So begins the confession of Africa Ali, a twenty-three year old black man who is determined to "get the truth out" through a series of weekly interviews with an anonymous white sociologist. His tape-recorded monologues recount the adventures of the 149th Street Crew, a group of friends clinging to the vestiges of their youthful alliances and confronting the awful uncertainties of their futures. In the course of his reminiscences and philosophical musings, Africa introduces us to other members of the Crew: his best friend Hercules, his former lover Keisha, the student radical Jerome, and the determined realist Eddy. When, on occasion, Africa cannot make the interviews himself, he dispatches one of his friends in his place; their differing perspectives on events Africa has previously narrated create a kind of Rashoman effect, revealing simmering grudges and petty jealousies among Crew members. As the story unfolds, terrible secrets emerge from Africa's past.
By turns shockingly funny and appallingly sad, Africa Speaks is a portrait of young people on the cusp of both self-realization and self-ruin.
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