“These darkly hilarious and forthcoming essays from Young…center around the “perpetual surreality” of the African-American experience…He critiques toxic masculinity and…uses pop culture references and personal stories to look at a life molded by structural racism, the joy of having a family that holds together in a crisis, and the thrill of succeeding against difficult odds. Young’s charm and wit make these essays a pleasure to read; his candid approach makes them memorable.”
Publishers Weekly starred review
Presented in conversation with journalist Tony Norman
For Pittsburgh native Damon Young, cofounder of VerySmartBrothas.com and one of the most respected writers on race and culture at work today, existing while black is an extreme sport, where snowboarding and spelunking are replaced with economic anxiety and a ceaseless state of angst where questions such as “How should I react here, as a professional black person?” and “Will this white person’s potato salad kill me?”
What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir In Essays chronicles Young’s efforts to survive while battling and making sense of the various neuroses his country has given him. It is both a celebration of the idiosyncrasies and distinctions of blackness and a critique of white supremacy and how we define masculinity in America. With his hilarious and distinctive voice, Damon Young grapples with some of the most complex issues of race and identity, from a deeply personal and unflinchingly honest place.
Young is a co-founder and editor in chief of VerySmartBrothas (which The Washington Post called, “the blackest thing that ever happened to the internet”), a senior editor for The Root, and a columnist for GQ.
Pittsburgh Post Gazette, April 2015
WESA, March 2016
Next Pittsburgh, April 2017
“With this absurdly trenchant, bouncy, tragicomic, expansive yet intimate book, Damon somehow, someway, made the page bend around my head and heart in a manner I honestly didn’t think the essay or memoir forms were capable of bending.”
Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy
A book signing will follow the event. Copies of What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker will be available for sale from Classic Lines.