Jeff Chang (journalist)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Jeff Chang
Jeff Chang portrait.jpg
Occupation Music critic, journalist
Nationality American
Notable awards American Book Award, North Star News Prize

Jeff Chang is an American journalist and music critic on hip hop music and culture. His 2005 book, Can't Stop Won't Stop, which won the Before Columbus Foundation's American Book Award, chronicles the early hip hop scene.[1] His writings have appeared in publications such as URB, The Bomb, San Francisco Chronicle, the Village Voice, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Vibe, Spin, The Nation, and Mother Jones. Jeff is currently the Executive Director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts + Committee on Black Performing Arts at Stanford University.[2]

Chang is of Chinese and Hawaiian descent,[3] and he is a 1985 graduate of Iolani School.[4] He was a founding member of the Solesides record label while a DJ at a UC Davis college radio station, which was the home to acts like DJ Shadow and Blackalicious before it was recreated as Quannum Projects without Chang's involvement.

Chang's 2007 book, Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop, is an anthology of essays and interviews documenting the impact of hip hop beyond music and the "four elements". According to its companion website, following the release of Total Chaos, Chang held a series of public panel discussions to further explore the subject.

Chang's 2014 book is entitled Who We Be: The Colorization of America, where he moves away from hip hop to focus on "the cultural implications of the new American majority"[5] and "the social history, the cultural influence—and the massive selling—of multiculturalism in America over the last thirty years".[6]


Jeff Chang is a notable Chinese and native Hawaiian man. He was raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. He graduated from ‘lolani school there, got his bachelor's degree at University of California at Berkeley, and went on to get his master's degree in Asian American studies from University of California at Los Angeles. As of now he resides somewhere in California. Besides the fact he is very serious about is work and tries to keep his personal life very private and out of public eye, it is a known fun fact that he is a big fan of Japanese curry and poi but does not enjoy eating them both at the same time. Chang is currently the executive director of the IDA, Institute for Diversity in the Arts, at Stanford University in Stanford, California. And his next work should be a biography of the martial arts philosopher, Bruce Lee. While Jeff Chang works at Stanford, his professional career has always revolved around specializing in culture, politics, the arts, and music, specifically hip-hop.

In the year of 1993, Jeff Chang co-founded and ran the very influential hip hop indie label, then known as SoleSides, but now known as Quannum Projects. He helped launch the careers of DJ Shadow, Blackalicious, Lyrics Born, and Lateef the Truth Speaker. Chang sustained the production of over a dozen records, including the “godfathers of gangsta rap” by the Watts Prophets.

After the anti-apartheid and the anti-racist movement that he was very much apart of at the University of California at Berkeley politicized him, he worked as a community laborer and student organizer. He also worked as a lobbysit for the students of the California state University systems. Chang has a pretty impressive resume; he lectured at dozens of colleges, universities, festivals, and institutions in the US and even around the world. Jeff was also an organizer of the inaugural National Hip-Hop Political Convention, served as a board member for multiple organizations. All of this was done with the idea of working for change through the youth and the community by organizing, media, justice culture, the arts, and hip hop activism. Jeff Chang has a done a lot to try to get the world to become a better place, and he is still working on it.

Chang is a USA Ford Fellow in Literature. And has won many awards, some being the North Star News Prize award, the UTNE Reader award, the St. Clair Drake Teaching Award at Stanford University in 2014 and the 50 Visionaries Changing Your Word award. He has cofounded the CultureStr/ke and ColorLines movements as well. In 2005, he was lucky enough to be elected to participate in a conversation with Tom Hayden, the social and political activist and director of the Peace and Justice Resource Center in Culver City, California, in the very reputable Mario Savio Memorial Lecture. And then right after that in 2007, Chang had the purely impressive honor to interview the president, Barack Obama, for the cover of the well-known Vibe Magazine. Vibe Magazine isn’t the only notable source he as written for. He has also written for The Nation, the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Believer, the Foreign Policy, the N+1, the MotherJones, the Salon, the Slate, the Buzzfeed, the Medium, and plenty others.

Chang is such an incredible writer he does not only do articles, he does books as well. In 2005, Picador published his first book, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, which won the American Book Award, and the Asian American Literary Award. The book has a going price of fifteen dollars on amazon. The summary of the book is as follows, “Forged in the fires of the Bronx and Kingston, Jamaica, hip hop has been a generation defining global movement. In a post civil rights era rapidly transformed by deindustrialization and globalization, hip hop gave voiceless youths a change to address these seismic changes and became a job making engine and the Esperato of youth rebellion. …” The book received many favorable reviews. Time Magazine said, “ Obsessively researched, beautifully written, Chang’s book is the funky bootleg, B-side remix of the late 20th century American history.” The Rolling Stone writer, Robert Christgau said, “Nothing less than the finest rap history extant…” And Vibe Magazine said, “When hip hop 101 becomes a requirement, Jeff Chang’s history of the turmoil that begat this beloved culture will be the go to textbook.” Then in 2007, he edited the book, Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop, a compilation of different artists’ interviews and discussions put together by Jeff. Jeff Chang’s more recent work would be the book, Who We Be: The Colorization of America. This book has a going price of fourteen dollars at amazon. The summary of this masterpiece is, “Race. A four-letter word. The greatest social divide in American life, a half-century ago and today. During that time, the U.S. has seen the most dramatic demographic and cultural shifts in its history, what can be called the colorization of America. …” Who We Be received many positive reviews. Adam Mansbach claimed, “Who We Be is essential reading – not this season or this year, but until the audacity of post-racism kicks in. Which won’t be happening anytime soon.” And Jelani Cobb stated, “With Who We Be Jeff Chang has emerged as a premier chronicler of the broad and unruly narrative of American culture.”


  1. ^ The American Book Awards / Before Columbus Foundation. Accessed July 8, 2013.
  2. ^ {}. Accessed February 19, 2014.
  3. ^ The Editor. Total Chaos
  4. ^ Alumni Making Headlines. Iolani School. Accessed August 19, 2008.
  5. ^ "Author Bios – Jeff Chang", The Nation. Retrieved on February 24, 2012.
  6. ^ "Jeff Chang", Retrieved on February 24, 2012.

External links[edit]