Cover image for Soul babies : Black popular culture and the post-soul aesthetic
Soul babies : Black popular culture and the post-soul aesthetic
Neal, Mark Anthony.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Routledge, [2002]

Physical Description:
xvii, 221 pages ; 23 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E185.615 .N35 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
E185.615 .N35 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Black History Non-Circ

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In Soul Babies, Mark Anthony Neal explains the complexities and contradictions of black life and culture after the end of the Civil Rights era. He traces the emergence of what he calls a "post-soul aesthetic," a transformation of values that marked a profound change in African American thought and experience. Lively and provocative, Soul Babies offers a valuable new way of thinking about black popular culture and the legacy of the sixties.

Author Notes

Mark Anthony Neal is Assistant Professor of English and Africana Studies at the State University of New York at Albany

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

From Sanford and Son to Snoop Doggy Dog, Soul Babies: Black Popular Culture and the Post-Soul Aesthetic looks at the last three decades of black images and representations. State University of New York, Albany, professor of English and Africana Studies Mark Anthony Neal focuses on the way that music, film and television were altered on the one hand by integration and on the other hand by the pessimism and social unrest among black Americans in the '70s and '80s. Neal also discusses the work of young black intellectuals of the "post-soul" generation, the first to be part of an integrated yet increasingly isolated academy. ( Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Neal (African American studies & English, SUNY, Albany; What the Music Said: Black Popular Music & Black Popular Culture) has written a provocative study of African American popular culture since the Black Power and Civil Rights era. Using his wide knowledge of popular culture and political events, he argues that the media's integration of blacks in the 1960s, with television shows like Julia and I Spy, was at best a partial bow. Introducing a new concept of "Post-Soul Aesthetic" to black cultural criticism, Neal thoughtfully asserts that contemporary black culture, especially rap and hip-hop music, provides a much more satisfying and varied, if often ambiguous and problematic, mirror of black values and models. His sources range from music to comic strips like Boondocks to comedians like Eddie Murphy. This is a very important work, marred only by a tendency to use too much postmodernist jargon, which will discourage general readers. Recommended for large academic libraries. A.O. Edmonds, Ball State Univ., Muncie, IN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Despite (or perhaps because of) its rather incongruous postmodernist intellectual underpinnings, this is a subtle and refreshing look at the aesthetic sensibilities of "Generation Hip-Hop," those children of the 1960s ("Soul Babies") who came of age in the post-Civil Rights era. Included are sections about "blaxploitation" movies, TV sitcoms (i.e., The PJs and Good Times), gender politics, the black media, and the campus scene (from the perspectives of both students and the black intelligentsia). Especially illuminating are the analyses of black popular music lyrics, which probe beyond the frequently homophobic and misogynist rants of gangsta rappers and postsoul R&B singers. Neal (Africana studies and English, SUNY at Albany) defends as a legitimate negotiation of memory and identity the rendering of familiar historical moments in forms that "seemingly undermine the sensibilities and struggles of previous generations of black folks." For example, the chorus of Outkast's "Rosa Parks" goes: "Ah ha, hush that fuss / everybody move to the back of the bus / Do you wanna bump and slump with us / We the type of people make the club get crunk." The heroine of the Montgomery Bus Boycott went to court in an unsuccessful attempt to stop the song's distribution. General and academic collections at all levels. J. B. Lane Indiana University Northwest

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
1. "You Remind Me of Something": Toward a Post-Soul Aestheticp. 1
2. Sweetback's Revenge: Gangsters, Blaxploitation, and Black Middle-Class Identityp. 23
3. Baby Mama (Drama) and Baby Daddy (Trauma): Post-Soul Gender Politicsp. 57
4. The Post-Soul Intelligentsia: Mass Media, Popular Culture, and Social Praxisp. 99
5. Native Tongues: Voices of the Post-Soul Intelligentsiap. 131
Epilogue: A Soul Baby in Real Time: Encountering Generation Hip-Hop on Campusp. 175
Notesp. 195
Selected Bibliographyp. 207
Indexp. 211