Archival footage from March 1964.
Start-up implosions, comically hubristic CEOs, and corporate-sanctioned white privilege. All are fodder for Mateo Askaripour ’s Black Buck, a gripping, darkly hilarious debut novel that dials up the drama and intrigue of tech news to funhouse-mirror proportions.
We spoke to Askaripour, a Pocket user since 2012, who explained how he relied on a team of muses while working on Black Buck. Every day as he sat down to write, he looked to a folder of photos of people who inspire him, drawing on their strength and style to set a distinctive, irresistible tone.
“Nina Simone is one of my biggest inspirations,” Askaripour said, “and Mississippi Goddam encapsulates the spirit of what I was going for in my book. And Paul Beatty’s work, The Sellout, is what made me feel that I could write something that pushes the envelope of what a book can do.”
So when we asked Askaripour to create a Pocket collection of articles and videos that inspired and informed the book, it was the perfect opportunity to bring that folder to life. Read on for a peek into the mind of the writer at work, drawing on a wide range of influences, from Malcolm X to McKinsey & Company.
“Writing, for me, is salvation, and writing fiction is a specific form of it. When I became disillusioned with the worlds of start-ups and sales, I began writing fiction, and it was just so cathartic and therapeutic—all of these words ending with an i-c! It may be cliche to say, but four hours would have passed by, and I wouldn't notice. I was just having fun, creating.”
Portrait by Andrew "FifthGod" Askaripour
Formed in 1966, the group remains misunderstood and poorly represented—especially on film. The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution tries to sort the fact from fiction.
Prick the satire in The Sellout, and real blood emerges.
#12: Do something kind for someone else daily.
Sembene’s filmography has given voice to the millions of marginalized and voiceless African peasantry, its workers, women, and children, while often putting him at odds with his country’s powerful.
Thirty years after his death, Jean-Michel Basquiat defies easy categories. Was he an artist, an art star, or just a celebrity?
‘I felt like it was a good risk, and it ended up working out,’ Nipsey told MTV News about pricing Crenshaw at $100.
Buddy's 2018 anthem with A$AP Ferg as a vertical visual.
How to anchor an abstract question in reality.
“This rhythm—finishing as quickly as possible while not judging myself too much during the process—is what I’ve found to have helped me progress in my literary career the most.”
Mateo Askaripour’s work aims to empower people of color to seize opportunities for advancement, no matter the obstacle. He was a 2018 Rhode Island Writers Colony writer-in-residence, and his writing has appeared in Entrepreneur, Lit Hub, Catapult, The Rumpus, Medium, and elsewhere. Black Buck is his debut novel. He lives in Brooklyn.