Kristal Brent Zook, PhD, is an award-winning journalist who had dedicated her career to producing outstanding investigative journalism and original insights on the topics of race, gender, labor, and popular culture in America.
As the biracial child of an African American mother and a caucasian father, one of Zook’s greatest strengths is her point of view and the fact that she is able to see, based on her experiences and vast knowledge of multiple cultures, from the perspective of one who lives in multiple worlds, as a minority within a minority. In her earliest work as a cultural reporter and television and film essayist for The Village Voice and LA Weekly, Zook chronicled internal struggles behind the scenes of the first primetime television shows ever to be produced, written, and directed by African Americans. While programs from an earlier era, such as Good Times and The Jeffersons, offered up black actors in front of the camera, Zook foresaw an important trend beginning in the 1980s and 1990s with network executives finally allowing African Americans to have unprecedented decision making and creative control over their cultural productions. This power led to mixed but fascinating results as she shows in her first book, Color by Fox: The Fox Network and the Revolution in Black Television.
In this collection, which became required reading in many university courses, Zook explored the rich and multilayered politics of race and representation in shows such as In Living Color, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Martin, New York Undercover, Living Single, Roc, and South Central. Zook presents her analysis through exclusive interviews with star producers such as Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Charles Dutton, Yvette Lee Bowser, and Sinbad.
The author of three books and countless magazine, newspaper, and online articles, Kristal Brent Zook is also the associate professor of journalism at Hofstra University. Previously, she worked as associate adjunct professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and has been a frequent guest on broadcast and cable news outlets such as CNN, MSNBC, TV-One, BET, Fox, NPR, and GreenStone Media.
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