The Tanning of America

On August 18, 2011, in Biracial, by Honeysmoke

In THE TANNING OF AMERICA: How the Culture of Hip-Hop Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy (Gotham Books; On-Sale 9-8-11), Stoute draws from his diverse background in the music industry and brand marketing to chronicle how an upstart art form – street poetry set to beats – came to define urban culture as the embodiment of cool. Steve Stoute’s understanding of how hip-hop morphed into mainstream culture enabled him to relate to a new generation of thinking, which catapulted him to the forefront of pop culture – where he still remains today.

In THE TANNING OF AMERICA Steve Stoute shows how a company can connect with the youth market without seeming inauthentic and staying true to their core brands. This ‘tanning’ phenomenon – the positive, powerful potential of urban youth culture that, when harnessed properly, can bring disparate groups of people together – raised the generation of black, Hispanic, white and Asian consumers who have the same ‘mental complexion’ based on shared experiences and values. Today’s consumer is a mindset, not a race – and when businesses get it right, and have a proper understanding of tanning, success is imminent.

Steve Stoute’s knowledge and observations will allow readers to find success in a new generation’s bold reinterpretation of the American Dream.

I am intrigued by this conversation and the book. What do you think?

  • Blanc2

    Here is an interesting analogy, from the world of physics. Lay people often colloquially say that the earth orbits around the sun. But physicists know this is not true. Rather, the earth and the sun both orbit around a point that is the center of their masses. Since the sun is so much more massive than the earth, that point is very close to the sun’s actual center. However, my point is that in the natural world the larger object is influenced by the smaller just as the smaller is influenced by the larger.

    The same analogy holds true of populations. A minority population will eventually assimilate into the majority population, but in the process the majority population will to some extent assimilate into the minority.

    The “Tanning” of America is a natural process that should come as a surprise to nobody. The only surprise is that it took so long, which is pretty much solely due to white racism.

    At my kids generation, race means very little. It’s about at the level of hair color or eye color. Part of that might be unique to our area, which has a large percentage of multi-ethnic kids. When a boy whose mother is African American and father is caucasian American is dating a girl whose mother is from India and father from Brazil (which girl speaks some Portuguese at home but English at school), you begin to see how old fashioned notions of ethnic identity can break down very quickly in just a generation.