Young, Black, Rich, and Famous: The Rise of the NBA, the Hip Hop Invasion, and the Transformation of American Culture

Young, Black, Rich, and Famous: The Rise of the NBA, the Hip Hop Invasion, and the Transformation of American Culture

Young, Black, Rich, and Famous: The Rise of the NBA, the Hip Hop Invasion, and the Transformation of American Culture

Young, Black, Rich, and Famous: The Rise of the NBA, the Hip Hop Invasion, and the Transformation of American Culture

Synopsis

In Young, Black, Rich, and Famous, Todd Boyd chronicles how basketball and hip hop have gone from being reviled by the American mainstream in the 1970s to being embraced and imitated globally today. For young black men, he argues, they represent a new version of the American dream, one embodying the hopes and desires of those excluded from the original version. Shedding light on both perception and reality, Boyd shows that the NBA has been at the forefront of recognizing and incorporating cultural shifts--from the initial image of 1970s basketball players as overpaid black drug addicts, to Michael Jordan's spectacular rise as a universally admired icon, to the 1990s, when the hip hop aesthetic (for example, Allen Iverson's cornrows, multiple tattoos, and defiant, in-your-face attitude) appeared on the basketball court. Hip hop lyrics, with their emphasis on "keepin' it real" and marked by a colossal indifference to mainstream taste, became an equally powerful influence on young black men. These two influences have created a brand-new, brand-name generation that refuses to assimilate but is nonetheless an important part of mainstream American culture. This Bison Books edition includes a new introduction by the author.

Excerpt

I consider myself quite fortunate. Life has granted me the opportunity to make a living by writing, lecturing, and thinking about things that I truly love; things like basketball, hip hop, movies, clothes, and money, among other things, and not necessarily in that order. See, I get paid to pontificate on what all these things really mean. When I'm watching a flick, a basketball game, a music video, whatever, I'm working. What for most people remains a leisurely activity, for me is a calling, a way of life. This is the way I ball.

When I was at the University of Iowa getting my PhD, they taught me something called critical theory. I am now employed in the division of Critical Studies. I say all this by way of explanation because people never seem to know what it is that I do. At Iowa they taught me the methods of theory and criticism. They also gave me an erudite language with which to articulate all this. They did not teach me how to be critical, though.

I learned how to be critical by growing up as a Black man in America, and that's something no university could ever teach me, no matter how intellectually rigorous. I picked up the game, as I like to call . . .

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