G'Ra Asim

Assistant Professor of English
MFA, Columbia University
BA, Emerson College
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    G’Ra Asim, a writer and musician, is the author of Boyz n the Void: a mixtape to my brother (Beacon Press). He has served as a writing director at the African American Policy Forum and a graduate teaching fellow in Columbia University’s Undergraduate Writing Program. His work has appeared in Slate, Salon, Guernica, The Baffler, and The New Republic. When not writing or teaching, he sings, plays bass and writes lyrics for DIY pop punk quintet babygotbacktalk, who were named one of Alternative Press’s “17 rising Black alternative bands who are leading the next generation.”

    Boyz n the Void

    Boyz n the Void

    Writing to his brother, G’Ra Asim reflects on building his own identity while navigating Blackness, masculinity, and young adulthood—all through wry social commentary and music/pop culture critique

    How does one approach Blackness, masculinity, otherness, and the perils of young adulthood? For G’Ra Asim, punk music offers an outlet to express himself freely. As his younger brother, Gyasi, grapples with finding his footing in the world, G’Ra gifts him with a survival guide for tackling the sometimes treacherous cultural terrain particular to being young, Black, brainy, and weird in the form of a mixtape.

    Boyz n the Void: a mixtape to my brother blends music and cultural criticism and personal essay to explore race, gender, class, and sexuality as they pertain to punk rock and straight edge culture. Using totemic punk rock songs on a mixtape to anchor each chapter, the book documents an intergenerational conversation between a Millennial in his 30s and his zoomer teenage brother. Author, punk musician, and straight edge kid, G’Ra Asim weaves together memoir and cultural commentary, diving into the depths of everything from theory to comic strips, to poetry to pizza commercials to mapping the predicament of the Black creative intellectual.

    With each chapter dedicated to a particular song and placed within the context of a fraternal bond, Asim presents his brother with a roadmap to self-actualization in the form of a Doc Martened foot to the behind and a sweaty, circle-pit-side-armed hug.
    Listen to the author’s playlist while you read! Access the playlist here: https://sptfy.com/a18b