Chappie Puttbutt has moved to North Oakland, still a mixed neighborhood in a rapidly gentrifying city. In need of money and a boost in profile, he agrees to a series of public debates with the right-wing Indian intellectual Shashi Parmar on the topic, ‘Was Slavery All That Bad’? Content to be paid to play the foil, Chappie’s new job doesn’t last long however. An overseas plane crash ignites political tensions between the US and India, and when a hysterical Congress passes a Fugitive Indian Law soon afterward, Shashi looks to Chappie for refuge.
Ishmael Reed is the author of over twenty-five books including Mumbo Jumbo, The Last Days of Louisiana Red, Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down and Juice!. He is also a publisher, television producer, songwriter, radio and television commentator, lecturer, and has long been devoted to exploring an alternative black aesthetic: the trickster tradition, or Neo-Hoodooism as he calls it. Founder of the Before Columbus Foundation, he taught at the University of California, Berkeley for over thirty years, retiring in 2005. In 2003, he received the coveted Otto Award for political theater.