Journalist, author, cultural critic and TV personality Touré visited Webster University on April 4. Touré discussed his new book “Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness?”
“What I’m talking about is the modern era that we’re in, which is sort of this post-black era,” Touré said. “You can be rooted in blackness, but not be strained by it.”
Touré spoke at 5 p.m. in Room 131 in the East Academic Building. Webster’s Association for African-American Collegians (AAAC) invited him. The conversation quickly turned to the Trayvon Martin case. Students asked questions and Touré shared his point of view on the case. He felt that while the case brings blacks together, it is driving America apart.
Touré learned about the case via Twitter.
“It’s been a real interesting media moment in that the case would have been swept under the rug if not for the media,” Touré said. “It’s been a media trial. It has put me and certain others in a position of advocacy, in terms of advocating for something to happen in terms of arrests, charges and trials.”
He also said the Trayvon Martin case is special.
“I think that something is going on here that is a marker in history that we will remember,” Touré said.
Touré also discussed interviews that he had with celebrities, his trip to Africa and why he became a journalist.
“One of the things that really motivated me early on was seeing this white boy write about Snoop Dogg in Rolling Stone in what I thought was a very poor way,” Touré said. “He seemed to see him as a sort of alien and sort of represented that narrative of, ‘Here’s a raw, rough, tough guy from the street who just spits what really happened to him. Isn’t it great?’ I’m like, ‘Hey, that’s not what’s happening here at all.’”
Touré wanted to write for Rolling Stone magazine. He thought he could write the major cover stories as an intern for Rolling Stone. Looking back, he said he is glad he had the confidence to write 2,000 to 4,000 word stories and didn’t let anyone at Rolling Stone deter him from doing that.
Touré tired to get a contract with Rolling Stone early in his career. He was asked to write about Eric Clapton. Touré said he took that as a rhetorical question, as if to say he could only write about hip hop artists and not white artists.
“If I had listened to him, an extremely important person at Rolling Stone, I would have believed that,” Touré said. “I would have believed that I was valued as a black writer rather than as a writer.”
He wrote about singer and songwriter Tori Amos. Since then, he has interviewed artists such as Jay-Z, Run DMC, Eminem and recently, Adele.
Touré has released three books: “The Portable Promised Land” (2003), “Soul City” (2004) and “Never Drank the Kool-Aid” (2006). He has been on BET, MTV and is an MSNBC contributor.
Chelby Jenkins, junior video production major, said she learned that people should be active.
“You should always be kept to date of what’s going on in your community,” Jenkins said
Touré told the crowd they can succeed in whatever they decide to do in life.
“There’s more opportunity for all of you guys to succeed if you can approach situations with a level of excellence,” Touré said.“Having a lot of self confidence despite other people telling you you shouldn’t, that’s a beautiful thing and that’s what I want you guys to do.”