NOTE: When I first started this site, it was called Writers on Process, and I interviewed writers across the spectrum (not just songwriters, as I do now). Today, I return to my roots to interview Toure. For a list of my non-songwriter interviews, scroll down the left column.
Sure, Toure is everywhere. He's a television host, a regular contributor to MSNBC, and was the first pop culture critic for CNN. He's written four books and writes for magazines and newspapers everywhere. His new book, Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness, is receiving considerable critical acclaim. And in the ultimate endorsement of his intelligence and clear-headed, rational thinking, he recently attracted the ire of Rush Limbaugh.
But nowhere is Toure more visible than on Twitter, where he is a reliably consistent poster. Twitter is a part of his writing process; he told me that he uses it to "spark some idea and . . . unpack something further." He uses it in the invention phase of his process. He told me, "I Tweeted something recently that I thought for sure people were going to attack me for, about how 9/11 nostalgia was weirding me out. And all these people agreed with me, and this gave me the courage to further unpack the idea. I didn't realize other people were feeling that too. But you have to use Twitter as an interactive media, not just as a passive audience relationship. If you do it that way, you won't come up with many original ideas." In other words, he sees Twitter as a place to hold a conversation, not just spew random thoughts.
Watch this interview with Toure as he talks about Twitter. Then read my interview with him about his writing process.