The Guardian

Child soldiers march at night. Homeless veterans haunt the Boulevard You know longer patrol the Wall for this city’s Miserables. Even Guardians get old. Even Guardians get old. Once you tended to Valjean and Javert Protecting one from a crackhead son Making sure the nursing home gave the other his HIV meds That was then. […]

What Would WEB Du Bois Tell Henry Jenkins and Soulja Boy?

As Henry Jenkins and other scholars have observed, contemporary remix culture has disrupted both hierarchies of taste and capitalist models of cultural production. However, less attention seems to have been paid to the degree to which these emergent models of cultural production reinforce oppressive stereotypes and destructive social norms. This essay muses upon efforts to create socially responsible media in the current environment.

We Just Wanna Be Successful: The Shrinking of the Black American Dream

Consider two songs from two generations. One, Drake’s  “Successful, ” was one of the most popular songs of 2009, making an international rap star out of the unsigned Canadian former child actor. The other, “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now,” was a signature hit for the songwriting producing duo of McFadden and Whitehead. Both employ narratives […]

Danny Glover on Sam Cooke

I love what Danny Glover says here about how young people use music to create meaning and identity.This documentary, Crossing Over, is especially valuable for its recollections by Lou Rawls, James Brown and Billy Preston, all of whom are gone.

The Good Mother, part 2

Hi Mommy, What was it like for you to be back in New Jersey busting suds and picking crops, after spending those years in Hartford, Connecticut, learning etiquette, elocution and the other skills essential to becoming a proper bourgeoise? No doubt it was a shock, and not just for you. You loved your New Jersey […]