Barry Jenkins’ critically acclaimed new film Moonlight was released on the 21st. Based on the play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, Jenkins takes viewers on an intimate look into the life of a young Black male growing up in Miami and unraveling his identity and sexuality. Moonlight is generating Oscar buzz and garnering praise from film and cultural critics alike. Checkout ongoing coverage from NPRhere and here, Essence and the New York Times. Here’s the trailer.
Ava DuVernay, director of Selma and Oprah’s newest BFF, recently released 13th, a Netflix original documentary that explores race in the American criminal justice system. Powerful and infuriating, 13th is a must-see.
Brit Bennet’s debut novel The Mothers, released earlier this month, takes readers on a complex tale of womanhood, friendship, and heartbreak. Bennet is already garnering recognition from writers like Jacqueline Woodson and Angela Flournoy, with a few comparisons to Ta-Nehisi Coates. Years in the making, Bennett wrote The Mothers while completing degrees at Stanford and Michigan. She is definitely one to watch. Ben East and Alexandra Alter review the new novel.
Everyone’s favorite “awkward” Black girl Issa Rae is back with a major HBO deal and a new series Insecure.
Directors Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack recently premiered Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise. Running just under two hours, this documentary takes a long look at the incredible life of Maya Angelou, exploring her youth, relationships, and most importantly, her works. You will surely enjoy the many celebrity features throughout the documentary, but Hercules and Whack’s in-depth exploration of Angelou’s friendships with figures like Malcolm X and James Baldwin are an added bonus.
Faith Ringgold turned 86! She recently sat down with NPR to read from her award-winning 1991 children’s book Tar Beach.
Librarian Jamillah Gabriel is launching a Black literature subscription service. Each month subscribers will receive a specially curated box that includes a new book and other items relevant to Black culture. We’ll post more information about the launch date when it becomes available.
Painter Kerry James Marshall is being celebrated at the Met Breuer—an extension of the renowned Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, with his newest exhibit Mastry. From the exhibition overview: encompassing nearly 80 works—including 72 paintings—that span the artist’s remarkable 35-year career, Mastry reveals Marshall’s practice to be one that synthesizes a wide range of pictorial traditions to counter stereotypical representations of black people in society and reassert the place of the black figure within the canon of Western painting.