A provocative, biting and often entertaining collection of essays by a Village Voice columnist who explores black identity and the ``politics of style.'' A ``Bulletproof diva,'' writes Jones (a playwright and co- author of three of Spike Lee's movie-making books), has ``lip and nerve'' and she makes tart columns out of what could be coffee talk: ``my slave name,'' black men who flaunt their infidelity, the dramas (and politics) of hair care, the ``butt revolution...brought to you by black music, designer jeans and MTV.'' A feminist and artist, Jones explores the aspirations of her post-civil-rights-era middle-class urban peers, and has seen enough of the country to tell race tales of Utah and of Minneapolis, where ``jungle fever'' works only for white women. In some lively pieces of reportage, she trails a black rock band struggling against industry typecasting, and untangles the contradictions in the trial of the rap bad boys 2 Live Crew, dubious about the misogyny and greed behind this ``black oral and literary tradition.'' Daughter of the writers Amiri Baraka and Hettie Jones, the author thanks her bohemian white mother for giving her strength and teaching ``difference as pleasure,'' and gains even more inspiration from a stalwart aunt shackled by racism. Also included is her play Combination Skin, which satirically plumbs the crossover dreams of the ``tragic mulatto.'' A few pieces are ephemeral or riding a hobby horse, but this is a rich and durable collection, as Jones tries to ``define the role of race woman in the multiculti nineties.''