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Michael C. Heller

(Mitchell )

(b Brooklyn, NY, March 21, 1948). American jazz and film critic and historian. After studying English at Grinnell College (BA 1972), he returned to New York and began writing on film for the Hollywood Reporter (1972) and on jazz for Down Beat (1972–3). Citing influence from the writers Martin Williams and Dan Morgenstern, he decided to focus his efforts exclusively on jazz and in 1973 was hired as a music critic by the Village Voice. His regular column “Weather Bird” became highly influential during the next three decades. Unlike critics who concentrated primarily on recent performances, Giddins wrote on a range of topics, including the legacies of historical figures, contemporary developments, and issues relating to jazz advocacy and education. From the 1980s he began publishing collections of his essays as well as book-length monographs, including biographies of Charlie Parker (1987), Louis Armstrong (...

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Beau Bothwell

(b Detroit, MI, Sept 13, 1970). American writer, filmmaker, and cultural critic. She received undergraduate and graduate degrees in film from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Her short film, I Am Ali, won Best Short Film at the Newport International Film Festival in 2002. Her 2010 documentary, Black August: A Hip-Hop Documentary Concert, grew out of her work with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, and integrates footage from the Black August Hip Hop Benefit Concert series and interviews with musicians, academics, and activists on political prisoners and the injustices of the prison system.

As a journalist hampton has published on hip hop and popular culture in magazines such as The Village Voice, Harper’s Bazaar, Vibe, and The Source. She was an editor for The Source in the 1990s, and a contributing writer at Vibe. She has profiled or interviewed the most successful figures in hip hop of the 1990s, including Jay-Z, Nas, Tupac, and Biggie Smalls, who after being the subject of a college documentary film assignment later became a friend and the godfather of hampton’s daughter. As familiar as she is with the most commercially successful side of commercial hip hop, hampton has also written critically and personally about the often problematic relationship between young black women and popular hip hop. She cowrote an unreleased autobiography of Sean “Jay-Z” Carter, and later collaborated with him on ...