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The first section contains interviews and essays on Black male writers, artists, and musicians, from Amiri Baraka, to Jimi Hendrix, to Richard Pryor, to Michael Jackson. In the essay on Jimi Hendrix, Tate describes the rocker’s little-known beginnings in the experimental rock scene in Seattle. In the Gil Scott-Heron piece (an obituary), Tate describes Gil Scott-Heron as not bigger than hip-hop, but better, as Hendrix was better than heavy metal, Coltrane better than bebop, Malcolm better than the Nation of Islam, Marley better than the King James Bible. But end of the day, Tate laments the dead Black geniuses we lacked the will or the mercy or the mechanisms to save from themselves.

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