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Nelson George
Nelson George
February 10, 2004
(Tuesday)
4:15 p.m. Informal Seminar
Assembly Hall, Campus Center
8:00 p.m. Reading
Recital Hall, PAC
UAlbany, Uptown Campus

Post-Soul Nation

Nelson George, journalist and music critic, and prolific author, is America’s preeminent interpreter of black pop culture. His newest book is Post-Soul Nation: The Explosive, Contradictory, Triumphant and Tragic 1980s As Experienced by African Americans (Previously Known as Blacks and Before That Negroes) (January 2004).

Nelson George is also a successful fiction writer, biographer, filmmaker and television producer. He served as co-producer of the Emmy-winning HBO program, "The Chris Rock Show," for its entire five-season run, and serves as the executive producer of the new HBO film, "Brooklyn" (2004).

George is the author of fifteen nonfiction books, many of them regarded as groundbreaking works in the study of black popular culture. The books include Hip-Hop America (1998), Blackface: Reflections on African-Americans and the Movies (1994, reissued 2002), Elevating the Game: Black Men and Basketball (1992), Buppies, B-boys, Baps and Bohos: Notes on Post-Soul Culture (1992), The Death of Rhythm and Blues (1988, reissued 2003) and Where Did Our Love Go?: The Rise and Fall of the Motown Sound (1986). Both Hip-Hop America and The Death of Rhythm and Blues were finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

The new book Post-Soul Nation examines American black culture in the little-examined aftermath of the social upheavals of the 1960s and ‘70s, when black celebrities and politicians enjoyed unprecedented influence, while once-vital black neighborhoods became ravaged by new drugs and renewed rage. Kirkus Reviews calls the book, "A clear-eyed look back at a puzzling time, unclouded by bitterness or nostalgia."

George’s other nonfiction books include The Michael Jackson Story (1987), which made the New York Times bestseller list; Life and Def: Sex, Drugs, Money and God (2001), a biography of street poet Black Ice; and In Living Color: The Authorized Companion to the Fox TV Series (1991).

Nelson George is also a distinguished music critic and cultural affairs commentator. Beginning his career as a reporter for the Amsterdam News, George has served as black music editor for both Record World and Billboard, and as the "Native Son" columnist and music critic for The Village Voice. He is also a contributor to the Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll, and has written articles for Essence, Rolling Stone, Musician and the New York Times Magazine.

In his novels, Nelson George provides closely observed and often humorous portrayals of the modern African American experience. In a New York Times review of Urban Romance (1993), his first novel, Patricia O’Connell called George, "an excellent chronicler of the political climate, styles, club scene and rap music culture of New York." His novel, Show & Tell (2001), examines the impact of the Internet on love, lust and relationships. Essence called the novel, "unabashedly fun." His newest novel, Night Work (2003), recounts the adventures of a CB4successful black gigolo. The Publishers Weekly reviewer said, "George has a flair for keeping readers amused and entertained."

One Special Moment

Nelson George is also a filmmaker. For Black Entertainment Television, he directed "One Special Moment" (2001), the story of a black Hollywood action star confronting the pressures of celebrity. He also cowrote the film "CB4" (1993), starring Chris Rock and Phil Hartman, and "Strictly Business" (1991), starring Halle Berry. His short film, "To Be a Black Man," was based on a famous essay he wrote for the "Village Voice" and stars Samuel L. Jackson. A lifelong Brooklynite, George is currently executive producer for a new HBO film about the borough, "Brooklyn," to be aired in 2004.

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