Cultural moves: African Americans and the politics of by Herman Gray

By Herman Gray

Herman grey takes a sweeping examine black pop culture over the last decade to discover culture's function within the push for black political strength and social acceptance. In a sequence of associated essays, he reveals that black artists, students, musicians, and others were instrumental in reconfiguring social and cultural existence within the usa and he provocatively asks how black tradition can now circulation past a preoccupation with inclusion and illustration. grey considers how Wynton Marsalis and his construction of a jazz canon at Lincoln heart acted to set up cultural visibility and legitimacy for jazz. different essays tackle such subject matters because the paintings of the arguable artist Kara Walker; the relentless struggles for illustration on community tv whilst these networks aren't any longer the first website of black or the other identification; and the way black musicians resembling Steve Coleman and George Lewis are utilizing new expertise to form and expand black musical traditions and cultural identities.

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But whites were playing jazz within a decade of its initial appearance, and began making important contributions to its stylistic development shortly thereafter. ”30 42 Strategies Having established his view of jazz’s historic multiculturalism, Treachout singles out Marsalis’s Lincoln Center program for its race-based hiring policies and commissions. “Under Marsalis and Crouch,” Treachout writes, “Jazz at Lincoln Center presents only programs about black musicians; whites are allowed to play with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, but the historic contributions of earlier white players, composers, and arrangers are systematically ignored, and contemporary white composers are not commissioned to write original pieces for the full orchestra.

Interestingly, not all of these achievements hold equally well under scrutiny. Technically speaking, Marsalis is a virtuoso by any conceivable standard . . but his jazz playing is felt by many to be cold and ironically enough derivative. And, Marsalis takes seriously, his job as an unappointed spokesman for Albert Murray’s and Stanley Crouch’s version of the jazz tradition. . He has been quick to criticize other musicians, notably, Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins, for “selling out” to commercial music.

But black claims and counterclaims provide the basis for a cultural assertion of black self-representation that is also deeply engaged with the cultural politics of difference within black cultural discourse, as well as broader American debates about national identity, citizenship, and the public sphere. , as its director. (Similar moves to strengthen African American studies also occurred at Columbia University, New York University, and University of California, Berkeley). At the same time this period saw an upswing in 26 Strategies the media fascination with black public intellectuals, a steady barrage of media appearances, talk show experts, and books by black intellectuals and writers.

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