Thirteen of black America's most eloquent voices share their visions for a self-sufficient, self-determined future.
Conceived as a community colloquium of "black intellectuals, artists, political activists, and economists" sponsored by NYU's Africana studies department, this volume reprints discussions on economics, political power, work, authority and culture. Genius, according to Mosley, refers to "that quality which capitalizes the hopes and talents and character of a people" and is "something we all share." Poet Haki Madhubuti urges black independent entrepreneurship based on his experience as founder, in 1967, of Third World Press and of the New Concept School in Chicago. Feminist scholar bell hooks decries the toxic effects of "hedonistic materialism." Stanley Crouch's clear-eyed, scathing and exciting "Straighten Up and Fly Right" centers on personal responsibility and laments both the "narcissistic" self-destructiveness of rap artists and the "celebration of rednecks" in America at large. Dr. Joycelyn Elders, Emerge editor George Curry (on the necessity of computer literacy) and performance artist Anna Deveare Smith add their voices to the collection. Perhaps because of the inclusive nature of the project, the quality of the selections is uneven, and the whole is no greater than the sum of its parts. But the best pieces are original, thoughtful and passionate. Photos not seen by PW. (Feb.)