The term "Post-blackness" was coined in the art scene during the 1990s by Thelma Golden, director of the Studio Museum of Harlem and the conceptual artist Glenn Ligon. Journalist Touré defines the 21st century as the era of Post-Blackness. The term is used to describe “the liberating value in tossing off the immense burden of race-wide representation, the idea that everything they do must speak to or for or about the entire race." It suggests that society has reached a place where "black" and "black culture" can no longer be defined by broad-sweeping social constructs. It supports this position by citing the existence of people such as Obama and Oprah Winfrey, suggesting "Blackness may be an important part of them, but that Blackness does not dominate their persona."
This theory has received a lot criticism by academics and journalists such as Michelle Alexander, Darryl Pinckney, and Randall Kennedy. Many critics believe that "post-blackness" suggests America has reached a utopian level of colorblindness that it has not actually achieved. Pinckney in particular suggests that theories about the black experience in America should not be based upon a remarkably small (and wealthy) minority. Writer Ben Dalte in his article Post-Blackness’ Within A Racial America? Relations To Black Cinema offers that "no authentic black person would try to define blackness".
In his piece entitled "Post-Blackness", Hibbert endeavors to capture the controversy surrounding the theory with representations of both sides of the argument. The variety of textures and pigments in the piece allow the viewer to immediately appreciate the diversity that exists within the term "black", suggesting that defining black in one way is not only difficult but perhaps an artificial construct. The texture behind the words appears chaotic suggesting the lack of solidarity within the black community and internal conflict on difficult topics (such as post-blackness). The words in the foreground include names associated with Post-Blackness (i.e. Oprah and Obama) and social constructs which have been used to define blackness in the past such as Black Authenticity (notion of being "real" or "authentically black"), the Kinship Schema (view that if an individual has any amount of black ancestry, then he or she is and should identify as black), and hip-hop (link between "blackness", hip-hop, and the notion of "realness" as identification with historical struggle). The words, written in black oil pigment, are not easily visible when looking directly at the painting because they blend in with the background which is also black. The words are best observed when viewing the piece at an angle, showing the slight difference in texture and finish. This subtle feature to the piece suggests that culture, like many nuanced concepts, is difficult to define when looking directly, and can only be truly appreciated when viewing from multiple vantage points, particularly the oblique.