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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. 5 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 .

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  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. 4 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 5 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.

  12. 5 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.

  13. 5 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Andréa

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

  16. 5 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 5 out of 5

    My Tam

    Absolutely stunning compendium of written, visual, collective history and cultural wonder. Highly recommend it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Seems like a pretty comprehensive look at being Black through conversations, art, poetry, music, photography and more. The varied backgrounds and current viewpoints of the many contributors are very enlightening. Thanks to NetGalley and OneWorld for the ARC to read and review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Madeline

    This is a momentous collection of art, interviews, stories, and other writings by Black thinkers. It is free, joyful, intense, energetic, angry—it embodies the whole of humanity, in a way. I especially loved the discussions of Black internet culture and technology, it was something I knew absolutely nothing about. I found many of the essays eye-opening, and I am eager to flip through the finished edition to admire and learn from the artwork found inside, as I read this on my Kindle so only got a This is a momentous collection of art, interviews, stories, and other writings by Black thinkers. It is free, joyful, intense, energetic, angry—it embodies the whole of humanity, in a way. I especially loved the discussions of Black internet culture and technology, it was something I knew absolutely nothing about. I found many of the essays eye-opening, and I am eager to flip through the finished edition to admire and learn from the artwork found inside, as I read this on my Kindle so only got a brief, black and white, glimpse at these beautiful works. Some of my favorite pieces/essays included "Soul Fine Farm: Black to the Land," "Time to Reclaim Our Skin" by Adrienne Marea Brown, and "The Notion of Pride" by Rahim Fortune.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Adams

    This book was very informative, I was inspired to look up most of the information given in this book. I had not known about any of the information given in this book. This is a great look into Black businesses, movements and art.

  22. 5 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

    Doris Raines

    I LOVE THIS BOOK.

  24. 5 out of 5

    M. K. French

    Black Futures is a collection of artwork, transcripts of conversations, or essays written by Black artists and authors. They contemplate the nature of being Black and creative. The editors realize that the Black experience is varied and impossible to pin down with a single collection and see this volume as a jumping-off point in the conversation as a whole. Beginning with photographs and collages that reflect police shootings and the fear people have, we are privy to discussion regarding art, hou Black Futures is a collection of artwork, transcripts of conversations, or essays written by Black artists and authors. They contemplate the nature of being Black and creative. The editors realize that the Black experience is varied and impossible to pin down with a single collection and see this volume as a jumping-off point in the conversation as a whole. Beginning with photographs and collages that reflect police shootings and the fear people have, we are privy to discussion regarding art, housing, the Flint water crisis, and even being part of the BDSM community. Politics is a natural topic in a volume like this, given how few Blacks are in positions of power compared to older white men. This means we have a thoughtful discussion about voting rights and election counting, and the need for elected officials to consider the needs of the people. I haven't thought of agriculture or composting as a topic of discussion, but we're presented with historical context as well as current attempts to create communal gardens. Not just a story about reclaiming Blackness, the essay "It's Time To Reclaim Our Skin" is a great look at how to appreciate your body and discuss consent. It's important in any context, but especially when many people feel that Black bodies are used without their consent. Other related essays in this section discuss self-care, religion, and relationships. These are topics that have been increasingly politicized, and the book certainly does its job of presenting different viewpoints and making the reader think.

  25. 5 out of 5

    David Matteson

    This beautifully curated collection reads like a social network enaging many of our time’s important voices in an impactful conversation. Though, as the title suggests, this work pushes towards a future of (radical?) change, the many contributors ground their vision in conscientious consideration of the present and a wise survey of the past. Powerful essays are interwoven with contemporary art, photography, interviews, recipes, memoir, worksheets, text messages, and social media posts. Though thi This beautifully curated collection reads like a social network enaging many of our time’s important voices in an impactful conversation. Though, as the title suggests, this work pushes towards a future of (radical?) change, the many contributors ground their vision in conscientious consideration of the present and a wise survey of the past. Powerful essays are interwoven with contemporary art, photography, interviews, recipes, memoir, worksheets, text messages, and social media posts. Though this diversity of media has a dizzying effect, it ultimately results in a boundary-crossing volume—one difficult to categorize. As Drew and Wortham assert in their introduction, “This is not an art book. This is not a scholarly journal.” The text’s liminality is further reinforced by the varied, nuanced approaches to the core theme of racial justice. Readers will find surprising connections between the musings of Ta-Nehisi Coates, the photography of Zanele Muholi, the experimental text of Dr. Deborah Roberts, and the paintings of Kerry James Marshall (just to name a few). This collection is ultimately for those who recognize the importance and the challenge of our current (and historic) fight for racial justice. It will fit comfortably on any shelf between Aruna D’Souza’s "Whitewalling" and Maura Reilly’s "Curatorial Activism." Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group for an ARC in return for an honest review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    ZakyiaMarie

    This is not a traditional book or anthology, it's more of a cross between a textbook, an encyclopedia, and a coffee table book. There is a beautiful collection of stories, recipes, tweets, pictures, historical documents, and newspaper clippings chronicling the black experience. As a life-long lover of Afro-futurism and history, I would recommend if you get the book to get the printed version. The digital is still very useful for reference and reading, but the printed version is excellent for sha This is not a traditional book or anthology, it's more of a cross between a textbook, an encyclopedia, and a coffee table book. There is a beautiful collection of stories, recipes, tweets, pictures, historical documents, and newspaper clippings chronicling the black experience. As a life-long lover of Afro-futurism and history, I would recommend if you get the book to get the printed version. The digital is still very useful for reference and reading, but the printed version is excellent for sharing and as a conversation piece on your coffee table. I really appreciated the fluidity of the collection. There's a wide range of mediums of expressions, including tweets and direct messages( can't have a conversation about black futures without including Black Twitter!). I especially loved the weaving together of past, present, and (imagined) future. For instance, the text of the 13th amendment is included in the book. The concept is unique and beautifully executed. Since there isn't exactly a narrative, the star ratings don't make as much sense, But I definitely bought the hardback edition for my coffee table! I received this book for free from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Shana

    First off, I read this in ebook form and to anyone who has an option, I would strongly recommend that they pick up a hard copy. The heft of it, the ability to physically flip back and forth from one section to another, and so much more was lost in reading it in ebook form. That's just what happened to be available to me due to pandemic-related library closures, and I'm surprised I was able to get it so quickly given what I assume is a very long wait list. Black Futures is a gorgeous book full of First off, I read this in ebook form and to anyone who has an option, I would strongly recommend that they pick up a hard copy. The heft of it, the ability to physically flip back and forth from one section to another, and so much more was lost in reading it in ebook form. That's just what happened to be available to me due to pandemic-related library closures, and I'm surprised I was able to get it so quickly given what I assume is a very long wait list. Black Futures is a gorgeous book full of media that reflect a multitude of Black experiences. There are Black activists, Black academics, Black farmers, Black photographers, Black poets, Black techies, and so, so much more. There were names I knew, and plenty more that I did not, and the lasting effect of reading this book is that I will now seek more information about these varied people and their works. The book asks what it means to be Black right now, and in that sense, it is like a time capsule. It's the kind of book you could own and revisit often to reflect on how much has or hasn't changed, and to feel invigorated by the greatness it showcases. Although this book wasn't created *for* me, I appreciate what it aimed and succeeded in accomplishing.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Okay, so this is not a book like "the story of Dick and Jane and their dog spot." Instead this is culmination of several different artists, intellectuals, and creators. The book isn't intended to be read chronologically from cover to cover. Instead it is more as a "choose your own adventure" based on what speaks to you at the time, what page you randomly flip to, or through suggestions for related material at the beginning of each section. But not matter where you go in the book, there is beauty Okay, so this is not a book like "the story of Dick and Jane and their dog spot." Instead this is culmination of several different artists, intellectuals, and creators. The book isn't intended to be read chronologically from cover to cover. Instead it is more as a "choose your own adventure" based on what speaks to you at the time, what page you randomly flip to, or through suggestions for related material at the beginning of each section. But not matter where you go in the book, there is beauty, intimate connection, and a wholly encompassing celebration of what it means to be Black. Yes, I know, I am not Black. And at times, I felt like an intruder, peering into a very personal and intimate experience. In that regard, I would like to thank all the contributors for allowing me insight and educating me. While I may not have gotten all the references and needed to consult the Google a few times, I now have a greater appreciation and understanding of the world we are living in together. Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing for a copy of the book. This review is my own opinion.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Susie Dumond

    Black Futures includes a variety of forms and perspectives on what it means to be Black in America, and what the future holds for Black people and culture. It includes a variety of perspectives and styles to create a unique and engaging narrative, including essays, poems, images, recipes, memes, social media posts, and more. I really, really love how the editors approached this collection by eschewing "traditional" publishing conventions, instead creating a multidimensional and truly collaborati Black Futures includes a variety of forms and perspectives on what it means to be Black in America, and what the future holds for Black people and culture. It includes a variety of perspectives and styles to create a unique and engaging narrative, including essays, poems, images, recipes, memes, social media posts, and more. I really, really love how the editors approached this collection by eschewing "traditional" publishing conventions, instead creating a multidimensional and truly collaborative work of art. I read a digital version of the book cover to cover, but I look forward to having a physical copy to explore in completely different ways, tracking themes and narratives through different sections. This is an incredibly important book, and it was created so thoughtfully. I can't recommend it highly enough! Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Pam

    This is a wonderful book full of collections of stories, poems, photographs, conversations, social media posts and so much more. The book centers around being Black. Why would a 64 year old white woman think that a book like this is important? Because I am a 64 year old white woman that can only imagine what it is like to be a person of color in an age of such uncertainty. This book opened a small window into being Black. I will NEVER fully understand, but I can sure try and this book sure helpe This is a wonderful book full of collections of stories, poems, photographs, conversations, social media posts and so much more. The book centers around being Black. Why would a 64 year old white woman think that a book like this is important? Because I am a 64 year old white woman that can only imagine what it is like to be a person of color in an age of such uncertainty. This book opened a small window into being Black. I will NEVER fully understand, but I can sure try and this book sure helped with that understanding. Thanks to Netgalley and One World for this advanced readers copy. This book is due to release on December 1, 2020.

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