Within the construct of African American Business history, race, contemporary American popular culture and global capitalism, this course will focus on an important aspect in the contemporary political economy of black Americans. Specifically, the commodification (sale) of black culture provides the conceptual frame for an examination of the phenomenon of both the superstar black athlete as an entrepreneur and the Hip Hop Superstar as an entrepreneur in post-Civil Rights America. The emphasis in this course, then, is to critically examine and analyze the impact of a multiplicity of societal, cultural and economic factors in the post-modern information age, propelled by new technologies in the New Economy of Global Capitalism. Also, consideration will be given to the new diversity as it impacts on the political economy of African Americans.
Proceeding from an interdisciplinary perspective, the course considers both the financial successes of superstar black athletes and hip hop entrepreneurs as well as their emergence as cultural icons, contrasted with the comparatively overall poor performance of Black Business not only within the intersection of race, gender, class, but also within the context of transnationalism in the globalization sale of African American Culture in post-Civil Rights America. But who profits?
Most important, why is it that business receipts for African Americans, who comprise almost thirteen percent of this nation's population, amounted in 2007 to only .5%, that is, less than one (1) percent of the nation's total business receipts? In addition, why is it that among the various occupational categories in which blacks participate in the nation's economy, especially as businesspeople, that black entertainers and sports figures are the highest paid? What does this say about race, class, gender and hegemonic masculinities in America at the turn of the new century?
Boyd, Todd, Young, Black, Rich and Famous: The Rise of the NBA, The Hip Hop Invasion and the Transformation of American Culture
Curry, Mark, Dancing With the Devil: How Puff Burned the Bad Boys of Hip Hop
Daniels, Cora, Black Power, Inc: The New Voice of Black Success
Johnson, Magic, 32 Ways to Be a Champion in Business
Kitwana, Bakari, Why White Kids Love Hip Hop: Wangstas, Wiggers, Wannabes, and the New Reality of Race in America
Lafeber, Walter, Michael Jordan and the New Global Capitalism, New Expanded Edition
Oliver, Richard, Tim Leffel, Hip-Hop, Inc. : Success Strategies of the Rap Moguls
Pulley, Brett, The Billion Dollar BET: Robert Johnson and the Inside Story of BET
Smith-Shomade, Beretta, Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy: Selling Black Entertainment Television
Walker, Juliet E. K. History of Black Business in America: Capitalism, Race, Entrepreneurship
Chaps, 6-11; Course Packet “The Commodification of Black Culture”
Critical Book Review Analysis 25%
(5 reviews, 2-3 pages 5 points each)
Class Discussion/participation 25%
Oral Summary of Research Paper 5%
Seminar Research Paper (15 pages) 45%