I was relieved to see that both Kitwana and Hurt made it clear that homophobia and misogyny are dangerous ways in which a hip-hop-inflected black masculinity has been privileged and both overtly and subtly celebrated. Then Hurt made the mild attempt to possibly suggest that the hypermasculine posturing in hip-hop was in some ways connected to expressions of masculinity within mainstream American culture. He talked a bit about his experiences as a football player for diagnosing the larger problem of a normalized violent and aggressive American masculinity that expresses itself through misogynistic and homophobic acts.
Still it was gratifying to see two black men talking critically about black masculinity in the context of popular culture, especially because I understand how media interests can cut, shape, and flat-out ignore, if not misrepresent, more complex ideas and positions coming from politically marginalized communities.
I was raised, I would like to think, in a masculine way. I played sports. I played everything. Ironically, the framing of this CNN special brought me back to a series of sometimes intense conversations I have had with my oldest of two sons about appropriate gender roles. In these conversations, my kindergartner has grilled me about the appropriate and strict distinction between what girls and boys can and cannot do, especially in terms of play styles, occupations, and even behavior.
In fact I was proud that he was reflective enough to even have these conversations with me, instead of simply making up his own mind. Therefore, as a black father, I am concerned by exactly what is shaping and what will shape the definition of masculinity for both of my sons, especially during these crucial and tender developmental years. Now of course this is no indictment of the school, but simply highlights that my son is picking up these potentially dangerous ideas about gender roles and he shuttles back and forth between an affluent white school, playgroups, and a solidly middle-class white neighborhood.
Conversations with my son made it clear to me that the very same masculine behaviors we are now rightfully demonizing are not unique to hip-hop but also exist and are transmitted within privileged, politically liberal, white spaces. When the curtain rises on the current minstrel show of blackface masculinity, America speaks in a tone of righteous indignation and outrage about the future of its innocent impressionable children.
In the new service economy, we find not just the loss of jobs, but also a loss of at least images of manly labor. Here, the gendered undertones of servitude are key when service becomes the key form of labor. Yet this power is hardly value neutral. Apparently the clothes and the scantily clad women, cash, cars, and Cristal do make the man. Yet the history and political economy of black masculinity slavery forces us to question the implications of ballers so vigorously equating their sense of masculine power and self-control with being commercially branded. Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates powerfully highlights the image of the gangsta as an exaggerated form of compensation in the absence of all manly work, including a decline in the crack trade.
Not surprisingly, brash expressions of a hypermasculine posture in an age without manly work are intimately tied to excessive displays of physical—almost homoerotic— dominance over other men, the sexual—nearly pornographic—exploitation of women, and an unadulterated worship at the altar of gross accumulation or at least exhibition of conspicuous wealth.
Briefly consider the unholy convergence between black and white visions of manhood, as revealed in the Duke lacrosse scandal. Such a racial flip side to what could allegedly be seen as a black male propensity for overcompensation continues to highlight the Americanness of this blackface tragicomedy. The convergence between the very real C.
Blackface masculinity also serves as a distraction because a discussion of the messy nature of American masculinities that cuts across racial railroad tracks and ghettoes could spur larger critiques. In the end, identifying the interracial nature of this black masculine boogeyman may be a start and a spark, but it is not enough as entire black communities lay under siege by this looming image and its incandescent yet ethereal shine. Bederman, Gail. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, Brown, Ethan. New York: Anchor, Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Dyson, Michael Eric.
New York: Oxford University Press, Fanon, Frantz. Black Skin, White Masks. Translated by Charles Lam Markmann. New York: Grove, Ferguson, Roderick. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, Forman, Murray. Kelley, Norman. New York: Akashic, Kelley, Robin D.
Philadelphia: Temple University Press, Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America. Boston: Beacon Press, Kitwana, Bakari.
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Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Pimp Down by Darryl Littleton. This compelling insider's view of what went wrong with the most meteoric career in comedy takes the reader deep into the world of 21st Century fame.
The tantrums, drugs, lavish hotels, sexual exploits, booze, expensive cars, multiple suicide attempts, private jets, fans, celebrity worship, swanky homes, hanger-ons, tour disputes, jail time, court dates, gang hits, fat ciga This compelling insider's view of what went wrong with the most meteoric career in comedy takes the reader deep into the world of 21st Century fame.
The tantrums, drugs, lavish hotels, sexual exploits, booze, expensive cars, multiple suicide attempts, private jets, fans, celebrity worship, swanky homes, hanger-ons, tour disputes, jail time, court dates, gang hits, fat cigars, media persecution and betrayals are all chronicled. The career of Katt Williams, the most sought after, controversial comedian of his generation, is explored.
How could it all go so wrong so fast? What happened to the crown pimp of comedy? Why didn't anybody help him? In he came out of retirement to enter into Act II of his never boring career.
Darryl Littleton knows what makes people life, and if you can take a joke he'll tell you
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