While visiting Dave at his art showcase at St. John’s University in Queens, my cousin randomly called me on the fly, asking me if I wanted to go see Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at the Schomburg Center in Harlem that evening. Of course me being a Net Nerd, I had already known the award-winning author was having a talk there that night, though, when I saw that it was sold out, I decided to just continue on with my day as if she wasn’t going to be in my neighborhood a few hours from then. So, I traveled all the way from the forests of Queens into Uptown to see the woman that has been the sole proprietor in greatly influencing my lyrical style of writing. Minus Beyonce’s ironic stint of dubbing her TED talk over one of her tracks, Adichie remains a literary gem for the decades. I got to the center about 30 minutes late and my cousin told me they wouldn’t let anyone in (not even press, and I mean, press – NYT, Amsterdam News, etc), so I was just about to go home when I decided to wait for her to come out and have her autograph my cousin’s copy of her first novel, Purple Hibiscus, of which is an amazing read from what I have covered so far. My cousin bought it when it first came out in its first cycle of publishing (imagine, a 2003 publication a new release, by a black woman, laughable). I managed to get both her and host Zadie Smith to sign the book, making it a collectors item and family heirloom. I even had a lengthy conversation with Zadie, half convincing her to do Vipassana and take a well needed break from work – she’s considering it! But then I later learned that my cousin knew Shola Lynch, director of the documentary Free Angela and all Political Prisoners, of whom was in attendance as well. I wanted to curse her out for hiding all these great women of color from me – potential mentors, academics to learn from, resources for paid work in a field I actually I want to develop a career in. But I digressed and appreciated every moment spent in the same space as these wonderful women. I ended up writing all my information down on a piece of paper (my business cards are not here yet, eek) and enclosed it with a note scribbled in my signature messy penmanship: “From an American African woman, dislocated from her African Diasporan sister”. I have no idea if she’ll even read my blog (I feel like her protagonist all the time when I write), but it’s fine. I’ve found my peace. So, after all the signing, I did an interview for the Shomburg Center, so I’ll have that uploaded fairly soon.
Like any artist, check out Adichie’s latest novel, Americanah, here, as well as my review of her book on my virtual library, The Indigo Library, on Instagram. In honor of actually being her dislocated African diasporan junior sister, I will leave you all with some classic Fela to rock to after you watch the stream here. Enjoy!
Between the Lines: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie + Zadie Smith @ Schomberg Center
March 19th, 2014