Questlove’s “Def Jam for Publishing”
Questlove has worn many hats. Out of Philadelphia, he’s the drummer and producer of The Roots, band leader on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Oscar winning documentary maker for Summer of Soul, adjunct professor at NYU, prolific instagrammer, and author of a couple of Title’s favourite music books from the last couple of years; Mo Meta Blues and Music Is History.
Now the multi-hyphenate is pushing further into the written word with his very own publishing imprint.
Titled AUWA Books, after the sound of Prince’s birdcall, the imprint will publish both nonfiction and fiction, with an interest in memoir and history.
Of this new venture, Thompson told The New York Times, “I’m trying to rebuild the world I never had myself as a kid…Through this imprint, I’m offering a platform.”
“I would like to think of myself of what Def Jam was trying to be back in 1985 — keep my ear to the streets, keep it underground,” he added.
If you’ve been following his instagram recently, it feels like almost every second day Thompson is offering an obituary on a musician who has influenced him, more often than not, a forgotten Black musician the world needs to know about.
With AUWA, he’s making things a bit more official. He told the Times, “With the rapid influx of death happening with Black creators and no one to pass the recipes down, I wanted to bring action to a dire situation.”
Included in the first announcement is a memoir by Sly Stone (who’s alive and turned 80 this month) called Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin). The book is expected to drop in October.
Elsewhere, there’ll be an inspirational book by tiktoker and podcaster Drew Afualo, who’s gained a following through campaigning against bigotry and misogyny; and a Handbook for the Revolution: The Essential Guide to Workplace Organising by labour activist and co-founder of Amazon’s labour union, Derrick Palmer.
Thompson will of course put out his own material, including a sequel to Music Is History called Hip Hop Is History.
So to answer the 28 year old question, posed by The Roots sophomore album title Do You Want More?!?, the answer is yes, much more.
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