Most people know The RZA as a rapper in and founder of the rap collective Wu-Tang (Witty unpredictable talent and natural game). Most also know that he’s a producer and actor as well. However, one skill the artist possesses that isn’t particularly as highlighted is writing; he has done both screenwriting and a couple books, using his own experiential outlook to tell his stories.
I’m a tad late but great things come in their own time, right? I recently read The Tao of Wu, published by The RZA back in the Fall of 2009 and it was touching, to say the least. The society that we live in often pushes us into thinking a particular way, a way in which we look at people and assume a certain knowing based on what they choose to expose. But not nearly as often do we take time to really consider a person’s story. The RZA fuses world-shifting events that have happened to him throughout his life and wisdom from all different avenues in order to invite his readers to be a bit introspective.
What I like most about the book is that it isn’t “preachy.” I know that when we think of autobiographical retellings and the wisdom that come along with them, we tend to think of it as a manual on how to live our lives by someone who doesn’t even know who we are. But that’s the refresher that this book provides, because instead, he’s just telling gritty stories about the terrible and profound choices he has made that lead him to where he is while only asking readers to recall their own experiences with intention.
The importance of this book lies in its’ ability to be down-to-earth, raw, street and advocate for holistic awareness all at the same time. I don’t think there are a lot of books that provide a space where intersectional people can relate so easily.
One of my favorite quotes from the book:
“Jewels are minerals, compressed pieces of earth, stacks of crystalline carbon. What gives them shine is their history. It’s the same with man.”