Review of A Little Devil in America, Hanif Abdurraqib

A Little Devil in America by music critic and poet Hanif Abdurraqib is a thoroughly enjoyable and moving read. Each essay weaves Abdurraqib’s personal experience navigating American society with his love and expansive knowledge of Black performance. Abdurraqib writes about music, space, magic, sport, dance, film and television, to celebrate and critique the array of performers, artists and household names who succeeded, created and survived in a country which is quick to violence and hate rather than love.

Throughout, Abdurraqib’s honest yet poetic style seeps in, making this non-fiction book a text of enlightenment and knowledge but also a thing of beauty. No matter who or what he is exploring in the essay, Abdurraqib always comes back to our humanity and how our consumption of art and performance often shapes us irrevocably.

From the early 1900s to the present day, A Little Devil in America takes you on a journey which reminds you to appreciate the sheer power the arts hold and will continue to hold; especially for marginalised people who can wield art as a weapon, a voice and a future, none of which should be ignored.

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