How have African American writers drawn on "bad" black men and black boys as creative touchstones for their evocative and vibrant art? This is the question posed by Howard Rambsy’s new book, which explores bad men as a central, recurring, and understudied figure in African American literature, and music. By focusing on how various iterations of the bad black man figure serve as creative muse and inspiration for literary production, Rambsy puts a wide variety of contemporary African American literary and cultural works in conversation with creativity research for the first time.
Employing concepts such as playfulness, productivity, divergent thinking, and problem finding, Rambsy examines the works of a wide range of writers—including Elizabeth Alexander, Amiri Baraka, Paul Beatty, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Tyehimba Jess, Trymaine Lee, Adrian Matejka, Aaron McGruder, Evie Shockley, and Kevin Young—who have drawn on notions of bad black men and boys to create innovative and challenging works in a variety of genres. Through groundbreaking readings, Rambsy demonstrates the fruitfulness of viewing black literary art through the lens of creativity research.
You can order Bad Men from the University of Virginia Press. Receive a 30% by discount using the promo code: 10BAD30.
• A notebook on Bad Men: Creative Touchstones of Black Writers