If there's one book you pick up this week, it has to be Who We Be: The Colorization of America by scholar/author Jeff Chang, now available on shelves from St. Martin's Press. The book, a follow-up to his award-winning classic Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation, examines the seismic racial and cultural transformation of the United States over the last fifty years.
"How do Americans see race now? ...After eras framed by words like 'multicultural' and 'post-racial,' do we see each other any more clearly?" Who We Be covers a lot of ground, offering a wide-ranging history of racialized culture debates and movements over the last half-century. The book is thoughtful, provocative and even playful, remixing comic strips, contemporary art and other media to paint a unique, timely portrait of today's America. Considering everything that's going down in our communities right now, as we speak, Who We Be is required reading.
On top of all that, it's just a cool-looking book. I anticipate that Who We Be will end up assigned on the syllabus of a lot of cultural studies courses. But instead of trading it back to the campus bookstore (what a racket!) at the end of the semester, you'll end up keeping it for your collection. It's that kind of book.
Anybody want to read it? I'm giving away a couple of copies of Jeff Chang's Who We Be to some lucky readers. Scroll down to the bottom for details. First, here's some more official information on the book:
"Channel 11." Kori Newkirk. 1999. Encaustic on wood panel. Collection of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
A four-letter word. The greatest social divide in American life, a half-century ago and today.
During that time, the U.S. has seen the most dramatic demographic and cultural shifts in its history, what can be called the colorization of America. But the same nation that elected its first Black president on a wave of hope—another four-letter word—is still plunged into endless culture wars.
How do Americans see race now? From the dream of integration to the reality of colorization, Who We Be remixes comic strips and contemporary art, campus protests and corporate marketing campaigns, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Trayvon Martin into a powerful, unusual, and timely cultural history of the idea of racial progress.
The full-color hardcover is designed by Stephen Serrato and features art by Morrie Turner, Brian Cross, Faith Ringgold, Norman Lewis, Glenn Ligon, Howardena Pindell, Daniel J. Martinez, Kori Newkirk, Hank Willis Thomas, Byron Kim, Coco Fusco, and many more.
So... who wants a free book? I'm giving away copies of Who We Be to three lucky readers, courtesy of St. Martin's Press. Here's how to enter for your chance to win:
Step 1: Follow @angryasianman on Twitter.
Step 2: Tweet this message:
I want to win a copy of Jeff Chang's #WhoWeBe from @angryasianman! http://bit.ly/aam-whowebe
Step 3: From all the entries, I'll randomly pick three lucky winners who will each receive a copy of Who We Be.
Please, only one entry per person/Twitter account. Cheaters will be publicly shamed. The giveaway ends on Monday, October 27, 2014 at 11:59 am PST. The winners will receive a Direct Message with further information. This giveaway is open to U.S. mailing addresses only. Sorry, rest of the world.
Thanks for playing. If you're not feeling so lucky, you can always just go ahead and order Who We Be from Amazon or the usual online retailers. For further information, including excerpts from the book and upcoming tour/media appearances, visit the official Who We Be website, as well as Jeff Chang's website.