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Brian Copeland: “Not a Genuine Black Man” | Talks at Google

Comedian Brian Copeland visits Google’s Mountain View, CA headquarters to discuss his books “Not a Genuine Black Man: Or, How I Claimed My Piece of Ground in the Lily-White Suburbs.” This event took place on June 23, 2008, as part of the Authors@Google series.

Based on the longest-running one-man show in San Francisco history, Not a Genuine Black Man is a hilarious, poignant, and disarming memoir of growing up black in an all-white suburb. In 1972, when Brian Copeland was eight, his family moved from Oakland to San Leandro, California, hoping for a better life. At the time, San Leandro was 99.4 percent white, known nationwide as a racist enclave. This reputation was confirmed almost immediately: Brian got his first look at the inside of a cop car, for being a black kid walking to the park with a baseball bat. Brian grew up to be a successful comedian and radio talk show host, but racism reemerged as an issue — only in reverse — when he received an anonymous letter: “As an African American, I am disgusted every time I hear your voice because YOU are not a genuine Black man!” That letter inspired Copeland to revisit his difficult childhood, resulting in a hit one-man show that has now inspired a book.

Brian Copeland (http://www.briancopeland.com/) is a comedian whose KGO radio program is the most popular in its time slot. Not a Genuine Black Man is currently in development as an HBO series. Copeland lives in San Leandro, California.

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