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Writers Explore The Meaning Of 'Black Cool'

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'Cool' is a word that has come to mean so much more than just a temperature. It can be an attitude, a style or a sound. The word continues to evolve and has a variety of meanings.

In a new collection of essays, Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness, writers explore the definition of coolness within African-American culture. Writer Rebecca Walker edited the book and compiled a series of essays aimed to build a "periodic table of Black Cool, element by element," to explain the myriad meanings of blackness in the United States today.

Walker talks with NPR's Neal Conan — and artist Hank Willis Thomas, who contributed an essay — about the new book and the changing definitions of "Black Cool."

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