A Drop of Midnight: A Memoir
World-renowned hip-hop artist Jason “Timbuktu” Diakité’s vivid and intimate journey through his own and his family’s history—from South Carolina slavery to twenty-first-century Sweden.
Born to interracial American parents in Sweden, Jason Diakité grew up between worlds—part Swedish, American, black, white, Cherokee, Slovak, and German, riding a delicate cultural and rac...more
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.
The entire book meanders with vignettes of stories about Diakité’s 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. ...more
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!!! ...more
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 hims ...more
This book is beautiful and heartbreaking and uplifting all at once. Hearing things from Jason's perspective, learning about his family and upbringing, and the struggles that they endured filled me with so many emotions.
Just read the damn book.
And Jason, if you ever read this, thank you for sharing your story. If I can make one reques ...more
He didn't escape racism - his stories regarding school are an amazing first hand account of not just bul ...more
I don't listen to hip-hop music so was unfamiliar with Jason "Timbuktu" and his music; I chose this book because I was curious about his desire to learn about his biracial ancestral roots as he navigated his own search for self. His interest in family history begins in Sweden, the country where he was born and raised, but crosses the Atlantic Ocean to New York and South Carolina, the ancestral homes of his parents. Most int ...more
A truly well written and moving autobiography! I loved this book. I am an older white American woman and I just happened upon this book. I wasn't really expecting much--a book written by a hip hop artist? Read it! It's so meaningful, especially considering what is going on in the USA right now. I gained so much insight into Black lives in America through Jason's eyes. I thank him for this beautiful book! ...more
Diakite shares a personal journey of the lives of three: his own, his father, and his grandfather’s, as he travels between two worlds to ultimately understand that they all share one common experience. I enjoyed how the memoir’s title takes shape towards the end of the text.
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.
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, ...more
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 book—globe 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 didn’t always flow. That, to my mind, is a fault in editing, not authorship. Each of the parts of the book should be ...more
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 t ...more
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.
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 ...more
Despite the fact that this book seems to insinuate that Diakite's journey of self-discovery across all parts of his mixed heritage, this is really only about Diakite getting in touch with and exploring his black and African family histories. But even so, the vast majority ...more
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 ...more