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Hanif Abdurraqib: A Little Devil in America

25 Mar 2021 –⁠ 1 Apr 2021, 7.30pm
Online events
Literature & poetry
Book now
Book now
Megan Leigh Barnard

‘Abdurraqib’s writing is an antidote to the arched eyebrow of most music journalism. He writes as if music matters. For him, it is a metaphor for human suffering, for race and class, for what it is to be American’

Nikesh Shukla

Poet and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib introduces his new book of essays on Black performance in this broadcast event with Yomi Ṣode.

The kaleidoscopic A Little Devil in America explores a field that ranges from tap dancing to punk, backing singers to TV hopefuls, through sport, sitcoms, fashion and space travel.

Filled with sharp insight, humour and heart, the book is infused with the lyricism and rhythm of the musicians Abdurraqib loves.

It weaves a unique and intimate history of Black performance in which culture, politics and lived experience collide.

This collection of original essays takes readers from mid-century Paris to the moon, via dive bars, Broadway, and a cramped basement bar in Columbus, Ohio.

Abdurraqib reveals the layers of resonance in both Black and white culture offered by moments like Beyoncé’s Superbowl show or a game of spades.

He explores the politics of American empire, and his own personal history of grief and love.

A Little Devil in America is a celebration of Black performance as it has unfolded and endured to shape individual lives and entire cultures.

Hanif Abdurraqib is a New York Times bestselling poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio.

He is in conversation with acclaimed writer and poet Yomi Ṣode.

Yomi Ṣode is a Nigerian British writer, performer and facilitator. He is a recipient of the Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship 2019, a Malika’s Poetry Kitchen member and a Complete Works alumnus.

His debut solo show, COAT, performed to sold-out audiences.

This event is pre-recorded exclusively for the Southbank Centre.

Yomi Ṣode

Need to know

Age recommendation

For ages 16+

This broadcast is Captioned.

To join our free Access Scheme, email [email protected]

Find out more about our Access Scheme

Copies of Hanif Abdurraqib’s new book, A Little Devil In America, are available for purchase within the UK for £18.99. The books are sent out by Foyles via post (postage is included in the price).

This event is streamed. Streaming is provided by TicketCo on behalf of the Southbank Centre.

Please ensure that you have access to a stable WiFi network in order to watch the event. More information on how to access the stream is available when you click through to the TicketCo website to purchase your ticket.

Contains some language of an adult nature.

Dates & times

First broadcast: available from 7.30pm on Thu 25 Mar and for seven days on demand.


Buy seven days' video access: £7.50

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