This Black History Month, we created a multi-media mixtape of Black-created resources—from our own archives and the wider field—that remind us of the multifaceted power of Black existence. Black offerings (both contemporary and from the archives) have the power to support the creation of the world we want, opening portals to other worlds. We hold true that there is more to Black life than resistance and mourning—this list reflects the joy, play, and tenderness too.
Track 1: “Reflect & Conjure: A Black August Map” – Change Elemental’s Black Caucus
A piece that holds history and the future, honoring the ancestors (and places) that have led (and continue to lead) us toward a new, more equitable world.
Track 2: “Rooted in Source | One | July 4, 1976” – Elissa Sloan Perry
Elissa holds a mirror to the power of Black kinship and dreaming in her creative piece.
Track 3: “Dreaming in the Dark: Dark Practice for Dark Days” – Tamitha Walker-McKinnis
Return to an offering, brought back to you “by the spirit of joy and the prayerful embodiment of love, awe, and play…in the dark.”
Track 4: CAN I GET A WITNESS – For the Wild
A “transmedia project that traces two queer Black Latinx femmes dancing before, and being danced by, the ecology, memory, and stories of the Tongass National Forest and Glacier Bay in Southeast Alaska (unceded Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian territories).”
Track 5: Collected Works – Faith Ringgold
The tactile tapestries of textile artist Ringgold pull a thread between the present and historic ways Black people have used pattern design to tell their stories.
Track 6: “A Change Management & Deep Equity Primer: The What, Why, How & Nuance” – Sheryl Petty
An offering for movement field shifters.
Track 7: The Book of Delights – Ross Gay
Lyric essays that explore the joy of honoring life’s little pleasures.
Track 8: Collected Works – Kara Walker
The weighty silhouettes of the muralist take back power from harmful archetypes, reappropriating the way Black bodies appear in space.
Tracks 9 & 10 (engage with simultaneously for maximum effect!): Sun Ra’s music & Octavia Butler’s Parable Series
We pump up the music as we turn the page, finding ourselves floating towards the otherworldly planes of Afrofuturism.
Track 11: Black Freedom Beyond Borders – Wakanda Dream Lab
A “fan fiction anthology written by Black and Afro-Diasporic activists, organizers, movement leaders, and freedom fighters…seeking out new strategies, tactics, and hope for transforming immigration.”
Track 12: Collected Works – Romare Bearden
Incredible multimedia work from the art historian and musician will connect you with the breadth of Black expression.
Track 13: Black History Month playlist – Solidarity Is This podcast
A curated series of episodes that cover topics from movement ecology to Black trans-power-building to field-shifting with Black LGBTQ migrants.
Track 14: Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice – Jessica Gordon Nembhard
The gift of a study of Black cooperative communities and practices.
Track 15: “New Forms of Care” – Nonprofit Quarterly
Listen back to NPQ’s roundtable, where an all-Black panel of change-makers dream about how we build a more caring world.
Track 16: Collected Work – David Driskell
Driskell’s dynamic abstract and figurative work left its mark on Black modernism (his portrait of Romare Bearden is pictured here).
Track 17: Spotify Playlist – Change Elemental staff and Governance Team members
We contributed songs to a playlist of music by Black artists that move us, root us to our lineage, makes us want to dance, and most fully express who we are!
Track 18: Soundsuits – Nick Cave
Intricate costume sculptures that respond to state-sanctioned racial violence with “alien second skin[s] that obscures race, gender, and class, allowing viewers to look without bias towards the wearer’s identity.”
Track 19: Collected Works – Mickalene Thomas
Groove to Thomas’ explosive and intimate portrait collages.
Track 20: “summer, somewhere” – Danez Smith
We leave you with an excerpt from Smith’s poem:
somewhere, a sun. below, boys brown
as rye play the dozens & ball, jump
in the air & stay there. boys become new
moons, gum-dark on all sides, beg bruise
-blue water to fly, at least tide, at least
spit back a father or two. I won’t get started.
history is what it is. it knows what it did.
bad dog. bad blood. bad day to be a boy
color of a July well spent. but here, not earth
not heaven, boys can’t recall their white shirt
turned a ruby gown. here, there is no language
for officer or law, no color to call white.
if snow fell, it’d fall black. please, don’t call
us dead, call us alive someplace better.
we say our own names when we pray.
we go out for sweets & come back.
Black August Collage credit: Naima Yael Tokunow, Monica Tyran, and Deborah Berry
Film still credit: Can I Get a Witness
Black Freedom Beyond Borders cover credit: Wakanda Dream Lab
“Homage to Romare” credit: DC Moore Gallery