Chronicling Stankonia | July 2021 Bookclub Selection

For far too long Hip-Hop has been depicted as a sub-genre of music that is violent, mysoginistic, and actively contributing to the demise of America’s Black youth. However, there is a counter-narrative for us folk born into the Hip-Hop generation who understands that this music validates our identity and acknowledges the value of Black experience. In Chronicling Stankonia, author Regina Bradley uses Outkast’s work to “[help us] define new cultural possibilities for black southerners who came of age in the 1980s and 1990s…”

The MahoganyBooks | Very Smart Brothas book club is excited to discuss Chronicling Stankonia: The Rise of the Hip-Hop South. Join us on Friday, August 6, 2021 at 6:00PM at the Anacostia location of MahoganyBooks for both a celebration of Outkast’s legendary discography as well as a critical analysis of how their work empowered and validated the southern Black experience.

Let the debate (?) begin!

About the Book

This vibrant book pulses with the beats of a new American South, probing the ways music, literature, and film have remixed southern identities for a post-civil rights generation. For scholar and critic Regina N. Bradley, Outkast’s work is the touchstone, a blend of funk, gospel, and hip-hop developed in conjunction with the work of other culture creators–including T.I., Kiese Laymon, and Jesmyn Ward. This work, Bradley argues, helps define new cultural possibilities for black southerners who came of age in the 1980s and 1990s and have used hip-hop culture to buffer themselves from the historical narratives and expectations of the civil rights era. Andre 3000, Big Boi, and a wider community of creators emerge as founding theoreticians of the hip-hop South, framing a larger question of how the region fits into not only hip-hop culture but also contemporary American society as a whole. 

Chronicling Stankonia reflects the ways that culture, race, and southernness intersect in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Although part of southern hip-hop culture remains attached to the past, Bradley demonstrates how younger southerners use the music to embrace the possibility of multiple Souths, multiple narratives, and multiple points of entry to contemporary southern black identity.

“Chronicling Stankonia situates hip-hop as an intervention in constructing post-Civil Rights black identities and cultural discourse. For southern blacks, the past is often restricted to three recognizable historical moments – the Antebellum Era, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights Movement. Aside from the deeply traumatic experience of these periods of history, they also serve as cornerstones of validating and recognizing southern blacks’ experiences. However, the challenge for post-Civil Rights generations of southern blacks is speaking truth to power when their truths depart the trajectory of what was considered power in the past. Chronicling Stankonia updates the black South using hip-hop as an agent to reflect multiple intersections of time, race, and southernness in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Part of southern hip-hop culture’s truth remains attached to the past but its power is grounded in the fact that younger southerners use hip-hop to embrace the possibility of multiple Souths, multiple narratives, and multiple entry points into contemporary southern black identities”

Discussion Day Info

The discussion will take place on August 6th at 6PM EST at MahoganyBooks located at 1231 Good Hope Rd., SE Washington, DC 20020.

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MahoganyBooks is an online bookstore that believes in social entrepreneurship. We take a leadership role in the African American community promoting reading, writing, and cultural awareness as tools to improve communities as well as enrich the lives of motivated individuals.

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