Zachary Manditch-Prottas

Dr. Zachary Manditch-Prottas is a full-time lecturer in the Department of African and African American Studies and the American Culture Studies Program at Washington University in St. Louis. He earned his Ph.D. in African American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. His work has been featured in current and forthcoming publications in African Americanist cultural criticism, including African American ReviewThe Black Scholar, The Journal of Popular Culture, and Multi Ethnic Literatures of the United States (MELUS).

Posts by Zachary Manditch-Prottas

Notorious BIG Tells Us It Is All Right to Be about Nothing

When Abiodun Oyewole, founding member of The Last Poets, filed a copyright lawsuit against the estate the Notorious BIG (aka Biggie or BIG) it connected the nationalist bard of the 1960s to the politically ambivalent emcee of the 1990s. It also signaled both aesthetic continuity and an ideological impasse between two generations of African-American wordsmiths.

The Five Best  Films of the Blaxploitation Era

While dismissed by Hollywood as a handy trend, Blaxploitation has earned a shaky status in the history of film and Black cultural history at large. The propensity to elicit loaded for or against debates has led to equally overwrought praise and scorn for these films. A half-century after Blaxploitation’s bombastic introduction, quick rise, and equally quick fall, we would do well to revisit, and reconsider, those films that best exemplify the still prickly term.

The Story of a Literary Friendship and How It Ends Badly

Be it Hughes and Hurston, Baldwin and Wright, or Tupac and Biggie, burdened friendships are a recurrent and disturbingly alluring theme in the study of Black writers. Yet, if it is the dramatic bite of high-profile betrayal that tends to ignite a hot-selling story, in the case of Zora and Langston it is the dynamics of friendship that provide a happy counterexample.