Get local news delivered straight to your phone
Support City Paper!
Despite its no-nonsense title, Why White Kids Love Hip Hop: Wangstas, Wiggers, Wannabes, and the New Reality of Race in America isn’t really about white people: It’s about what author Bakari Kitwana calls the “new racial politics” of America. Our nation’s old hangups may still be powerful, but the former executive editor of the Source argues that hiphop’s permanence in the suburbs reflects a new, more nuanced grasp of social complexity, especially for anybody born after the heyday of the civil-rights movement. The tough part, he acknowledges, will be translating all that cultural fluidity into activist political power, because so much of modern politics is built on the strategy of divide and conquer. Amid all that, the book succeeds in questioning one major myth—that white kids are the primary audience for hiphop—and also in clearing room for unemotional dissections of Eminem’s popularity and culture-clash films. Seems that Malibu’s Most Wanted is smarter than you thought it was. Kitwana speaks at 5 p.m. at Mimi’s American Bistro, 2120 P St. NW. Free. (202) 464-6464. (Joe Warminsky)