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Edited by the author of The Sellout, winner of the 2016 Man Booker Prize, Hokum is a liberating, eccentric, savagely comic anthology of the funniest writing by black Americans. This book is less a comprehensive collection than it is a mix-tape narrative dubbed by a trusted friend-a sampler of underground classics, rare grooves, and timeless summer jams, poetry and prose juxtaposed with the blues, hip-hop, political speeches, and the world's funniest radio sermon. The subtle musings of Toni Cade Bambara, Henry Dumas, and Harryette Mullen are bracketed by the profane and often loud ruminations of Langston Hughes, Darius James, Wanda Coleman, Tish Benson, Steve Cannon, and Hattie Gossett. Some of the funniest writers don't write, so included are selections from well-known yet unpublished wits Lightnin' Hopkins, Mike Tyson, and the Reverend Al Sharpton. Selections also come from public figures and authors whose humor, although incisive and profound, is often overlooked: Malcolm X, Suzan-Lori Parks, Zora Neale Hurston, Sojourner Truth, and W.E.B. Dubois. Groundbreaking, fierce, and hilarious, this is a necessary anthology for any fan or student of American writing, with a huge range and a smart, political grasp of the uses of humor.
African American Humor, Irony, and Satire: Ishmael Reed, Satirically Speaking includes select proceedings from the annual Heart’s Day Conference, sponsored by the Department of English at Howard University. Among the collection’s many strengths is the range of essays included here. Essays on Ishmael Reed center the collection, and satirists from George Schuyler to Aaron McGruder are examined as are popular culture comedians Richard Pryor and Dave Chappelle. Thus, the collection adds broadly to the body of scholarship on traditional and non-traditional interpretations of humor, irony, and satire. What these essays also reveal is how the lens of humor, irony, and satire as a way of reading texts is especially useful in highlighting the complexity of African American life and culture. The essays also uncover crucial but no so obvious connections between African Americans and other world cultures.
With an historical introduction provided for each chapter, an anthology of African American humor reveals much about changes in American society.
This comprehensive history of black humor sets it in the context of American popular culture. Blackface minstrelsy, Stepin Fetchit, and the Amos 'n' Andy show presented a distorted picture of African Americans; this book contrasts this image with the authentic underground humor of African Americans found in folktales, race records, and all-black shows and films. After generations of stereotypes, the underground humor finally emerged before the American public with Richard Pryor in the 1970s. But Pryor was not the first popular comic to present authentically black humor. Watkins offers surprising reassessments of such seminal figures as Fetchit, Bert Williams, Moms Mabley, and Redd Foxx, looking at how they paved the way for contemporary comics such as Whoopi Goldberg, Eddie Murphy, and Bill Cosby.
Providing new insight into key debates over race and representation in the media, this ethnographic study explores the ways in which African Americans have been depicted in Black situation comedies-from 1950's Beulah to contemporary series like Martin and Living Single.
Profiles twelve iconic African American comedians throughout history, from Bert Williams to Dave Chappelle, and discusses how each comedian impacted American humor.
"A master archivist and historian of African American literature, Gene Jarrett has assembled a compelling new collection of essays for this necessary addition to the study of African American writing and thought. The volume offers a comprehensive survey of the African American canon, but also goes in new directions, giving fresh emphasis to the earliest writing of African Americans as well as to the exciting field of Latino/-a writing in the African Diaspora. This is a field-defining collection." Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard University.

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