Black Popular Culture and Social Justice
Beyond the Culture
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This volume examines the use of Black popular culture to engage, reflect, and parse social justice, arguing that Black popular culture is more than merely entertainment. Moving beyond a focus on identifying and categorizing cultural forms, the authors examine Black popular culture to understand how it engages social justice, with attention to anti-Black racism.
Black Popular Culture and Social Justice takes a systematic look at the role of music, comic books, literature, film, television, and public art in shaping attitudes and fighting oppression. Examining the ways in which artists, scholars, and activists have engaged, discussed, promoted, or supported social justice – on issues of criminal justice reform, racism, sexism, LGBTQIA rights, voting rights, and human rights – the book offers unique insights into the use of Black popular culture as an agent for change.
This timely and insightful book will be of interest to students and scholars of race and media, popular culture, gender studies, sociology, political science, and social justice.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Cultural Power
Lakeyta M. Bonnette-Bailey
Section I: Black Television, Movies, and Social Justice
1. Michaela Coel May Destroy You, But Also Help You Heal
2. Two Percent: The Role of Popular Culture in Highlighting Social Justice Issues
Alexandria Johnson, Shae Earls and Joval Warrican
3. Lovecraft Country and the (Re)construction of Black Womanhood
4. The Hate U Give: Police Brutality, Political Fantasies, and Black Popular Culture
Section II: Black Music and Social Justice
5. Contributions of African American Anthems for Social Justice and Equity
John T. Mills and Desmond S. Miller
6. Cardi B: Raising Black Feminist Consciousness in Cyberspace
7. “Out for Presidents to Represent Me”: Hip-Hop, The Breakfast Club, and the 2020 Presidential Elections
8. The Bigger Picture: Hip-Hop, Black Lives, and Social Justice
Lakeyta M. Bonnette-Bailey, Lestina Dongo, Kierra Lawrence and Noah Nelson
9. The Wu Tang Clan, Politics, and Black Power
10. Rappin’ Black in a White World: The Watts Prophets and Democratic Futurity
Section III: Black Speculative Fiction, Comics, Protest Art, and Social Justice
11. The Future is in Her Hands: Rewriting Black Girlhood Narratives and Experiences in Comics
12. Red, White, and Black: Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s Dismantling of White American Heroism
13. Outfoxing the Foxes: Revising Mammy as Subversive Social Justice in Frank Yerby’s The Foxes of Harrow
Valerie N. Matthews
14. Writings on the Walls: A Study of Black Protest Street Art in the Wake of the Murder of George Floyd
Conclusion: Moving Beyond the Culture
Jonathan I. Gayles
Dr. Lakeyta M. Bonnette-Bailey is Associate Professor of Africana Studies at Georgia State University, USA, and Co-Director for the Center for the Advancement of Students and Alumni (CASA). Her research includes Pulse of the People: Political Rap Music and Black Politics and For the Culture: Hip Hop and the Fight for Social Justice, with interests in popular culture, Black politics, and political psychology.
Dr. Jonathan I. Gayles is Professor and Chair of the department of Africana Studies at Georgia State University, USA. He is an interdisciplinary researcher whose primary areas of interest include the anthropology of education, Black masculinity, and critical media studies. He wrote, directed, and produced the award-winning documentary, White Scripts and Black Supermen: Black Masculinities in Comic Books (2011, California Newsreel).