I just finished the book, Black Cool - One Thousand Streams of Blackness by Rebecca Walker, and it is a great read. As I posted on Pinterest (where I pin short reviews and the book cover of the books I read in 2012):
This book is exquisite. Walker curates a great series of well-written essays that discuss the inheritance, aesthetic, strength, politics and culture of Black grace, described as coolness. It’s just…gorgeous. My favorite essays in the book are by Mikaela Angela Davis, bell hooks and dream hampton. “Black cool is an intelligence of the soul.” – Mikaela Angela Davis. It’s a quick read, but a truly interesting and creative one.
Below are some of my favorite quotes from the various essays in the book.
"My audacity is my fight, to be bigger than my fear. I’ve never been able to summon fearlessness by anger, even when its been a reaction to deep injustice, social or personal; instead its functioned in my life as a kind of a walking meditation, one that has driven me around the world and back." - dream hampton
"If you mistake the traits of poverty for your personal identity, you risk being locked into a position where you’re unable to advance without betraying yourself." - Mat Johnson
"We do not require outside help to validate or promote the existence of Black cool, not are we about to sit back and watch our cool be traded and consumed by those who have not worn the heavy cloak of the battered and beautiful Black burden." - Michaela Angela Davis
"I am not responsible for ‘others’ ignorance or denial about race or white privilege. I no longer carry the burden of navigating other people’s feelings. I will not be quiet for anyone else’s comfort." - Michaela Angela Davis
I loved this quote because I often gush about Blues music. I think it was a tiny space in time where full Black male emotionality was accepted and seen as strength, not weakness. The music is so rich for this reason.
"Black males have helped create the blues, more than any other music, as a music of resistance to the patriarchal notion that a real man should never express genuine feelings. Emotional awareness of real-life pain in Black men’s lives was and is the soul of the blues." - bell hooks
This quote is just literary gorgeousness. I can’t lie.
"I am a diaspora chick, so my Blackness spans galaxies known and unknown, Octavia Butler style, Toni Morrison flavored. It’s a beloved kindred thing that has so many more than nine lives, but no shelf life." - Esther Armah
And obviously, becuase I am a photographer and a Black woman, I feel a pull toward this man’s words.
"The camera became my own way of exercising my subjectivity in the world through persistent visual authorship." - Dawoud Bey
Read this book!