The Hub

News, Notes, Talk

Chicago rapper Noname’s new book club highlights work from writers of color.

Aaron Robertson

July 25, 2019, 1:08pm

If you don’t know Noname, the Chicago rapper and former slam poet born as Fatimah Nyeema Warner, now might be a good time to read up following the official launch of her book club on Wednesday.

The unassuming 90s kid launched to fame after some notable collaborations with artists like Mick Jenkins and Chance the Rapper, and her widely acclaimed 2018 debut, Room 25, which landed on many critics’ lists of that year’s best albums. Though she typically keeps a low media profile, Noname has spoken in interviews about her mother and father, a bookstore owner and book distributor, respectively. In fact, Noname’s mother was the first black woman to run her own bookstore in Chicago.

Noname wasn’t much of a reader growing up, funnily enough, but in high school fell in love with the slam poetry scene after watching Def Poetry Jam clips on YouTube. Noname started toying around with the notion of launching a book club earlier this month. Its goal, she wrote on Twitter, would be to “highlight progressive work from writers of color and writers within the LGBTQ community!” The club will highlight two books every month, balancing “informative text” and “more creative work.” End-of-month discussion of the books will be released as a podcast.

Apparently, Noname is even considering organizing actual book club meet-ups in major U.S. cities.

Hundreds of Twitter users have suggested beloved authors to highlight, from bell hooks to Baldwin, Eduardo Galeano to Yaa Gyasi, Angela Davis to Daniel Black.

Noname’s Book Club already has about 26,000 followers on Twitter, and it’s easy to see why. In the lead-up to the official announcement, Noname was dropping delightful pictures of black celebrities reading, from Snoop Dogg enjoying Naruto

…Eartha Kitt pondering the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius…

…to Billie Holiday reading her own Lady Sings the Blues.

Yesterday, the first two books were announced: the late philosopher Paulo Friere’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed and Samantha Irby’s essay collection, We Are Never Meeting in Real Life. Go pay off your overdue book fines or, hell, get a new library card and start reading!

%d bloggers like this: