Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Book Review - LOSING MY COOL by Thomas Chatteron Williams

Book Review: It's Not Just Music 

I believe in the first amendment right to freedom of expression. As an artist myself, I don’t want to be told what to write, or how to share my gift, but I do makes choices about my writing based on what I believe is my social responsibility;  that is write well and don’t write about trash. After-all, literature is forever.  As is its counterpart, music.
Music has always impacted culture. It is an expected reality. Young rockers who perhaps got caught up in sex, drugs and rock and roll were impacted by music, as were the flower children of the seventies. There are countless more examples. In my opinion there was very little danger in the music of the past, because most enjoyed the music and were able to resist the lure of any negative lyrics. The listeners simply grew up. The issue with respect to hip hop is the vulnerability of the African-American population. There’s evidence that listeners are not passing through and simply growing up. Hip-hop is an opiate that’s destroying the vulnerable young people who listen to. The message in most of the music devalues women, work ethic and basic sensibility, so we’re in trouble.  The music convincingly declares that we’re no one unless they have the gold, the car and the girl, so we’re in trouble.
I reviewed this book from the parent’s perspective as I am not an expert on Hip-Hop Culture. As a parent I do know our young people are in crisis. I live in the suburbs and it has long concerned me that my generation will be the first African-American generation whose children that will be less successful and less educated than their parents. Emails from the high school principal and counselors that beg parents to care that their children are failing ninth grade English is a scary thing. Failing –English? Their MP3 players are full of music by artist who are struggling to take command of the language themselves.  I’ll end my rant here.
 This book couldn’t have had a better title and probably could not have been introduced at a better time. The cultural war is on and those leading in the trenches need to know that they can win the battle in their own home. In the Williams home, 15,000 books and a father’s love did it. Each parent must determine what will be their weapon.
The Williams Family’s brave effort at cultural sustainability is to be admired. I highly recommend this book.
Reviewed by Rhonda McKnight
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Please see my interview with the author dated by clicking here.

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