Bookface Blog

Archive by tag: Kehinde AndrewsReturn
May 22, 2022

This welcome humanising of Floyd might have benefited from a wider focus, including Black women’s experiences of racism and a global perspective

When George Floyd was in high school, his teacher Bertha Dinkins prophetically told the teen: “I want to read about you in the newspaper… that you have made history and done something to change society”. She could never have foretold that Floyd would become a household name because the world watched a video of police officer Derek Chauvin slowly choke him to death with his knee on his neck in 2020.

The killing sparked the largest protests ever against racial injustice, prompting society to discuss racism in ways it has not done for more than a generation. His Name Is George Floyd (written by two Washington Post reporters) attempts to use the life and death of Floyd as a vehicle to examine the bigotry that lies at the heart of the present-day US.

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Mar 13, 2022

In this powerful critique rooted in film and music, the scholar explains why Black consciousness poses such a threat to racist power structures

Since the Black Lives Matter summer of 2020, there has been a tsunami of books, documentaries and commentary on racism. But the problem with the deluge of content (to use the modern lingo) is that it inevitably means a lack of quality and focus. If someone had nothing to add to our understanding of racism before the death of George Floyd, there is likely a good reason.

Philosopher Lewis Gordon, long one of the most prominent scholars of racism, tries to enrich our knowledge with his unique brand of intellectual precision and analysis. Fear of Black Consciousness is in the tradition of his fellow Jamaican-born intellectual, the late Stuart Hall, who pioneered engaging with popular culture to understand the world. Using his own experiences and a tour through films and music, Gordon offers an explanation of why Black protest is such a dangerous prospect to the white power structure.

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Jul 16, 2021

Recent traumas in the US have energised a fresh wave of academic studies that are finally telling the full story of centuries-long abuse and forgotten resistance

Ibram X Kendi dubs this time the “black renaissance”. Owing to activism on the ground, he says, “there’s been a growing awareness of racism itself, and a recognition that folks don’t understand the lives that black people have lived and are living today. And that awareness has led to a growing demand that is being supplied by this incredible number of black creators across genres.”

Related: Four Hundred Souls, edited by Ibram X Kendi and Keisha N Blain review – a resounding history of African America

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May 29, 2021

As our thoughts turn to life after the pandemic, authors from this year’s Hay festival choose books that have inspired lasting change in them

Ali Smith, novelist
Books, and all the arts, naturally and endlessly inspire change because they free up the possibilities between reality and the imagination, and the possibilities for change in us. They never stop doing this. It’s one of the reasons the current powers that be are hellbent on controlling the arts, devaluing them, removing easy access to them and controlling history’s narratives. Last week I read a debut novel called Assembly by Natasha Brown. It’s a quiet, measured call to revolution. It’s about everything that has changed and still needs to change, socially, historically, politically, personally. It’s slim in the hand, but its impact is massive; it strikes me as the kind of book that sits on the faultline between a before and an after. I could use words like elegant and brilliantly judged and literary antecedents such as Katherine Mansfield/Toni Morrison/Claudia Rankine. But it’s simpler than that. I’m full of the hope, on reading it, that this is the kind of book that doesn’t just mark the moment things change, but also makes that change possible.
Ali Smith, the author of Summer (Penguin), will present an exclusive film in collaboration with Sarah Wood at Hay festival on 6 June at 6pm.

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Oct 22, 2020

How black America’s anti-hero remains underestimated, even when he speaks to our times

The Autobiography of Malcolm X has sold millions of copies since it was published in the aftermath of its author’s assassination. The memoir has shaped how we view the fiery black revolutionary – his path from street criminal to statesman – not least because it formed the basis of Spike Lee’s 1992 film biopic.

The Dead Are Arising sets out to provide a much fuller picture of the life and death of Malcolm X, drawing on interviews with his friends and family to assess his contribution in the context of the times. The book is based on decades of painstaking research by Les Payne, who died before it was completed, and his daughter Tamara.

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