BACK TO BLACK
Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century
Kehinde Andrews, Zed Books (SEPTEMBER) Hardcover $24.95 (256pp), 978-1-78699-278-9
Back to Black pulls no punches. In the first few pages, Kehinde Andrews condemns liberalism and the entire foundation of Western society, and does not do so in a gentle manner.
Best for those who are already somewhat familiar with black radical theory and anti-racist efforts, the book explores the advantages and limitations of all types of pro-black ideologies, from pan-africanism to Garveyism to black nationalism and beyond. Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Assata Shakur, and Angela Davis are among the cast of black radicals that the text analyzes and dissects. It moves through this history of black radicalism in order to present a modern iteration in the hopes of combatting racism.
The book follows in the tradition of radicalism by always fixating on the root of social problems. Andrews is scathing in his denouncement of politics that only address the “symptoms of racism.” From mainstream politicians to esteemed scholars in his own field, no one is spared criticism.
Andrews writes with absolute authority, supplying chapter after chapter of information about various forms of black politics and history. Passion and insistence saturate his tone from start to finish. He deems the world lacking in radical frameworks, and works to correct that. At times, the text falls into a very didactic space; the book seems to claim an all-knowing perspective on black politics.
Back to Black is a fiery, in-depth investigation of black radicalism and a call for a more revolutionary, liberated society across the globe.