In the critical essays collected in Black Looks, bell hooks interrogates old narratives and argues for alternative ways to look at blackness, black subjectivity, and whiteness. Her focus is on spectatorship—in particular, the way blackness and black people are experienced in literature, music, television, and especially film—and her aim is to create a radical intervention into the way we talk about race and representation. As she describes: "the essays in Black Looks are meant to challenge and unsettle, to disrupt and subvert." As students, scholars, activists, intellectuals, and any others who have engaged with the book since its original release in 1992 can attest, that's exactly what these pieces do.
Adenrele Ojo is a native Philadelphian who currently resides in Los Angeles by way of New York. She is a wearer of many creative hats: actress, voice-over artist, writer, producer, and photographer. Adenrele is a theater baby (daughter of the late founder of The New Freedom Theatre in Philadelphia, John E. Allen Jr.) who received her BA in theater from Hunter College in New York and honed her skills at the William Esper Studio, studying Meisner under the auspices of Maggie Flanigan.
No stranger to the stage, a few of her theater credits include August Wilson's Jitney (NJPAC); Bronzeville (Robey Theatre Co.); Joe Turner's Come and Gone (nominated for an L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation Award for Featured Actress); and The Ballad of Emmett Till by Ifa Bayeza, directed by Shirley Jo Finney, which won the 2010 L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation Award & the Los Angeles Drama Critics Award for Best Ensemble. She moves from stage to screen in such feature films as Within; Family; Elevate and Bathroom Vanities, a don't-judge-a-book-by-it's-cover comedy about one woman's unforgettable experience in a ladies' bathroom, directed by Christopher Scott Cherot (Hav Plenty and G), which Adenrele starred, cowrote and produced under the umbrella of her production company, NeW YiLLy Entertainment.
Ojo's voice can also be heard on many audiobooks, which she has been recording since 2007 and for which she has received several AudioFile Earphones Awards. Some of her works include Katie Couric's The Best Advice I Ever Got, Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill, The Mothers by Brit Bennett (AudioFile Best of 2016 Fiction), Weapons of Mass Seduction by Lori Bryant-Woolridge, Oprah's Book Club 2.0 pick, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis, The Healing by Jonathan Odell, Unforgivable Love by Sophfronia Scott and Billions and Billions by Carl Sagan. When she is not recording, you can sometimes find her directing authors, celebrity actors, and other audiobook narrators.