I intend to shine more of a spotlight on black scholars and public intellectuals on this blog. Well-known leftist ones like Cornel West, prominent Afrocentrists like Molefi Asante, and some hard-toiling researchers whose names you won’t find on Wikipedia, like Gerald Horne and Michael Hanchard.
What’s being written, what’s being said by the brightest black minds in America?
Let’s start with bell hooks – English professor, cultural critic, activist against “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.”
On my Google Video Bar, you’ll see segments of her 1997 video, “Cultural Criticism and Transformation,” in which she makes trenchant observations about rap music, Madonna and the documentary film “Hoop Dreams.”
bell hooks also dishes out lots of hard-left agitprop – about “mounting fascism in the United States,” et cetera – which begs for as much of a rigorous critique as the stuff she’s talking about.
But bell hooks’ style of engagement with pop culture, in a society where 99.99 percent of the population doesn’t think seriously about pop culture at all... I really admire that.
UPDATE (07/31/07): Here is Professor hooks on rap music. Here she is on Madonna. Here she is on Spike Lee. And here she is on “Hoop Dreams.”