Harper Lee's novel 'To Kill a Mockingbird' became iconic almost immediately after appearing in 1960: best-seller status; the Pulitzer Prize the next year; a classic movie soon after, with Gregory Peck in an Academy Award-winning role.
Hip-hop at its zenith insists on thinking and dancing simultaneously. In fact, it sees them as synonymous.
At our peril, we ignore the fact that black vernacular, like the blues, both has a form and performs... For just as there would be no American music without black folks, there would be very little of our American language.
It took a while for anyone to want to publish 'To Repel Ghosts.' I thought people would want to publish a three-hundred-and-fifty-page book about a dead painter, but they didn't.
Forget reparations - we need to rescue aspects of black culture abandoned even by black folks, whether it is the blues or home cookin' or broader forms of not just survival but triumph.
Can you explore real issues as a fake character? Yes - it's called acting. Or fiction. But acting is not a method of engaging with the actual world, just as pretending to know what a character might eat does not a novel make - much less make that make-believe real.