‘... We got to get over before we go under ...’ Fragments for a history of black vernacular neoliberalism

Autumn / Winter 2013

Through a discussion of Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad books, the motivational primers of Robert Greene and other similar material produced in the UK by a legion black nationalists turned consultants, trainers, mentors and motivators, this paper asks some difficult questions about the relationship between black and migrant communities and the neoliberal thematics of uplift, self-responsibility and self-improvement. These topics have a long history that spans the interest of nineteenth-century African Americans in Samuel Smiles and the hustling ethic affirmed in several generations of Hip hop.

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NF 80/81 Neoliberal Culture