Arthur Banton, Ph.D. Historian ● Educator ● Artist ● Mentor
Arthur Banton, Ph.D.Historian ● Educator ● Artist ● Mentor  


What is urban contemporary culture?

One of the pressing challenges of the 21st century is understanding the cultural dynamics of urban life. What is distinctive about urban culture? Urban culture is an indigenous form of concepts created in densely populated spaces with intersections informed by social-economic, racial, spatial, and gender identities. Historically, urban American culture is largely grounded in multicultural and multiethnic interactions and experiences. However, since the late 1960s, urban culture has largely been defined and informed by the African-American experience. As a result urban has become a term racialized and synonymous with African Americans; more recently, it has become a reference for ethnic and racial minorities.

Marketing initiates in various industries have co-opted the term to reflect a multiracial demographic and has openly utilized it when conducting business. My research interests examines the roots of urban teen culture by looking at urban history which intersects with immigration, migration, and social history.  The images on my homepage are examples that reflect of the lens of my research.


Embedded below is an award-nominated documentary short film I produced about racial identity. Seven actresses reflect on their experiences as biracial and multicultural actresses in Hollywood.

From the cornfield blog:

Actress Zoe Saldana has been criticized  for her portrayal of the late soul singer Nina Simone. 

Click here to find out why.

From the consumer files:

What impact does shopping on the internet have on mall and urban youth culture? Check out this report from NPR.

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The images on this website  (unless otherwise noted) were taken by Arthur Banton and are protected under U.S. Copyright law 37 C.F.R. 201.20.