Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness

Black Cool explores the ineffable state and aesthetic of Black Cool From the effortless reserve of Miles Davis in khakis on an early album cover, to the shock of resistance in black women s fashion from Angela Davis to Rihanna, to the cadence of poets as diverse as Staceyann Chin and Audre Lorde, Black Cool looks at the roots of Black Cool and attempts to name elements ofBlack Cool explores the ineffable state and aesthetic of Black Cool From the effortless reserve of Miles Davis in khakis on an early album cover, to the shock of resistance in black women s fashion from Angela Davis to Rihanna, to the cadence of poets as diverse as Staceyann Chin and Audre Lorde, Black Cool looks at the roots of Black Cool and attempts to name elements of the phenomena that have emerged to shape the global expectation of cool itself.Buoyed by some of America s most innovative thinkers on the subject graphic novelist Mat Johnson, Brown University Professor of African Studies Tricia Rose, critical thinking and cultural icon bell hooks, Macarthur winner Kara Walker, and many the book is at once a handbook, a map, a journey into the matrix of another cosmology It s a literal periodic table of cool, wherein each writer names and defines their element of choice Dream Hampton writes about Audacity Helena Andrews about Reserve, Margo Jefferson on Eccentricity, Veronica Chambers on Genius, and so on With a foreword by Henry Louis Gates that bridges historical African elements of cool with the path laid out for the future, Black Cool offers a provocative perspective on this powerful cultural legacy.
Black Cool One Thousand Streams of Blackness Black Cool explores the ineffable state and aesthetic of Black Cool From the effortless reserve of Miles Davis in khakis on an early album cover to the shock of resistance in black women s fashion fr

  • Title: Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness
  • Author: Rebecca Walker Henry Louis Gates Jr.
  • ISBN: 9781593764173
  • Page: 302
  • Format: Paperback
  • 1 thought on “Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness”

    1. I eat a huge, elaborate breakfast of oats, yogurt, luxurious dried fruits like dates, figs and apricots, nuts, fresh fruit, honey, cinnamon and herbal tea every morning, followed up with chocolate. While I'm lounging around wishing I'd been more moderate, my flatmate will make herself freshly ground coffee and toast spread with an indescribably aromatic combination of almond butter and fig preserve. The smell from the kitchen is intoxicating. I could react with envy and snipe at her meaninglessl [...]

    2. I really enjoyed this book, despite not wholly buying into the premise that there is an inherent "black cool" as opposed to a culture of black cool. But it is an interesting subject, and the essays I liked the best were those that described how perceptions of black cool manifest themselves in black communities and influence our interactions. I didn't have to take the concept literally (though Walker doesn't think it's outrageous to do so) to appreciate the stories told here Stories of survival, [...]

    3. Reading this book was like taking a deeply satisfying expansive breath that left me basking in a sea of gentle inspiration! It affirms life, black life, diversity and offers a grounded fulfilling counterpoint to mainstream media simplicity. Accessible contemporary wisdom and intelligence. Highly recommended! (Note: I did not read Henry Louis Gate's intro!)

    4. It's interesting to read the other reviews of this book. It seems that blacks were much more critical and less likely to engage in the writing as "cool". But for a white Jew like me, the writing was fascinating, insightful and really way cooler that I would ever have predicted. I'm not a fan of essays but these offer something that is rarely verbalized and worth taking the time to read and think about.

    5. To quote the reviewer Zanna, "This book is not about me or for me; it doesn't need me and it doesn't care what I think, and as well as being about terrible things that haven't and cannot happen to me, it's kind of about wonderful things I can't have. This is a humbling thing." I loved this book. I wish I could tell you my favorite essay or story, but I can't choose. Each one stood out on its own for its own merits and excellence. I wrote down so many quotes from the writers. I looked up so many [...]

    6. The first thing black people need to understand is that a miscegenated blend of "indian", "dutch", and "whatever," is not who we are; it's what happened. I have in me Blackfoot and Cherokee, Welsh, and whatever else by incident, doesn't mean "this land is your land, this land is my land." It just means that's what happened.So, again, first thing to understand, we are not a miscegenated blend of "everything," we stand on our own identity. If we are a "nation," it is our own; civilized by no other [...]

    7. I read this book as part of an ongoing meditation on the tech industry and appropriation of hip-hop and black male swagger (despite the exclusion/erasure of black bodies). The gorgeous pieces in this book make so many of the points I wish to make. Now I need only draw the lines from there to here. bell hooks, Mat Johnson, Staceyann Chinn, and so many others paint the many hues of black cool, big and bold, yet subtle and precise.This book is absolute perfection from beginning to end. I am gratefu [...]

    8. Many of the concise and well-written essays in this collection have been beautifully rendered. I am particularly touched by dream hampton's "Audacity," Rachel M. Harper's "Crazy," "Resistance" by Michaela angela Davis, "Eccentricity" by Margo Chambers and "Hunger" by Veronica Chambers. hampton addresses an attempted rape in her childhood - balancing rage, voice, and insight - in a brave and thoughtful essay. Chambers delivers an essay which connects appetite with coolness and suggests a new unde [...]

    9. White people will benefit greatly from this book. However my fellow Caucasians, remember this. This book is written by black people (mostly American Black people) who are creators of black culture (many different forms of black culture). My white brethren, read this book as a person willing to appreciate and learn about a culture that maybe you've never seen. It is all around, but white privilege means we can ignore black culture or pay attention to it as we please. We ignore it to our own impov [...]

    10. I loved everything about this book except for Henry Louis Gate Jr.'s parenthetical foreword and Margo Davis's essay. The rest of the essays, by outstanding black authors, were well-written and edited. The best thing is that each essay brings a truly unique perspective to the topic of "black cool." Some essays, though, are truly outstanding for their sheer power and good writing, like "Audacity" by dream hampton. Another reason why I really liked this book is because it introduced me to a slew of [...]

    11. I'm about halfway through this book and I think it's a wonderful re-introduction to my former life (where I read books instead of streamed tv to my computer). The essays are good. Some of the authors are familiar, some aren't. They're all personal and all hit on topics near and dear to me. Rape, the "strong black woman" phenomenon, defining hipster, mental illness among artists. I find myself highlighting thoughts, phrases and Ideas I'd like to further explore in my own writing and even my own e [...]

    12. I really enjoyed this book. From Michaela Angela Davis' perspective on fashion and being a mixed-race girl in the industry to Dream Hampton's epiphany of her strength as a woman to Hank Willis Thomas' first pair of Jordans "Black Cool" truly explores what it means to be a person of color and discover the beauty of our innate style. I totally recommend this beautiful little anthology.

    13. Honestly, I expected a little bit more. Some essays were a hit and miss for me. BUT quite a few were bang on point and the writers were able to articulate some ideas and feelings about the authentic Black experience that I was struggling to express. And I'm grateful for that.

    14. I loved the variety of contributors and topics. Each essay is only a few pages so it's super easy to get through. Some standouts for me were The Geek by Mat Jonson, Evolution by Miles Marshall Lewis and Forever by Michaela angela Davis.

    15. I think I would have appreciated these essays a lot more if they had been more substantial. That said, there were some that managed to pack a punch in a few pages, especially Audacity, The Geek, The Hipster, Soul, The Scream, and Evolution, which ranged from personal stories to more of a long view of black culture. The ones I tended not to like spoke more of blackness as an intransmutable thing, especially Resistance, which used the infuriating technique of talking about something by saying "I'm [...]

    16. I knew Rebecca when she lived in Brooklyn NY. She was a cool woman who was just Becca to usoh, yea the daughter of Alice Walker (squeel!!) This book is a must read for those who are open to writers like: dream hampton, Helena Andrews, Veronica Chamers, bell hooks, Michaela angela Davis Mat Johnson, Dayo Olopade and 10 others who are considered this countries most innovative thinkers as they explore the ineffable aesthetic of what is "Black Cool". It is a book for the geek, the reserved, the hips [...]

    17. Essays on what it means to be “cool” as a Black American in the 21st Century, the book’s biggest shortcoming is the narrow range of voices featured. Yes, the twelve included essays cross a range of ages and subjects and background, but they were all written by intellectuals, who let’s face it, are a minority in America. I enjoyed the essays, but they read more like a group of friends getting together and sharing their (mostly similar) opinions rather than a serious discussion. Black Cool [...]

    18. These short essays on black cool work best in conversation with each other, as the writers have differing opinions about the aesthetics of cool and black cool in relation to gender and masculinity, whiteness and blackness, and commerce (the one thing these authors all seem to agree on is that they themselves are real cool). It's an uneven bunch, with some essays getting a bit too grad school, self-adulating, or self-consciously performative, but there are some standouts (especially from Helena A [...]

    19. Well balanced anthology that exposed me to great ideas and perspectives and great writers I'll want to follow from now on. Esther Armah lays down some profound words about this being the time for the emotional justice movement. Veronica Chambers traces the importance of sharing a meal and communal eating through the Harlem Renaissance to today. Dayo Olopade takes back the word 'hipster' through an image laced contextual global history. Rachel M Harper says things about her brilliant, scary, and [...]

    20. Black Cool DeconstructedHere, those whose creative talent is pegged at way beyond substantial, attempt to decode Black Cool in all its forms; What is it?, Who has it?, Who owns it? etc…. What you will get in return is an eclectic blend of responses that spans the gamut and, in of itself, is testament to the diversity that can be found in something otherwise known, monochromatically, as Black.

    21. I enjoyed this collection of essays. Some were better than others which is to be expected, but I was not overly disappointed by any. The collection definitely invokes a series of emotions; happiness, pride, sorrow, anger etc which is indicative of the ability for the authors to tell their own stories. My favorites were Reserve, The Break, Resistance, Hunger, Evolution and Swagger.

    22. I loved this eclectic collection of thought-provoking essays. Featuring selections by some of the nation's top "thinkers," this was like a coffee shop readingwell, a series of readings by very engaging writers. Most of the essays were also personal memoirs,some quite intimate. The book will cause you to define and redefine your understanding of "Black Cool."

    23. "That’s solitude, keeping company with the first institution—that of self. Hanging out with your own spirit. But hanging out with your spirit is not the same as an obsession with individualism. That obsession can be a cancer to Blackness—not because self ain’t fly, too, but because the beauty of together is a forgotten magic we can’t afford to lose."

    24. I was able to skim the whole thing in the bookstore. Expected way more, even though it's a collection of essays by writers I generally like. I honestly don't think Walker has the gift (writing or editing). Just the name.

    25. So this is really a great book of wonderful essays from a variety of viewpoints and styles. I cannot recommend it highly enough for its style--the writing is just wonderful, and the insights are wonderful. A very, very good book.

    26. I thoroughly enjoyed this anthology. Normally I shy away from this type of book, however this one opened my mind to a whole new bevy of artists and writers like dream hampton and staceyann chin. If you are looking for a clear definition of the multiple levels of black cool, this is a must read!

    27. Loved this book. So many of the pieces resonated with me. Promised it to 4 great women to read, can't wait to get it back and have my kid read it. My 12 year old self needed to read this book, so since I didn't have it I will share with my son.

    28. It was refreshing reading these extremely diverse perspectives of what is black cool. I especially enjoyed Michaela Angela Davis' fierce protective stance on the innovative qualities of black style. Would read again.

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