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Darkest America: Black Minstrelsy from Slavery to Hip Hop

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9780393070989: Darkest America: Black Minstrelsy from Slavery to Hip Hop
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Yuval Taylor and Jake Austen investigate the complex history of black minstrelsy, adopted in the mid-nineteenth century by African American performers who played the grinning blackface fool to entertain black and white audiences. We now consider minstrelsy an embarrassing relic, but once blacks and whites alike saw it as a black art form--and embraced it as such. And, as the authors reveal, black minstrelsy remains deeply relevant to popular black entertainment, particularly in the work of contemporary artists like Dave Chappelle, Flavor Flav, Spike Lee, and Lil Wayne. Darkest America explores the origins, heyday, and present-day manifestations of this tradition, exploding the myth that it was a form of entertainment that whites foisted on blacks, and shining a sure-to-be controversial light on how these incendiary performances can be not only demeaning but also, paradoxically, liberating.

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[This] illuminating book demonstrates serious regard for the history of black performance and... encourages further exploration. It will interest both general readers and specialists in black entertainment. --Library Journal

About the Author:

Yuval Taylor is the coauthor of Darkest America: Black Minstrelsy from Slavery to Hip- Hop and Faking It: The Quest for Authenticity in Popular Music. His writing has appeared in the Guardian, the Antioch Review, the Oxford Review, and other publications. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.

Jake Austen is the editor of Roctober magazine, He lives in Chicago, Illinois.

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