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A Drop of Midnight: A Memoir

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  307 ratings  ·  63 reviews
World-renowned hip-hop artist Jason Timbuktu Diakités vivid and intimate journey through his own and his familys historyfrom South Carolina slavery to twenty-first-century Sweden.

Born to interracial American parents in Sweden, Jason Diakité grew up between worldspart Swedish, American, black, white, Cherokee, Slovak, and German, riding a delicate cultural and racial
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 1st 2020 by Amazon Crossing (first published February 1st 2020)
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Average rating 4.24  · 
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Powerful, visceral, engaging.

This was one of those universes aligning things...when an old white woman stumbles across a book by a young Black Swedish rapper, and even more improbably, is intrigued and decides to read it. And pretty much read it straight through without stopping. This is a strong, raw, urgent book. I have been moved - perhaps changed - by it. And I will be pondering those things for some time to come. I might even listen to some Swedish rap.
Jack Robertson
This was a completely random purchase. I never knew I had an interest in memoir, racial identity, Sweden or hip hop. Having said that, Jason Diakité may be Sweden's pre-eminent hip-hop artist, but it is not his music career that took centre stage in the pages of this book. If music figures most prominently, it is when he tries to draw a thin line between the chant of work songs as black slaves picked cotton beneath a torturous sun in America's deep south and his burgeoning confidence as he ...more
Never spoilers

The entire book meanders with vignettes of stories about Diakités family history. He really does not hit his writing flow until about a third of the way into the book. There is also some confusion at the beginning regarding 2015. I am not sure if it a typo but there seems to be a discrepancy in timing (nit picky maybe but I found it confusing enough to go back and reread the first few chapters.

Overall it is a wonderful introspection of a man trying to find and accept his identity.
Brian Andrews
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fascinating book that tells stories from Diakite's own life, his parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Drives home the point that racism and slavery have an on-going effect. Made me think about how I'm a product of my parents, who were strongly influenced by their parents . . . and so on. Then you do the math and realize that Diakite's family tree is, relatively speaking, recently affected by slavery and racism. And not just that, but how the oppressors' upbringing is "recently affected" ...more
Nick Carey

I began this book hoping to learn about the mixed heritage of the author. It became a book I had to force myself to finish. The author almost completely ignored his Slovak and Cherokee heritage - he seems to only want to focus on his black forebears. He describes their experiences ,but they are theirs, not his. Throughout, there was a self-pitying attitude, and a coldness that made it difficult to feel any rapport with the author. He is very critical of others, but tolerant of
Kela Calvin
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I loved this memoir!!! I usually don't read memoirs, but this piqued my interest. The loved how the author was able to trace his family lineage through travels, interviews and conversation with family. Through his life experiences, he has learned to embrace his ethnic backgrounds and skin color. This novel was truly unique. Great read!!!
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 1999 when I was living in Helsinki I discovered Timbuktu via another a Swedish rapper Petter. I was so blown away by Petters song Mikrofonkåt that was played every hour. Once he was interviewing this other rapper, Blues, in English about hip hop in Scandinavia. Blues sounded like any Black guy youd meet in America. Petter him to show off his freestyle skills and dude says hell have to do it in his mother tongue, Swedish. It was amazing and how I was first introduced to Svensk hip hop. But ...more
Annie Woods
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Jason Timbuktu Diakité is a Swedish hip-hop artist, who grew up with a mixed heritage leaving him in a no-mans land in constant search for himself. This heartfelt, vivid, raw and superbly written memoir follows Jason on a journey where he strives to find his roots, understand his multicultural self and find his place in the world. Through conversations with his parents, long-lost letters and pilgrimages in his ancestors footsteps, this memoir spans from the cotton fields South Carolina slavery ...more
Kevin Castro Riestra
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing

Looking to make sense of his identity as a biracial person, born to American parents, living in Sweden, Diakité sets out to investigate his family's history. His memories of growing up and living in Sweden provide a discerning account of racism and race relations in that predominantly white European country. It's a feeling of being not quite at home in his native country that turns Diakité's gaze towards the past and the United States. His father opposes this investigative urge, motivated by
Enchanted Prose
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Soul-searching a hip-hop artists journey to come to terms with his multiracial identity (from Sweden to American roots, 2015 2016; epilogue 2019): A stanza from Maya Angelous powerful poem, And Still I Rise, sets the piercing message and lyrical tone of A Drop of Midnight, Jason Diakités stunning memoir that should be essential reading on black history.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, Ill rise.

Katie Prater
Great content, somewhat meandering

Memoir being what it is, a critique of content is a critique of a life, and this was an interesting one to read.

My greatest challenge was the structure of the bookglobe and time hopping memoir interspersed with occasional academic references and self reflection, as well as sweeping deToqueville-esque assessments of the state of the US as a whole didnt always flow. That, to my mind, is a fault in editing, not authorship. Each of the parts of the book should be
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must read!

So good. I cannot begin to tell you how this book actually made me feel emotionally. The journey of discovery, the raw emotion, and the voice all made this book one I could not put down. I will revisit this one.
Colette Kern
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A not to miss memoir

I am grateful that this wide ranging and brilliant memoir was translated from the Swedish . I hope it enjoys huge success in the US and in all English speaking countries. Mr. Diakite writes so beautifully and honestly about his own search for identity, and he has just the right amount of distance and closeness to describe the persistent racism in the US now. I loved his references to African American writers and icons from the past, and the way he weaves these in between his
Reviewed for ALA's "Booklist" Magazine -- appears in the February 1, 2020 issue. If you have a subscription, you can read my review at at:
Kendra M Burns
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jason tells us about his life growing up in Sweden, born from American parents as a bi-racial person of color (surprise: there's uncomfortable racism!) but then takes a journey through family history and the American experience of racism (which is inherently tied to the horrific history of slavery). He takes time spent with relatives still in the states as well as anecdotes and letters from his parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents to explore the transition of each generation from ...more
Janis Atherton
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I have always realized that God created me white because I wouldn't be strong enough to be a black person. I have always had questions about what their experiences were like; how it affected their self view, how they managed growing up being subjected to the vile behavior of others; people always expecting them to feel "less than".

This book dealt with the complexities of family life; its traditions, history, struggles, and the many roles of each member. Overlaying It all was what being black
Gopal Sadagopal
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Superbly written. A genuine search to understand his roots and the life of his parents, grandparents+, their struggles and sufferings with the racial bigotry in USA from someone (He grew up in Sweden). You feel the pain he does as he learns about the life of his parents in the deep south and that of his ancestors. Diakite is a keen observer and sees the structural injustices in everyday life. But he has a healthy open attitude without preset opinions. I admire that in spite of the atrocities he ...more
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
(i am wanting to switch to the kindle version here on Goodreads, but the button to switch editions is not working at the moment?? odd??! so it will stay on hardcover for right now, but i did read the kindle one.) i am new to this author, i did find it within KU (a suggestion to me) i've been really happy reading a lot of young kid reads lately ...not had much luck finding entertaining (genres, that i care to digest or enjoy, drop into??!) reads of the adult kind any more ... i tend to lean on ...more
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book takes you on a tour of history, and views of historical events had by the author and his family. A drop of midnight, is as you've probably already surmised is speaking about the views of color and skin tone.
He speaks of the various ideas, thoughts, and experiences that he and his family, friends, and people that he met along the way have had. It was interesting reading about his reasoning, and thoughts that he had from childhood to adulthood.
The personal journey taken in his efforts
Kelsey San Buenaventura
Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing

LOVED. Man, what an amazing story. I got to read this book early through Amazon's First Reads program. If you have Prime, it's available to you for free.

Jason is part black, part white, part native American, and grew up in Sweden after his father was fed up with the racism in America and wanted better for his child. Jason struggles with his identity and takes a journey back to South Carolina, where his direct ancestors were slaves, to learn more about his roots. He is an excellent writer.
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you enjoyed Trevor Noah's Born a Crime, please check out this wonderful memoir by Jason Diakité. He writes with a distinctive voice, engaging and lively, and oh, the stories he has to share.

This memoir is a fascinating journey into a mix of unique cultures, and it was an eye-opening experience for me to see how someone born and raised in Sweden finds the American South on his travels. Spoiler alert: it isn't pretty.

Several times while reading A Drop of Midnight, I laughed out loud. And once,
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 ⭐

I felt like this book was a wonderful mix of family history, an understanding of racism in Sweden and the US, as well as an acceptance of who we are and where we come from despite what/where that may
be. I felt myself evaluating my life and my journey through accepting who I am as well, and I appreciate that about this book. So many thought provoking statements and ideas that I loved. I truly did enjoy this book and felt like many more people could gain a great deal about themselves by
Kristyl Harrison
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, but there were also parts that I struggled to get through. As a white parent of a black child seeing how Daikite struggled with his racial identity has helped me further understand some of the issues my child may face.

I know at times that it may seem like racism and segregation happened in the far off past, however Diakite shows that this isn't the case and we really are not that far removed from segregation and racism is still out there rearing its ugly head.

Thomas Henley
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This incredible book got me from the get go. Its rare to find a book that is both intimate and personal and at the same time all encompassing. I read this in one sitting and its not a thin book. It left me shaking. Its about one mans search not just for identity but for meaning. Written in fast paced rhythmic prose akin to Ta-Nehisi Coates at his best or Didion at her most intimate. Best non fiction if 2020 so far... ...more
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-books-read
What a beautiful tale of a mans need to find out about his heritage. A lack of belonging is something Ive never felt. Reading Jasons struggle with his identity and his pilgrimage into the past was so inspiring. As a huge fan of hip hop and the culture that surrounds the genre, I loved how Jason incorporates music into so many parts of the story, as music is the invisible thread that holds every piece of the puzzle together. ...more
Mar 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I found so many connections between my life in South Carolina and this young Swedish rapper that were unexpected. I dont listen to rap, I am not black and Ive never been to Sweden, but the thoughtful observations in this memoir took me to many places and through experiences that enriched my life. ...more
Gaius Crassus
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing story and an amazing life

I have never heard of Jason Diakete but I feel like I know the man through this book. Like him I am biracial and went through a lot of what he did. I really liked his bio, it made me think, which is all I ask from a book.
Aida Alberto
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book reads like a conversation between two well known friends. Frank and intimate it shows the struggle of discovering who you are and how it shakes your life. I enjoyed reading it very much and highly recommend it. Happy reading! #ADropOfMidnight #NetGalley
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I almost did not read this book since it was a memoir of a world renowned Rap music star. The hook for me was that South Carolina was going to play a role. Both depressing and hopeful in the discovery about who and what makes a mixed racial person who they choose to become.
Elizabeth Sanders
It was a awesome memoir made me cry a couple time.
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English Translati...: Jason Diakité - A Drop of Midnight 1 4 Feb 29, 2020 09:52PM  

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