In Soul Babies, Mark Anthony Neal explains the complexities and contradictions of black life and culture after the end of the Civil Rights era. He traces the emergence of what he calls a "post-soul aesthetic," a transformation of values that marked a profound change in African American thought and experience. Lively and provocative, Soul Babies offers a valuable new way of thinking about black popular culture and the legacy of the sixties.
"…validates Neal's intellectual and practical contribution to the fields of popular culture and Black cultural studies." -- Deborah Elizabeth Whaley, American Studies
"[Neal] makes a significant theoretical contribution to the existing intellectual work on Black popular culture." -- Deborah Elizabeth Whaley, American Studies
"…carves out a well-defined intellectual and theoretical space for the post-soul generation--the soul babies of history." -- Deborah Elizabeth Whaley, American Studies
"Mark Anthony Neal is that rare and gifted writer and thinker who can move easily between street corners and academia, hip-hop heads and high-brow intellectuals, as well as pop cultural markers as different as "Good Times" and "Batman." Indeed, Soul Babies recalls the best iconoclastic work of W.E.B. DuBois, E. Franklin Frazier, and bell hooks. Yes, Neal is that kind of intellectual giant-in-the-making: brutally honest with razor-sharp insights, and so ahead of his time that he is one of the voices we will look to many years from now for interpretations of these first days of the 21st century." -- Kevin Powell, editor of Step Into a World: A Global Anthology of the New Black Literature
"Writing in a prose that is as brilliant as it is accessible, Mark Anthony Neal not only makes a case for engaging black popular culture critically as a complex and crucial terrain of agency, engagement, and struggle, but also makes clear that the divergent realm of black cultural politics represents a site in which the performative and the political, cultural and educational, point to new possibilities for democratic social transformation. This is a breakthrough book and should be read by everyone concerned with black popular culture as a site of struggle, possibility, and transformation." -- Henry A. Giroux, author of Impure Acts: The Practical Politics of Cultural Studies
"Despite (or perhaps because of) its rather incongruous postmodernist intellectual underpinnings, this is a subtle and refreshing look at the aesthetic sensibilities of "Generation Hip-Hop," those children of the 1960s ("Soul Babies") who came of age in the post-Civil Rights era. Included are sections about "blaxploitation" movies, TV sitcoms (i.e., The PJs and Good Times ), gender politics, the black media, and the campus scene (from the perspectives of both students and the black intelligentsia)." -- J. B. Lane, Indiana University in CHOICE, June 2002
"this is a subtle and refreshing look at the aesthetic sensibilities of "Generation Hip-Hop" . . ." -- Choice