By Christian Coleman | We took the crushing news pretty hard. The TV adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s “Kindred” didn’t get a fair chance when it was cancelled nearly a month and half after all eight episodes were uploaded in December 2022 to stream on Hulu. With the blessing of Butler’s estate, playwright and showrunner Branden Jacobs-Jenkins made bold choices—some of which might make Butler purists gasp—to modernize and expand upon Butler’s classic while staying true to her message.
Vibe check. Or should we say mind check? Although May 11 was declared the end of the COVID-19 health emergency, we can’t move on like the pandemic didn’t happen. Lockdown overturned the societal rock to expose many issues, including mental health. And isolation wasn’t the only thing that went at the psyche nationwide. What happens in our surroundings—housing, neighborhoods and cities, the R word—is just as important to track as what goes on in the mind. Which is why we’re recommending this handful of titles from our catalog for Mental Health Awareness Month.
By Gayatri Patnaik and Christian Coleman | In her compelling Boston Globe article “Celebrating Black History Month as Black History Is Being Erased,” Renée Graham writes that Black History Month this year has a specific purpose and burden, “and that burden is not for Black people to bear alone.” The challenge, Graham notes, “is to save this crucial American history from being eroded book by book, law by law, and state by state.” We couldn’t agree more.
The Sunshine Pearl-Clutching Brigade is back on their BS and doubling down. Under Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida banned a new AP African American Studies course under the pretense that it’s “indoctrination” that “runs afoul of [their] standards.” This is almost a year after the Florida legislature banned the teaching of “the state-sanctioned racism that is critical race theory” with the Stop WOKE Act. It’s giving unwoke on numerous levels.
By Guilaine Kinouani | Racism causes harm. Harm to the body. And harm to the mind. Yet it was only in November 2020 that the American Medical Association recognized racism as an urgent threat to public health. Thankfully, many of us did not wait for this penny to drop to tackle its impact. For about fifteen years, I have been working therapeutically with people of color, supporting almost exclusively Black people distressed by racism and experiencing racial trauma.
What a difference a year makes. Book banning is back—and it’s on steroids. Is it a coincidence that it’s all the rave—more like rage—during Black History Month? The pearl-clutchers have assembled and are targeting not only books dealing with sex and gender but also books featuring Black themes and US history. It’s a predictable flex. A tired flex.