Rebel Speak: A Justice Movement Mixtape (California Series in Hip Hop Studies #2) (Hardcover)

Rebel Speak: A Justice Movement Mixtape (California Series in Hip Hop Studies #2) By Bryonn Rolly Bain Cover Image
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A literary mixtape of transformative dialogues on justice with a cast of visionary rebel activists, organizers, artists, culture workers, thought leaders, and movement builders.

Rebel Speak sounds the alarm for a global movement to end systemic injustice led by people doing the day-to-day rebel work in the prison capital of the world. Prison activist, artist, and scholar Bryonn Rolly Bain brings us transformative oral history ciphers, rooted in the tradition of call-and-response, to lay bare the struggle and sacrifice on the front lines of the fight to abolish the prison industrial complex.

Rebel Speak investigates the motives that inspire and sustain movements for visionary change. Sparked by a life-changing interview with working-class heroes Dolores Huerta and Harry Belafonte, Bryonn invites us to join conversations with change-makers whose diverse critical perspectives and firsthand accounts expose the crisis of prisons and policing in our communities. Through dialogues with activists including Albert Woodfox, founder of the first Black Panther Party prison chapter, and Susan Burton, founder of Los Angeles's A New Way of Life Reentry Project; a conversation with a warden pushing beyond traditions at Sing Sing Correctional Facility; and an intimate exchange with his brother returning from prison, Bryonn reveals countless unseen spaces of the movement to end human caging. Sampling his provocative sessions with influential artists and culture workers, like Public Enemy leader Chuck D and radical feminist MC Maya Jupiter, Bryonn opens up and guides discussions about the power of art and activism to build solidarity across disciplines and demand justice.

With raw insight and radical introspection, Rebel Speak embodies the growing call for "credible messengers" on prisons, policing, racial justice, abolitionist politics, and transformative organizing. Reimagining the role of the writer and scholar as a DJ and MC, Bryonn moves the crowd with this unforgettable mix of those working within the belly of the beast to change the world. This is a new century's sound of movement-building and Rebel Speak.

About the Author

Bryonn Rolly Bain is a prison activist, artist, scholar, and author of four books including The Ugly Side of Beautiful: Rethinking Race and Prison in America. Learn more about his critically acclaimed hip hop theater and spoken word multimedia production, Lyrics from Lockdown, and his Emmy Award–winning work on LA Stories, at

Praise For…

"Prison activist Bryonn Bain presents a diverse and eye-opening series of discussions on mass incarceration, racial profiling, and other criminal justice issues. Describing the book as a ‘dialogue-centered mixtape,’ Bain pays homage throughout to the hip-hop culture that inspired and informed his activism. . . . A powerful and intimate look at the fight for a more equitable and compassionate justice system."
— Publishers Weekly

“Coming at a time when those who benefit from white supremacy are attacking critical race theory and Black perspectives generally, Rebel Speak is an impassioned addition to conversations about how America was designed to harm Black citizens—and how it continues to do so.”
— Foreword Reviews

Rebel Speak: A Justice Movement Mixtape certainly captures the right vibe, from the cover image of a hand-labeled cassette tape, to the tracklist-style table of contents, to the way the author uses each chapter to pass the mic to people he admires. Rebel Speak features the voices of high-profile artists and activists alongside those of formerly incarcerated men and women to highlight the big issues of justice in society.”
— KCET-TV Online

"Throughout his book, Bain uses his and his subjects’ personal perspectives to explore more universal ideas of effective alternatives to mass incarceration."
— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Product Details
ISBN: 9780520388437
ISBN-10: 0520388437
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: April 19th, 2022
Pages: 312
Language: English
Series: California Series in Hip Hop Studies