Entertaining Race: Performing Blackness in America (Hardcover)
One of Kirkus Review's Best Books About Being Black in America | On Detroit Free Press' Holiday Book Gift List
"Dyson’s work clearly comes from a deep well of love—for his country, for his people and for the intellectual and cultural figures he admires." —New York Times
"Entertaining Race is a splendid way to spend quality time reading one of the most remarkable thinkers in America today."
—Speaker Nancy Pelosi
"To read Entertaining Race is to encounter the life-long vocation of a teacher who preaches, a preacher who teaches and an activist who cannot rest until all are set free."
—Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock
For more than thirty years, Michael Eric Dyson has played a prominent role in the nation as a public intellectual, university professor, cultural critic, social activist and ordained Baptist minister. He has presented a rich and resourceful set of ideas about American history and culture. Now for the first time he brings together the various components of his multihued identity and eclectic pursuits.
Entertaining Race is a testament to Dyson’s consistent celebration of the outsized impact of African American culture and politics on this country. Black people were forced to entertain white people in slavery, have been forced to entertain the idea of race from the start, and must find entertaining ways to make race an object of national conversation. Dyson’s career embodies these and other ways of performing Blackness, and in these pages, ranging from 1991 to the present, he entertains race with his pen, voice and body, and occasionally, alongside luminaries like Cornel West, David Blight, Ibram X. Kendi, Master P, MC Lyte, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Alicia Garza, John McWhorter, and Jordan Peterson.
Most of this work will be new to readers, a fresh light for many of his long-time fans and an inspiring introduction for newcomers. Entertaining Race offers a compelling vision from the mind and heart of one of America’s most important and enduring voices.
About the Author
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON—Distinguished University Professor of African American and Diaspora Studies, College of Arts & Science, and of Ethics and Society, Divinity School, and NEH Centennial Chair at Vanderbilt University—is one of America’s premier public intellectuals and the author of numerous New York Times bestsellers including Tears We Cannot Stop, What Truth Sounds Like, JAY-Z, and Long Time Coming. A winner of the 2018 nonfiction Southern Book Prize, Dr. Dyson is also a recipient of two NAACP Image awards and the 2020 Langston Hughes Festival Medallion. Former president Barack Obama has noted: “Everybody who speaks after Michael Eric Dyson pales in comparison.”
“Offers razor-sharp insights into American history, politics, and art. This is a feast of insights.”
—Publisher's Weekly (Starred)
"A thoughtful, elegantly argued contribution to the literature of Black lives in America.”
“Dyson's essays and writings address a rich assortment of thought-provoking topics… an expansive and accessible overview of the inquiries of an important social and cultural thinker.”
“In this extensive and thorough journey, Dyson continues to amaze and amuse on topics surrounding African American roles in entertainment. A thought-provoking vision from one of our country’s national treasures.”
—Detroit Free Press
“Michael Eric Dyson has been a lodestar for my generation: a brilliant intellectual whose accessible scholarship bridges the university and popular culture... Entertaining Race is a true gift to our culture.”
—Candace Parker, WNBA champion, 2x WNBA MVP
"For over a quarter century, Michael Eric Dyson has wrestled with critical race theory as a professor, analyzed racial injustice as a social critic, preached a progressive vision of Christianity as a preacher, and engaged in principled resistance as a social activist. Entertaining Race is a compelling and timely meditation on some of the most important issues of our time."
—Kimberlé Crenshaw, Executive Director of the African American Policy Forum
“Entertaining Race captures the same brilliance and passion for performance that not only motivates Dyson to observe, but which inspires him to perform at a high level on many stages himself as a thinker, writer, lecturer, preacher, speaker and activist. This is vintage Dyson.”
—Audra McDonald, Tony, Grammy and Emmy award winning actress and singer
"With Entertaining Race Dyson lifts the veil of what’s really going on in our society—the good and the bad, but he manages to do that in a very compelling way."
—Bryan Cranston, Oscar-nominated actor and winner of Golden Globe, Tony and SAG Awards
“In the tradition of Dr. King—the greatest American preacher and public intellectual—Dr. Dyson summons the best in the American spirit, diagnosing the sickness that divides us while employing head, heart and hands to both call forth and construct a moral vision of 'beloved community.'”
—Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock