Flyboy 2

The Greg Tate Reader

Flyboy 2

Book Pages: 368 Illustrations: Published: August 2016

Author: Greg Tate

African American Studies and Black Diaspora, Cultural Studies, Music

Since launching his career at the Village Voice in the early 1980s Greg Tate has been one of the premiere critical voices on contemporary Black music, art, literature, film, and politics. Flyboy 2 provides a panoramic view of the past thirty years of Tate's influential work. Whether interviewing Miles Davis or Ice Cube, reviewing an Azealia Banks mixtape or Suzan-Lori Parks's Topdog/Underdog, discussing visual artist Kara Walker or writer Clarence Major, or analyzing the ties between Afro-futurism, Black feminism, and social movements, Tate's resounding critical insights illustrate how race, gender, and class become manifest in American popular culture. Above all, Tate demonstrates through his signature mix of vernacular poetics and cultural theory and criticism why visionary Black artists, intellectuals, aesthetics, philosophies, and politics matter to twenty-first-century America. 


"Tate has been an important if underread critic for the past several decades, and this collection will allow more readers to discover him. Not a fast or simple read, but a worthwhile one for fans of music and culture."  — Craig L. Shufelt, Library Journal

"Flyboy 2 will be like no other collection of writing you will read this year, and probably this decade. Refer back to the original Flyboy book to whet your palate, and to note and compare the evolution of Tate’s voice and his perception of the world and music around him. Take comfort in knowing that there is a Black writer who has no choice but to be real, poised and dignified, denying all pressures to bastardize the class and power of Black arts criticism and literary excellence." — Jordannah Elizabeth, Amsterdam News

"Whether you are new to his work or a longtime reader, the universe of Black magic lovingly curated in Flyboy 2 will do your soul good." — Steven W. Thrasher, The Guardian

"Flyboy 2 is an immersive, fluid, and genre-bending collection of commentary, essays, and exposition of the self, a beautiful text solidly grounded in the critical theories of late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century academia."  — Patty Comeau, ForeWord Reviews

"What Flyboy 1 and 2 show is that Tate has come a long way in the study of this, the feared black planet and, in so doing, came out a more skilful, more humble man. What his style won’t let me forget is this: we are simultaneously in command of this world, and others." — Kwanele Sosibo, Mail & Guardian

"What made Tate’s criticism special was his ability to theorize outward from his encounters with genius and his brushes with banality—to telescope between moments of artistic inspiration and the giant structures within which those moments were produced. . . . Tate has a keen sense for the way that both artists and communities discern where they fit in the world, and what is expected of them, and then either go along for the ride or carefully plot their escapes." — Hua Hsu, The New Yorker

"[T]hought-provoking. . . . There's lots to unpack in Tate's writing, challenging us to come along for the ride--if we're up to it." — David Hershkovits, Paper Magazine

"An enjoyable read that you can digest as a whole or in parts, while marveling at Tate’s ability to turn a phrase while dissecting race, class and gender in America." — Brenda Nelson-Strauss, Black Grooves

"A Rolling Stone contributor, Greg Tate's ferocious, slang-tinged salvos and deep-rooted historical analysis have inspired readers and intimidated colleagues for decades. This sequel to the 1992 collection Flyboy in the Buttermilk felt particularly acute in the context of 2016's nonstop stream of racial horror, whether Tate is delineating visual artist Kara Walker's unflinching slavery-era silhouettes or eulogizing Richard Pryor and Michael Jackson. . . ." — Michaelangelo Matos, Rolling Stone

"Greg Tate has been responsible for some of the most erudite and energetic cultural criticism of the past thirty years. . . . The book stands as a testimony to the richness and variety of contemporary Black artistic production, and to Tate’s restless curiosity and learning." — Michael Lapointe, TLS

"Tate’s work is shiny and sharp and reflects the culture that it cuts." — Roy Christopher, Summer Reading List 2017

“Like all of Greg Tate's work, this is required reading for anyone interested in the last several decades of life and culture in the United States.” — Charles L. Hughes, Journal of Popular Music Studies

"Flyboy 2 collects more pieces that prove Tate, a Rolling Stone contributor, hasn't lost a step, with riffs on young artists like Azealia Banks ('a freaky-geeky, speed-rapping succubus') and forebears such as Jimi Hendrix ('one of our most agile and adept freedom fighters'). It's a dive into what Tate calls 'Black Cognition,' a cornerstone of the American mind."  — Will Hermes, Rolling Stone

"Gathered here we have a body of work a generation in the making that will certainly shape our thinking, listening, and seeing for generations to come. Greg Tate is the standard-bearer; his critical sensibilities are matched only by his ability to render them in stunning prose. The power and charisma of his intellect emanate from the page. In the tradition of Ellison and Baraka, but unlike them, shaped by the best of Black feminism, Tate forges his own brilliant path." — Farah Jasmine Griffin

"The premier hip-hop writer of his generation, a stunning prose stylist, and the inventor of a whole new approach to music and cultural criticism, Greg Tate has been to hip-hop what Albert Murray is to jazz: the standard-setter for a generation of intellectuals who care deeply about race, art, and the future." — Ann Powers


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Price: $27.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Greg Tate is a music and popular culture critic and journalist whose work has appeared in many publications, including the Village Voice, Vibe, Spin, the Wire, and Downbeat. He is the author of Flyboy in the Buttermilk: Essays on Contemporary America and Midnight Lightning: Jimi Hendrix and the Black Experience and the editor of Everything but the Burden: What White People Are Taking from Black Culture. Tate, via guitar and baton, also leads the conducted improvisation ensemble Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber, who tour internationally.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Introduction: Lust, of All Things (Black)  1

1. The Black Male Show
Amiri Baraka  9
Wayne Shorter  16
Jimi Hendrix  24
John Coltrane  41
Gone Fishing: Remembering Lester Bowie  44
The Black Artists' Group  50
Butch Morris  55
Charles Edward Anderson Berry and the History of Our Future  57
Lonnie Holley  68
Marion Brown (1931–2010) and Djinji Brown  71
Dark Angels of Dust: David Hammons and the Art of Streetwise Trancendentalism  73
Bill T. Jones: Combative Moves  78
Garry Simmons: Conceptual Bomber  81
The Persistence of Vision: Storyboard P  83
Ice Cube  91
Wynton Marsalis: Jazz Crusader  102
Thonton Dail: Free, Black, and Brightening Up the Darkness of the World  110
Kehinde Wiley  124
Rammellzee: The Ikonoklast Samurai  127
Richard Pryor: Pryor Lives  136
Richard Pryor  146
Gil Scott-Heron  149
The Man in Our Mirror: Michael Jackson  152
Miles Davis  158

2. She Laughing Mean and Impressive Too
Born to Dyke: I Love My Sister Laughing and Then Again When She's Looking Mean, Queer, and Impressive  167
Joni Mitchell: Black and Blond  175
Azealia Banks  177
Sade: Black Magic Woman  180
All the Things You Could Be by Now If Iames Brown Was a Feminist  186
Itabari Njeri  193
Kara Walker  196
Women at the Edge of Space, Time, and Art: Ruminations on Candida Romero's Little Girls  202
Ellen Gallagher  208
To Bid a Poet Black and Abstract  210
"The Gikuyu Mythos versus the Cullud Grrrl from Outta Space": A Wangechi Mutu Feature  213
Come Join the Hieroglyphic Zombie Parade: Deborah Grant  219
Björk's Second Act  223
Thelma Golden  228

3. Hello Darknuss My Old Meme
Top Ten Reasons Why So Few Black Women Were Down to Occupy Wall Street Plus Four More  235
What Is Hip-Hop?  239
Intelligence Data: Bob Dylan  242
Hip-Hop Turns Thirty  246
Love and Crunk: Outkast  252
White Freedom: Eminem  254
Wu-Dunit: Wu-Tang Clan  256
Unlocking the Truth vs. John Cage  260

4. Screenings
Spike Lee's Bamboozled  265
It's A Mack Thing  270
Sex and Negrocity: John Singleton's Baby Boy  272
Lincoln in Whiteface: Jeffrey Wright and Don Cheadle in Susan-Lori Parks's Topdog/Underdog  275
The Black Power Mixtape  278

5. Race, Sex, Politricks and Belle Lettres
Clarence Major  285
The Atlantic Sound: Caryl Phillips's The Atlantic Sound  288
Acocalypse Now: Patricia Hill Collins's Black Sexual Politics; Thomas Shevory's Notorious H.I.V.; Jacob Levenson's The Secret Epidemic  290
Blood and Bridges  292
Nigger-'Tude  296
Triple Threat: Jerry Gafio Watts's Amiri Baraka; Hazel Rowley's Richard Wright; David Macey's Frantz Fanon  299
Bottom Feeders: Natsuo Kirino's Out  306
Scaling the Heights: Maryse Condé's Windward Heights  307
Fear of a Mongrel Planet: Zadie Smith's White Teeth  310
Adventures in the Skin Trade: Lisa Teasley's Glow in the Dark  313
Generous Hexed: Jeffery Renard Allen's Rails under My Back  315
Going Underground: Gayl Jones's Mosquito  317
Judgment Day: Toni Morrison's Love and Edward P. Jones's The Known World  320
Black Modernity and Laughter, or How It Came to Be That N*g*as Got Jokes  322
Kalahari Hopscotch, or Notes toward a Twenty-Volume Afrocentric Futurist Manifesto  330

Sources  343
Index  347
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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