André Brock Jr. – Distributed Blackness: African American Cybercultures


NYU Press, ISBN-13: 978-1479829965, English, 288 pages, 2020, USA

It is essential, now more than ever, to understand Blackness, and this book investigates African American Cybercultures with the methodology of CTDA (Critical Technoculture Discourse Analysis). It’s a system that allows the author to relate disparate information technologies and practices to Black culture. Within it Lyotard’s libidinal economy is used to contextualise its mix of “technological literacy, discursive identity and cultural critique”. The author affirms that Black people have an “internet affinity” and in his definition “Black cyberculture can be understood as the protean nature of Black identity”. A few topics are extensively elaborated. Among them: Blackbird, a browser targeted at black audiences; Black Twitter as the incarnation of the ‘Black online network’ early concept, with a few examples of manifested meanings of African American identity through tweet-induced dynamics; and Afrofuturism, which is mostly discussed at the end, but is central to understand the elaboration of the future from a present perspective. The Black Lives Matter Movement has generated powerful cultural waves well beyond the present political urgency and the analysis of violence against the black community. A multifaceted discourse has begun to pervade various cultural circles, including academia, and this book gives multiple starting points to generate further waves.