Tochi Onyebuchi – “Riot Baby” and Using Sci-Fi to Dive Into Real-Life Issues | The Daily Show

Welcome to the show. Oh. Thank you for having me. And congratulations on, uh, what we’re hoping will be
another smash hit, Riot Baby. Many people have referred
to this as one of your more dystopian, uh, pieces
that you’ve put together. You-You’ve written
multiple stories in and around the world
of science fiction. What is Riot Baby all about? So, Riot Baby is the story
of these two siblings, Ella and Kev, who grow up in the shadow
of the Rodney King, uh, riots -in L.A.
-Right. And their story takes them from,
you know, South Central to Harlem uh, to Rikers
and then back to Watts. And as they grow up,
they’re dealing with issues of structural racism,
uh, mass incarceration, police brutality, all while developing
superpowers. Yes, that seems
like a-a lot to handle as a– as an adolescent
growing up. -Very charged adolescence, yeah.
-Racism and superpowers
at the same time. -The same time.
-It-It’s fascinating, because you-you write
these stories, -and you-you’re a big science
fiction lover. -Oh, yeah. You know what I mean? And that’s
what your stories are about. But you do weave in real life. Some might say,
“But, Tochi, why do that? “Real life is already real life. Why not just make it
science fiction?” Is science fiction
the place of social commentary? Oh, absolutely. I mean, I think
there’s a very rich history in science fiction and fantasy of exactly that type
of social commentary. I mean, the wonderful thing
about the genre is that it operates, uh,
on two levels simultaneously, -metaphor and reality.
-Mm-hmm. So, you know,
the issues are stories of-of first contact with aliens are also stories
about colonialism. You know,
the X-Men as a metaphor for the civil rights struggle. You know,
the whole dying Earth subgenre -of sci-science fiction and
fantasy, climate change. -Yes. And so I think,
in science fiction and fantasy, you have a very particular set
of tools at your disposal to explore really intense issues -of say gender or race
or what have you. -Right. And so, I mean, this was
exactly the type of-of sandpit that I wanted to engage with
these issues in. Do you find
that it-it connects with people in a way
that they’re not expecting when they read
about a-a “fictitious” world that’s not really our world -and-and there’s superpowers
and there’s magic? -Mm. Do you find it becomes easier
for people to engage in conversations about race
and-and, you know, sexism and misogyny
when it is in a “fantasy” world than if you just write a book
about real life? Oh, absolutely. I mean,
because there’s that, uh, story. You know, this isn’t an essay. -This isn’t a reported piece.
-Yes. You know, we’re not dealing
with facts, per se. But, at the same time,
we are, I think, able to get to a deeper truth with regards to the storytelling and the way
that storytelling can operate -as a vehicle into that.
-Mm-hmm. Um, I mean, there are people
who, uh, are going to decide not to have their mind changed
by a story. Um, you know,
they should still buy the book. -(laughter)
-Um… But, uh, you know, it’s-it’s a very different way
of engaging, where I could have people
who don’t share my politics, -for instance, who, uh,
might still find a story -Yes. -that…
-That’s interesting. Exactly.
That is appealing to them in this story of these two
siblings with superpowers. Some have called it dystopian
though. They say, like, “Tochi, I mean,
we’ve read the book.” I’ve read a few people–
you know, like, a few critics who say,
“It’s a great book, but, whew, Tochi really thinks
of this dystopian world.” Do you–
do you view it as dystopian? No, actually.
I mean, there’s a-a bit of near future towards
the end of the book, but I’ve always found the dystopian commentary
fascinating, because a lot of what’s depicted
in Riot Baby is what’s going on now, um, with regards to the issues that African Americans in
America are having to deal with. -Mm-hmm. -Uh, you know, the
section that’s set in Harlem, where, you know, these two kids
are having to deal with, you know,
super violent police, -that’s all happening right now.
-Mm-hmm. And so it’s interesting
seeing people attach the dystopian label
to this narrative, because what’s dystopian
for some is just reality for us. Man. That’s deep. If you had one superpower
to fight any ill in the world, -what would it be?
-(exhales) Oh, my goodness. You’d-you’d think I’d have a
faster answer to this question, uh…
(laughs) because of how much I-I deal
with superpowers in my stories. -Yes. -I think
it’d be really cool to fly. -You-you would fly?
-I would fly. So, like, there’s, like,
racial injustice -and it’s like, “Look!
-(laughing) That guy’s flying!” (applause) -But…
-“I mean… “we’re still getting pulled over
by the cops, “but that, uh… that brother’s in the sky.” -But, but if I..
-(laughs) if I train properly– and this is the anime geek
in me coming out– if I train properly,
I can develop the strength and the capacity
to carry others on my back. -Oh…
-(awwing) -That’s– Okay.
-(cheering and applause) I see what you did there. I see
what you did there. Thank you so much
for coming on the show. Riot Baby is a beautiful,
fascinating story, and it’s available now.
Tochi Onyebuchi, everybody.

93 Replies to “Tochi Onyebuchi – “Riot Baby” and Using Sci-Fi to Dive Into Real-Life Issues | The Daily Show”

  1. Science fiction is so important because you can go in it unbiased without automatically take sides for the side you're on irl.
    It helps us see the other side and understand each other better.
    Sci-Fi is not about facts, but ideas.

  2. Trevor I have been watching your videos from this channel for a while now . I haven't heard about any give aways from this channel.  So please have a give away once in a while Trevor.

    For me 😂 I wouldn't mind receiving a PC strong enough to run software's like blender  and movie editing software.

  3. Rumour has it that Trump is so sick and tired of seeing all these smart Nigerians and Africans, who are supposed to be shithole citizens, making big strides in America and doing so well that its defying logic.
    The ban of Nigeria is to stop more smart people from going to America and maybe take over more in years to come. But all I know is that our country will be great again. And soon too.

  4. About the superpower: If the goal was a better world, it would probably be a touch that would make people more empathetic and see the reasons why those they hate behave like they do. Even if just for a minute…

  5. I was watching a gabriel Iglesias video and Trevor was on it the first time I heard him I fell in love with his comedy he is so great I cant stop watching his videos I watch them religiously the last week

  6. Trevor Noah is trying so hard to pretend like he didn't shill for Robert Byrd's protege and the wife of the man who gave us mass incarceration via the 1994 Crime Bill.

    Dude is trick knowledge for dumb fucks who actually vote for racists.

  7. If you can watch this video and still fuck with Trevor Noah….you probably watch CNN too

  8. Imagine caring about the Rodney King riots, but not Bill Clinton locking up a million black people or Hillary Clinton being mentored by a KKK Leader?

  9. Tochi has no idea, but he's actually being interviewed by a guy who shilled for a racist. Pathetic really.

  10. Comedy Central is trick knowledge….if it wasn't, why'd you vote for a drunk, who's married to a pedo, who was mentored by a the KKK???

  11. Dear Trevor, I am taking a week off from the news this week starting at 12noon today! Thank you for ALL YOU DO! I woke up this morning to the realization that this is African American History Month and with it being the shortest month of the year I can't forget to Celebrate All that We have contributed to Society.I was gratefully reminded when my nephew sent me a photo of an artpiece that I have; the Art Kane Jazz Portrait Harlem 1958.
    I have been so focused on "45; the person in the White House" and all that has entailed that it has distracted me. I think it has distracted a lot of others as well with the constant arguing and divisiveness..I think I will focus just for this week on totally Celebrating the African American journey in the World and this Country. I will Celebrate the strength, determination and love we have.
    JUST FOR ONE WEEK I am taking the focus off of 45 and putting it on Celebrating Love, Inclusiveness,Forgiveness, Growth and Kindness. I invite you to join me. With our Voice we Can Change the Way of the World! My HOPE is that Someday Soon LOVE is Going to Change the Way of the World! I believe we are ONE UNIVERSAL FAMILY AND I WISH THE BEST FOR EVERYONE.💜✌️🙏🏽🙏🏼🙏🏽 LET"S GET THS CELEBRATION STARTED!! P.S. Please stop using and promoting the N WORD, you didn't grow up in this country and you don't know the impact this word had on us. I was at a store on Venice Beach last week and there was a song playing in the store using the N word numerous times! What about that is to be Celebrated??? I left the store without purchasing anything and will never return!

  12. He says X-Men are about civil rights. It could be that sure, but I think the X-men have more in common with LGBTQA rights.
    They are born different but they can choose to hide what they are or they can come out and show their mutant powers.

  13. Whoa I never thought about X-Men like that. I mean I get that it's supposed to be one group making the other feel like they're not apart of society but I never made connection as racism. My mind has been opened

  14. If Tochi was a criminal it would have gone thus "The Nigerian-American".
    Why am I not Surprised Trevor has joined the club.

  15. A great profile of a young, prolific African-American writer. Tochi was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, and holds four university degrees; He majored in political science at Yale University, graduating in 2009. He earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Screenwriting from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, a master's degree in Global Economic Law from Instituts d'études politiques in France, and a law degree from Columbia Law School.

  16. Selling to young people Race Wars and Race Baiting.

    That’s what I took away from this☝🏼. This topic is getting old Trevor…

  17. To the people wide asleep, wake up, two dudes in a mask full of the dookay, race baiting, all while taking your money. love for the most high.with a few clues brothers and sisters.

  18. Betelgeuse

    "Which other solutions do we have?"
    Follow the MOLDY Money.
    Weather-modification just got another 4 million.
    Fukushima is still leaking.
    Greed is a Universal Virus.
    What could go wrong ?
    Who buys nuclear waste?

    "Harvard chemistry chief’s arrest over China links shocks researchers.
    Nanoscientist Charles Lieber allegedly lied about his involvement in China’s Thousand Talents Plan. " COVI919

    *coronavirus originated in a high-security biochemical lab in Wuhan.


  19. I rushed to view this when I saw "Tochi onyebuchi". For the Igbo tribe of Nigeria ✊🏽. I love his perspective of SciFi

  20. I LOVE science fiction💥💥After what they did with Black Panther. I need this to be a blockbuster movie too!!❤

  21. I love his 📚 books!!!! He makes very Diverse and deep sci-fi story, I wish he could work with Dennis Villanueva or M.N.Shamalyn

  22. im just sad that we cant get along as ppl, i hope we all just can get to the point that we are all the same with diffrent idés
    Love from Sweden 🙂

  23. Laurie Pennington broke my tooth, using WitchCraft. Tell them LAURIE 💯🗣️🌍 🔥. And you all laugh like it's funny, but it's not. You all are crazy ass her.

  24. I know u don’t care but he’s a Nigerian, and Nigerians Are the most educated in America! Y’all can put that up whenever y’all talk about the negativity that comes with intelligent people not given opportunities that allows for survival! Nigerians are good in doin anythin so imagine if they for any reason chose to do bad! Well here we can have it in the other side of YouTube comments

  25. Up Nigeria!!!
    Up Igbo people!!!
    Up Tochi Onyebuchi!!!
    But was I the only one who noticed how Trevor butchered the brother's name?
    I mean dude you can pronounce buttigieg and Stephanopoulos but you can't pronounce Onyebuchi?

  26. What u should look into is how the Trump regime had SSDA change those on physical disabilities mental disabilities that received disability under Obama, not all but most. Unbelievable 2 of my friends had their disability codes change to sever paranoid delusional codes.

  27. Where is the superpowers to keep black boys out of iep in middle school on a suspending revolving beltway to incarceration📚🤔🤕😲😤⏰😢😢😢

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