In music, crossover means that a song has moved beyond its original genre and audience into the general social consciousness.
Rhetorical Crossover uses the same concept to theorize how the black rhetorical presence has moved in mainstream spaces in
an era where African Americans were becoming more visible in white culture. Cedric Burrows argues that when black rhetoric
moves into the dominant culture, white audiences appear welcoming to African Americans as long as they present an acceptable
form of blackness for white tastes. The predominant culture has always constructed coded narratives on how the black rhetorical
presence should appear and behave when in majority spaces. In response, African Americans developed their own narratives that
revise and reinvent mainstream narratives while also reaffirming their humanity. Using an interdisciplinary model built from
music, education, film, and social movement studies, Rhetorical Crossover details the dueling narratives about African Americans
that percolate throughout the United States.