Three shows about black Amer­ica

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Mak­ing Obama


If you’re miss­ing the 44th pres­i­dent, then im­merse your­self in this six­parter from WBEZ. Re­leased this year, Mak­ing Obama cov­ers his early ca­reer in Chicago (WBEZ is a Chicago sta­tion), from 1985 to 2004. Though he’s now al­most mythol­o­gised, due to the con­trast with thug Thump, what’s in­ter­est­ing is how im­per­fect Obama was. “We had a fundraiser for him in this apart­ment,” says one con­trib­u­tor. “And, I must say, he was ter­ri­ble.” Oral tes­ti­monies and some nice sound touches make this pod­cast se­ries skip along.

Thirst Aid Kit


This pod­cast does make me laugh. Hosted by Buz­zFeed’s Bim Adewunmi (Bri­tish) and Ni­c­hole Perkins (Amer­i­can), it’s about un­abashed, guilt­free lust (“thirst”). The show uses pop cul­ture to ex­am­ine fe­male de­sire, so our hosts get to chat about who they fancy and then won­der why they do so. How do women’s his­to­ries, pol­i­tics and eco­nom­ics af­fect who makes us hot? (Both women are straight, cis and black.) Redacted, their short fan­fic­tion sto­ries in which the lis­tener is in­vited to imag­ine what hap­pens next, are sweet and hi­lar­i­ous.

Hands Up

I stum­bled across this on Ra­dio

4 last week, and it stopped me in my tracks. Six plays writ­ten by black male Amer­i­can play­wrights, aged be­tween 30 and 40, Hands Up started as part of a New York the­atre fes­ti­val, the New Black Fest. The plays are a di­rect response to the events in Fer­gu­son, Mis­souri, in Au­gust 2014, when 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by a white po­lice of­fi­cer. They are linked by com­ments from young black men in­ter­viewed in New York City, Chicago and St Louis. Stun­ning.

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