Author Ishmael Reed crushes media stereotypes in his new book, "Barack Obama and the Jim Crow Media: The Return of the Nigger Breakers."

By Dennis J. Freeman

Literary giant Ishmael Reed is coming to the 4th Annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair to promote his latest work. And it’s a good one.  With more than 150 authors and over 50 literary exhibitors participating in the book fair, which is expected to draw thousands of people, Reed is among the heavyweights to headline the all day event.

 Oscar-winning actor Louis Gossett Jr., best-selling author Eric Jerome Dickey, reality television star Nene Leaks and Pulitzer Prize winning writer Douglas A. Blackmon will all be touting their literary works at the book fair, which takes place June 26.  But Reed, who has authored books on race issues and is a leading authority on African American literature, figure to attract a large share of the audience who will show up to hear him speak on “Barack Obama and the Jim Crow Media: The Return of the Nigger Breakers.”

 The title alone of Reed’s literary piece is sure to stoke some type of controversy from the haters and his critics. The book doesn’t fall short of matching its title with pointed criticism of mainstream media, which Reed suggests in his book, as keeping the flame of bigoted loathing of African Americans that once roamed through the Deep South and throughout this country during the racist Jim Crow era.

“The media sells its product as portraying black people as the ones who are backward, as having too many babies and we should just be entertainment for the media, which is mostly white males,” Reed said in a phone interview. “It’s an all-white jury. The African Americans who get on (television) are to the right. We don’t a variety of the viewpoints from the African American community or the Hispanic community.”

Reed’s book is a page-turner that is sure to turn heads, fan flames to an already inflammable relationship between African Americans and the media and directs attention to the so-called African American talking heads and experts on the black experience. He rips President Barack Obama for calling out black fathers in order to appease white media pundits and chastises scholar Henry Louis Gates in regards to his debacle with his high-profile run-in incident with the police. He also covers ground about the media’s infatuation to tear down President’s Obama’s relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright when he ran for the Oval office.

Reed’s take on race relations, the media’s portrayal of African Americans, is refreshingly candid, informative and likely to take you to another level in observing what stories are being told through the lens of the mainstream press. The book is superbly written and thoroughly researched. “Barack Obama and the Jim Crow Media: The Return of the Nigger Breakers,” is a hot read with its message hammering home the sophisticated viewpoint on race matters when it comes to media biasness.            

“I pay attention,” said Reed. “The worst thing that happened to the African American culture was the decline of the black press.”

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