As we prepare to celebrate the now federal holiday, Juneteenth, it is important that is not simply a day-off but a day of remembrance and liberation. And to get you in the spirit, I have compiled a few things to get you started!
Check it out below:
Film & Television/Podcasts
A Dream Delivered: The Lost Letters of Hawkins Wilson (Streaming on Paramount+ and PlutoTV)
‘Sound of Freedom: A Juneteenth Celebration’ (ABC/Hulu) Friday-June 17th at 8 pm/ET
‘Something in the Water Festival’ (Amazon Prime Video and Twitch) Friday-Sunday 3 pm/ET
‘After Jackie’ (History Channel) Saturday-June 18 at 8 pm/ET
‘Juneteenth: A Global Celebration’ (CNN) Sunday-June 19th at 8 pm/ET
‘Omitted : The Black Cowboy’ (ESPN 2) Sunday-June 19th at 2 pm/ET
Emergency (2022) [Amazon Prime Video]
High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America- Episode #4-“Freedom” (2021) [Netflix]
Miss Juneteenth (2020)
Juneteenth Jamboree: A Place For Families (2016) [PBS]
So we are almost half way through 2022, but the reading doesn’t stop. Before I get you ready for your summer reading, just want to finish out the spring with some breezy balcony and patio reading. This month’s list is all over the globe…literally, I figured I would share a few treats by giving you some historical references, a little bit of self-preservation and cultural identity, mixed with a dash of U.S. midwest and Caribbean roots, and topping you off with some sassy satire.
Jameela Green Ruins Everything ~Zarqa Nawaz
Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations ~Mira Jacob
Olga Dies Dreaming: A Novel ~Xochitl Gonzalez
The Other Madisons: The Lost History of a President’s Black Family ~Bettye Kearse
American Street ~Ibi Zoboi
And remember you can always go back and check out the previous month’s list and past recommendations in the “Resource” section of the website!!
We write because we believe the human spirit cannot be tamed and should not be trained. ~Nikki Giovanni
To All My Chefs & Mixologists (novice and professional) out there, this is for you!
Who doesn’t love a mouth-watering, soulful meal or a delightful spirit to cap off the night?!! Well I wanted to add to your “must-see and must-try” lists by highlighting the spirit and culinary world with a few cookbooks, wineries, breweries, creators and organizations that are making Black History!!
Not surprisingly, Black Americans have contributed significantly (and still do) to the culinary world and cocktail/wine/brewery culture. We have been tastemakers and drink-makers since the beginning of time :-). Cooking and feeding the soul is in the DNA of African Americans (check out Netflix’s High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America if you don’t believe me)!
As it relates to the spirit world, I recently learned that there was a Black Mixology Club that was founded in 1898 by R. R. Bowie and J. Burke Edelin that was a “marquee professional association,” and a gathering place for African Americans who were trying to move up the ladder of social mobility within professional bartending [Check out these pioneers as well: Cato Alexander, John Dabney, Tom Bullock, and Dick “Uncle Dick” Francis].
Now let me say this…. the following below is by no means the only folks that have been and are in the game just a few to wet your palette (literally and figuratively), because I know there are tons of Black folks making history!!
So get ready to pop some bottles, plan your next couple or friends getaway, pull out those pots and pans, turn on your ovens, and make some magical memories!!
So recently I have had many people ask what would I recommend as an introduction into Afrofuturism. This is something that I am always talking about, teaching, and or even consuming for myself, so why not have a list for beginners! And voila…I compiled various books, short stories, comic books, graphic novels, children and YA fiction, and movies that offer a unique look into Afrofuturism.
Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture ~Ytasha Womack
Afrofuturism 2.0: The Rise of Astro-Blackness ~Edited by Reynaldo Anderson & Charles E. Jones
Beloved ~Toni Morrison
Kindred ~Octavia Butler
Wild Seed ~Octavia Butler
Brown Girl in the Ring ~Nalo Hopkinson
The Conductors ~Nicole Glover
How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? ~N.K. Jemisin
Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora ~Edited by Sheree Thomas
Dark Matter: Reading the Bones ~Edited by Sheree Thomas
Black No More: Being an Account of the Strange and Wonderful Working of Science in the Land of the Free ~George Schuyler
Lion’s Blood ~Steven Barnes
Zulu Heart ~Steven Barnes
Black Leopard, Red Wolf ~Marlon James
Minions: A Vampire Huntress Legend ~L.A. Banks
Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements ~Edited by Walidah Imarisha & adrienne maree brown
Black Kirby: In Search of the MotherBoxx Connection ~John Jennings & Stacey Robinson
Mothership Tales: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond ~Edited by Bill Campbell & Edward Austin Hall
“The Princess Steel” & “The Comet” ~W.E.B. Du Bois
“Caramelle 1864” ~Jewelle Gomez
“I Left My Heart in Skaftafell” ~Victor LaValle
“Don’t Go There” ~Tracy Cross
“Ain’t I a Woman” ~Sojourner Truth
Comic Books/Graphic Novels
Matty’s Rocket and Infinitude: An Afrofuturist Tale ~Tim Fielder
Going into Black History Month every year I’m always mixed with emotions. On one hand it’s an exciting time to highlight the experiences of Black people, but then I am suddenly on edge seeing what things are specifically set to come out in February because its Black History Month. As I have said many times before this celebratory effort is one that happens 365-24/7, especially considering I am a professor in an African American Studies department.
Nevertheless, I must say things are getting better and the efforts made from various organizations/corporations are evolving (despite ones who still miss the mark). And because “sharing is caring” I wanted to make sure I highlighted a few businesses that are putting in the work and who really get me!! Check them out below:
Target: One of my favorite brands and a place where I do not mind spending my coins is Target. They have been consistently spotlighting black talent and not just in February!! In its eighth year, Target presents “Black Beyond Measure,” which includes a limited-time assortment of apparel, accessories and home goods designed by Black creators along with highlighting Black-owned brands sold at the retailer.
Old Navy: The clothing brand has partnered with three talented Black artists — Temi Coker, Lo Harris and Destiny Darcel — to create Project WE t-shirts centered around their love for the Black community and culture. Project WE is a collaboration between diverse artists and includes a donation of $1 million to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in support of youth arts programs. They are also donating $50,000 to support the 15% Pledge, a growing platform that calls on major retailers to commit a minimum of 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses.
Amazon Launchpad: This program is celebrating Black innovators and the stories behind their businesses throughout Black History Month by highlighting an array of brands on its various platforms.
Nordstrom: For 2022, Nordstrom is celebrating Black History Month through a variety of initiatives everything from spotlighting Black-founded brands to celebrating culture through personal stories. They will also honor Black food culture by featuring recipes by Spice Suite founder Angel Gregorio at the store’s specialty coffee bars. Additionally, the retailer has committed to increasing Black and Latino representation among its managers by at least 50%, delivering $500 million in retail sales from Black and/or Latino-owned brands and increasing charitable donations to organizations that promote anti-racism to $1 million every year by 2025.
Peloton: Through uplift, celebration and empowerment Peloton is highlighting the “magnetic energy of the Black diaspora that breaks boundaries and moves us forward.” This is done through themed classes, special artist series, and for a third year they launched a special apparel line featuring the work of designer Erwin Hines. Peloton will also mark Black History Month with a charitable contribution of $100,000 – to support the development of a community wellness center in Chicago’s South Side. They are partnering with Claretian Associates, an organization with deep ties to the neighborhood.
Victoria’s Secret PINK: The beauty and fashion brand has partnered with We The Urban founder Willie Greene to release an exclusive “Pink x We The Urban” gender-free one-size tee (this has been an annual effort). In addition, PINK is donating $50,000 to the Black and Pink organization that is dedicated to transforming the lives of system-impacted LGBTQIA2S+ people and people living with HIV/AIDS.
Apple: The tech giant is spotlighting Black business and innovation while also amplifying Black voices through a multitude of its platforms and specially curated collections. Some of these include, Apple Maps where users can learn about Black history or discover Black-owned businesses through curated Guides; their Shot on iPhone campaign, “Our Stories,” features portraits and video of four pioneers who are at the nexus of Black history The company also launched a special edition Apple Watch “Black Unity Braided Solo Loop” watch that features matching unity lights on the face of the watch. It gets its inspiration from the “Afrofuturism,” framework, which explores the Black and African diasporic experience through a narrative of science, technology and self-empowerment.
These businesses get me!!
What I can also really appreciate about these businesses is that many if not all have year-round efforts, and are making sure Black creatives and talents are getting their shine!! It’s really important that you do more than just sign a check (no complaints here), but that you make a full on investment of the talent!!
It is that time of the year!! And while I personally see Black History Month as an everyday conversation, I understand that for some this is not the case. With that being said, Happy Black History Month to you all!!
The celebration of Black History Month is a great time for the nation and the world to expand on the many contributions of the Black/African American experience. Established in 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson as “Negro History” week , Woodson wanted to make sure people understood not only the experiences but also provide an opportunity to focus on particular themes. The legacy of Negro History week, according to Woodson, was never meant “to dictate or limit the exploration of the Black experience, but to bring to the public’s attention important developments that merit emphasis.” Thus, The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) an organization created by Woodson would begin to explore Black History through a yearly theme. The first theme came about in 1928 and it centered around the idea of “Civilization: A World Achievement.” This year’s theme is the importance of “Black Health and Wellness”!
This theme acknowledges the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways of knowing (e.g., birthworkers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.) throughout the African Diaspora.
With this year’s theme centered on “Black Health and Wellness” (For more information about this click here!) I wanted to provide some tips and resources on making sure you are taking care of the best YOU!!
Be Kind To Yourself
Exercise…Get an accountability partner or even join a group
Keep your body hydrated
Incorporate smoothies into your diet
Take in nature…It is a great remedy for alleviating stress
Start a gratitude journal
Make sure to plenty of sleep…To go back to those naps that we took during kindergarten
Meditate…whether its 5 minutes or 30 minutes, make sure to give your brain a break
Did I mention I love to read…Well I DO!! Ever since I was kid I always had a book to read. Even as I hit 40 this year, I made sure I had my share of reading done. Matter fact this year I even did a Reading Challenge (on Good Reads) where I had to read at one book a month. And as I type this post I managed to get in 15 books plus a few comic books and graphic novels. It felt good to turn the pages (old school reader) of each new book and then look up what my next read would be!!
With all that said, I figure I would keep up with my tradition from last year and compile my ‘Top 21’ books from this year, and as an extra bonus for me I even got to meet some of the authors!! Pretty cool!!
Nothing like sharing some of your faves!! As I always say, ‘sharing is caring.’
So in no particular order, here is my Top 21 List of Books for 2021!!
Just As I Am~Cicely Tyson
Somebody’s Daughter ~Ashley C. Ford
Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre~Carole Boston Weatherford
Until I Am Free: Fannie Lou Hamer’s Enduring Message to America~Keisha N. Blain
Black Leopard, Red Wolf: The Dark Star Trilogy~Marlon James
Digital Black Feminism ~Catherine Knight Steele
Maya and the Robot~Eve L. Ewing
The Black Flamingo~Dean Atta
Fast Pitch~Nic Stone
Bamboozled by Jesus: How God Tricked Me into The Life of My Dreams~Yvonne Orji
The Day the Klan Came to Town~Bill Campbell
Black Boy Joy: 17 Stories Celebrating Black Boyhood~Edited by Kwame Mbalia
Chronicling Stankonia: The Rise of the Hip-Hop South~Regina N. Bradley
The Book of Unknown Americans~Cristina Henriquez
The 1619 Project ~Nikole Hannah-Jones
The 1619 Project: Born on the Water ~Nikole Hannah-Jones & Renée Watson
Stella’s Stellar Hair ~Yesenia Moises
How the Word Is Passed A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America ~Clint Smith
The African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS)’s
Seventh Annual Conference
Everyday Practices, Memory Making, and Local Spaces
March 11-12, 2022
A Virtual Conference
Host: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
The process of “memory making” is ongoing as activists throughout the African diaspora confront the past and challenge landscapes that pay homage to colonialism and Eurocentrism. Recent debates surrounding the teaching of Critical Race Theory in K-12 classrooms, The 1619 Project, and the position of Confederate monuments in the public square highlight these contemporary trends. The United States is facing a unique moment of national reckoning that scrutinizes how history is interpreted, commemorated, and displayed.
In the era of social media, local issues can also have immediate global implications. When Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd in the Summer of 2020, protests emerged in cities and towns throughout the United States. But calls for justice and civil rights quickly spread across the globe, as communities throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Americas condemned anti-Blackness, police brutality, and systemic racism in their own countries. Relatedly, as activists in the United States toppled Confederate monuments and statues of Christopher Columbus last year, people of African descent in Europe also challenged the colonial landscapes displayed in various European cities. In Bristol, for example, activists defaced and destroyed the statues of slave traders such as Edward Colston and in Belgium, activists toppled statues of brutal imperialists such as Leopold II. These national and global activist movements contested the aftermath of enslavement and colonialism in the everyday while also illustrating how memory shapes politics, identities, and communities in the past and present.
In accordance with this contemporary moment, this year’s theme, “Everyday Practices, Memory Making, and Local Spaces” provides an opportunity for interdisciplinary scholarship that examines how history is told in local, national, and international contexts. Correspondingly, AAIHS has selected Las Vegas, Nevada, for its annual conference. The city’s African American residents are deeply tied to national, international, and local histories. As southern Nevada’s Black population grew through the Great Migration, civil rights activists fought against the city’s rampant inequality, culminating in the “Moulin Rouge Agreement” on March 26, 1960, that desegregated the Strip casinos. And as an international tourism hub, spaces throughout southern Nevada have been shaped and reshaped by transnational influences.
As panelists consider their proposals, they might consider the following questions: How do “everyday practices” form conceptions of the past? How is memory “made” and “remade” in different eras of history? How can “local spaces” influence broader discussions of societal injustice and prompt calls for social change? What methods have people from past and present generations used in their “memory making” and why did they use those methods? In what way does gender, sexuality, race, and class complicate memory making in everyday locales? Ultimately, what are the stakes of challenging memorialized and deeply invested in spaces and stories in local, national, and international settings?
AAIHS welcomes individual proposals for abbreviated presentations (5-6 minutes) that consider the theme of “Everyday Practices, Memory Making, and Local Spaces” from a variety of perspectives. Each proposal will be considered for inclusion in one of the featured conference sessions, which will be scheduled remotely on Friday, March 11 or Saturday, March 12, 2022. AAIHS invites scholars at various ranks and affiliations (from graduate students to senior faculty and independent scholars) to submit proposals for consideration. Each proposal should include a title and approximately 500 words that clearly explains the paper’s argument; methods and methodologies; interventions; and engagement with the conference theme. Submissions should also include a short CV (1-3 pages in length), highlighting previous publications and presentations, if applicable. Proposals will be accepted on the AAIHS website between September 15, 2021 and November 15, 2021.
FREEDOM…LIBERATION…BLACK RESISTANCE…BIRTH… It is interesting that these words came to mind as I was compiling this month’s list, because I honestly did not have any particular intention. This list was just meant to be, I guess you could say… There’s a lot of amazing literary energy that is coming from each of these texts whether it celebrating an iconic freedom fighter, showcasing the crime fiction genre, chronicling Black resistance via picture and verse.
Let’s just say this we got another set of heavy hitters this month, a few of them I have been anxiously (and patiently) waiting to be released!!
Remember to make sure you pre-order, add to your cart, or run to your local bookstore and grab a copy or two!! So with that said check out this month’s book recommendations below: