"But every black person immediately knew what I was getting at. For them, watermelon carries political and sociological resonances that are uncomfortable because they take them back to slavery in some way."

"Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness?" was released Sept. 13, and since then, the world has provided Touré with plenty of fresh material. Among other things, he's been watching the rise — and potential fall — of Republican presidential aspirant Herman Cain with horrified fascination.

"He's so intellectually inept, I feel like I'm maintaining a death watch over his campaign," Touré says. "It's gotten to the point where people are asking me if I would be available to appear on their show if he drops out of the race on this day or that."

Touré also is bewildered that Kanye West's platinum LP, "My Beautiful, Dark Twisted Fantasy," wasn't nominated for a Grammy Award for album of the year. He's trying to devise a theory that satisfactorily explains the snub but hasn't come up with one.

"I do not understand what's going on here," he says. "It was the best critically reviewed album of the year. All the major and minor critics were slobbering over it. Was it slighted by accident or sheer incompetence? I find those excuses inadequate."


If you go

Touré will speak at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the central Enoch Pratt Free Library, 400 Cathedral St. Free. Call 410-396-5430 or go to http://www.prattlibrary.org

  • Text NIGHTLIFE to 70701 to sign up for Baltimore Sun nightlife and music text alerts