Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching: A Young Black Man's Education (Paperback)
An unflinching account of what it means to be a young black man in America today, and how the existing script for black manhood is being rewritten in one of the most fascinating periods of American history.
How do you learn to be a black man in America? For young black men today, it means coming of age during the presidency of Barack Obama. It means witnessing the deaths of Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Akai Gurley, and too many more. It means celebrating powerful moments of black self-determination for LeBron James, Dave Chappelle, and Frank Ocean.
In Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching, Mychal Denzel Smith chronicles his own personal and political education during these tumultuous years, describing his efforts to come into his own in a world that denied his humanity. Smith unapologetically upends reigning assumptions about black masculinity, rewriting the script for black manhood so that depression and anxiety aren't considered taboo, and feminism and LGBTQ rights become part of the fight. The questions Smith asks in this book are urgent -- for him, for the martyrs and the tokens, and for the Trayvons that could have been and are still waiting.
About the Author
Mychal Denzel Smith is the author of the New York Times bestseller Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching (2016) and Stakes Is High. His work has appeared, online and print, in the New York Times, Washington Post, Harper's, Artforum, Oxford American, New Republic, GQ, Complex, Esquire, Playboy, Bleacher Report, the Nation, the Atlantic, Pitchfork, Bookforum, and a number of other publications. He has appeared on the Daily Show, PBS Newshour, Democracy NOW!, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, MSNBC, CNN, NPR, and more national and local radio/television programs.
He is featured in and was a consulting producer for Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story, the Paramount Network docuseries executive produced by Jay-Z. In 2014 and 2016, TheRoot.com named him one of the 100 Most Influential African-Americans in their annual The Root 100 list. He was also a 2017 NAACP Image Award Nominee. He is a fellow at Type Media Center. You can follow him on Twitter at @mychalsmith.
"...wonderful...While Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching may not have the answers, its attempt to define the undefined something buzzing about blackness feels like catching lightning in a bottle."—Atlantic.com, Summer Reading Selection
"Invisible Man, Got The Whole World Watching is quintessentially Mychal Denzel Smith: brilliant, honest, courageous, hilarious, and transparent. Most importantly, it is one of the best and most authentic examples of black male feminist cultural criticism that we have ever seen. Although he draws from his own experience, Mychal avoids the self-importance and navel gazing that compromise most memoirs of this genre. Instead, he offers a narrative that is at once unique and ordinary, reflective and instructive. This book should be read by anyone trying to understand what it means to be black and male and committed to this beautiful struggle for freedom."—Marc Lamont Hill, author of Nobody: Casualties of America's War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond
"Decades ago, Toni Cade Bambara wrote, 'The purpose of a writer is to make revolution irresistible.' Mychal Denzel Smith, in addition to crafting a genius piece of art that swims through politics and prose, has created one of the first books of my lifetime that makes structural and interpersonal revolution irresistible. Unlike many twentieth- and twenty-first-century memoirs written by black men, Smith convinces readers that any conversation or movement toward black liberation that doesn't also reckon with heteropatriarchy is brittle at best, and likely destructive. Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching is the first book of my life that I need to read with my mother, my grandmother, and my children. Mychal Denzel Smith has done it. He has written a potential revolution."—Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy and How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America