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TDP Be Reading

The Little Engine That Could  and The Autobiography of Malcolm X are two books that I remember well from my first days of reading.  This pair of books related to me, and inspired me. 


The former sticks out for me because I, like many of you, can relate to the theme of overcoming obstacles. That "little engine" was not giving up for anything!  I was probably 6 or 7 when I read that book for the first of one hundred times. 


The latter, Alex Haley’s collaboration with Malcolm X, is an all time favorite. I read The Autobiography of Malcolm X at 14 years old. It was the first book that I loved the very first time I read it.   It was the first to ever inspire me.


Nearly three decades passed before I took a similar liking to another book, which was Trevor Noah's, Born A Crime.  When avid book lover, and my dope co-host, Rhonda, found out about my relationship with books, we knew we had to make our love for reading an extension of the cornerstone theme of the Dap Project, “I see you.”


Join us.

-Aaron Stallworth

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Aaron and Rhonda reflect on the humor and horror of Maurice Carlos Ruffin’s debut novel, We Cast a Shadow. 


The unnamed narrator is obsessed with removing from his son’s face a birthmark that belies his Black heritage, convinced that without the color, his son (Nigel) will have a better life. In this world where the narrator’s grandfather warns him, “self-respect will be your end,” and state troopers -- not just Karens-- observe Black family reunion, is the demelanization procedure an act of love or self-hate? What will the narrator sacrifice to be able to afford this procedure, and will Nigel comply, or rebel? We offer our two-cents plus spoilers. 


As much as Rhonda ended up loving this provocative and original story, she wasn’t initially engaged and she tells us why. 


What was Aaron’s favorite passage? Listen to him read it, and be blessed. 

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While an undergrad at Alabama A & M, our guest Adam Harris read work by philosopher C.W. Mills, and was so moved that he emailed Mills and requested a reading list. Mills generously obliged, and Harris devoured the entire list. 

Harris shares this fascinating insight about his college experience and intellectual development in our wide-ranging conversation about his book, The State Must Provide: Why America's Colleges Have Always Been Unequal--and How to Set Them Right.

Reading has the power to change the reader. We discuss how reading the Parable of the Sower changed us. 

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Enjoy listening to our reflections on Octavia Butler’s prophetic Parable of the Sower. With guest Brandan Wilburn Herbert, we discuss poignant characters and their relationships, symbolism, and the meaning of Earthseed. 


Reading has the power to change the reader. We discuss how reading the Parable of the Sower changed us. 

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The Fire Next Time and Nothing Personal - James Baldwin was quoted frequently in the last year, as his incisive observations about race relations in the United States are perennially relevant. The Fire Next Time is one of his most well-known essays, where he describes his path to and out of religion, his relationship with his father, and the pressures of being Black in America. 

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Breathe - Do mother’s dap up sons? Probably. Definitely, if you think of dap expansively. Acknowledging that “summary execution is a feature of American life,” Perry asserts, “Your testimony is living with the passionate intensity of one whose presence matters despite the violence of this world towards your beautiful flesh.” (p. 18-19) Two moms joined us for this talk about motherhood, and mental health. 


The Purpose of Power - “This book brings focus to how movements come about.  From The Montgomery Bus Boycott to the Black Live Matter protests of this past summer, POP gives insight that allows us to become a part of such movements and advancing the issues.” -- Aaron


The Marathon Don’t Stop - An unexpected element of this book is that Kenner offers a rich history about the city of Los Angeles, and noted cultural figures of the era which deepens your understanding of the milieu in which Hussle was born and raised.

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Mis Education of the Negro - “The only question which concerns us here is whether these “educated” persons are actually equipped to face the ordeal before them or unconsciously contribute to their own undoing by perpetuating the regime of the oppressor.” Dr. Woodson questions probe foundational beliefs about education, knowledge, history, and how we move forward as a people. 

Ink Mark
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