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Flavor and soul : Italian America at its African American edge

Author: John Gennari
Publisher: Chicago ; London : The University of Chicago Press, [2017]
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
In the United States, African American and Italian cultures have been intertwined for more than a hundred years. From as early as nineteenth-century African American opera star Thomas Bowers--"The Colored Mario"--all the way to hip-hop entrepreneur Puff Daddy dubbing himself "the Black Sinatra," the affinity between black and Italian cultures runs deep and wide. Once you start looking, you'll find these connections  Read more...
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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: John Gennari
ISBN: 9780226428321 022642832X
OCLC Number: 952277066
Description: 295 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents: Introduction: "Who put the wop in doo-wop?" --
Top wop --
Everybody eats --
Spike and his goombahs --
Sideline shtick --
Tutti.
Responsibility: John Gennari.

Abstract:

In the United States, African American and Italian cultures have been intertwined for more than a hundred years. From as early as nineteenth-century African American opera star Thomas Bowers--"The Colored Mario"--all the way to hip-hop entrepreneur Puff Daddy dubbing himself "the Black Sinatra," the affinity between black and Italian cultures runs deep and wide. Once you start looking, you'll find these connections everywhere. Sinatra croons bel canto over the limousine swing of the Count Basie band. Snoop Dogg deftly tosses off the line "I'm Lucky Luciano 'bout to sing soprano." Like the Brooklyn pizzeria and candy store in Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing and Jungle Fever, or the basketball sidelines where Italian American coaches Rick Pitino and John Calipari mix it up with their African American players, black/Italian connections are a thing to behold and to investigate. John Gennari spotlights this affinity, calling it "the edge"--now smooth, sometimes serrated--between Italian American and African American culture. He argues that the edge is a space of mutual emulation and suspicion, a joyous cultural meeting sometimes darkened by violent collision. Through studies of music and sound, film and media, sports and foodways, Gennari shows how an Afro-Italian sensibility has nourished and vitalized American culture writ large, even as Italian Americans and African Americans have fought each other for urban space, recognition of overlapping histories of suffering and exclusion, and political and personal rispetto.

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