‘Meet The Author’ Saturday At What Cheer

darkest america Head over to What Cheer Antiques and Vintage Saturday at noon for a special event. Jake Austen (RISD ’92) will be reading from his latest book “Darkest America: Black Minstrelsy from Slavery to Hip-Hop,” a survey of the uncomfortable but fascinating topic of African Americans who performed in blackface minstrel shows in the 1800s, and their legacy in the 20th/21st Century.

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.

Sponsored by Narragansett Beer and Nice Slice Pizza.

Noon to 1pm, Saturday, October 6, What Cheer, 180 Angell Street, Facebook

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