James McBride is an American writer, musician, and journalist. He was born on September 11, 1957, in New York City, New York, to an African-American father and a Jewish mother. McBride grew up in Brooklyn’s Red Hook housing projects, where he learned to play the saxophone and piano. He later attended the Oberlin College in Ohio, where he studied music composition.
After graduation, McBride worked as a journalist, writing for publications such as The Boston Globe, The New York Times, and People magazine. He also worked as a jazz saxophonist and composer, performing with artists such as Anita Baker, Grover Washington Jr., and Jimmy Scott.
In 1995, McBride published his memoir, “The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother,” which tells the story of his mother’s life growing up as a white Jewish woman in the South and her eventual marriage to his father. The book became a bestseller and was widely praised for its exploration of race, identity, and family.
McBride has since published several other books, including the historical novel “Song Yet Sung” (2008), the memoir “The Good Lord Bird” (2013), which won the National Book Award for Fiction, and “Deacon King Kong” (2020), a New York Times bestseller. He has also been the recipient of numerous awards and honors for his work as a writer and musician.
Let’s take a look at these 31 interesting facts about James McBride to know more about him.
- James McBride was born on September 11, 1957, in New York City.
- His father was African-American and his mother was Jewish.
- McBride grew up in Brooklyn’s Red Hook housing projects.
- He learned to play the saxophone and piano as a child.
- McBride attended the Oberlin College in Ohio, where he studied music composition.
- After graduation, he worked as a journalist for publications such as The Boston Globe, The New York Times, and People magazine.
- McBride also worked as a jazz saxophonist and composer, performing with artists such as Anita Baker, Grover Washington Jr., and Jimmy Scott.
- In 1995, he published his memoir, “The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother,” which became a bestseller.
- McBride has said that he wrote “The Color of Water” as a way to understand his mother and her experiences.
- The book has been translated into more than 20 languages.
- McBride’s second book, “Miracle at St. Anna,” was published in 2002 and was later adapted into a movie directed by Spike Lee.
- He has also written several children’s books, including “The Five-Carat Soul Bottom Bone Band” and “The New York Times Bestseller” and “Moon Over Star.”
- McBride has worked as a screenwriter and producer, and has written for television shows such as “NYPD Blue” and “Miracle’s Boys.”
- He has also written for magazines such as The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine.
- McBride is a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.
- He has received numerous awards and honors for his work, including the National Book Award for Fiction for “The Good Lord Bird.”
- McBride’s book “Deacon King Kong” was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2021.
- He has been inducted into the New York State Writers Hall of Fame.
- McBride has said that his writing is heavily influenced by his musical background.
- He has played with musicians such as Stevie Wonder and Wynton Marsalis.
- McBride’s son, Adam, is a musician and composer.
- He has also written the screenplay for the film adaptation of his book “Deacon King Kong.”
- McBride has been a guest on several talk shows, including “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.”
- He has spoken about his experiences growing up in a racially mixed family.
- McBride has said that he initially struggled to find his voice as a writer.
- He has described writing as a way to understand himself and the world around him.
- McBride has said that he is most proud of his children and their accomplishments.
- He has called for greater diversity in publishing and the arts.
- McBride has been active in advocating for racial justice and equality.
- He has said that his faith has been an important part of his life and his work.
- McBride has called on writers to use their voices to promote empathy and understanding.
James McBride is a talented writer, musician, and journalist whose work has explored themes of race, identity, and family. From his bestselling memoir “The Color of Water” to his award-winning novel “The Good Lord Bird,” McBride’s writing has captivated readers with its honesty, humor, and insight. As a musician, he has shared the stage with some of the biggest names in jazz and R&B. As a journalist, he has covered a wide range of topics and written for some of the most prestigious publications in the country. Throughout his career, McBride has used his voice to promote understanding and empathy, and has been an advocate for racial justice and equality. He is a true artist and a role model for aspiring writers and musicians alike.