Black Enough For You

A compilation makes history, and fiction, of the black power movement's greatest hits

These nuances emerge from Black Power only if you know where to look. Fine senses them, else he wouldn't have proceeded from revolutionary poetry to inspirational generalizations, and he's savvier historically than the Maoists manqué at Trikont, who cite "Blackenized" as evidence of Hank Ballard's radicalization when it mostly proved he'd do any damn thing for a hit. But Fine's strictly educational goals are modest: "I hope a young person who's into hip hop and has heard these names will want to learn more about them," he says, meaning the Panthers et al., not Syl Johnson waxing cultural. The Panthers didn't know as many true facts about this decadent society as they thought. But they knew more than the average thugarooney, and if Fine's fiction generates a few wannabe politicos, good. If it doesn't, well, it's still every bit as wild a theme-park ride as Strip Jointz.

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