25 min

Hanif Abdurraqib's Rabbit Holes Into Great Black Performance It's Been a Minute

    • Society & Culture

Hanif Abdurraqib's latest book is A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance. In it, Abdurraqib researches the impact of Black performers on American culture throughout the past several hundred years, touching on everything from minstrel shows to Soul Train, the concept of the "Magical Negro," and playing spades. Sam talks to Abdurraqib about lesser-known performers like Ellen Armstrong, the first Black woman magician, and they revisit the mythology of household names like Whitney Houston. Plus, they share aspects of Black performance they've missed most in this pandemic year.

You can follow us on Twitter @NPRItsBeenAMin and email us at samsanders@npr.org.

Hanif Abdurraqib's latest book is A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance. In it, Abdurraqib researches the impact of Black performers on American culture throughout the past several hundred years, touching on everything from minstrel shows to Soul Train, the concept of the "Magical Negro," and playing spades. Sam talks to Abdurraqib about lesser-known performers like Ellen Armstrong, the first Black woman magician, and they revisit the mythology of household names like Whitney Houston. Plus, they share aspects of Black performance they've missed most in this pandemic year.

You can follow us on Twitter @NPRItsBeenAMin and email us at samsanders@npr.org.

25 min

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