James McBride is a musician and writer from the United States who is known for his innovation and creativity. His inventive hobbies and artistic endeavors have made him a household celebrity in the United States and worldwide. What sets McBride apart is that his creative abilities are not limited to the world of writing, but also transcend beyond it. McBride’s literary accomplishments are as well-known as his musical achievements. His first literary publication, ‘The Colors of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother,’ made him famous. The novel’s title was self-explanatory, since it revealed a lot about McBride’s life, his White mother, and his biracial identity as he grew up. He has written in a variety of genres, including fiction, nonfiction, and comedy. Aside from his literary career, he is a talented musician, composer, and jazz saxophonist who has toured with a number of well-known musicians and jazz performers. Continue reading to get more fascinating facts about James McBride.
Childhood and Adolescence
James McBride was born in New York City, New York, to Rev. Andrew D. McBride and Ruth McBride. His mother was a Jewish immigrant from Poland, while his father was an African American.
His father died from cancer even before he was born. James, the couple’s eighth and final child, was eight years old. His mother then remarried and had four additional children with Hunter Jordan.
His stepfather died when he was 14 years old. This put him and his mother through a lot of emotional turmoil. In the throes of his sadness, he engaged in erroneous behaviors such as stealing, drug use, and alcohol use.
He did not pursue a Ph.D. in medicine, unlike his brothers Dennis and Billy, who did, and instead enrolled at Oberlin College in 1979 to pursue an undergraduate degree in music composition. It was there that he was able to reclaim his former self.
He pursued a master’s degree in journalism at Columbia School of Journalism after completing his graduate studies.
After finishing his formal education, he worked as a staff writer for a number of well-known and well-established publications, including The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, the Wilmington News Journal, and People Magazine.
He also began contributing to Rolling Stone magazine, Essence, and The New York Times. He also contributed writing to the Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, and other publications in the United States.
He wrote a book, ‘The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother,’ which was published in 1996 while working as a journalist. The book went to great length regarding his upbringing in an African-American family and his struggle to come to terms with his biracial identity.
The memoir was well-received and went on to become a best-seller. Furthermore, it spent two years on the New York Times Bestseller List and has been translated into over sixteen languages, with 2.5 million copies sold. The book has become a classic in the United States, and it is extensively used in schools, colleges, and institutions.
Following the phenomenal success of his first effort, he moved to fiction in 2002 and published his first fictional novel, ‘Miracle at St Anna.’ The novel, set against the backdrop of World War II, offered a thorough depiction of the
African-American 92nd Infantry Division’s involvement in the Italian campaign.
The friendship between a black American soldier and an Italian orphan child was the book’s highlight, ‘Miracle at St
Anna.’ The book was adapted into a film of the same name six years later, directed by Spike Lee.
While pursuing his career as a writer, he did not totally abandon his musical ambitions. Instead, he became a well-known saxophonist who traveled with Big Jimmy Scott and other well-known jazz singers and musicians.
Anita Baker, Grover Washington Jr., Pura Fe, and Gary Burton were among the artists for whom he composed lyrics. He even had his own band, which performed a diverse range of songs.
He wrote the music for the Clint Harding Network, Jonathan Demme’s New Orleans Documentary, Right to Return, and writer Ed Shockley’s Off-Broadway musical Bobos.
He published and distributed the first volume of the documentary ‘The Process,’ which detailed his life as a low-profile jazz musician, in 2005.
He wrote his second fictional novel, ‘Song Yet Sung,’ three years later. Harriet Tubman served as the primary inspiration for the work. It was based on true events that occurred on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and the villain was Patty Cannon.
The novel’s main premise centered around an enslaved woman and her dreams in which a fictional code of communication was employed to free enslaved blacks.
He worked on the film ‘Red Hook Summer’ with director Spike Lee in 2012. He was a co-writer and co-producer on the picture.
His latest novel, ‘The Good Lord Bird,’ was published in 2013, and it is based on the comedy genre. The life of legendary abolitionist John Brown was the subject of the book, which was published by Riverhead Books. In the same year, he co-wrote the book ‘Hard Listening.’
He is a founding member of the Clint Harding Network, a collection of well-known journalists, writers, and singers who have appeared live on a Missouri radio program on a regular basis for the past two decades.
He is a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University at the moment.
Achievements & Awards
He has won various honors for his writing and singing careers during the course of his life. The American Arts and Letters Richard Rogers Award, the ASCAP Richard Rodgers Horizons Award, and the Stephen Sondheim Award from the American Music Festival are just a few of them. He has other honorary doctorates in addition to these.
‘The Good Lord Bird,’ a comedic literary endeavor, received him a National Book Award in 2013.
Personal History and Legacy
Except for the fact that he is married and has three children, little is known about his personal life. He splits his time between Manhattan and Lambertville, New Jersey.
Estimated Net worth
As of 2020, James is predicted to have a net worth of $3 million dollars. This includes his property, funds, and earnings. His job is his main source of money.
This gifted American author and musician is best known for his highly acclaimed and best-selling memoir, ‘The Colors of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother.’