YTASHA WOMACK: INTERVIEW ON POST BLACK
by DIALO ASKIA
An accurate account of a people’s history and tradition is necessary for the advancement of the people. Griots, for centuries, provided information on the land, the law, and the family. Hieroglyphics painted pictures to tell stories long before MCs wrote lyrics that projected music videos into our minds and onto the screen. Across time, such writers, illustrators, and orators are necessary to provide a voice for the generations. Author Ytasha Womack is one of today’s prominent voices, discussing African American identity in her recent book, Post Black, and giving us a glimpse into the future in her e-book, Rayla 2212.
TRIBES: What inspired you to become a writer?
YTASHA: I started off in journalism, which I didn’t really view as being a writer, in the traditional sense. Once [However], once you start telling stories, you look to tell stories in all kinds of formats whether that’s newspapers, books, film, television, etc. I just became really interested in finding the best medium to share ideas and once you get into that, I guess you become a writer.
YTASHA: Post Black for me takes a look at the African-American identity in the 21st century, looking at the diversity of that identity, focusing on Gen X and Gen Y for now, and then also looking at the concept of African-American identity in a post-civil rights, Obama era and the impact that it ultimately has on the personal and collective shift in identity. It’s an exploration.
Some people might view it as a lifestyle or some may see it as a statement about the end of race as we know it. I don’t think we’re quite in that zone yet. Post Black is not post-racial but it is a bridge to that period, I think. This exploration of identity facilitates that.