Celebrating Black History Month

In celebration of February’s Black History Month (BHM), we asked for recommendations across teams to hear from other voices and gain new perspectives (and have some bonus recommendations from JEDI member Jessica Flamholz!). A few resources to learn more about BHM are below, along with the recommendations from staff.

Black History Month’s Origins and More

Via the JEDI Team

Children’s Books, An Autobiography, and Poetry

via Allison Al-Masri

As the mother of a 4-year-old, I’m always looking for age-appropriate media (especially books!). JEDI Kids (@jedi_kid on Instagram), run by Julie Savaria, is a great resource. Two of my own recommendations are Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History and Charlotte and the Nutcracker: The True Story of a Girl Who Made Ballet History. On my list to read together with my daughter this month are Who Are Your People? and Stacey’s Extraordinary Words.

During a comparative literature course I took years ago, I read portions of a multilingual anthology of American literature, with translations of selections in Swedish, Yiddish, Spanish, German, and Lenape, among others, published alongside the originals. One of the texts that stayed with me was an autobiography written by Omar Ibn Said, a Muslim scholar from Senegal who was captured and enslaved, arriving in Charleston in 1807. You can learn more about his life and the production of the opera based on his writings through this Pulitzer Center project: Between Two Rivers: Searching for Omar Ibn Said.

Finally, two poets to explore: Lucille Clifton (“both nonwhite and woman / what did i see to be except myself? / i made it up here on this bridge between / starshine and clay”) and Yona Harvey (“I thought she escaped / The floodwaters. No—but her / Head is empty of the drowned / For now—though she took / Her first breath below sea level”).

Labrinth, the Composer and Musician

via Grace Azar

I’d like to highlight artist, singer, songwriter, and producer Timothy Lee McKenzie, also known as his stage name “Labrinth.” I was introduced to Labrinth’s music through HBO’s hit series Euphoria, which also features actress Zendaya (one of my favorites!). He was nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards, winning one, and his collaboration with Beyoncé and Ilya Salmanzadeh for The Lion King’s (Live Action) soundtrack, Spirit, was nominated at the Grammys, Golden Globes, and Critics’ Choice Awards. It won an NAACP Image Award as well. You can access his Spotify here and an interesting Rolling Stone article on his music here.

Atlanta, the Television Show

via Rachel Warner

I want to recommend the television show, Atlanta, which is a comedy-drama on FX about a guy (played by Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino) who is trying to manage his cousin’s growing rap career. I think it is a really good show that combines surrealism with comedy and the all-star cast just takes it to a whole new level. The show is available to watch via Hulu.

An Interview and Much More

via Jessica Flamholz

I highly recommend Trevor Noah’s interview with the inimitable (and one of my favorite artists) India.Arie. They talk about her issues with Spotify, Joe Rogan, conscious vs. unconscious racism, and messy conversations. Nuance and human conversations are the words of the day. A few additional recommendations:

  • Stephen Smith’s legacy and why he should be honored in Philly
  • This article on the Black Lives Matter posters and artwork that now lives in the Library of Congress
  • The MLK Tapes podcast that offers rare recordings and insight into the real story behind Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination
  • Six progressive Instagram accounts to follow
  • esperanza spalding’s Tiny Desk Concert