Immerse yourself in stories that offer a multifaceted look at what it means to be black in America
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day the last slaves in the United States learned they had been freed, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
Although the anniversary has been celebrated in various parts of the country since, Juneteenth only officially became a federal holiday last year, after Congress passed legislation on June 16 and President Biden signed it. signed the next day.
In honor of the cultural significance of Juneteenth, UB today compiled a list of media – movies, books, albums, podcasts, etc. – which celebrate and offer multiple perspectives on black life in America.
If you are considering purchasing any of the books listed, please consider ordering from a black-owned bookstore.
After a hiatus of four years, Atlanta is back. The six-time Emmy-winning series, created by the rapper/comedian Donald Glover, has been hailed for his surreal take on the Atlanta hip-hop scene. Glover plays Earn, a Princeton dropout turned manager for his cousin Alfred’s rap number. In the third season, the main characters no longer pursue success; Instead, Alfred, aka Paper Boi, embarked on his first European tour. With detours to Paris and Amsterdam, a surreal spectacle becomes even more bizarre with Glover’s sense of humor in mind. Available on Hulu.
A dark lady sketch show is, in many ways, a trailblazer, but for the showrunner/star Robin Thede it is above all a love letter to sketch comedy. The show, which features actors Issa Rae, Ashley Nicole Black and Quinta Brunson, was recently renewed for a fourth season. With a cast and writers room comprised entirely of black women, Thede’s target audience is no secret. Still, there’s enough laughter for everyone in ABLSSThe high-energy parodies of , which tackle everything from hair products to courtroom TV to heist movies with equal irreverence. Available on HBO.
Producer and multi-instrumentalist Chaz Bundick, best known as a singer-songwriter Toro and me, is back to its best synth, slow motion with the release of its seventh album. A longtime staple of the chillwave genre, Toro y Moi never focuses on one sound for too long – and mahal is no exception. Psychedelia is well-worn territory for Bundick, but in mahal the space is interspersed with an emphasis on jazz, soul and funk riffs. Listen to “Postman” for a dose of groovy, slap-bass nostalgia.
Vince Staples is not a good times rapper. “To call this album entertainment would be almost disrespectful,” wrote Matthew Ismael Ruiz in a Fork exam. The tracks continue Staples’ reputation as a troubled man, and while he’s been honest with us before, his emotional vulnerability is taken to new depths in songs like “Rose Street.” Sonically, Ramona Park is a breezy, sunny ride, but lyrically it’s a reconciliation of all that Staples lost and a bittersweet ode to his wayward youth.
Coffee makes it all so easy. In her debut studio album, the 22-year-old Jamaican singer, songwriter, rapper, DJ and guitarist shows a clear instinct when it comes to weaving pop hooks with riddim vocals and upbeat lyrics with melodies that lean towards the melancholy. His understanding of both roots reggae and pop forms – mixed with a heavy dose of indie lust – come together in something so cohesive and natural that it could have been released anytime in the past two decades. The resulting effort earned the album title: She’s Gifted, Okay.
Emergency, the 2022 hit comedy/thriller directed by Carey Williams, is a buddy movie without any of the usual trappings: there are a few laughs, but they’re quickly supplanted by dread as the protagonists, all young men of color, try to help a white woman passed out at a party. Calling the police, they decide, is too dangerous. In an interview with IndieWire, Williams says the humorous elements were the film’s “special sauce,” but the heart of the story is about the deteriorating relationship between Kunle and Sean, two black friends from different economic backgrounds who suddenly can’t reconcile their differences when the stakes become. high. Available on Prime Video.
Master, a horror/drama film directed by Mariama Diallo, is the story of three black women at Atwater, a fictional Ivy League campus “almost as old as the country”. What begins with microaggressions and a growing sense of isolation among the protagonists – faculty members Gail and Liv and freshman Jasmine – soon becomes an outright ghost story when Jasmine discovers the legend. of a witch who seems to haunt only black students. Unlike previous reality horror movies, like Jordan Peele’s get out(2017)—Master substitutes science fiction for folklore, hinting at a collective history of atrocities that colleges like Atwater would rather keep hidden. The film stars Regina Hall, Amber Gray and Zoe Renee. Available on Prime Video.
Although his legacy as an author and orator is undeniable, Frederick Douglass’ provocative speeches have never been recorded. Produced by renowned historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and directed by Julia Marchese, Frederick Douglass: In Five Discourses aims to bring the legendary abolitionist’s words to life, using the talents of Denzel Whitaker, Colman Domingo, Nicole Beharie, Andre Holland, Jonathan Majors and Jeffrey Wright. Each speech is representative of a different era of the 19th century and, in turn, reflects the evolution of Douglass’ political philosophy. Available on HBO Max and HBO On Demand.
Black gay bloggers child’s fury and Crissle West are the hosts of The Read, a weekly podcast covering the most “attempted” stars in hip-hop and pop culture. A proven intersectional favorite for many, each episode spotlights everyday black people doing remarkable things, provides comedic takes on hot topics, responds to listener letters, and calls out the issues that plague their minds. That day.
After nine years, the show has amassed a loyal following that has spawned sold-out live shows and merchandise drops, a show on Fuse TV, and an original comedy album through Issa Rae’s Raedio label.
If you’re looking to learn more about pop culture and deepen your understanding of issues facing the black (and queer) community as a whole, Reading is a great place to get your foot in the door. Available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio Talk, Soundcloud and Stitcher.
Focused on mental health and well-being, The friend zone is hosted by real friends Assante, Dustin Rossand HeyFranHey. The three weave their way through discussions about platonic and romantic relationships, race, and being true to yourself.
Thanks to Fran’s knowledge of holistic wellness, the show is both entertaining and informative, and is seen by many as a resource and a way to explore topics that listeners might otherwise find difficult to understand. find outlets.
Fran’s careful consideration, Dustin’s assertive confidence, and Assanté’s ability to bring us back to Earth create a dynamic that offers insight and comedy each week. Available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Audible, Soundcloud and Stitcher.
This podcast features brothers Jermaine and Trevaunn (Trey) Richards and Sheldon Sabastian, who discuss “everything from laundry to the alien invasion.” The three hosts’ hilarious narration pokes fun at their lives, each other, and hot topics while leaving room for vulnerable, open-minded conversations, encouraged by friends who come as guests.
The podcast highlights the hosts’ intersectional experiences as young adults, Caribbean descendants, and black men living in America. If you’re looking for guaranteed stress relief, this screening of “Black boy joy” is the way to go. Available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Soundcloud and Acast.
Alliah L. Agostini grew up in Buffalo, New York, where her grandfather co-founded the city’s Juneteenth Festival in 1976. In her adorable new picture book, June 19 story, the author pays homage to his grandfather’s legacy (the Buffalo Juneteenth Festival is now one of the largest in the country) and brings the story of emancipation to life for young readers. The book focuses on the dual heritage of slavery and emancipation in equal measure, tying in the campaign of the poor and the Texas Centennial Exposition. It also explores the arduous path to making Juneteenth a federal holiday. You don’t know us niggers and other essays by Zora Neale Hurston (Amistad, 2022)
Author and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston’s essays and reviews are sometimes overshadowed by her novels (Their eyes looked at God). But this recently published collection of his essays seeks to remedy that. This anthology is the final word on Hurston’s work, drawing on 35 years of observations of black society as it evolved from the Harlem Renaissance to the Montgomery bus boycott. With his knack for encapsulating black joy in its limitless forms, Hurston’s voice sounds more essential than ever.
This long-awaited sequel to How to be an anti-racist by Ibram X. Kendi, Founding Director of BU’s Center for Anti-Racism Research and BU’s Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Humanities, has been published in time for June 16, 2022. The latest book from the best-selling author and renowned educator , whose call for individual action in the face of systemic racial oppression won him a 2021 MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant, focuses on how individuals can foster growth and analysis within their own families, drawing on his mix of research and personal experience.
In her debut novel, Tara M. Stringfellow weaves the personal and the political into a family drama spanning three generations of black women. Memphis, site of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous April 3, 1968, “I’ve Been to the Top of the Mountain” speech (GRS’55, Hon.’59) and his assassination a day later, is also the ancestral home of Stringfellow’s fictional North family and their private triumphs and sorrows. Drawing on his own background and the historical events that affected his family, Stringfellow weaves a narrative that spans World War II to the present day, pondering the systemic injustice of Southern racism and the resilience it cannot erase.