Tuesday, 25 February 2020

A Drop of Midnight: A Memoir by Jason Diakite

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BOOK DESCRIPTION
World-renowned hip-hop artist Jason “Timbuktu” Diakité’s vivid and intimate journey through his own and his family’s history—from South Carolina slavery to twenty-first-century Sweden.
Born to interracial American parents in Sweden, Jason Diakité grew up between worlds—part Swedish, American, black, white, Cherokee, Slovak, and German, riding a delicate cultural and racial divide. It was a no-man’s-land that left him in constant search of self. Even after his hip-hop career took off, Jason fought to unify a complex system of family roots that branched across continents, ethnicities, classes, colors, and eras to find a sense of belonging.
In A Drop of Midnight, Jason draws on conversations with his parents, personal experiences, long-lost letters, and pilgrimages to South Carolina and New York to paint a vivid picture of race, discrimination, family, and ambition. His ancestors’ origins as slaves in the antebellum South, his parents’ struggles as an interracial couple, and his own world-expanding connection to hip-hop helped him fashion a strong black identity in Sweden.
What unfolds in Jason’s remarkable voyage of discovery is a complex and unflinching look at not only his own history but also that of generations affected by the trauma of the African diaspora, then and now.

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Release date 


MARCH 1, 2020



MY REVIEW

This is a memoir about Jason Diakite and his family; Jason's roots are African-American but he grows up in Sweden. So from the start, he's a "stranger in a strange land." Without a doubt, it's the not-fitting-in-anywhere that propels him to go on a search for his family's history and write about their experiences, his grandfather, son of slaves and cotton picker with a third grade education, his father, an administrator and repressive know-it-all. And the idea of "blackness", what is it, why is it, the fear of other people and the "sixteen generations to whiteness"--a concept that for Jason, hides his roots and makes him feel unconnected.

Music plays a part in the book, a strong thread, the jazz he listens to, the hip-hop and his prose is musical. So musical that you may find yourself repeating some paragraphs out loud.

This is a beautifully written book about one man's personal journey to discover more deeply who he is and it's a delight to read.

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