Natalie Hopkinson discusses “A Mouth is Always Muzzled.” She will be joined in conversation by Natalie Moore.
Presented in partnership with Northwestern University’s Latin American and Caribbean Studies Department and DePaul University’s Center for Black Diaspora
At the Co-op
About the book: As people consider how to respond to a resurgence of racist, xenophobic populism, A Mouth Is Always Muzzled tells an extraordinary story of the ways art brings hope in perilous times. Weaving disparate topics from sugar and British colonialism to attacks on free speech and Facebook activism and traveling a jagged path across the Americas, Africa, India, and Europe, Natalie Hopkinson, former culture writer for the Washington Post and The Root, argues that art is where the future is negotiated.
Part post-colonial manifesto, part history of the British Caribbean, part exploration of art in the modern world, “A Mouth Is Always Muzzled” is a dazzling analysis of the insistent role of art in contemporary politics and life. In crafted, well-honed prose, Hopkinson knits narratives of culture warriors: painter Bernadette Persaud, poet Ruel Johnson, historian Walter Rodney, novelist John Berger, and provocative African American artist Kara Walker, whose homage to the sugar trade Sugar Sphinx electrified American audiences. “A Mouth Is Always Muzzled” is a moving meditation documenting the artistic legacy generated in response to white supremacy, brutality, domination, and oppression. In the tradition of Paul Gilroy, it is a cri de coeur for the significance of politically bold—even dangerous—art to all people and nations.
About the author: A former staff writer, editor, and culture critic at the Washington Post and The Root, Natalie Hopkinson is an assistant professor in Howard University’s graduate program in communication, culture and media studies and a fellow at the Interactivity Foundation. The author of “A Mouth Is Always Muzzled” (The New Press), as well as “Go-Go Live” and “Deconstructing Tyrone” (with Natalie Y. Moore), Hopkinson lives in Washington, D.C.
About the interlocutor: Natalie Moore is the South Side bureau reporter for WBEZ, Chicago’s NPR–member station. Before joining WBEZ, she covered Detroit’s City Council for Detroit News. She worked as an education reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and as a reporter for the Associated Press in Jerusalem. Her work has been published in Essence, Black Enterprise, the Chicago Reporter, In These Times, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune. She lives in Chicago.