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NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS' CHOICE - An archive of collective memory and exuberant testimony A luminous map to navigate an opaque and disorienting present An infinite geography of possible futures What does it mean to be Black and alive right now? Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham have brought together this collection of work--images, photos, essays, memes, dialogues, recipes, NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS' CHOICE - An archive of collective memory and exuberant testimony A luminous map to navigate an opaque and disorienting present An infinite geography of possible futures What does it mean to be Black and alive right now? Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham have brought together this collection of work--images, photos, essays, memes, dialogues, recipes, tweets, poetry, and more--to tell the story of the radical, imaginative, provocative, and gorgeous world that Black creators are bringing forth today. The book presents a succession of startling and beautiful pieces that generate an entrancing rhythm: Readers will go from conversations with activists and academics to memes and Instagram posts, from powerful essays to dazzling paintings and insightful infographics. In answering the question of what it means to be Black and alive, Black Futures opens a prismatic vision of possibility for every reader.


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NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS' CHOICE - An archive of collective memory and exuberant testimony A luminous map to navigate an opaque and disorienting present An infinite geography of possible futures What does it mean to be Black and alive right now? Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham have brought together this collection of work--images, photos, essays, memes, dialogues, recipes, NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS' CHOICE - An archive of collective memory and exuberant testimony A luminous map to navigate an opaque and disorienting present An infinite geography of possible futures What does it mean to be Black and alive right now? Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham have brought together this collection of work--images, photos, essays, memes, dialogues, recipes, tweets, poetry, and more--to tell the story of the radical, imaginative, provocative, and gorgeous world that Black creators are bringing forth today. The book presents a succession of startling and beautiful pieces that generate an entrancing rhythm: Readers will go from conversations with activists and academics to memes and Instagram posts, from powerful essays to dazzling paintings and insightful infographics. In answering the question of what it means to be Black and alive, Black Futures opens a prismatic vision of possibility for every reader.

30 review for Black Futures

  1. 4 out of 5

    Roxane

    A fascinating, expansive, thought-provoking assemblage of artifacts that will lead us to a black future. This is a really well curated anthology and a must-read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Angela M

    Reading this book was a unique experience in many ways. It’s a blend of multiple narratives in the form of photographs of black people, of paintings of black people, posters, interviews, conversations, essays, Facebook screen shots,and more by Black people, some artists, some activists and some everyday people expressing their hopes, and dreams, all reflecting on what it means to be Black. It has entries on music, art, history, politics, sexuality, daily life . In an opening letter, the editors Reading this book was a unique experience in many ways. It’s a blend of multiple narratives in the form of photographs of black people, of paintings of black people, posters, interviews, conversations, essays, Facebook screen shots,and more by Black people, some artists, some activists and some everyday people expressing their hopes, and dreams, all reflecting on what it means to be Black. It has entries on music, art, history, politics, sexuality, daily life . In an opening letter, the editors say “ The Black Futures Project started a few years ago as a Direct Message exchange on Twitter and has evolved into a shared desire to achieve a moment. In developing “Black Futures”, we sought to answer the question: What does it mean to be Black and alive right now .” While I can never really fully understand what it means, but I can say that I was enlightened, moved and hopeful that I could see things about being Black that I hadn’t before. So for me, a white woman in her senior years, I felt it was a beginning, a good beginning, difficult at times, enjoyable at other times. Everyone needs to experience this collection for themselves, but I want to mention a few pieces that particularly struck me. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution passed in 1865, abolishing slavery is here. I had never read it . Everyone should . Black Survival Guide -“How to Live Through a Police Riot” was chilling . An exhibition of “This Hair is Mine” is full of such beautiful photographs. In an essay, “How Black Barbershops Save Lives”, I learned: “ Over the years, I came to understand that barbershops were more than places to get a shape-up, a shave or trim. I learned that barbershops were the only spaces created in American life where Black men can speak and receive feedback about who they are, who they want to be, and what they believe to be true about the world around them.” There’s so much more here, some entertaining, some difficult to read like the last scene of “Fairview”, a Pulitzer Prize winning play by Jackie Sibblies Drury. My recommendation is that this collection needs to be read and reread. I received an advanced copy of this book from One World through NetGalley. I downloaded the book and read it on my iPad using Adobe Blue Fire Reader. I would recommend this if you want a digital copy or better yet, the hard copy book to see the beauty .

  3. 5 out of 5

    Traci at The Stacks

    This book is incredible. It’s a bound example of all the complexities, joys, contradictions, power, diversity, creativity, and struggle in the Black community. We are not a monolith but we are a community. This book is magic. It exists without the sinister shadow of the white gaze.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Faith

    This is a collection of essays, photographs, poems, plays, news stories, transcribed conversations/interviews, illustrations, playlists, etc. about, and contributed by, Black people. It covers an enormous range of topics including politics, film, archives, art, agriculture, biography, bath scrubs, music, dance, recipes, zines, nameplate jewelry, penal reform, ocean ecology and barbershops. Predictably, the result is a mixed bag, but it was generally interesting. I received an ebook ARC of this b This is a collection of essays, photographs, poems, plays, news stories, transcribed conversations/interviews, illustrations, playlists, etc. about, and contributed by, Black people. It covers an enormous range of topics including politics, film, archives, art, agriculture, biography, bath scrubs, music, dance, recipes, zines, nameplate jewelry, penal reform, ocean ecology and barbershops. Predictably, the result is a mixed bag, but it was generally interesting. I received an ebook ARC of this book which I downloaded to a Kindle Fire so that I could see all of the illustrations in color. I also borrowed the audiobook from the library (it comes with a pdf, presumably of the illustrations, which I did not download). I assumed that I was prepared to experience this book. Some of the illustrations were not really legible. The text was read on the audiobook, so that was one case where the audiobook was better, but that wasn’t usually the case. The book isn’t meant to be read in a linear manner, but to be explored more or less randomly. That obviously can’t be done with an audiobook so I wound up relying primarily on the ebook. However, I think that it would probably be best to read a physical copy of the book. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Black Futures uses cultural references and mixed media to talk about the Black experience. Black is not one dimensional nor monolithic. Black transcends time and space – Therefore editors Jenna Wortham and Kimberly Drew decided against a linear approach to the book. Instead Black Futures is arranged to be consumed more organically. Within each section we are given a table of contents and also a guide to related entries so the topic may be explored in more depth. Black Futures begs the question “W Black Futures uses cultural references and mixed media to talk about the Black experience. Black is not one dimensional nor monolithic. Black transcends time and space – Therefore editors Jenna Wortham and Kimberly Drew decided against a linear approach to the book. Instead Black Futures is arranged to be consumed more organically. Within each section we are given a table of contents and also a guide to related entries so the topic may be explored in more depth. Black Futures begs the question “What does it mean to be Black and alive right now?” Although the book opens with Black Lives Matter and social activism it goes on to examine the Black collective. How are those on the fringes included and embraced in Black society and how can we uplift them? In a Google Hangout with Shawne Michealain Holloway, Tiona McClodden talks about being identified as a member of the BDSM community and what this meant for her. She felt vulnerable in that moment, yet free, because she was finally being seen. ”I was really concerned about how people saw the mask. And that mask, in particular sense, was not a mask to hide. It was a mask to reveal.” This idea of being seen is emphasized by the editors through pictures and artwork and even Twitter exchanges. The authors stress the need for personal archival and give explicit directions on how to document your life so that future generations will know your lived experience. Cultural inheritance is not just about what we have learned from the past, but how that legacy is passed on to our children. In the section entitled ‘Black to the Land’ Leah Penniman talks about the history of hiding rice and other seeds within African traditional hair styles and how today cooperatives like Soul Fire Farm train Black families sustainable farming practices. My favorite part of the book was the section on Black Joy which delves into self-care and love. Highlighted here was rejuvenation through worship, relaxation and play and healthy food practices. Black Futures is a collection of Black excellence. It is at once a testament to our past struggles and a beacon of hope for the future.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Paris (parisperusing)

    In utter awe of the blood work of these contributions. The journey of emotions this book guides one through can only be described as a spiritual awakening. I am incensed and inspired by this book, which serves as a reminder of the ways Blackness has been stolen, shamed, dirtied, and appropriated by the dominant culture. It is a book about Black power and resistance and the punishments afflicted on Black and Brown bodies who dare to love and embrace the very essence of their being. It is a roarin In utter awe of the blood work of these contributions. The journey of emotions this book guides one through can only be described as a spiritual awakening. I am incensed and inspired by this book, which serves as a reminder of the ways Blackness has been stolen, shamed, dirtied, and appropriated by the dominant culture. It is a book about Black power and resistance and the punishments afflicted on Black and Brown bodies who dare to love and embrace the very essence of their being. It is a roaring revolution tamed only by the binding of its pages. Brimming with tips for self-care, conversations of art, love and loss, of activism and identity, and of the profound ways Black joy is suspended by the system of white supremacy, its lies and violences — Black Futures is more than a compendium of Blackness, it prevails as a talisman for the past, present and future generations to come.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cheri

    A collection of stories, essays, photographs, poems, thoughts and questions inquiring the significance and importance, the meaning of Black identity both currently as well as in the past. This tackles such a wide variety of topics relevant especially to our country. The history of voter suppression, especially notable in certain parts of the country. The history of Black jazz musicians, Black politics and Black politicians. Black communities, Artists, Photographers. Sub-cultures within the Black A collection of stories, essays, photographs, poems, thoughts and questions inquiring the significance and importance, the meaning of Black identity both currently as well as in the past. This tackles such a wide variety of topics relevant especially to our country. The history of voter suppression, especially notable in certain parts of the country. The history of Black jazz musicians, Black politics and Black politicians. Black communities, Artists, Photographers. Sub-cultures within the Black community such as LGBTQ men and women. Black communities particularly hard hit by the lack of basic life changing things most people take for granted, including water that is safe to drink. It shares some of the progress, as well, progress we thought we had made through the years. Some of the ‘firsts,’ the different views in terms of art represented from the Obama’s official portraits to art such as Courtney Alexander’s Ain’t Je-Mammy (Queen Mother/Empress), art which speak to their beliefs and traditions they honor. In Black to the Land Leah Penniman addresses the strength and foresight of ancestral grandmothers who braided seeds into their hair before they were forced to board ships that would take them to another land, where they would be sold. Along with physical items, they brought knowledge, beliefs, and their culture, as well as the expertise as agriculturalists. They brought their customs, their memories, traditions and knowledge, the stories inherited from their grandmothers, who in turn learned from their grandmothers. Loved reading this, loved the story, the pride, the conviction to continue this legacy through establishing an intergenerational, healing village. There are so many, many stories in here that are all worth reading. This includes some incredibly lovely writing, and very heartfelt and moving personal stories, some photography that shows the joy of day-to-day life, and stories that share the importance of recognizing the belief that each and every one of us has value. There are even a few recipes included, as well as the rejuvenating quality of music, which made me smile. Memories from childhood that made me cry. These stories share the spirit that brings about change, the communal sense of remembrance and reminiscence, the dreams of the prospects for the future, and a powerful witness to how bewildering these days seem. Published: 01 Dec 2020 Many thanks for the ARC provided by Random House Publishing Group – Random House / One World #BlackFutures #NetGalley

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tiyahna Ridley-Padmore

    A visual love letter At the onset of the Black Futures project, Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham set out to answer the question, "What does it mean to be Black and alive right now?". The response is answered in this gorgeous hardcover book -- a collection of visual art, poetry, social media posts, interviews, music, theatre, community organizing and recipes from Black creators and thought leaders. Each piece is wildly different yet work in tandem to stitch together a powerful representation of A visual love letter At the onset of the Black Futures project, Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham set out to answer the question, "What does it mean to be Black and alive right now?". The response is answered in this gorgeous hardcover book -- a collection of visual art, poetry, social media posts, interviews, music, theatre, community organizing and recipes from Black creators and thought leaders. Each piece is wildly different yet work in tandem to stitch together a powerful representation of Black resilience and creation and map out a vision for Black liberation, healing and justice. This book is everything I didn't know that I needed. I was familiar with Jenna Wortham through her role as the host of the podcast Still Processing. As such, when I saw the cover and title of the new book that she had co-authored, I immediately purchased it. At most, I was expecting an aesthetically pleasing coffee-table book about Blackness. In no way was I prepared for the magic that Black Futures had to offer. Flipping through Black Futures I was taken on a similar emotional journey to when I first watched Beyonce's, Black is King . This book is a beautiful and powerful experience. I had visceral reactions to each and every carefully curated poem, lyric and photograph. I found myself deeply engaged in topics that I wouldn't regularly seek out such as the state of our oceans and the need for climate justice. I felt inspired by the examples of incredible and innovative community organizing that I had never heard of. My heart filled while absorbing the many depictions of community, unity, and belonging and I fell in love on every page. The book featured creators from around the world inclusive of different gender expression, ability, sexual orientation and economic positioning. The inclusive representation of this book didn't feel tokenistic, but like a genuine commitment to and appreciation of historically under represented voices. I could not recommend this book more -- for Black people and everybody else who wants to celebrate our community and envision a liberating path forward. PHENOMENAL

  9. 5 out of 5

    Erin

     Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group- Random House for an egalley in exchange for an honest review. A very informative collection of interviews, artwork and social media, it did take me a while to get used to the writing style and layout of the book because I was reading on my Kindle app. #BlackFutures #NetGalley Goodreads Review 04/12/20 Publication Date 01/12/20

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    Since I received Black Futures as a NetGalley offering in exchange for my unbiased, honest review, I am not supposed to directly quote from the unpublished book. But I must, very briefly. Very early in the book, Alisha Wormsley has a statement: “There are Black People in the Future.” My immediate thought was, I really, really hope so. If not, what a sad, dull, empty world. I have no idea how to rate this book. It’s not a novel. It is a collection of art, essays, poetry, even tweets and recipes b Since I received Black Futures as a NetGalley offering in exchange for my unbiased, honest review, I am not supposed to directly quote from the unpublished book. But I must, very briefly. Very early in the book, Alisha Wormsley has a statement: “There are Black People in the Future.” My immediate thought was, I really, really hope so. If not, what a sad, dull, empty world. I have no idea how to rate this book. It’s not a novel. It is a collection of art, essays, poetry, even tweets and recipes by numerous contributors. It is a collage of Black history, politics, music, sexuality, spirituality, music, and family. Women and men, gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, biracial, Afro-Indigenous, disabled – all expressing in various art forms what it means to be Black. It is fun, heartbreaking, serious, celebratory, lighthearted, and everything in between. Did every piece speak to me, a 66-year-old white woman who was raised in the predominantly lily-white Upper Midwest? Of course not. It may not speak all to every person of color either. And I expect that’s okay. Each of us has our own experiences, hopes, dreams, and world views. This book can expand those awarenesses. I believe that there is something for everyone is this montage that will spark some recognition and connection. Perhaps it will be something as common as the references to hair – the barbershops and hair salons, hairstyles – braids, curls, and twists with beads and combs. Or maybe it will be social and civil rights concerns raised by the likes of Colin Kaepernick, or the former Black Panther leader Rodney Barnette, or even the reminder of the Obama Presidency, which is called to mind by the portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama, which can be found in this book as well. Trans rights, women’s rights, how to prepare your home and your family for after a riot – it’s all in this book. I must say that I found the e-book format difficult for this material. I’d have preferred a print copy with large pages. I could not enlarge the tweets enough to see them without distortion. I found the online references to be incomplete in many cases. For anyone who wishes to do further investigating, however, there are ample sources listed. Some of my favorite pieces include “A Call to Action” by Latoya Ruby Frazier about the Flint, Michigan, water crisis, "What I Know About the Ocena" by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, writings about trans and disabled visibility, and the example of the 96-year-old Afro-Indigenous woman who was so thrilled to attend an event where she met others who look just like her! That gave me goosebumps! And of course, there are so many beautiful photographs and works of art! Sadie Barnette, daughter of Rodney Barnette, discusses what it means to say, “Black Futures.” She speaks not merely in terms of what needs to be fought against and changed – homelessness, etc. She also talks about protecting “blackness.” Protecting “our brilliance.” Never once did I read the words, “Black lives matter,” yet the essence of those words permeates these pages and beyond. Beyond politics – living, loving, breathing, being, becoming. My thanks to NetGalley, One World, and the author. 4 stars

  11. 5 out of 5

    Never Without a Book

    What a beautiful way to preserve Black culture. This book is filled with poems, conversations, interviews, visual art, online ephemera, and essays. The art and photography in this book is gorgeous. Yeah, this is definitely a book to check out. 4.5/5

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joshunda Sanders

    It is a profoundly important time for a book like this, which seeks to complicate the notion of a Black Diaspora in America and also beautify Blackness in America. Maybe that sounds strange, but we all know how attractive and downright appealing Black Pain and Trauma are; here there is the distinct absence of that pain or at least the decentering of that pain in favor of the value of Black art, creativity, wit, perseverance, joy, rest and pleasure. The essays are wide-ranging and thought-provoki It is a profoundly important time for a book like this, which seeks to complicate the notion of a Black Diaspora in America and also beautify Blackness in America. Maybe that sounds strange, but we all know how attractive and downright appealing Black Pain and Trauma are; here there is the distinct absence of that pain or at least the decentering of that pain in favor of the value of Black art, creativity, wit, perseverance, joy, rest and pleasure. The essays are wide-ranging and thought-provoking, they touch everything from house parties to video games to Black-Native American identity to a beautiful manifesto on the importance of BlackPlanet (!) to a masterful look at the portraits of First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama. I found it hard to actually see the artwork in the digital galley that poured over, but I can tell that it will be a stunning work worth possessing when I can read it in physical form. I also love the attention to detail -- apparently a font was created just for the book, Black futura. Perfect.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    A visually stunning archive of Black past, present, and future experience. The hybrid of prose alongside art alongside academic discourse alongside tweets and zines is expansive, but somehow not overwhelming to take in. It's not the type of antho that's comprehensive, but it's inclusive and feels more like a time capsule/assessment/thought catalog of the moment we're in. The sections it's organized into are immersive, and each entry is brief, allowing and inspiring the reader to do further resea A visually stunning archive of Black past, present, and future experience. The hybrid of prose alongside art alongside academic discourse alongside tweets and zines is expansive, but somehow not overwhelming to take in. It's not the type of antho that's comprehensive, but it's inclusive and feels more like a time capsule/assessment/thought catalog of the moment we're in. The sections it's organized into are immersive, and each entry is brief, allowing and inspiring the reader to do further research on their own into topics they want more from. This is a well-curated artifact of brilliant and creative Black minds that insists on existence and demands visibility. I'm grateful a publisher took this project on and allowed it to take up this 500+-page, full color space.

  14. 5 out of 5

    erika

    This book is like a 500 page nonlinear compendium of art/music/media/thought/culture from an incredible cross section of the English speaking black diaspora. A cross between a zine with _way_ higher production values and the very best of tumblr, where you have a hundred different jumping-off points to research and be inspired.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kim Lockhart

    This is a long review, and please pardon any lack of cohesiveness. I wrote down whatever responsive thoughts I had, while immersed in this highly affecting tome. I approached this book with a kind of open reverence. I let the words and images settle on my consciousness for maximum absorption. As a white woman reading and interacting with the book, I was struck by the realization that our lives are still so segregated, even in this supposedly enlightened and awakened 21st century. Morgan Parker, This is a long review, and please pardon any lack of cohesiveness. I wrote down whatever responsive thoughts I had, while immersed in this highly affecting tome. I approached this book with a kind of open reverence. I let the words and images settle on my consciousness for maximum absorption. As a white woman reading and interacting with the book, I was struck by the realization that our lives are still so segregated, even in this supposedly enlightened and awakened 21st century. Morgan Parker, in particular, delivers a devastating indictment of white empathy. And yes, my family made a conscious effort to see the Alvin Ailey dance troupe and support black artists, but what have I done to speak out against institutional racism? What have I done to help dismantle over 400 years of solidified structures which only serve to be self-perpetuating? Growth (positive change) is dynamic, not static, and it requires movement. Nothing happens without action. The message is loud and clear: Do better. It's not just a social media cliché. I was also struck by Lazard Johnson's assertion that we have separate disability activists, largely because social justice organizations don't give disability enough room under their umbrella, and they rarely take the initiative to include disability activists in leadership roles. The contributors of this book cover many topics which can be interpreted and considered in multiple ways, such as: data mining (especially what we leave out, so we won't have to confront it), intimacy, expression, even the use of memes as effective tools against hate. (Memes can also be used as the dissemination of negative tropes, so it's a double edged instrument to beware.) There's so much to glean from so many sources: the idea that the culture you carry around in your head cannot be stolen from you, that cities only work for everyone when everyone is given space to participate and no group is marginalized. There is no improvement without agency. This is a theme reflected throughout the entire collection. There is a incisive discussion about artistic expression. Art which depicts racial stereotypes or racial violence, without context, examination or interpretation, is just trauma porn. It becomes a kind of paradox: empty, meaningless, yet also an act of re-victimization. One huge challenge is how to de-colonize our culture. This must be an active process (and perhaps a painful one) and the force of change cannot be simply imposed. To succeed, it must arise both from within and without. A few images were so powerful that I spent a long time staring at them, imprinting them upon my memory. One of them you will see very early on and will immediately recognize. Another is further on near the end of the book, but it was just as jolting. Not to give too much away, but the gist is that auto-correct software (just like the standardized test) incorporates bias. Imagine that every time you typed your name, the software told you that you were wrong. The very identifier of who you are is determined by some standard (beyond your ability to amend) to be *incorrect*. How would this make you feel? This is just one of a myriad of microaggressions against the core being of too many souls. If you read and engage with the work of these immensely talented, thoughtful artists and writers, consider the idea of capturing your impressions and reactions in real time. It's a meaningful exercise. Also, please read the short introduction. It's important and will be a helpful guide.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ratnah Tanakoor

    Wow, Black Futures, was a daunting read to me. This book has intimidated me to such an extent that I barely spoke about it while I was reading it. I just knew that I had to patiently keep an open mind and wait until I finish it in order to (i) digest it, and (ii) formulate an opinion about it; and, while I am writing this review, I am doing both of that. So here am I: It is such a shame, although it must not have been, but this book is the first one to remind me that I come from a very small Isl Wow, Black Futures, was a daunting read to me. This book has intimidated me to such an extent that I barely spoke about it while I was reading it. I just knew that I had to patiently keep an open mind and wait until I finish it in order to (i) digest it, and (ii) formulate an opinion about it; and, while I am writing this review, I am doing both of that. So here am I: It is such a shame, although it must not have been, but this book is the first one to remind me that I come from a very small Island - Mauritius, whose geographical location within the Indian Ocean is so aloof that probably anything that occurs here stays insignificant on the worldly scale. I could not help but question myself: Did I abstain from the cultural evolution of Blacks in Western Culture over the ages; or is it the media to be blamed for the lack of emphasis on the the Blacks' Cultural Zeitgeist since the late 1960s ? While I firmly believe that the latter had a large contribution to the mass-ignorance, I would like to take some personal responsibility as well. Most probably, it was my cognitive myopia. I did not research enough, or maybe I just limited my heart's content with post-Renaissance or post-Impressionism Art that were conveniently supplied to us at school (within the framework / the system). Now I most grateful to have picked this book because Black Futures is an explosion of Black Art & Creativity (poems, articles, photography, songs - you name it), leaving this book as a treasure. It recently occurred to me that a major chunk of our academic content roots from the White. Surprisingly, I am now questioning the extent to which we have been decolonized. Have we, really ? While evaluating my country's status quo, I can only observe that we have been decolonized only on an operational level. I am vehement that we have a long way to cross until we reach cultural liberation, freedom of expression, and embrace diversity. Black Futures is a breakthrough. I am super satisfied to have come across the works of so many talented artists who are off the mainstream charts, or simply just hidden to another side of the globe. I would never have understood the rationale behind the Black Lives Matter movement for instance, had I not read this book. I understand the urge behind their voices and can only agree in shock. This book gives me hope for the real diversity, cultural enrichment and freedom that we have all been talking about for a while now.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    "Black Futures' is definitely one of the most unique and powerful books I have ever read/viewed. This book is a collection of narratives and photographs that seek to answer the question, "What does it mean to be Black and alive right now?". It is a collection of Black voices celebrating their Blackness and of Black culture refusing to be cancelled. The contributors to this book are unapologetically proud of their Black bodies, history, music, art, and dance. This book includes perspectives from "Black Futures' is definitely one of the most unique and powerful books I have ever read/viewed. This book is a collection of narratives and photographs that seek to answer the question, "What does it mean to be Black and alive right now?". It is a collection of Black voices celebrating their Blackness and of Black culture refusing to be cancelled. The contributors to this book are unapologetically proud of their Black bodies, history, music, art, and dance. This book includes perspectives from all walks of life, showing that being Black is not a "monolithic experience" but instead that each person has an individual perspective on what it means to be Black in the United States today. It provides links to an abundance of other works to further enrich the reader's experience-some are familiar names such as Ta-Nehisi Coates and Solange Knowles and others are less so. "Black Futures" is not an easy read, but it certainly is an important one and I found it to be quite eye-opening and enjoyable. The world needs more books like this one. Many thanks to NetGalley, the publisher, and to the many authors of this book for the absolute privilege of reading an advanced digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Molly Dettmann

    Wow, what a visceral experience of a read that covers a variety of topics in a myriad of mediums all relating to some aspect of Black life, culture, pain, joy, and more. The intersectionality of experience was refreshing, especially the essays and artwork about being disabled and Black and Queer and Black. This was just such an immersive experience that if I wasn’t in such a hurry to get it back in circulation in my library I would hold on to it and savor it more. Definitely recommend checking o Wow, what a visceral experience of a read that covers a variety of topics in a myriad of mediums all relating to some aspect of Black life, culture, pain, joy, and more. The intersectionality of experience was refreshing, especially the essays and artwork about being disabled and Black and Queer and Black. This was just such an immersive experience that if I wasn’t in such a hurry to get it back in circulation in my library I would hold on to it and savor it more. Definitely recommend checking out the physical copy.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Deedi Brown (DeediReads)

    First and foremost: I’m not an Own Voices reviewer for this book, nor was this book written for me. But it’s been widely acclaimed by people it was written for, and since its publication, it’s become a New York Times Editors’ Choice and Roxane Gay’s first-ever book club book (among a lot of other praise!). Still, I’m really, really glad I read it. Black Futures is not the kind of book you sit down and read cover to cover; it’s more like a gorgeous, moving, inspirational (and at times heavy) coffe First and foremost: I’m not an Own Voices reviewer for this book, nor was this book written for me. But it’s been widely acclaimed by people it was written for, and since its publication, it’s become a New York Times Editors’ Choice and Roxane Gay’s first-ever book club book (among a lot of other praise!). Still, I’m really, really glad I read it. Black Futures is not the kind of book you sit down and read cover to cover; it’s more like a gorgeous, moving, inspirational (and at times heavy) coffee table book, although calling it that feels like a disservice. It’s so much more than a coffee table book. It’s a celebration, an amplification, a deep-dive, a time capsule of a culture. A gift to everyone who reads it, but especially to the Black community. I was blown away by the breadth and detail and research and love that went into creating it. This book is a triumph. This isn’t the point AT ALL, but as a sort of bonus benefit, I also think that it’s a really powerful tool for white allies like me to glimpse and learn more about what it’s like to be Black in America, without asking Black people to do the labor of educating us. I plan to buy a copy and read it in even closer detail, piece by piece, over time, multiple times. Thank you to One World for the digital review copy via NetGalley.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Shaelene (aGirlWithBookss)

    This has to be one of the most unique books I’ve ever read. This is a book featuring the voices and art of diverse Black people, filled with mixed media art, photography, poems, music, essays, and transcribed conversations— all connected to the Black experience. As a white woman, I really have no place critiquing this book— it’s very much a book written and curated by Black folk for Black folk. However, I did find it a very intriguing and eye-opening look into Black culture. I feel like I’ve gained This has to be one of the most unique books I’ve ever read. This is a book featuring the voices and art of diverse Black people, filled with mixed media art, photography, poems, music, essays, and transcribed conversations— all connected to the Black experience. As a white woman, I really have no place critiquing this book— it’s very much a book written and curated by Black folk for Black folk. However, I did find it a very intriguing and eye-opening look into Black culture. I feel like I’ve gained a much deeper understanding. I enjoyed my time reading it. 4 stars. **ARC provided by Random House Publishing Group via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Andréa

    Note: I accessed a digital review copy of this book through Edelweiss.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    A superbly curated volume of art, essays, conversations, and primary source documents that now include things like social media posts and hashtags. This important work is more about the Black Now and welcomes the observer along with them to consider Black Futures. Be sure to have a device ready to look up artworks, figures, movements and organizations highlighted within.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a copy for review. I found this book to be really interesting. I thought it was an anthology, and it is but it's not just short stories. It contains multitudes. There is everything from art, to interviews, Twitter conversations, self-care recipes, to blurbs on community initiatives. It really encompasses a lot of the Black experience in America, especially some of the finer details. There were a lot of interesting articles in here. I especia Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a copy for review. I found this book to be really interesting. I thought it was an anthology, and it is but it's not just short stories. It contains multitudes. There is everything from art, to interviews, Twitter conversations, self-care recipes, to blurbs on community initiatives. It really encompasses a lot of the Black experience in America, especially some of the finer details. There were a lot of interesting articles in here. I especially enjoyed the ones on ocean protection, and Nubian history. The authors of these did an amazing job of tying them into the current Black communities and health. My only issue with this is that the format doesn't always lend itself to ebook formatting very well. There were some really interesting articles and pictures in the beginning that I couldn't get the full experience of because I couldn't see them very well. This could just be the ARC format, or maybe even my phone that I read it off of, I'm honestly not sure. I also liked the fact that at the end of the blurbs or articles there were websites where you could find more information about the sources or community initiatives that were talked about. It's really an informative and all encompassing book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sophia

    Black Futures by Kimberly Drew Published December 1st 2020 Roxane Gay's Audacious Book Club Pick #bgrtreadingchallenge 2021 ~A book with pictures #BLACKWRITERS <3 A TRUE WORK OF ART COVERING VARIOUS ASPECTS OF BLACK HERSTORY & HISTORY <3 An archive of collective memory and exuberant testimony A luminous map to navigate an opaque and disorienting present An infinite geography of possible futures What does it mean to be Black and alive right now? Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham have brought together this c Black Futures by Kimberly Drew Published December 1st 2020 Roxane Gay's Audacious Book Club Pick #bgrtreadingchallenge 2021 ~A book with pictures #BLACKWRITERS <3 A TRUE WORK OF ART COVERING VARIOUS ASPECTS OF BLACK HERSTORY & HISTORY <3 An archive of collective memory and exuberant testimony A luminous map to navigate an opaque and disorienting present An infinite geography of possible futures What does it mean to be Black and alive right now? Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham have brought together this collection of work—essays, memes, dialogues, recipes, tweets, poetry, and more—to tell the story of the radical, imaginative, provocative, and gorgeous world that Black creators are bringing forth today. The audiobook presents a succession of startling and beautiful pieces that generate an entrancing rhythm: Listeners will go from conversations with activists and academics to memes and Instagram posts, from powerful essays to insightful infographics. In answering the question of what it means to be Black and alive, Black Futures opens a prismatic vision of possibility for every listener. http://hairnah.com/ http://www.thecoloredgirlsmuseum.com/ The Colored Girls Museum

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kimberley

    This isn’t a book you’d traditionally “read”; which is to say, it’s more “coffee table book” than “book book”. It’s filled with photos, narratives, interviews, tweets, and snapshots of key moments in Black culture—over the last decade or so—and is a work you would likely choose to read casually yet carefully. Furthermore, you’ll want to pay close attention to the various links offered—to websites, articles, and social media pages—as many will lead down a rabbit hole of further conversation and in This isn’t a book you’d traditionally “read”; which is to say, it’s more “coffee table book” than “book book”. It’s filled with photos, narratives, interviews, tweets, and snapshots of key moments in Black culture—over the last decade or so—and is a work you would likely choose to read casually yet carefully. Furthermore, you’ll want to pay close attention to the various links offered—to websites, articles, and social media pages—as many will lead down a rabbit hole of further conversation and introspection. My favorite part was the section focused on Black art; it’s an area I’m not nearly as versed in, so it was nice to be given a starting point for my growing interest in that medium, as well as some new names to watch for/follow on social media. This book is as much a resource for what’s happened as it is a directory for Black creatives—both known and not so known. Black creatives that, particularly in the world of fashion and entertainment, are finding greater exposure; a marvelous thing to see but also something i hope doesn’t fizzle out and die as society progresses pass this moment of “anti-racist” sentiment. Change is only meaningful when it’s sustained. Overall, this book is a phenomenal resource for those wanting to celebrate/commemorate a few of the Black voices and creatives that have made an impact over the last 15-20 years; even more it’s a wonderful place to start if you’re looking to learn a bit more about some of the key cultural shifts since the start of this millennia.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alicia Aringdale

    This book is a sprawling, intricate, emotional examination of blackness both present and future. In a book of this scope and with so many different contributors and kinds of entries there were of course pieces that I connected with more than others but not being the intended audience for this book I don't think it is my place to comment on the success of any specific piece. I did learn a lot from this book and it opened doors to new areas of exploration and learning for me and I think is a good This book is a sprawling, intricate, emotional examination of blackness both present and future. In a book of this scope and with so many different contributors and kinds of entries there were of course pieces that I connected with more than others but not being the intended audience for this book I don't think it is my place to comment on the success of any specific piece. I did learn a lot from this book and it opened doors to new areas of exploration and learning for me and I think is a good jumping off point for anyone looking to find more black voices to listen to.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    So stunning there really are no adequate words. Come to find out about tons of artists (of all kinds) and activists you didn’t know about before. (Or maybe YOU do. There were many new names here for me.) Stay for the sheer joy. There are black people in the future. . Read for Roxane Gay’s Audacity Bookclub which I am following from the sidelines. Since I haven’t been reading much in this current state of stress and anxiety (I will likely be on strike next week), I am out of touch with both my curr So stunning there really are no adequate words. Come to find out about tons of artists (of all kinds) and activists you didn’t know about before. (Or maybe YOU do. There were many new names here for me.) Stay for the sheer joy. There are black people in the future. . Read for Roxane Gay’s Audacity Bookclub which I am following from the sidelines. Since I haven’t been reading much in this current state of stress and anxiety (I will likely be on strike next week), I am out of touch with both my current pseudo real/life book clubs! . I wonder if the new Ibram X. Kendi “Four Hundred Souls” book would be a good companion piece for this.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Arthur

    I read the digital version, but it's formatted like a coffee table book and I think that's a good description. There are a lot of interesting essays and photographs, my favorite was about the physics of bass in music and how it impacts us emotionally. My main gripe, as it were, is that many of the subjects are fascinating but you mostly get a bite-sized bit of information on them before moving on to the next one. I read the digital version, but it's formatted like a coffee table book and I think that's a good description. There are a lot of interesting essays and photographs, my favorite was about the physics of bass in music and how it impacts us emotionally. My main gripe, as it were, is that many of the subjects are fascinating but you mostly get a bite-sized bit of information on them before moving on to the next one.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

    This book is more than a book. It's a gorgeous collection that deserves a home on your shelf or coffee table. Selected by Roxane Gay as her first book for her new book club, this curated anthology gives readers a poignant look into Black art, writing, and other media. I loved it so much I bought a physical copy. Many thanks to the authors, publisher, and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book. All thoughts are my own. This book is more than a book. It's a gorgeous collection that deserves a home on your shelf or coffee table. Selected by Roxane Gay as her first book for her new book club, this curated anthology gives readers a poignant look into Black art, writing, and other media. I loved it so much I bought a physical copy. Many thanks to the authors, publisher, and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    A couple of books ago, Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon, I highlighted a passage that said: "Mostly, I wondered what black writers weren’t writing when we spent so much creative energy begging white folk to change." This book is the answer to that question. A couple of books ago, Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon, I highlighted a passage that said: "Mostly, I wondered what black writers weren’t writing when we spent so much creative energy begging white folk to change." This book is the answer to that question.

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