The Hip-Hop Generation Fights Back

Youth, Activism and Post-Civil Rights Politics

240 pages

July, 2012

ISBN: 9780814717172



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Andreana Clay is Associate Professor of Sociology at San Francisco State University.

All books by Andreana Clay

From youth violence, to the impact of high stakes educational testing, to editorial hand wringing over the moral failures of hip-hop culture, young people of color are often portrayed as gang affiliated, “troubled,” and ultimately, dangerous. The Hip-Hop Generation Fights Back examines how youth activism has emerged to address the persistent inequalities that affect urban youth of color. Andreana Clay provides a detailed account of the strategies that youth activists use to frame their social justice agendas and organize in their local communities. 

Based on two years of fieldwork with youth affiliated with two non-profit organizations in Oakland, California, The Hip-Hop Generation Fights Back shows how youth integrate the history of social movement activism of the 1960s, popular culture strategies like hip-hop and spoken word, as well as their experiences in the contemporary urban landscape, to mobilize their peers. Ultimately, Clay’s comparison of the two youth organizations and their participants expands our understandings of youth culture, social movements, popular culture, and race and ethnic relations. 


  • “Andreana Clay's insightful study of activism among youth of color masterfully shows the ways that teenagers are politically active in their schools and communities. Rejecting stereotypes of Black, Latino and Asian youth as apathetic and causing social problems, this book shows us their commitment to fight for social change. A profoundly optimistic book, The Hip-Hop Generation Fights Back provides a fascinating glimpse of the optimism and resilience of the next generation of leaders who are essential to America's future.”

    —Patricia Hill Collins, author of From Black Power to Hip Hop

  • “The very concept of youth culture and resistance has become such a sociological cliché that in the face of such resistance we often respond with cynicism. Clay’s important The Hip-Hop Generation Fights Back cuts through this cynicism, allowing the hip-hop generation to speak for themselves about their humanity and the world that they are making for themselves and their communities.”

    —Mark Anthony Neal, editor of That’s the Joint: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader

  • The Hip-Hop Generation Fights Back is a unique and important study of youth activism today. Clay skillfully uses the insights of young people to provide a detailed depiction and explanation of how young people are creating and engaging in social activism in the 21st century. This is an essential book to read for anyone interested in and concerned with youth organizing and activism.”

    —Cathy J. Cohen, author of Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of American Politics

  • "This engaging work demonstrates that despite common stereotypes, youth today are committed to bringing about social change by using popular culture. Relevant for sociology and African American, urban studies, ethnic, and American studies collections."


  • "[W]ell designed and deftly executed... Andreana Clay's fine study asks and answers important questions by drawing evidence and ideas from the imagination and insights of young people struggling to survive and thrive in a society that has largely abandoned them. Clay has chosen to write a book that is not merely a chronicle of oppressed people’s suffering, but a call to action to join in their struggle.

    Cultural Sociology

  • “We are left with a deeper appreciation of the imprint youths make in the grassroots world of social change.”

    —Amy L. Best, American Journal of Sociology