I started off a little shaky about reading this book. I didn't agree with his antics on the Piers Morgan debate but then he apologized. I thought he was going way too hard with the Roland Martin jokes. Both times I got the book and then hesitated to read it because if I was going to end up reading more Twitter rants, I would've passed. I followed him for about a week before I couldn't handle another obnoxious tweet. But a co-worker (who doesn't know anything about hip-hop) complimented a library book she recently read "Never Drank the Kool-Aid: Essays
" and I knew Toure's name from an interview with Jay-Z and a bunch of articles when I subscribed to "Rolling Stone" magazine so I gave it a whirl.
This was one of the most on-point books I've read about Black America today. I think he nailed it on the topic of the n-word controversy (embrace it, ban it, dispute it, love it but not in mixed company), the mixed feelings about the O.J. trial, the (incredibly aggravating) way that black folks have of marginalizing each other with "acting/talking white," the surprise/relief/confusion about today's America with Pres. Obama running the country (I was one of those stunned people walking around in Grant Park thinking, "He REALLY won? Like, for real? Whoa!"), how economic class may affect culture, the highs and lows of the hip-hop community and his own experience with race as someone who grew up around white people but then later on started hanging with black groups.
I liked this book because he kept questioning what is black and what's not instead of preaching a useless manual about what black people should and shouldn't do. (By the way, the opening chapter made me further confirm my urge to skydive.) Although some of the ratings I browsed through (from folks I don't think read the book) seem to think he concentrated too much on race, here's a thought: If you pick up a book called "Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness" and don't expect it to be about race, that makes as much sense as expecting The Fourth of July to not be celebrated with flags, fireworks and talk of independence (I prefer celebrating Juneteenth but that's another story). The book is about race so of course it'll explore race.
What I liked about the book is he gave an open-minded perspective from a middle class viewpoint of how it is to relate to several groups: the group who thinks they have the inside scoop on everything black, the group who doesn't know much about black other than sharing complexions, the group who probably believes they see no color, the older and younger generations, and quotes from other credible experts about their experiences. (Cornel West's story about the pool made me sigh one deep, long sigh.)
This was spot on. Another co-worker asked me if the book was any good. By the end, I was thinking, "No, this book isn't ANY good. It's ALL good."