1. Google, for instance, describes African Americans in the United States as
in “the vanguard of digital consumption.” Google’s report notes that “lower in-
come African Americans are willing to cut back on other things in order to af-
ford the latest technology.” See Google, “5 Truths of the Digital African Ameri-
can Consumer,” 12. See also Rideout et al., Children, Media, and Race, 1–20, and
Forbes, Music, Media and Adolescent Sexuality in Jamaica.
2. I use the characterization of “black public sphere” offered by the edi-
tors of Public Culture. “The Black public sphere is primarily concerned with
modernity and its relation to Black people through culture, politics, law and
economics. Modernists, from W. E. B. Du Bois to the present, have been con-
cerned with how to adopt modernism and modernization to Black ways of
life. They have sought to make Blackness new and remove it from the patho-
logical spaces reserved for it in Western culture, to define their own version
of modernity so as to provide a quality of life for Black people and to legit-
imize Black ways of life as modernist expressions.” Moreover, commodities
and their circulation and their relationship to markets, freedom, identity,
property, and pleasure are key in the articulation of the black public sphere.
I am using “black public spheres” here to denote public spheres across differ-
ent black urban communities. Appadurai et al., “Editorial Comment,” xii– xiii.
3. Silverman describes photography as a representational system and a
network of material practices, Threshold of the Visible World, 136.
4. Studies on the circum- Caribbean analyze the movement of people
(from loyalists to laborers), material goods, performance practices, and po-
litical ideologies across the transnational circuit in the United States (par-
ticularly the southern United States) and Caribbean. Such intraregional travel
often rendered local, colonial, and national configurations of race (or raceless-
ness) legible. Examples of this scholarship include Patterson, “Emerging West
Atlantic System”; Adams et al., Just below South; Cartwright, Sacral Grooves,
Limbo Gateways; and Regis, Caribbean and Southern.
5. Un-visible describes a state of being unrecognized and unseen by main-
stream society and comes from Ellison, “Introduction,” xv. A more detailed
explanation of the term comes later in the chapter.
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