Black Futures

One World. Dec. 2020. 544p. ISBN 9780399181139. $40. SOC SCI
Edited by writer Drew and journalist Wortham, this collection brings together wide-ranging, often experimental writing and art responding to the question: “What does it mean to be Black and alive right now?” Contributions are gathered into overarching and overlapping topics, including Black Lives Matter, Black futures, power, joy, justice, ownership, memory, outlook, Black is (still) beautiful, and legacy. Selections include essays, interviews, dialogs, photography, recipes, poetry, video and film stills, plays, digital art, drawings, paintings, screenshots, and much more. Both the individual contributions and the book as a whole are nonlinear, playing with Western conceptions of linearity, temporality, and progress, incorporating linking and intertextuality to speak with themselves, readers, and others. Because of this, the book lends itself to reading in many ways. Many of the entries, such as Eve L. Ewing’s “Affirmation” and Akinola Davies Jr. and Cyndia Harvey’s “This Hair of Mine” span just a few pages, so the book can be read in small bites. Readers will find themselves noting passages to revisit and contributors whose other work they wish to seek out.
VERDICT A significant offering for its timely, accessible documentation of writing, artwork, and thought around Black lives and Black futurity.

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