love blackness, this volume charts the shifting debates in Black popular culture scholarship over the past quarter century while offering new avenues for future scholarship.

Contributors. Takiyah Nur Amin, Patricia Hill Collins, Kelly Jo Fulkerson-Dikuua, Simone C. Drake, Dwan K. Henderson, Imani Kai Johnson, Ralina L. Joseph, David J. Leonard, Emily J. Lordi, Nina Angela Mercer, Mark Anthony Neal, H. Ike Okafor-Newsum, Kinohi Nishikawa, Eric Darnell Pritchard, Richard Schur, Tracy Sharpley-Whiting, Vincent Stephens, Lisa B. Thompson, Sheneese Thompson


Are You Entertained? is a thoughtfully constructed collection of scholarly work on blackness and subjectivity and their constant tensions with popular culture and mass media. Simone C. Drake and Dwan K. Henderson do a superb job of weaving together these shards of insightful criticism and analysis into a tapestry of fascinating commentary by some of the most dynamic voices in the field.” — John Jennings, Professor of Media and Cultural Studies, University of California, Riverside

"The book is a valuable contribution to the interdisciplinary field of African American studies as well as to literature and sociology and to the overall study of performance, culture, media, and Blackness. Recommended. General readers through faculty; professionals." — T. N. Allen, Choice


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Price: $27.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Simone C. Drake is Hazel C. Youngberg Trustees Distinguished Professor of African American and African Studies at the Ohio State University and author of When We Imagine Grace: Black Men and Subject Making.

Dwan K. Henderson is on the English and American Studies faculty at the Lovett School in Atlanta, Georgia.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Introduction  1
I. Performing Blackness
1. "Mutts Like Me": Mixed-Race Jokes and Post-Racial Rejection in the Obama Era / Ralina L. Joseph  29
2. Black Radio: Robert Glasper, Esperanza Spalding, and Janelle Monáe / Emily J. Lordi  44
3. Camping and Vamping across Borders: Locating Cabaret Singers in the Black Cultural Spectrum / Vincent Stephens  58
4. The Art of Black Popular Culture / H. Ike Okafor-Newsum  77
5. Interview / Lisa B. Thompson  91
II. Politicizing Blackness
6. Refashioning Political Cartoons: Comics of Jackie Ormes 1938–1958 / Kelly Jo Fulkerson-Dikuua  101
7. Queer Kinship and Worldmaking in Black Queer Web Series: Drama Queenz and No Shade / Eric Darnell Pritchard  118
8. Styling and Profiling: Ballers, Blackness, and the Sartorial Politics of the NBA / David J. Leonard  134
9. Interview / Tracy Sharpley-Whiting  153
III. Owning Blackness
10. The Subaltern Is Signifyin(g): Black Twitter as a Site of Resistance / Sheneese Thompson  161
11. Authentic Black Cool?: Branding and Trademarks in Contemporary African American Culture / Richard Schur  175
12. Black Culture without Black People: Hip-Hop Dance beyond Appropriation Discourse / Imani Kai Johnson  191
13. At the Corner of Chaos and Divine: Black Ritual Theater, Performance, and Politics / Nina Angela Mercer  207
14. Interview / Mark Anthony Neal  229
IV. Loving Blackness
15. The Booty Don't Lie: Pleasure, Agency, and Resistance in Black Popular Dance / Takiyah Nur Amin  237
16. He Said Nothing: Sonic Space and the Production of Quietude in Barry Jenkins's Moonlight / Simone C. Drake  252
17. Black Women Readers and the Uses of Urban Fiction / Kinohi Nishikawa  268
18. Interview / Patricia Hill Collins  288
Contributors 301
Index  307
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0678-7 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0517-9