Hanif Abdurraqib is a 2021 MacArthur Fellow and National Book Award finalist for his latest essay collection, "A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance."
Hanif Abdurraqib's love of Blackness and Black creativity runs deep; in fact, the music critic and poet's most recent book of essays, "A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance," was inspired by rare archival footage of the iconic dance lines of "Soul Train" and dedicated to the pioneering artist-activist Josephine Baker. That book—Abdurraqib's fifth—is a meditation on and excavation of the profound impact of Black performance in America, as well as the ways in which Blackness itself is conversely performed, both within and outside of popular culture. "I grew 9sense of wonder and awe with the generosity of black evolution; in the way that Black folks are not monolithic in that evolution," he told The Root. The brilliance of "A Little Devil in America" earned it a spot among this year's National Book Award finalists, while Abdurraqib was named one of the MacArthur Foundation Fellows' Class of 2021.