Jeff Chang Biography

Jeff ChangAs the Executive Director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts, Jeff Chang is continuing his long career specializing in culture, politics, the arts, and music. 

His first book, Can't Stop Won't Stop, garnered many honors, including the American Book Award and the Asian American Literary Award. He edited the book, Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop

Who We Be: The Colorization of America was published in October 2014 to critical acclaim. (It was published in paperback in January 2016 under the title, Who We Be: A Cultural History of Race in Post Civil Rights America.)

In September 2016, he published his fourth book, a set of essays entitled We Gon' Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation

He is currently at work on a biography of Bruce Lee (Little, Brown).

Jeff has been a USA Ford Fellow in Literature and a winner of the North Star News Prize. He was named by The Utne Reader as one of "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World". KQED honored him as an Asian Pacific American Local Hero, and the Yerba Buena Center for The Arts chose him for its 2016 YBCA 100 list of those “shaping the future of American culture.” With H. Samy Alim, he was the 2014 winner of the St. Clair Drake Teaching Award at Stanford University.

Jeff co-founded CultureStr/ke and ColorLines. He was a Senior Editor/Director at Russell Simmons' He has written for the, The, The Nation, the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Believer, Foreign Policy, N+1, and Mother Jones among others.

Jeff received a bachelor’s degree from U.C Berkeley and a master’s degree in Asian American Studies from the University of California at Los Angeles. In 1993, he co-founded and ran the influential hip-hop indie label, SoleSides, now Quannum Projects, helping launch the careers of DJ Shadow, Blackalicious, Lyrics Born and Lateef the Truth Speaker. He has helped produce over a dozen records, including the “godfathers of gangsta rap”, the Watts Prophets. He was an organizer of the inaugural National Hip-Hop Political Convention and has served as a board member for several organizations working for change through youth and community organizing, media justice, culture, and the arts.

Born of Chinese and Native Hawaiian ancestry, Jeff was raised in Hawai’i where he attended ‘Iolani School. He is a big fan of Japanese curry and poi - but not at the same time.