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  • Right to Rock: The Black Rock Coalition and the Cultural Politics of Race

    Author(s):
    Pages: 336
    Illustrations: 39 b&w illus.
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
  • Cloth: $94.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-3305-0
  • Paperback: $26.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-3317-3
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  • Acknowledgments ix

    1. Reclaiming the Right to Rock 1

    2. The “Postliberated Generation” 33

    3. Saturday Go to Meeting 59

    4. Black Rock Manifesting 86

    5. Black Rock Aesthetics 113

    6. Living Colored in the Music Industry 142

    7. Media Interventions 176

    8. Playing Rock, Playing Roles 204

    9. Jimi Hendrix Experiences 231

    10. Until the Levee Breaks 257

    Discography 267

    Notes 273

    Bibliography 285

    Index 299
  • “In clear, concise, and immensely readable prose, Right to Rock asks important—often uncomfortable but always necessary—questions about the power and limits of racially identified aesthetics in social, artistic, political, and economic contexts. In looking at the triumphs and struggles of rock ’n’ roll bands such as Screaming Headless Torsos, Bad Brains, Living Colour, and Fishbone, Maureen Mahon opens a window on to an American music and culture that has historically sought to disenfranchise, marginalize, and even deny the existence of the vital contributions of African American musical artists from Blind Tom to Me’Shell NdegéOcello. Anyone seeking to understand the ideas behind ‘Black Rock’—whether one hears that phrase as divisive or inclusive—would do well to pick up a copy of Right to Rock and read it.”—Vernon Reid, guitarist, founder of the band Living Colour, and cofounder of the Black Rock Coalition — N/A

    “Maureen Mahon’s Right to Rock presents a fascinating description of the meaning of rock music for black artists and audiences. Devoted to a form of commercialized leisure for which they are not the target demographic, these committed musicians and listeners write themselves into a story from which they have largely been excluded. Important as a study of a fascinating cultural practice, Right to Rock also makes indispensable contributions to our understanding of larger issues about both the fixity and the fluidity of market categories and social identities.”—George Lipsitz, author of American Studies in a Moment of Danger — N/A

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  • Description

    The original architects of rock ’n’ roll were black musicians including Little Richard, Etta James, and Chuck Berry. Jimi Hendrix electrified rock with his explosive guitar in the late 1960s. Yet by the 1980s, rock music produced by African Americans no longer seemed to be “authentically black.” Particularly within the music industry, the prevailing view was that no one—not black audiences, not white audiences, and not black musicians—had an interest in black rock. In 1985 New York-based black musicians and writers formed the Black Rock Coalition (brc) to challenge that notion and create outlets for black rock music. A second branch of the coalition started in Los Angeles in 1989. Under the auspices of the brc, musicians organized performances and produced recordings and radio and television shows featuring black rock. The first book to focus on the brc, Right to Rock is, like the coalition itself, about the connections between race and music, identity and authenticity, art and politics, and power and change. Maureen Mahon observed and participated in brc activities in New York and Los Angeles, and she conducted interviews with more than two dozen brc members. In Right to Rock she offers an in-depth account of how, for nearly twenty years, members of the brc have broadened understandings of black identity and black culture through rock music.

    About The Author(s)

    Maureen Mahon is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and the African American Studies Program at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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