African Americans and Popular Culture
by Todd Boyd
October 2008, 836pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
3 volumes, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-275-98922-4
$163, £121, 136€, A233
eBook Available: 978-0-313-06408-1
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

This set offers a comprehensive overview of the African American influence and presence in film, television, radio, music, other popular art forms, and sports.

The African American influence on popular culture is among the most sweeping and lasting this country has seen. Despite a history of institutionalized racism, black artists, entertainers, and entrepreneurs have had enormous impact on American popular culture. Pioneers such as Oscar Michaeux, Paul Robeson, Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Langston Hughes, Bill Bojangles Robinson, and Bessie Smith paved the way for Jackie Robinson, Nina Simone, James Baldwin, Bill Russell, Muhammad Ali, Sidney Poitier, and Bill Cosby, who in turn opened the door for Spike Lee, Dave Chappelle, Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, Tiger Woods, and Michael Jordan. Today, hip hop is the most powerful element of youth culture; white teenagers outnumber blacks as purchasers of rap music; black-themed movies are regularly successful at the box office, and black writers have been anthologized and canonized right alongside white ones. Though there are still many more miles to travel and much to overcome, this three-volume set considers the multifaceted influence of African Americans on popular culture, and sheds new light on the ways in which African American culture has come to be a fundamental and lasting part of America itself.

To articulate the momentous impact African American popular culture has had upon the fabric of American society, these three volumes provide analyses from academics and experts across the country. They provide the most reliable, accurate, up-to-date, and comprehensive treatment of key topics, works, and themes in African American popular culture for a new generation of readers. The scope of the project is vast, including: popular historical movements like the Harlem Renaissance; the legacy of African American comedy; African Americans and the Olympics; African Americans and rock ‘n roll; more contemporary articulations such as hip hop culture and black urban cinema; and much more. One goal of the project is to recuperate histories that have been perhaps forgotten or obscured to mainstream audiences and to demonstrate how African Americans are not only integral to American culture, but how they have always been purveyors of popular culture.

Reviews

"A number of black popular culture studies are currently available, yet each seems narrowly focused; this collection puts everything in one place. Overall the essays are well written, relevant, and accessible, and the index thorough..."—Choice, June 1, 2009

"...the series is a good addition to high school, public, and undergraduate libraries."—ARBA, March 1, 2009

"The individual topics are well-chosen and occasionally pleasantly surprising, featuring considerations of superheroes, hip-hop moguls, and sports television, and each topic is covered by either an academic specialist in the field or (as in the case of the sports essays) a non-academic expert. . . . an excellent collection of general writings on popular culture that might nonetheless be too advanced for high school and public library audiences. Highly recommended for all academic library collections."—MultiCultural Review, July 28, 2009

"This three-volume set illustrates how popular culture has been uniquely influenced by African Americans. . . . Boyd is a recognized expert on popular culture, particularly regarding race, media, hip-hop culture and sports."—Catholic Library World, December 1, 2009
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