Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

 
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Thursday, Feb 11, 2010
by PopMatters Staff
by Thabiti Lewis
AmeriQuests (2008)

“The bad man motif figures prominently in Black American folk culture as a symbol of resistance to racism and white oppression. From Stagolee to Shine this subversive figure has been part of the cultural rituals and symbols of Black American of resistance. At the turn of 20th century these bad men were known to play blues or jazz music and wear zoot suits. Novelist Ralph Ellison aptly depicted such a figure in his Harlem character Rinehart in his famous novel Invisible Man. Perhaps the most notorious bad men in athletics were the black heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson and the Negro League baseball phenomena, Satchel Paige who insisted on playing by their own rules. In the modern world the dark, abiding, “BAAD” bad blues/jazz presence of Johnson and Paige has been supplanted by the likes of the 1990s Dennis Rodman and Latrell Sprewell, and Terrell Owens, Latrell Sprewell, Allen Iverson, Randy Moss, of this century. Perhaps the “baddest” man of them all is Barry Bonds, currently facing an indictment for alleged perjury.”


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