Blog Entries tagged 'books'
Rebecca Walker: Black is Cool
“…YOU CAN NO MORE SEPARATE COOL FROM BLACKNESS THAN YOU CAN SEPARATE HULA FROM HAWAIIANS, OR YOGA FROM INDIANS, OR FRENCH CUISINE FROM THE FRENCH. “
Rebecca Walker is cool. The origins of her cool aren’t located in some unquantifiable “swag,” nor is it strutting down a Fashion Week runway, cooing in a music video, or residing in a pulpit oratory whose cadence conjures protests of Southern trees bearing strange fruits. It isn’t even found in her casual Soho clothes or Noxema-clear complexion. Rebecca Walker’s cool stems from a mind, talent, experiences bred on both coasts (New York City and San Francisco, to be exact), and a pedigree of accomplishments that puts to shame many a slacker son and daughter of the 1%. Through her latest edited collection, Black Cool: A Thousand Streams of Blackness, one would say that Walker cites the ground-spring of her cool in a residence both less and more obvious, depending on your embrace of stereotype and level of social consciousness—her Blackness.
Biracial, bisexual, but far too multi-talented to be binary in any other way, for two decades Walker’s tackled the tough subjects of identity, community, power and justice placing her own life and experiences at the center of her discourse and making “the personal political” mean more than a lefty slogan. Considered one of the founding mothers of Third Wave Feminism and a leading multimedia voice from the Gen X generation, the Yale graduate and long-time contributing editor of Ms. has demonstrated all the modern renaissance woman can be. Whether working punditry at CNN or MTV, touring the college lecture circuit to inspire a generation of fresh, eager-eyed feminists, or writing the books they’re all talking about, including: To Be Real: Telling the Truth and Changing the Face of Feminism; Black, White and Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self; What Makes A Man: 22 Writers Imagine the Future and Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood After A Lifetime of Ambivalence, the multiple award-winning Walker’s proven herself more than her last name.
Given all these lofty accomplishments, it seems almost bad manners to mention that Walker is the famously estranged daughter of womanist activist and Color Purpleauthor Alice Walker. Named one of The Advocate’s “40 under 40” and Time Magazine’s “50 Future Leaders of America,” Rebecca Walker has beaten back broadcast-whispered charges of nepotism with a grinder’s aplomb. It’s her tenacious talent that’s kept her pinnacled as a sought-after voice and frequently published cultural critic of note. Hers and the gifts of her talented circle are on earnest display in a work about a much dog-eared subject of “Black Cool” without the social science “pathology” invocations that usually accompany the subject. As you’ll see, for Walker the subject is so much more than a dissected “cool pose” leading to jail or hell. It’s as multi-faceted as the lady herself.
Beinecke Library of Rare Books and Manuscripts at Yale, via Lily Diamond.
I spent many, many hours here. Watching the light shine through the marble walls, and staring at the Isamu Noguchi garden from the downstairs windows.
“Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is no new road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.”
- D.H. Lawrence (taken from Chris Cleave's site.)
Trust me. Buy it.
It's always strange reading what people write about me. To see myself through their eyes. Sometimes it's heartbreaking. Sometimes it's enlightening. Sometimes it makes me think about how I said something or what I really want people to understand.
This is an interesting piece by Zettler Clay on One Big Happy Family on Clutch today. I'm pondering how I feel about this profile. I don't think of myself as an "inveterate zealot," but I feel I should at least consider the possibility.
I also don't think I've spent thirty-nine years seeking my mother's attention, but perhaps that's what it looks like to others. Alas--this profile is thought provoking. Quixotic, natch.
What do you think?
"But who, pray tell, is Rebecca Walker?
She is a woman who has spent a good part of her 39 years on earth seeking her mother’s elusive approval. She’s the Jewish-Nubian who spent considerable parts of her childhood being shuffled from coast-to-coast, enduring ridicule from classmates because of her lineage and looks, while imbibing the rich customs of Jews and African-Americans alike. She is a woman who attended Yale University, graduated cum laude, wrote several treatises, books and articles, all while haunted by the memory of a lost baby and the fear of not being able to have another one.
She is, in essence, a woman of omnivorous tastes; a counterculture spokesperson and literary commuter who is still ultimately seeking her halcyon environment, if not understanding, of how to make the world a better place. A quixotic being, but certainly not apathetic."