'Lynching was treated as a celebratory event': Adrian Younge on the history of US racism

“I’m sacrificing myself to deliver a message,” says the composer, multi-instrumentalist and now podcast-maker Adrian Younge. “We aren’t aware enough of black history, nor of the integral role black people have played in building America. There is an educational sterilisation going on and it’s my duty to make people understand that history of racism – something America has pioneered.”

With more than 400 years to cover since US slavery began, Younge’s project to educate the public is a vast and complex one. Yet, speaking on a video call surrounded by analogue recording equipment in his LA studio, it is a story Younge believes he has spent his life and career building up to. “This is my What’s Going On project, my record talking about why we are in the place that we are in,” he says. “It’s as if James Baldwin hooked up with Marvin Gaye to make a record produced by David Axelrod. It’s psychedelic soul but it is very professorial at the same time. There’s so many layers to it.”

Read the interview in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 24/02/21]