Jeff Chang

Jeff Chang
Jeff has written extensively on culture, politics, the arts, and music. He was a USA Ford Fellow in Literature and a winner of the North Star News Prize. He was named by The Utne Reader as one of “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World”. His first book, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, garnered many honors, including the American Book Award and the Asian American Literary Award. He is the editor of Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop. He is currently writing two new books, Who We Be: The Colorization of America (St. Martin’s Press), and Youth (Picador Big Ideas/Small Books series). Jeff was a founding editor of ColorLines magazine, and a Senior Editor/Director at Russell Simmons’ He has written for the The Nation, the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Vibe, Foreign Policy, and Mother Jones, among many others. In 1993, he co-founded and ran the influential hip-hop indie label, SoleSides, now Quannum Projects, helping launch the careers of DJ Shadow, Blackalicious, Lyrics Born and Lateef the Truth Speaker. He has helped produce over a dozen records, including the “godfathers of gangsta rap”, the Watts Prophets. He covered the 2000 presidential elections for 360hiphop. In 2007, he interviewed Barack Obama for the cover of Vibe. After being politicized by the anti-apartheid and anti-racist movements at the University of California at Berkeley, Jeff worked as a community, labor and student organizer, and as a lobbyist for the students of the California State University system. He received a bachelor’s degree from Cal and a master’s degree in Asian American Studies from the University of California at Los Angeles and has published scholarly articles on culture and race relations in Hawai’i and Los Angeles. He has lectured at dozens of colleges, universities, festivals, and institutions in the U.S. and around the world. He was an organizer of the inaugural National Hip-Hop Political Convention and has served as a board member for several organizations working for change through youth and community organizing, media justice, culture, the arts, and hip-hop activism. In 2006, he was selected to participate in a conversation with Tom Hayden in the prestigious Mario Savio Memorial Lecture. Born of Chinese and Native Hawaiian ancestry, Jeff was raised in Hawai’i where he attended ‘Iolani School. He lives in California. He is a big fan of Japanese curry and poi, but not at the same time.

Coca-Cola's Long Culture War

Coca-Cola’s Long Culture War

by Jeff Chang on February 5 2014, 7:00AM

The company’s Super Bowl ad stirred the ire of English-only trolls. But radical, it ain’t.

Topics: Arts & Culture, Media

Retreat into Whiteness

by Jeff Chang on November 25 2009, 12:00PM

Rich Benjamin’s new book leaves us wondering what could happen politically if the emerging majority-minority were joined by the white working class.

Topics: Arts & Culture

What Do We Do When We Win?

by Jeff Chang on November 25 2008, 12:00PM

Reflections on the election victory.


Hip Hop VP: Q & A With Rosa Clemente

by Jeff Chang on August 21 2008, 3:24PM

Originally published on Zentronix Hip Hop VP: A Q+A With Rosa Clemente As cell phone users await Barack Obama’s text message informing them who his Vice President choice is, we present a Q+A with Green Party VP nominee Rosa Clemente….


National Hip-Hop Political Convention Opens In 2 Weeks

by Jeff Chang on July 18 2008, 9:41AM

Reposted from Since the first National Hip-Hop Political Convention was held in Newark New Jersey in the summer of 2004, young voters have come to the polls in big turnouts, driven by a landmark surge of young voters…


What Do Whites Want? Why The Papers Are Getting The Race Polls Wrong

by Jeff Chang on July 16 2008, 1:23PM

Reposted from Zentronix So many race polls, so little insight. Today’s sober NY Times poll on the presidential election and race relations comes to the very same conclusions that the wacky Washington Post poll—which turned into a game of “White…


Idle Hands: Why The Candidates Must Focus On Young Americans

by Jeff Chang on June 11 2008, 3:09PM

Originally published on Zentronix This summer could be the worst ever for teens looking for work, according to experts. Less than one in three youths may find summer jobs. In recent years, the youth jobless rate has soared to record…

Topics: Economy

Obama, The New Majority, And The Race (Card) Ahead

by Jeff Chang on June 5 2008, 9:15AM

Originally published on Zentronix Last night Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination with grace and poise, a history-making achievement that neither John McCain or Hillary Clinton could bring themselves to recognize. One hundred thirty six years after Frederick Douglass became…


White Voters, Obama, and The 15% Nation

by Jeff Chang on April 23 2008, 8:49AM

Originally published on cantstopwontstop Riffing on this great post from Ferentz… This past Monday before the Penn primary, Roger Simon @ cited a convo with an unnamed Republican leader who put a number on the effect that racism would…


Locas Rule

by Jeff Chang on March 15 2002, 12:00PM

Los Bros Hernandez’ Love and Rockets is back, and the timing has never been better.

Topics: Arts & Culture

On the Wrong Side: Chinese Americans Win Anti-Diversity Settlement - and Lose in the End

by Jeff Chang on May 20 1999, 12:00PM

Chinese Americans Win Anti-Diversity Settlement— and Lose in the End by Jeff ChangBy all accounts, San Francisco’s Lowell High School is one of the nation’s top public high schools. To many, especially Asian Americans, attending the highly competitive magnet school…

Topics: Schools & Youth

Up Identity Creek

by Jeff Chang on December 15 1998, 12:00PM

Author Frank Chin says Chinese Americans don’t have identity problems. Twentysomething Eric Liu proves him wrong. Jeff Chang steps into the generation gap.

Topics: Arts & Culture