A Little Devil in America

by Hanif Abdurraqib

Category: History

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Race, history, culture, and entertainment collide in this bracing and personal examination of black performance and the complicated, ongoing legacy of blackface and minstrel shows--from the New York Times bestselling author of Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest Author and poet Hanif Abdurraqib became fascinated by clips of black minstrel entertainers like William Henry Lane, better known as Master Juba. Wondering if there was something more complicated and deepseated in the outdated minstrel tradition, Abdurraqib found questions and tensions that remain startlingly relevant to black entertainers across popular culture today. They Don't Dance No Mo' is an urgent project, unraveling all modes and methods of black performance in this moment, when black performers in all different levels of the spotlight are coming to terms with their value, reception, and their immense impact on America. This is a personal exploration of the history of black performance in the United States, beginning with black minstrels like Master Juba and tracing that seed of minstrelsy through current types of performance such as acting, sports, writing, comedy, and music.

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