toni-morrison-junot-diaz-diaspora-vibe-1498497111
Getty Images

Junot Díaz & Toni Morrison Have A Prose-Driven Conversation On The African Diaspora

The two acclaimed authors have a conversation about writing and the African Diaspora with Document.

Sharing their equated appreciation for each other’s prowess of prose, Dominican author Junot Díaz and southern-bred novelist Toni Morrison had a conversation about the black diaspora for Document.

Upon being assigned the reading of Song Of Solomon in his first class at Rutgers University, Diaz admits that he asked his professor why there was such a demand to read so many women authors.

“The professor, laughing her ass off, told me to just read the books and ask her the same question a couple of weeks later. Of course, I came back hat in hand, absolutely humiliated, ashamed of myself, and aware of what would be asked of me at university,” the M.I.T. professor reflected.

Healing the writer’s wound, Toni Morrison praised his work, calling it “intelligent and wild,” “provocative,” and “fetching.” The Bluest Eye penman continued, detailing the moment she decided to put pen to paper, professionally. She even revealed she’s 80 pages into a new book.

After the 86-year-old author admitted she’s been sculpting the story of a forthcoming book for two years, Díaz replies: “To know that you have a new book coming out is like hearing somebody invented a new food group, so I’m very happy.”

Morrison went on to disclose that she didn’t start writing until the ripe age of 39, because she realized that there was no one in the abyss that would tell the stories she was interested in. Here enters, The Bluest Eye.

Both literary architects shared their personal experiences with dwelling in the African Diaspora.

Toni Morrison: “My so-called cultural familiarity is highly Southern… and I came from parents who were born in Alabama and Georgia that carried those cultures with them and mixed with other people from other countries and nations. It was only when I went away to Howard University, and later when I traveled with a peer group down South, that I began to fall in love with black culture—the way we spoke and moved and sang and thought. Enormously, I was impressed with the love, the sharing of misery, and the supporting of one another: It was so different from what I had known about, except through things that my mother and father had mentioned or described, so it stayed with me. Not just the language, the sense of control within chaos, the chaotic world that they lived in; the fear that they must have held, but how they refused to let that circumstance squeeze them and keep them from loving one another or sharing with one another or protecting one another. That was the part that amazed me.”

Junot Díaz: “The neighborhood I grew up in was another one of these spaces of unrecognized cosmopolitanism or unrecognized local cosmopolitanism where there were these [elements] that brought a bunch of groups together for whatever reason. For the case of that specific part of Ohio it was steel mills and industrial jobs, and where I was in New Jersey it was very, very cheap housing next to a landfill. It wasn’t next to our neighborhood or on the side of it; you had to literally go through our neighborhood to get to it. What this meant was that the people living there were starters, first-rung on the ladder. I think that neighborhood is how I first saw the United States: a place that has brought every kind of person from all over. I lived with Egyptians, I lived with people from Uruguay, the Philippines, and the back South—“the Bammers” we called them—the Northeast African American communities were Jamaican, and a lot of my ideas around what we call the “African diaspora” began to form in that place. There I was, this very light-skinned person from an African-diasporic family from a predominately African-descendant country, and it wasn’t until I came into contact with these folks [that] I became acutely aware of this.”

The discussion can be read in full here.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Rex Features

XXXTentacion’s Final Posthumous Album Gets Release Date

XXXTentacion’s fans will soon get their hands on Bad Vibes Forever. The final posthumous album from the slain rapper is slated to drop on Dec. 6, his estate announced Thursday (Nov. 21).

The estate released minute-long album teaser on YouTube featuring tributes from Trippie, Billie Eilish and Craig Xen. “He really changed an impact my life on a whole bigger scale than anyone will ever know,” said Trippie. The albums' title track was also released on Thursday.

XXXTentacion’s mother, Cleopatra Bernard, executive produced the album, which will reportedly feature 25 songs. Tory Lanez, Mavado, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Blink-182, and a “country” collaboration with Lil Nas X, are among the album's features, TMZ reports.

Bad Vibes Forever comes a year after Skins, the first posthumous album released after XXXTentacion’s death. In June, the rapper's estate announced the release of a documentary on his rise to stardom. The Florida native, born Jahseh Onfroy, was gunned down outside of a car dealership on June 18, 2018. Authorities later arrested and charged Dedrick Williams, Michael Boatwright and Trayvon Newsome for the murder. The men are currently awaiting trial.

In addition to the album announcement, the estate debuted a nine-piece Bad Vibes Forever clothing collection in Miami last weekend, The Miami Herald reports.

Check below for the Bad Vibes Forever trailer and the album's title track.

Continue Reading
Image Courtesy of Sandy Pitt/Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

Buju Banton Partners With Roc Nation, Releases 'Steppa' Video

Nearly a year after his release from prison, Buju Banton is entering a new stage of his music career with a partnership with Roc Nation.

Roc Nation announced the news today (Nov. 22), with the release of a new visual for the song "Steppa." The video has the reggae legend performing and fellowshipping in Blue Mountains, Jamaica, and follows the release of another new song, "Trust," produced by Dave Kelly. Buju's new music with Roc Nation will include distribution by Island Records.

“It’s an honor to work with a legend and trailblazer of Buju’s caliber –His music catalog is simply unparalleled. We’re thrilled to help propel his legacy forward and look forward to amplifying his resurgence on a global level,” said Roc Nation co-presidents Shari Bryant and Omar Grant in a statement.

Buju Banton's illustrious career, which dates back to the late 1980s, includes breaking multiple sales and chart records in Jamaica and collaborating with U.S. stars such as John Legend, DJ Khaled, and Fat Joe. His latest studio album, Before The Dawn (2010), won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album. Friday's announcement follows the completion of his "Long Walk To Freedom" tour, which attracted more than 30,000 people to its key stop of Buju's stomping grounds in Kingston, Jamaica. The concert was the first time a Jamaican artist headlined the National Stadium since Bob Marley's performance at the One Love Peace Concert on April 22,1978.

Watch the video for "Steppa" above, and listen to "Trust" below.

Continue Reading
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

French Montana Hospitalized For Series Of Medical Ailments

On Thursday (Nov. 21), medical authorities responded to an emergency call derived from French Montana's Calabasas home. According to TMZ, the "Shot Caller" rapper began to experience health ailments from nausea to an increased heart rate.

Around 1:30 p.m., the officials arrived at the scene and transported the 35-year-old entertainer to a nearby hospital. Authorities were initially responding to a call about a robbery but it was a false alarm. He then began to experience health ailments that encouraged the authorities to take him to a hospital. Details of his condition are still being kept private. The Bronx-bred, Morocco-born artist has been on the go since the charting success of his 2018 hit "Unforgettable." After filming the song's video in Uganda, Montana was inspired to provide adequate health services for over 300,000 people, AXS reports.

"Health care is kind of a privilege right now but it needs to be a right," he said to CNN. "When it comes to humanity I feel like a lot of people gotta step up to make it better." Montana continued to state the power that artists have the power to make a significant change but shy away from doing so. "I feel like a lot of artists and a lot of actors and people that have a platform like mind don't like to touch them kind of subjects because they real risky."

Happy one year anniversary to my family in Uganda 🇺🇬 cant believe we got so much done in one year !! Thank u for the opportunity💪❤️ !! pic.twitter.com/VBeGRIi6Zg

— French Montana (@FrencHMonTanA) March 14, 2018

Details are still forthcoming.

Continue Reading

Top Stories