Cultural critic Touré to speak in Feb. 8 OIE event

Cultural critic and music journalist Touré.

Touré, a journalist and commentator whom Newsweek editor Tina Brown described as “a one-man media conglomerate,” offers his views on race, identity and 21st-century America at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8, in the Benjamin Mays Center at Bates, 95 Russell St.

Presented by the Office of Intercultural Education at Bates, the event is open to the public at no cost and will be followed by a book signing. For more information, please contact 207-786-8303 or

Touré is one of the most important writers on culture and race in America. He is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, hosts the programs The Hip-Hop Shop and On the Record on the Fuse network, and appears on numerous talk shows, including Anderson Cooper 360 and NBC’s Today and Dateline.

His books include Soul City: A Novel (Picador, 2005), Never Drank the Kool-Aid: Essays (Picador, 2006), and the acclaimed Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness (Free Press, 2011).

He explores existing, and succeeding, as an individual of color in a white world; the influence and significance of pop culture, particularly hip-hop; and interracial dating in America. Examining what it means to be black today and how this definition has changed, Who’s Afraid looks at the concept of “post-blackness,” which refers to the desire to be rooted in, but not constrained by, the categories of racial identity politics.

Blending intimate, funny and painful anecdotes from his own life with more than 100 interviews with prominent figures, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Cornel West and Soledad O’Brien, the book grounds political, social and psychological theory in the contemporary United States.

As NAACP President Benjamin Jealous wrote, Who’s Afraid is a “fascinating conversation among some of America’s most brilliant and insightful black thinkers candidly exploring black identity in America today.

“Touré powerfully captures the pain and dissonance of black Americans’ far too often unrequited love for our great nation.” Learn more.

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