Thursday, January 12, 2017

History of the black president

Most interesting thing I have read on things Americanah since the election is Ta-Nehisi Coates's long essay for The Atlantic, "My President Was Black"

You can read the whole thing here on the magazine's site. I started with the online text, but after a while I realized it was going to be a long read. For that reason and others, I wanted an actual copy of the magazine in hand.

When's the last time you bought a magazine at a "newsstand"? It's not that easy any more to go out and buy a single copy of a magazine. Cost me over ten bucks too.  Still, glad I did.

Coates makes one powerful point with his long opening scene of crowds of hip-hop artists and other black musicians arriving at the White House one night for a concert. Black Americans will no doubt find themselves invited to the White House in future, but it may be a long time before they feel so much at home"
The ties between the Obama White House and the hip-hop community are genuine. The Obamas are social with BeyoncĂ© and Jay-Z. They hosted Chance the Rapper and Frank Ocean at a state dinner, and last year invited Swizz Beatz, Busta Rhymes, and Ludacris, among others, to discuss criminal-justice reform and other initiatives. Obama once stood in the Rose Garden passing large flash cards to the Hamilton creator and rapper Lin-Manuel Miranda, who then freestyled using each word on the cards. “Drop the beat,” Obama said, inaugurating the session. At 55, Obama is younger than pioneering hip-hop artists like Afrika Bambaataa, DJ Kool Herc, and Kurtis Blow. If Obama’s enormous symbolic power draws primarily from being the country’s first black president, it also draws from his membership in hip-hop’s foundational generation.
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