A Little Devil in America

A Little Devil in America In Praise of Black Performance

Hardback (30 Mar 2021)

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Synopsis

LONGLISTED FOR THE GORDON BURN PRIZE

'Gorgeous' - Brit Bennett
'Pure genius' - Jacqueline Woodson
'One of the most dynamic books I have ever read' - Clint Smith

At the March on Washington, Josephine Baker reflected on her life and her legacy. She had spent decades as one of the most successful entertainers in the world, but, she told the crowd, "I was a devil in other countries, and I was a little devil in America, too". Inspired by these words, Hanif Abdurraqib has written a stirring meditation on Black performance in the modern age, in which culture, history and his own lived experience collide.

With sharp insight, humour and heart, Abdurraqib explores a sequence of iconic and intimate performances that take him from mid-century Paris to the moon -- and back down again, to a cramped living room in Columbus, Ohio. Each one, he shows, has layers of resonance across Black and white cultures, the politics of American empire, and his own personal history of love and grief -- whether it's the twenty-seven seconds of 'Gimme Shelter' in which Merry Clayton sings, or the magnificent hours of Aretha Franklin's homegoing; Beyoncé's Super Bowl show or a schoolyard fistfight; Dave Chapelle's skits or a game of spades among friends.

Book information

ISBN: 9780241503577
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Imprint: Allen Lane
Pub date:
DEWEY: 791.08996073
DEWEY edition: 23
Language: English
Sales rank: 8827
Number of pages: x, 300
Weight: 430g
Height: 146mm
Width: 224mm
Spine width: 33mm