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Latinas/os on the East Coast

A Critical Reader


Edited By Yolanda Medina and Ángeles Donoso Macaya

Latinas/os on the East Coast: A Critical Reader provides a comprehensive overview of established and contemporary research and essays written about communities that represent the Latina/o diaspora on the East Coast of the United States. Collectively, it contributes to the historical, cultural, political, and economic dynamics that affect the Latinas/os’ lived experience of the country. Analyzed through an interdisciplinary lens, this reader offers a critical examination of the policies and the practices that affect the following current and emerging themes and topics: History; Ethnicity and culture; Immigration, transnationalism, and civil rights; Education; Health; Women’s studies; Film and media studies; Queer studies; Literature; Visual and performing arts.
This book is an indispensable resource for scholars, researchers, educators, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as any individual, group, or organization interested in issues that affect Latinas/os in the United States in current times.
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The Writing on the Wall: The Life and Passion of Jean-Michel Basquiat


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The Writing on the Wall

The Life and Passion of Jean-Michel Basquiat

Frances Negrón-Mutaner

Es más dificil ser rey sin corona. (It’s harder to be king without a crown.)1


In New York City, the 1970–1980 decade gave way to a multi-ethnic, queer-inflected urban culture that spurred new forms in music, the visual arts, and dance. In the words of curator Jeffrey Deitch, it “was an era of greater sexual openness to different cultures, and interchange between races.”2 Though fueled to a great extent by blacks and Latinos, it was white artists like Keith Haring and Madonna who mostly injected this fusion into the main cultural bloodstream. Yet few figures from this—or indeed any other time—most fully embody the torment and triumph of the commodification of New York’s emergent cultures than the Brooklyn-born son of a Haitian accountant and a Puerto Rican art lover: the painter Jean-Michel Basquiat.

As with hip-hop culture in general (to which he had an ambivalent relationship), Basquiat has been studied primarily as an African American artist. Called the integrator of “African-American culture,”3 and “the most financially successful Black visual artist in history,”4 the majority of critics who have to date written on Basquiat generally ignore the potential significance of his Caribbean roots to his production and construction of his star persona. Equally perplexing, Puerto Rican and other Latino critics...

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