I need to process this but I must first offer it to you….
A terrific essay by Rebecca Wanzo of Washington University:
On the Passing of a Black Intellectual
As Hall once framed the argument in a discussion of his own field, “against the urgency of people dying in the streets, what in God’s name is the point?”
and later in the same essay:
As Stuart Hall once argued, “there is all the difference in the world between understanding the politics of intellectual work and substituting intellectual work for politics.” Being an intellectual does not stand in place of marching in the streets and legislative transformation. But with black history month upon us again, I think it is important to remember black thinkers who battled valiantly against naturalized narratives of racism, and to honor lesser-known teachers and writers who opened their students’ minds to worlds they had not imagined.
Which brings me to my favorite quote from Hall, whose work on popular culture is some of the most important scholarship in the field. In the essay “What is this ‘black’ in black popular culture?” he says that popular culture is not “the arena where we find out who we really are.” Instead, it is “where we discover and play with the identifications of ourselves, where we are imagined, where we are represented, not only to the audiences out there who do not get the message, but to ourselves for the very first time.”