What a pleasure to converse with Professor Walter Grayson and Danian Darrell Jerry two insightful men who are undeniably passionate about their endeavor as co-editors of Illmatic Consequences: The Clapback to Opponents of ‘Critical Race Theory’. Their exceptional book combines social science and hip-hop studies to address disinformation and propaganda that distorted political discourse after the 2020 election. Grayson and Jerry have compiled texts from scholars and activists clap back on the lies that animated attacks at local school boards and the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. capitol. Following a thematic structure, these contributors address “The Crisis”, “The Clapback”, and “The Consequences”, using hip hop and Afrofuturism as models for analysis and solutions to the cultural divisions in the United States. The cycle of progress followed by backlash threatens the stability of world affairs in the twenty-first century. These writers offer clear insight across multiple disciplines to create an inclusive civil society. Inspired by the work of David Roediger, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Ibram Kendi, and Carol Anderson, Illmatic Consequences stretches the vision and lexicon of Nasir Jones to a new generation of artists.
Walter Greason is among the most prominent historians, educators, and urbanists in the United States. He has spent the past 30 years speaking to audiences in dozens of states, on over 100 college and high school campuses, at dozens of professional and academic conferences, and to community groups across the country.His most recent projects include professional development for organizations creating anti-racism initiatives in response to the global protests for systemic change; leadership of the T. Thomas Fortune Foundation (responsible for rehabilitation of a National Historic Landmark); research on Afrofuturism in the creation of the Wakanda Syllabus (for Marvel’s Black Panther); and ongoing data collection about comparative economic history.
Danian Darrell Jerry, writer, teacher, and musician, holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. He is a VONA (Voices of Our Nation) Fellow, a Fiction Editor of Obsidian, and a 2023 Volcanista of Under the Volcano Writer’s Workshop. Danian founded Neighborhood Heroes, a youth arts program that employs comic books and literary arts to educate emerging readers. Onstage, he has performed with Hip Hop legends KRS-One, DJ Kool Herc, and as a featured guest at the 2019 Mercedes-Benz SXSW MeConvention in Frankfurt, Germany. His writing appears in Black Panther: Tales of Wakanda, Fireside Fiction, Cracking the Wire During Black Lives Matter, Trouble the Waters: Tales from the Deep Blue, Africa Risen: A New Era of Speculative Fiction, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Fiction.
The work of Stacey Robinson, an artist from Albany, New York, is featured prominently in Illmatic Consequences. He creates graphic novels, art exhibits,and other multimedia works of art that explore the idea of “Black utopias” through anAfrofuturist lens. He is part of the collaborative artist duo Black Kirby alongside John Jennings, which explores Afro speculative existence through the aesthetic of Jack Kirby.Robinson’s artwork explores the idea of futures where Black people are free from the harmful impacts of colonialism.
The music selected for this edition: