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A Drop of Midnight

A Memoir
Narrated by: Jason Diakité
Length: 9 hrs and 52 mins
5.0 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Summary

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 racial divide. It was a no-man’s-land that left him in constant search of self. Even after his hip-hop career took off, Jason fought to unify a complex system of family roots that branched across continents, ethnicities, classes, colors, and eras to find a sense of belonging. 

In A Drop of Midnight, Jason draws on conversations with his parents, personal experiences, long-lost letters, and pilgrimages to South Carolina and New York to paint a vivid picture of race, discrimination, family, and ambition. His ancestors’ origins as slaves in the antebellum South, his parents’ struggles as an interracial couple, and his own world-expanding connection to hip-hop helped him fashion a strong black identity in Sweden.

What unfolds in Jason’s remarkable voyage of discovery is a complex and unflinching look at not only his own history but also that of generations affected by the trauma of the African diaspora, then and now. 

Paid In Full Words and Music by Eric Barrier and William Griffin © 1987 Universal - Songs of Polygram International, Inc. and Robert Hill Music. Peter Piper Words and Music by Darryl McDaniels and Joseph Simmons © 1986 Protoons, Inc. It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing) Words and Music by Duke Ellington and Irving Mills © 1932 Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC and EMI Mills Music, Inc. in the U.S.A. I Know You Got Soul Words and Music by Bob Byrd, James Brown and Charles Bobbitt © 1971 (Renewed) Crited Music, Inc. Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud Words and Music by James Brown and Alfred James Ellis © 1968 (Renewed) Dynatone Publishing Company. Who’s That Knocking by The Genies © 1959 (Renewed) Time Music

©2016 Jason Timbuktu Diakité. Translation © 2020 by Rachel Willson-Broyles. (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic reviews

“His writing has an ethereal, questioning quality, in sync with his background...the author’s prose is often nimble and observant, sharply considering the burdens surrounding race and masculinity. A vibrant, thoughtful memoir reflecting contemporary black cultural concerns.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“This touching exploration of race and heritage is incisive, heartbreaking, and heartwarming.” (Library Journal

“Diakité smooths out the conflicting complications of his heritage and upbringing to create a positive form of complexity.” (Booklist)

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  • Penchant
  • 18-03-20

Thank you Jason!

Your book is healing, beautifully honest, brave and your love shines through it all. really great!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 19-09-20

Attempted left wing influence by audible.

Audible put this book in my que to further their left wing propaganda. I did not appreciate the effort.

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  • Muggle Mom
  • 01-08-20

Incredible Personal Narrative

This was biting and so personal and I was completely drawn into Jason's "Timbuktu" life story. His prose and storytelling were riveting and compelling. I couldn't get over how much American history I learned from this multicultural, multi-talented, Swedish-American as he struggled with his racial identity, his parents, and his father's genealogy. Highly recommend

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  • Sarah D.
  • 24-05-20

So sad to finish this moving, intimate book!

Like many people, I knew Jason Diakite's music long before I knew his story. As Timbuktu, he writes and raps (mostly) in Swedish, so as a Swedish language student, I listen to him for inspiration, insight, and great beats. ;) This book is so well-written - accessibly poetic - just like his lyrics, but what's remarkable is his openness about this personal journey and his family relationships. It's also fun to read about his young adult obsession with hip-hop culture and the opening of his mind to both African American history and the twists and turns of the US's persistent racism, which happened around the same time for me here in America. Most of the historical information won't be new to American readers; it is so important, though to hear it again from the author's retelling, and it adds much to the story's strength. But Diakite's unique perspective on race on a super-personal level, and his vulnerability, emphasized even more by his voice in this performance, makes this so special. I own the book in hardback form, but I'm so glad that my first "reading" came through my ears, as Timbuktu has for the past few years. I feel like I've made a new old friend, a friend who has evolved as a person right before our eyes in this text, and I can't wait to see what he does next.