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Black Skinhead

Reflections on Blackness and Our Political Future

By Brandi Collins-Dexter
Black Skinhead by Brandi Collins-Dexter
Author: Brandi Collins-Dexter
ISBN: 9781250824073
ON SALE: 09/20/2022

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ISBN: 9781250824073

For fans of Bad Feminist and The Sum of Us, Black Skinhead sparks a radical conversation about Black America and political identity.

In Black Skinhead, Brandi Collins-Dexter, former Senior Campaign Manager for Color Of Change, explores the fragile alliance between Black voters and the Democratic party. Through sharp, timely essays that span the political, cultural, and personal, Collins-Dexter reveals decades of simmering disaffection in Black America, told as much through voter statistics as it is through music, film, sports, and the baffling mind of Kanye West.

While Black Skinhead is an outward look at Black votership and electoral politics, it is also a funny, deeply personal, and introspective look at the fragility of Black culture and identity, ultimately revealing a Black America that has become deeply disillusioned with the failed promises of its country.

We had been told that everything was fine, that America was working for everyone and that the American Dream was attainable for all. But for those who had been paying attention, there had been warning signs that the Obamas’ version of the American Dream wasn’t working for everyone. That it hadn’t been working for many white Americans was immediately and loudly discussed, but the truth—and what I set out to write this book about—was that it hadn’t been working for many Black Americans either. For many, Obama’s vision had been more illusion than reality all along.

When someone tells you everything is fine, but around you, you see evidence that it’s not, where will the quest to find answers lead you? As I went on the journey of writing this book, I found a very different tale about Black politics and Black America, one that countered white America’s long-held assumption that Black voters will always vote Democrat—and even that the Democratic party is the best bet for Black Americans.

My ultimate question was this: how are Black people being led away—not towards—each other, and what do we lose when we lose each other? What do we lose when, to quote Kanye West, we feel lost in the world.

ISBN: 9781250824110
ISBN: 9781250856562

For fans of Bad Feminist and The Sum of Us, Black Skinhead sparks a radical conversation about Black America and political identity.

In Black Skinhead, Brandi Collins-Dexter, former Senior Campaign Manager for Color Of Change, explores the fragile alliance between Black voters and the Democratic party. Through sharp, timely essays that span the political, cultural, and personal, Collins-Dexter reveals decades of simmering disaffection in Black America, told as much through voter statistics as it is through music, film, sports, and the baffling mind of Kanye West.

While Black Skinhead is an outward look at Black votership and electoral politics, it is also a funny, deeply personal, and introspective look at Black culture and identity, ultimately revealing a Black America that has become deeply disillusioned with the failed promises of its country.

We had been told that everything was fine, that America was working for everyone and that the American Dream was attainable for all. But for those who had been paying attention, there had been warning signs that the Obamas’ version of the American Dream wasn’t working for everyone. That it hadn’t been working for many white Americans was immediately and loudly discussed, but the truth—and what I set out to write this book about—was that it hadn’t been working for many Black Americans either. For many, Obama’s vision had been more illusion than reality all along.

When someone tells you everything is fine, but around you, you see evidence that it’s not, where will the quest to find answers lead you? As I went on the journey of writing this book, I found a very different tale about Black politics and Black America, one that countered white America’s long-held assumption that Black voters will always vote Democrat—and even that the Democratic party is the best bet for Black Americans.

My ultimate question was this: how are Black people being led away—not towards—each other, and what do we lose when we lose each other? What do we lose when, to quote Kanye West, we feel lost in the world.

Brandi Collins-Dexter credit Mollye Miller
Brandi Collins-Dexter is the former Senior Campaign Director at Color Of Change, where she oversaw the media, culture, and economic justice departments. At Color of Change, she led a number of successful campaigns, including getting Fox’s The O’Reilly Factor taken off the air and R. Kelly dropped from RCA, and is considered to be a critical public voice on issues of race, technology and corporate accountability. She is currently a visiting fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. Brandi is a regular commentator in the media on racial justice and was named a 2017 “person to watch” by The Hill and one of the 100 most influential African Americans by The Root in 2019. Brandi holds a B.A. in history from Agnes Scott College, and a J.D. from University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School. She was born on the South Side of Chicago and currently lives in Baltimore with her husband David and their cat, Ella.

Praise for Brandi Collins-Dexter

“Brandi Collins-Dexter — a scholar, activist and overall poignant voice on race and accountability (as well as South Sider) — writes in Black Skinhead that she found in Kanye West a vessel for thinking about Black voters and rising disillusionment with Democrat politics. From there she spins a vibrant history of Black voters and assumptions.”

THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE

“Collins-Dexter compellingly ties her engaging assessments of the Black skinheads’ artistic output to a broader political critique … Each essay reflects deep research, passion and respect for her subject.”

THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

“With the midterm elections looming, the political activist Collins-Dexter’s essay collection is timely as well as pointed. In it, she argues that Democrats have taken Black voters for granted, and that the consequences of this mistake have already begun — and will accelerate.”

The New York Times
15 Works of Nonfiction to Read This Fall

“Political activist Collins-Dexter debuts with an immersive and insightful look at the Black community’s fraying relationship with the Democratic Party.  … Seamlessly balancing the personal, political, and cultural, and enlivened with a sharp sense of wit, these standout pieces strike an essential note of warning for Democrats.”

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, STARRED REVIEW

“An influential media commentator on racial justice explores politics and Black voters in this sharp blend of memoir and cultural criticism. … Featuring a vivid mix of hard data, anecdotal details, and scholarly research, this book is a must-read for anyone interested in politics and Black lives in America. A remarkable work that leaves us feeling hopeful for change.”

Kirkus, Starred Review

Black Skinhead should be a wake-up call to politicians and voters alike. Brandi Collins-Dexter challenges us to journey into the worlds of Black voters and people across the political spectrum. There were times where it felt uncomfortable, but the implications unearthed throughout the book must not be ignored.”

Michael Tubbs
Former mayor of Stockton, CA and author of The Deeper the Roots

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