“Toni Morrison meant little to me when I was tasked to read her at school, but when hip-hop artists Mos Def and Talib Kweli, as Black Star, encoded the themes of her novel The Bluest Eye in the track Thieves in the Night, I began to think of myself as a writer and, perhaps more importantly, a reader.”
An Afropean writer, photographer and BBC broadcaster
Afropean and the identity parade
In Afropean, Johny Pitts went in search of an elusive identity that wedded his African and Europeanness. This theme is further explored in B-Side, his guest curatorship of The Eyes magazine. The notion of observing whilst also being under surveillance is one he explores in this talk for WritersMosaic, ‘The identity parade’.
Johny Pitts is the author of Afropean. He has presented on MTV, BBC, and ITV1, and his broadcasting includes a BBC Radio 4 documentary exploring Black identity through the music of his father who was a member of the Northern Soul group The Fantastics Society.
Pitts currently presents Open Book for BBC Radio 4 and a forthcoming Afropean podcast funded by a grant from the National Geographic. He won the Jhalak Prize for Afropean. The book was also a winner of the Bread & Roses Award for Radical Publishing.