Michael Eric Dyson
Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University, Author, & Political Analyst

Michael Eric Dyson is a Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University. His 2019 New York Times bestselling nonfiction JAY-Z: Made in America is the recipient of two starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and the Library Journal and speaks on  JAY-Z’s career and his role in making this nation what it is today. He is an author, a contributing opinion writer at the New York Times, an MSNBC political analyst, a contributing editor at New Republic, the host of the Michael Eric Dyson Podcast Featuring Dr. Dan Ratner,  an ordained Baptist minister for over 30 years, and received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1993.


Dr. Dyson has authored nearly twenty books on subjects such as the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. in April 4, 1968, Malcolm X, Nas’s debut album Illmatic, Tupac, Marvin Gaye, and Hurricane Katrina’s devastating and long-lasting effects. He won two NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Literary Work in Non-Fiction and the American Book Award in 2007 for Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster.


Essence named Michael Eric Dyson one of the 40 most inspiring African Americans and Ebony listed him among the 100 most influential black Americans. He often speaks at universities and political conventions, but he is also known for his speaking engagements at union halls, prisons, classrooms, and churches. Throughout his career, Dr. Dyson has had a profound effect on American culture and thinking. His book, What Truth Sounds Like, continues the conversation started in his 2017 bestseller Tears We Cannot Stop, and was the winner of the 2018 Southern Books Prize for nonfiction. Follow Michael Eric Dyson on Twitter and Facebook.


Photo credit: © Nina Subin

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ENTERTAINING RACEPerforming Blackness in America
St. Martin's Press

Entertaining Race is a testament to Dyson’s consistent celebration of the outsized impact of African American culture and politics on this country.

Tears We Cannot StopA Sermon to White America
St. Martin’s Press

Fifty years ago Malcolm X told a white woman who asked what she could do for the cause, "Nothing." Dyson believes he was wrong. In Tears We Cannot Stop, he responds to that question. If we are to make real racial progress, we must face difficult truths, including being honest about how black grievance has been ignored, dismissed or discounted.

Long Time ComingReckoning with Race in America
St. Martin's Press

Long Time Coming grapples with the cultural and social forces that have shaped our nation in the brutal crucible of race. In five beautifully argued chapters—each addressed to a black martyr from Breonna Taylor to Rev. Clementa Pinckney—Dyson traces the genealogy of anti-blackness from the slave ship to the street corner where Floyd lost his life—and where America gained its will to confront the ugly truth of systemic racism.

What Truth Sounds LikeRobert F. Kennedy, James Baldwin, and Our Unfinished Conversation About Race in America
St. Martin's Press

What Truth Sounds Like exists at the tense intersection of the conflict between politics and prophecy – of whether we embrace political resolution or moral redemption to fix our fractured racial landscape. The future of race and democracy hang in the balance.

JAY-ZMade in America
St. Martin's Press

In this New York Times bestselling nonfiction, an incisive analysis of JAY-Z’s brilliance examines his ideas, gifts and impact, and takes measure of his stride as a cultural colossus. And there is no one better suited to the task than Michael Eric Dyson, who has investigated and championed hip hop, and the work of JAY-Z, as a critical American art form, for decades.

Race, Racism, & Race Relations In America Through research and personal experience, Michael Eric Dyson explores the past and present relationships of race, racism, and race relations in America.
In Caricature: Racial Profiling & Its Impact On Black America Although America has made strides towards equality amongst varying ethnic groups, there are still disparities. Reminders of this reality and the stereotypes they perpetuate are constant. Dr. Dyson discusses racial profiling, its impact on minority communities, responses to profiling, and the rights afforded people of different ethnic backgrounds.
Sociology of Hip-Hop: JAY-Z How is hip-hop influenced by communities and how do communities influence hip-hop? Michael Eric Dyson takes a look at the work of JAY-Z and the impact of that work.
The Black Presidency Dr. Dyson takes a close look at the meaning of America’s first black presidency and the way the politics of race have shaped Barack Obama both inside and outside the Oval Office.
What Have We Come To? Wars Between The Generations It's no secret that generational divides create tension between age groups. How do different generations relate the past to the present and does it affect their vision of the future?
African American Influence On Pop Culture Dating back decades, African American culture has influenced pop culture. However, this influence is often not attributed to the community that created it, leading to appropriation. Dr. Dyson traces African American influence on popular culture through the years.
Dr. King For The 21st Century Dr. Dyson examines the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and how his leadership and message is used in the 21st century.
Come Hell Or High Water: Hurricane Katrina & The Color Of Disaster Like the book of the same name, this speech is about Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, relief efforts, and the demographics of those impacted by Katrina in 2005 and the years following.

The Philadelphia Inquirer featured Michael Eric Dyson in an article on police reform. Read an interview for Esquire’s December Book Club on what comes after the summer of resistance. Read The Washington Post‘s recent feature story on Michael Eric Dyson. Michael Eric Dyson makes an exciting guest appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Check out Michael Eric Dyson’s on MSNBC’s “The Beat With Ari” discussing the rise of JAY-Z. Read the rave review from the Washington Post on JAY-Z. Watch his interview on ABC’s “The View.” Hillary Clinton tweeted (26M followers) and posted on Instagram (4.5M followers) about JAY-Z. NPR’s “Morning Edition” and Michael examine hip-hop’s JAY-Z as a cultural icon. JAY-Z mentioned in Shondaland’s 50 Ways Jay-Z Changed the Game Before His 50th Birthday Check out Michael Eric Dyson’s op-ed in the Washington Post. Check out Michael on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” SiriusXM’s “Sway in the Morning” in conversation with Michael and JAY-Z: Made in America. Michael speaks on black voters and the 2020 election on MSNBC’s “Politics Nation.” Listen to Michael as a guest on ESPN’s podcast “The Undefeated.” JAY-Z: Made in America mentioned as one of the 50 Notable Works of Nonfiction in 2019 by the Washington Post. Read Michael’s feature with the Philadelphia Inquirer. Check out Michael on Macmillan’s podcast “But That’s Another Story.” JAY-Z: Made in America receives STARRED REVIEW from the Library Journal. JAY-Z: Made in America receives STARRED REVIEW from Publishers Weekly. The Tears We Cannot Stop won the 2018 Southern Book Prize for Nonfiction. Watch Michael discuss Roseanne Barr on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” and “Live with Craig Melvin.” Watch Michael speak on the national anthem protest, Kanye West’s controversial comments, and more on The View. Read an excerpt of Michael’s new book, What Truth Sounds Like, on ABC News. Listen to Michael on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show. Watch Michael on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. Listen to Michael on Slate‘s The Gist podcast. Read Michael’s op-ed on Charlottesville in the New York Times. Check out the official Michael Eric Dyson website. Read the Washington Post review of Tears We Cannot Stop. Check out the inclusion of Tears We Cannot Stop in The Chicago Reader‘s “Books we can’t wait to read in 2017.” Watch Michael Eric Dyson’s appearance of The Breakfast Club. Read Michael Eric Dyson’s NYT op-ed piece, “What Donald Trump Doesn’t Know About Black People.” Read “How Black America Saw Obama” by Michael Eric Dyson. Follow Michael Eric Dyson on Twitter. Listen to On Point’s interview with Michael Eric Dyson. Read three excerpts from Tears We Cannot Stop. Read the Mother Jones interview with Michael Eric Dyson. Bustle names Tears We Cannot Stop the most anticipated nonfiction book of 2017. Watch Michael Eric Dyson’s appearance on Fox News. Read the NYT op-ed piece that sparked a national debate. Listen to the Michael Eric Dyson Podcast Featuring Dr. Dan Ratner. Read “Love and Terror in the Black Church” by Michael Eric Dyson for the NYT. Read “America’s Blue Wall of Terror” by Michael Eric Dyson for New Republic. Read Michael Eric Dyson’s NYT op-ed, “We Forgot What Dr. King Believed In.” Watch Michael Eric Dyson on The Raw Word.  See Michael Eric Dyson’s apperance on CNN “Erin Burnett OutFront”. Check out the inclusion of ENTERTAINING RACE: Performing Blackness in America in the New York Times’ article “Books on Race Filled Best-Seller Lists Last Year. Publishers Took Notice.”

Advance Praise for Long Time Coming "Dyson’s eloquent, exacting, and consequential scrutiny of 'the racial calamity at the heart of our democracy' is a catalyst for discussion and continued calls for justice, a work essential to the struggle to achieve insight, genuine change, and healing."
- Booklist, starred review

"The writing is smart and the research that informs it is great, but what makes this is an important book is Dyson's voice, which is strong but always pregnant with frustration, pain, admiration and, ultimately, hope.”

"A timely, fervent message from an important voice."
- Kirkus Reviews

Advance Praise for JAY-Z "Under Dyson’s guidance, to read about JAY-Z is to learn not just about the journey and works but also about ourselves, our history, our world, and our way forward... we are sitting in a classroom under the spell of a captivating teacher."
Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

"[An] astute cultural biography... Dyson’s excellent study serves as a succinct blueprint of JAY-Z’s artistry and legacy."
Publisher's Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

"[Dyson] makes his case that as a truth-telling racial unifier, political influence, and 'vocal evangelist for developing generational wealth in black communities,' JAY-Z represents a symbol of 'overcoming' for hip-hop culture and American society."

"Dyson writes with the affection of a fan but the rigor of an academic. ... Using extensive passages from Jay-Z’s lyrics, 'Made in America' examines the rapper’s role as a poet, an aesthete, an advocate for racial justice and a business, man, but devotes much of its energy to Hova the Hustler."
-The Washington Post

"JAY-Z's lyrics are complex, prescient, and mind-altering, and Michael Eric Dyson's incisive analysis of their brilliance not only offers a brief history of hip-hop's critical place in American culture but also hints at how we can best move forward."

“If you want the definitive treatment of a man who took it from Marcy Projects to the White House with wit, wisdom, and talent, and changed hip hop along the way, look no further than this insightful and moving book.”

“As a proud standard bearer of hip hop’s golden age, I greatly admire JAY-Z’s lyrical talent, and just as important, his business acumen. This brilliant book not only explains JAY’s magnificent artistry and career, but it sheds light on the broader American culture as well.”
—Queen Latifah

"My Brooklyn Homeboy JAY-Z is one of the most prolific and gifted rappers of all time. My man Michael Eric Dyson is uniquely qualified to interpret JAY-Z’s art and cultural meaning, and this dope book is all the proof we need."
—Spike Lee

“Michael Eric Dyson, a preeminent public intellectual, has covered the waterfront of black cultural criticism — from politics to pop culture, from race to religion. With JAY-Z: Made in America, he returns to his roots and offers us a poignant portrait of one of hip hop’s most intriguing figures, a brilliant self-made man who, if he didn’t exist, you’d have to invent. This tour de force takes full measure of an icon who is an American original like no other!”
—Henry-Louis Gates

“JAY-Z is one of the most remarkable figures of our time. I identify with him as a person who started poor but who rose high to conquer our realms on our own terms. This dazzling work probes every dimension of this iconic American original.”
—Tyler Perry

“A fascinating and fulfilling book that eloquently engages one of the most profound and influential artists of our time.”
—Al Sharpton

“Dyson offers us a bracing, masterful look at an iconic American. Eloquent and profound, this book will help all of us understand why JAY-Z is in a class by himself.”
—Tamron Hall

Praise for Tears We Cannot Stop and Michael Eric Dyson "Elegantly written, Tears We Cannot Stop is powerful in several areas: moving personal recollections; profound cultural analysis; and guidance for moral redemption. A work to relish."
—Toni Morrison

"Here’s a sermon that’s as fierce as it is lucid. It shook me up, but in a good way. This is how it works if you’re black in America, this is what happens, and this is how it feels. If you’re black, you’ll feel a spark of recognition in every paragraph. If you’re white, Dyson tells you what you need to know—what this white man needed to know, at least. This is a major achievement. I read it and said amen."
—Stephen King

“Everybody who speaks after Michael Eric Dyson pales in comparison.”
—President Barack Obama

“Dyson is alive to the fierce urgency of now.”
—Dave Eggers

“Dyson affirms his unique position at the intersection of scholarship and the public arena, in the halls of academe and the corridors of political power, in scholarly discourse and the most thoughtful journalism.”
—Henry Louis Gates

“A world-class scholar, and the most brilliant interpreter of hip hop culture we have.”

“A major American thinker and cultural critic.”
-Philadelphia Enquirer

“One of the most eloquent and wide-ranging black public intellectuals… He moves fluently between academic and popular audiences, between ‘high theory’ and ‘low life.’”
-Stuart Hall, Cultural Theorist, Political Activist, & Sociologist

“Effortlessly and with conviction, he weaves together a range of themes from gangsta rap to graduate seminars, deepening them with highly varied and vividly portrayed personal experience.”
-Noam Chomsky, Linguist, Philosopher, Cognitive Scientist, Social Critic, & Author

“Dyson riffs with speed, eloquence, bawdy humor and startling truths that have the effect of hitting you like a Mack truck.”
San Francisco Examiner

Praise for ENTERTAINING RACE: Performing Blackness in America “Cultural commentator Dyson (Long Time Coming) analyzes ‘the terms of Black performance’ in this wide-ranging and artfully conceived collection of essays, speeches, and interviews. … Throughout, Dyson maintains a firm grip on the cultural moment and offers razor-sharp insights into American history, politics, and art. This is a feast of insights.”
-Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Theologian and public intellectual Dyson turns a gimlet eye on the stereotypes and authentic expressions of Black self-presentation…Dyson writes with a broad, well-learned view of Black history…A thoughtful, elegantly argued contribution to the literature of Black lives in America.”
Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“Spanning three decades, this new collection by celebrated scholar, minister, public intellectual, and prolific writer Dyson is a holistic look into his commentary on Black culture, entertainment, and politics in America and beyond. … Whether considering Leonard Freed’s ‘portraits of social possibility’ or expounding on the importance of academics connecting with popular culture, Dyson's essays and writings address a rich assortment of thought-provoking topics. … [Entertaining Race] offers an expansive and accessible overview of the inquiries of an important social and cultural thinker.”