A New Book on American Culture
What Makes That Black? The African American Aesthetic in American Expressive Culture details the definition, structure, function, consciousness, history, application, and spirit of the African American Aesthetic and how that spirit manifests as a foundation in the general American expressive culture. Through objective scholarly analysis and stories that are both personal and communal, Luana first analyzes seventy-five elements in the African American Aesthetic; then details the roots of the Aesthetic as a form of cultural intelligence—a way of thinking that serves not only African Americans but also any one who uses it.
What Makes That Black? The African American Aesthetic in American Expressive Culture is a ladder, a handbook, a periodic table, and a contribution to the dialog on Black American and American cultural expression in the United States.
Luana writes: As a choreographer, I wanted to know, “What makes a dance Africanist or Black?” As a scholar, I wanted to know, “How do we discuss this Blackness?” As an African American, I wanted to know, “Where is my lightning-fast double snap signifying orations in the ivory tower list of America’s literary tools and devices?” As an American, I wanted to know, “Where am ‘I’ in the ‘we’ of the Americas?” As a human, I wanted to understand, “How are we celebrated with an inhale, and xenophobically eschewed with an exhale?”
Throughout the book Luana places both her research and personal narrative in context with groundbreaking scholars such as Alain Leroy Locke, Melville Herskovits, Robert Farris Thompson, Paolo Freire, Brenda Dixon-Gottschild, Shelly Fisher-Fishkin, Robert O’Meally, Jayna Brown, Katherine Dunham, David Driskell, Anthea Kraut, Susan Manning, Kariamu Welsh Asante, Addison Gayle, Jr., Thomas DeFrantz, Amiri Baraka, Kevin Young, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Through powerful image, inquiry, and personal narrative Luana adds humor, depth, and nuance to the conversation sitting at the intersection of African American and American aesthetics.
Luana’s previous book, What Makes That Black? The African American Aesthetic (Lulu Press/2016/118 pages) is also available on Amazon.