Past Event

The Upcycled Self: A Memoir on the Art of Becoming Who We Are-Tariq Trotter

November 28, 2023
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
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Miller Theatre: 2960 Broadway

Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism & Columbia University's African American & African Diaspora Studies Department present "THE UPCYCLED SELF: A Memoir on the Art of Becoming Who We Are"with author, Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter in conversation with Jelani Cobb, Henry R. Luce Professor of Journalism & Dean of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. 

Registration is required- Attendees will receive a complimentary copy of The Upcycled Self.

upcycle verb up·cy·cle ˈəp-ˌsī-kəl

: to recycle (something) in such a way that the resulting product is of a higher value than the original item

: to create an object of greater value from (a discarded object of lesser value)

Today Tariq Trotter—better known as Black Thought—is the platinum-selling, Grammy-winning co-founder of The Roots and one of the most exhilaratingly skillful and profound rappers our culture has ever produced. But his story begins with a tragedy: as a child, Trotter burned down his family’s home. The years that follow are the story of a life snatched from the flames, forged in fire.

In The Upcycled Self, Trotter doesn’t only narrate a riveting and moving portrait of the artist as a young man, he gives readers a courageous model of what it means to live an examined life. In vivid vignettes, he tells the dramatic stories of the four powerful relationships that shaped him—with community, friends, art, and family—each a complex weave of love, discovery, trauma, and loss.

And beyond offering the compellingly poetic account of one artist’s creative and emotional origins, Trotter explores the vital questions we all have to confront about our formative years: How can we see the story of our own young lives clearly? How do we use that story to understand who we’ve become? How do we forgive the people who loved and hurt us? How do we rediscover and honor our first dreams? And, finally, what do we take forward, what do we pass on, what do we leave behind?

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