Celebrating Black Voices

In honor of Black History Month, we’re looking back at some of our favorite episodes that amplify Black voices and celebrate Black art and history. Listen in as authors Ayanna Dozier, Ana Lucia Araujo, Faith Pennick, and Ayanna Thompson discuss everything from slavery and collective memory to the history of representation in the music and theater industries to modern forms of expression and empowerment. These are four conversations you won’t want to miss.

Janet Jackson's The Velvet Rope with Ayanna Dozier

Janet Jackson's The Velvet Rope with Ayanna Dozier

11 months ago

A Black female artist fighting to control her career, her body, and her life, Janet Jackson was a 20th century icon. As a part of our minicast on politics, Ayanna Dozier – author, filmmaker, and performance artist – shares her experience writing about The Velvet Rope for our 33 1/3 series, while tackling Black women’s sexuality and bodily autonomy, technophilia, online structures of oppression, and much more. This episode is for anyone wondering about Janet Jackson’s life and legacy and the influence she still has on artists today.

Slavery in the Age of Memory with Ana Lucia Araujo

Slavery in the Age of Memory with Ana Lucia Araujo

11 months ago

Slavery is a horrifying yet fundamental part of history that still shapes modern racism and culture. As a part of our minicast on politics, author and historian Ana Lucia Araujo draws on archival research, interviews, slave narratives, and other resources to explain how slavery is discussed and taught in modern society and the role that memory plays in how we understand race. This episode addresses issues such as the collective and public memory of enslaved people, the willful forgetting of past trauma, and modern attempts at reparations. It also addresses current movements such as the Black Lives Matter protests, the dismantling of pro-slavery monuments and symbols, and the construction of memorials around the world. For anyone looking to discuss collective memory and learn how we can create systemic change to heal from the past.

D'Angelo's Voodoo with Faith Pennick

D'Angelo's Voodoo with Faith Pennick

1 year ago

D’Angelo is an artist with endless emotion and honesty, one who seems to literally put the soul in soul music. In this episode, author Faith Pennick discusses why so many are entranced by his work and how his songs inspired her to write D”Angelo’s Voodoo. We go beyond his music, analyzing his career, the strong messages of mental health in his lyrics, his experience as a Black musician, the release of his “Untitled” music video, and more. For R&B fans looking to explore the meaning behind D’Angelo’s music and discover what has everyone so captivated.

Othello with Ayanna Thompson

Othello with Ayanna Thompson

1 year ago

Ayanna Thompson is a scholar, activist, and self-proclaimed Othello whisperer. She is the co-author of Teaching Shakespeare with Purpose, the author of Passing Strange and Performing Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage, and the editor of Weyward Macbeth, Colorblind Shakespeare, and the Arden Third Series’ Othello. In this episode, Ayanna Thompson outlines the complexities of Othello, the history of racism in theater, and the strides the industry still needs to make to reach equality. For any theater buff, aspiring performer, literature professor, or Shakespeare fan, this is a conversation you’ll want to join.