Racial pixies : how Dave Chappelle got bamboozled by the Black minstrel tradition -- Darkest America : how nineteenth-century Black minstrelsy made blackface black -- Of cannibals and kings : how New Orleans' Zulu Krewe survived one hundred years of blackface -- Nobody : how Bert Williams dignified blackface -- I'se regusted : how Stepin Fetchit, Amos, Andy, and company brought Black minstrelsy to the twentieth-century screen -- Dyn-o-mite : how Cosby blew up the minstrel tradition, and J.J. put it back together -- That's why darkies were born : how Black popular singers kept minstrelsy's musical legacy alive -- Eazy duz it : how Black minstrelsy bum-rushed hip-hop -- We just love to dramatize : how Zora Neale Hurston let her Black minstrel roots show -- New millennium minstrel show : how Spike Lee and Tyler Perry brought the Black minstrelsy debate to the twenty-first century.
Yuval Taylor and Jake Austen investigate the complex history of black minstrelsy, adopted in the mid-nineteenth century by African American performers who played the grinning blackface fool to entertain black and white audiences. We now consider minstrelsy an embarrassing relic, but once blacks and whites alike saw it as a black art form--and embraced it as such. And, as the authors reveal, black minstrelsy remains deeply relevant to popular black entertainment, particularly in the work of contemporary artists like Dave Chappelle, Flavor Flav, Spike Lee, and Lil Wayne. Darkest America explores the origins, heyday, and present-day manifestations of this tradition, exploding the myth that it was a form of entertainment that whites foisted on blacks, and shining a sure-to-be controversial light on how these incendiary performances can be not only demeaning but also, paradoxically, liberating.