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12 days ago|1.6K views

Hanif Abdurraqib is writing today’s Black stories and “plugging the leaks that history punctures”

Bestselling author Hanif Abdurraqib’s latest book “A Little Devil in America” is all about celebrating the joys of Black performance through the lens of dance. He dives into the significance of dance marathons, “Soul Train” and his own high school dance moves. And much like his other writing, which spans music, sneakers and all types of pop culture, Abdurraqib tells Salon’s D. Watkins he is focused on giving artists “their flowers” in real time and writing real Black history as it happens.

“Often history punctures a legacy of these Black artists to make them more palatable,” Abdurraqib said. “I'm trying to plug those leaks to say, ‘No, no, this is a full person who does not need to be drained of their radical history, or their revolutionary history, or just the fullness of their life that did not serve the machinery of whiteness.’”

Watch the full episode above to hear more about how Abdurraqib, a performer himself who thrives during live readings, is rolling out his new book during the pandemic and his advice for up-and-coming artists.

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