9780465029792

The Hip-Hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisis in African-American Culture

Kitwana, Bakari

ISBN 10: 0465029795 / 0-465-02979-5
ISBN 13: 9780465029792
Publisher: Basic Civitas Books
Publication Date: 2003
Binding: Softcover
Editorial Reviews for this title:
Synopsis:
The Hip Hop Generation is an eloquent testament for black youth culture at the turn of the century. The only in-depth study of the first generation to grow up in post-segregation America, it combines culture and politics into a pivotal work in American studies. Bakari Kitwana, one of black America's sharpest young critics, offers a sobering look at this generation's disproportionate social and political troubles, and celebrates the activism and politics that may herald the beginning of a new phase of African-American empowerment.

Review:
Bakari Kitwana, a former editor at The Source, identifies blacks born between 1965 and 1984 as belonging to the "hip-hop generation" a term he uses interchangeably with black youth culture ("Generation X" applies mainly to whites, he says). He calls hip-hop "arguably the single most significant achievement of our generation," yet blames it for causing much damage to black youth by perpetuating negative stereotypes and providing poor role models. But this book is about much more than just rap music; it takes a broad look at the state of post-civil-rights black America and the crises that have come about in the past three decades, including high rates of homicide, suicide, and imprisonment and a rise in single-parent homes, police brutality, unemployment, and blacks' use of popular culture (through pop music and movies) to celebrate "anti-intellectualism, ignorance, irresponsible parenthood, and criminal lifestyles." Serious problems indeed, but Kitwana acknowledges that members of this generation have more opportunities than their parents had, and he believes there is still time to make positive and lasting changes.

He looks closely at this generation's worldview, politics, activism, and its high profile in the entertainment world, which has made it "central in American culture, transcending geographic, social, and economic boundaries." Emphasizing that "rap music's ability to influence social change should not be taken lightly," he calls for a more responsible and constructive use of this unprecedented power. Kitwana is concerned about the legacy of his generation, and he wants his book to "jump-start the dialogue necessary to change our current course." The Hip Hop Generation deserves to be read both for its aim and its execution. --Shawn Carkonen

Review

Review:
"This brilliantly provocative work is a focused, passionate, inspiring, and extremely thoughtful attempt not only to examine the problems facing young blacks, but also to point to a way out." -- Atlanta Journal-Constitution

From the Back Cover

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