Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Stereotypes in Black Music: The African-American Crossover Compromise

Stereotypes in Black Music: The African-American Crossover Compromise
by Alan Kurtz

Paperback: 216 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (November 28, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1453853669
ISBN-13: 978-1453853665

Product Description
Stereotypes have forever polluted the relationship between blacks and whites in America, and nowhere more conspicuously than in the entertainment field. Here, artists are often judged not only by the color of their skin but by the content of their caricature. In particular, the persistence of racially negative portrayals in African-American music, despite increasing control exercised by blacks, reflects the extent to which both races cling to outmoded concepts. By any measure except ethics, crossover music (made by blacks, consumed by whites) has been spectacularly successful at spreading pernicious icons. Stereotypes in Black Music aims to put these avatars into a pop-cultural context in a way that is informative, provocative and necessarily corrosive. This is not an indictment of African Americans as a whole or of their music generally. It is rather a critical look at one microscopic slice of black culture, examining the screwy symbiosis by which whites have patronized the most demeaning caricatures while blacks have kept the marketplace freshly supplied with toxic divertissements. Within these pages you'll find Louis Armstrong dressed like Fred Flintstone, a tuxedoed Duke Ellington presiding over fantasy jungles in Depression-era Harlem, R&B voodoo men putting a hex on postwar teenagers, rock 'n' roll guitar-slingers in purple Cadillacs transporting underage girls across state lines for immoral purposes, freaky funksters sporting spacesuits and platform shoes, pushbutton-orgasmic disco queens, and of course gangsta rappers in all their gun-blazing, bitch-slapping, X-rated glory. (It's impossible to adequately treat this subject using sanitized excerpts, so expect offensive language.) Stereotypes in Black Music is bound to rankle. But a debate on this volatile subject is long overdue. Let fly the sparks.

About the Author
Independent scholar Alan Kurtz has written extensively about music. During 2007-2009 he contracted to Jazz.com, where he authored 630 reviews, 20 feature articles and an equal number of blogs, and edited more than 2,500 reviews by other contributors. Since November 2009 his online platform has been Blogcritics.org, where he writes about all things other than music.

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