New Black Books: Black South Central, Hip-Hop History, and the Ride-or-Die Complex

Fall 2022 brings a range of diverse and interesting books. The long line of black literature continues to expand with thought-provoking books that explore the contemporary history of black American stories. The history of South Central Los Angeles, the beautiful world of hip-hop, and the breathtaking journeys of new worlds in black science fiction books create a colorful and revealing exploration of the minds of black writers who offer their imaginations and their personal information to create a new landscape of storytelling.

No one really knows what will come from the black author’s inner vision until his visions, emotions, and understanding of history bleed onto the page. Each book should be taken individually and with deep mental and emotional consideration. The celebration of black thought continues and will move forward as we discover the truth of life and the powerful journeys of the universally moving black books.

The Come Up: An Oral History of the Rise of Hip-Hop by Jonathan Abrams (Penguin Random House)

Author of New York Times bestseller, “All the Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of The Wire,” Jonathan Abrams returns with a compelling history of hip hop. After conducting over 300 interviews, Abrams writes a non-fiction account of hip hop history spanning decades beginning in 1973, when the genre was born in New York’s South Bronx. “Just as jazz did in the first half of the 20th century, hip-hop and its groundbreaking DJs and artists — almost all people of color from some of America’s most neglected communities — pushed the boundaries. music to new frontiers, while piercing the nation’s youth and reshaping fashion, art, and even language,” writes Penguin Random House. Read this book if you’re interested in a deep dive into the historic path of hip hop culture and the key figures that have made music the most popular form of musical expression in the world.

South Central Noir, anthology (Akashic Books)

“The Southern California forensic study of the Akashic Noir series focuses on one of the most recognizable neighborhoods in Los Angeles,” writes Akashic Books. This intriguing collection features stories from Steph Cha, Nikolas Charles, Antananarivo Due, Larry Foundation, Gar Anthony Haywood, Naomi Hirahara, Emory Holmes II, Roberto Lovato, Penny Mickelbury, Gary Phillips, Eric Stone, Jervey Tervalon, Jeri Westerson and Désirée Zamorano . An array of powerful literary contributions are compiled to create a powerfully written illustration of South Central Los Angeles’ predominantly black community. Gary Phillips writes in the introduction to South Central Noir: “In these pages you will find stories of those who walk the right path, until something untoward happens. Maybe it’s someone taking an irrelevant step, getting caught up in circumstances beyond their control. Maybe they are planning the scam, seizure… whatever it is to finally get them on it. Other times, the action they take is to pull themselves out from below or bring out the people they care about. You will find that the offerings on these pages are a rich mix of tones – stories told of hope, survival, revenge and triumph. Excursions beyond the headlines and hype.

Ride or Die: A Feminist Manifesto for Black Women’s Well-Being by Shanita Hubbard (Legacy Lit)

Professor of journalism at the University of Toronto and president of the independent working group of the National Association of Black Journalists, Shanita Hubbard is writing a major non-fiction book. In the book of memoirs, Hubbard expresses the course of her life and examines the construction of the ride-or-die woman and “argues that this way of life has left black women exhausted, overworked, neglected and feeling drained”, writes publisher Legacy Lit. “‘Ride or Die’ urges you to dispel the myth that your self-worth is tied to the amount of work you put in for others and guides you towards healing. Using hip hop as a backdrop to explore norms that harm black women, Hubbard shows how you may be unknowingly perpetuating this harm in your relationships. This book is an urgent call for you to unplug the chick to ride or die,” continues Legacy Lit.

About Herbert L. Leonard

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