Black Authors and Voices: Podcasts from the Author Events Archive

By Author Events RSS Wed, February 23, 2022

Our podcast archive dates back more than 25 years and features scores of author talks to help you commemorate, celebrate, and reflect on Black History Month.

But even in just this past year, we’ve hosted an incredible variety of Black voices across a rich spectrum of genres and topics. We’re talking literature, politics, social justice, entertainment, journalism, and more!


Nikole Hannah-Jones | The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story

Recorded November 17, 2021

In conversation with Tamala Edwards, Anchor - 6ABC Action News Morning Edition, and Dr. Anthea Butler, Geraldine R. Segal Professor in American Social Thought and Chair of Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Introduced by legendary poet, Sonia Sanchez.

Nikole Hannah-Jones won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for her work on The 1619 Project, a continuing initiative started by The New York Times Magazine to reexamine United States history through the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans. The co-founder of the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, Hannah-Jones has earned, among many other honors, a Peabody Award, two George Polk Awards, three National Magazine Awards, and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. She was recently named the Knight Chair in Race and Journalism at Howard University. Interweaving 18 essays with 36 works of fiction and nonfiction by a group of writers of diverse backgrounds, skills, and experiences. The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story is a greatly expanded exploration of the continuing legacy of slavery in our cultural, political, and legal institutions.


Don Lemon | This Is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism

Recorded March 22, 2021

In conversation with Tamala Edwards, Anchor - 6ABC Action News Morning Edition.

America’s sole Black primetime news anchor, Don Lemon has hosted CNN Tonight since 2014. Before joining the respected cable network in 2006, he worked for NBC News and MSNBC, and earlier in his career as a reporter and anchor in Birmingham, Philadelphia, and Chicago, among other places. The recipient of an Edward R. Murrow Award and three regional Emmy Awards, Lemon was named one of EBONY magazine’s 150 most influential African Americans of 2009 and one of Advocate’s 50 Most Influential LGBTQ People in Media in 2014. This Is the Fire draws on personal experience, informed reporting, and historical research to examine the struggle to end racism in our lifetime.


Glory Edim | On Girlhood: 15 Stories from the Well-Read Black Girl Library

Recorded November 3, 2021

In conversation with Christine Kendall, author of Riding Chance, nominated for an NAACP Image Award, and The True Definition of Neva Beane.

Glory Edim is the creator of Well-Read Black Girl—a book club, book, and online community that showcases the universality of Black women’s stories and experiences in and through literature. She also edited the 2018 NAACP Image Award-nominated anthology of the same name that featured a wide array of essays by Black women. A recipient of the 2017 Innovator’s Award from the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, Edim serves on the board of New York City’s Housing Works Bookstore. She is the curator of the new story collection On Girlhood, referred to by Jacqueline Woodson as "a loving family of writers who came before me," which includes such towering voices as Toni Morrison, Paule Marshall, Toni Cade Bambara, and Alice Walker—among many others.


Bernardine Evaristo | Manifesto: On Never Giving Up

Recorded January 20, 2022

In conversation with Tamala Edwards, Anchor - 6ABC Action News Morning Edition.

Bernardine Evaristo won the 2019 Man Booker Prize and the Dublin Literary Award for Girl, Woman, Other, "a breathtaking symphony of Black women’s voices" that explores the merging of identity and Britain’s African and Caribbean colonial history. Her other novels include The Emperor’s Babe and Hello Mum, both of which were adapted into BBC radio programs, in addition to her short fiction, poetry, literary criticism, and drama. A longtime advocate for greater inclusion of artists of color, she co-founded Britain’s first Black women’s theater company, the first major Black theater conference, and the first major conference on Black writing. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts and was awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to literature. An exploration of identity, race, class, aging, and the power of persistence, Manifesto is a memoir of Evaristo’s intertwined life and multi-decade effort to share her work with the world.


Brendan Slocumb | The Violin Conspiracy

Recorded February 3, 2022

In conversation with Stanford Thompson, Founder and Executive Director of Play On Philly.

A public and private school music educator for more than 20 years, Brendan Slocumb has performed on violin with the Washington Metropolitan Symphony, the Prince George’s Philharmonic, and the Alexandria Symphony. He is the Concertmaster for the NOVA-Annandale Symphony Orchestra, has frequently served as Guest Conductor for orchestras throughout Virginia and North Carolina, and is the Founder of the Philippines-based nonprofit organization Hands Across the Sea, which has the mission to provide instruments, lessons, and financial support to young music students. The Violin Conspiracy, Slocumb’s debut novel, follows a Black musician as he confronts the injustices of U.S. history, racism in the profession of classical music, and the theft of his great-great-grandfather’s priceless Stradivarius violin.


Sonia Sanchez | Collected Poems

Recorded April 13, 2021

In conversation with M. Nzadi Keita, Poet-in-Residence, Associate Professor; Co-Coordinator, African-American/Africana Studies at Ursinus College, and author of Brief Evidence of Heaven: Poems from the Life of Anna Murray Douglass.

Referred to by Maya Angelou as "a lion in literature’s forest," living legend Sonia Sanchez is the author of numerous plays, children’s books, a story collection, and nearly 14 collections of poetry, including the American Book Award winner Homegirls and Handgrenades. A luminary of the Black Arts Movement, she served as the Laura Carnell Professor of English and Women’s Studies at Temple University, was named Philadelphia’s very first Poet Laureate in 2012, and has lectured at more than 500 colleges and universities. Her many honors include the Wallace Stevens Award Prize, the Langston Hughes Poetry Award, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cleveland Foundation. Collected Poems represents five decades of Sanchez’s art and devotion to the causes of Black liberation and women’s rights.



Randall Kennedy | Say It Loud!: On Race, Law, History, and Culture

Recorded September 21, 2021

Celebrated for "his courage and his convictions" in tackling sensitive issues, Randall Kennedy is "a member of that small coterie of our most lucid big thinkers about race" (The Washington Post). The Michael R. Klein Professor at Harvard Law School, he formerly held positions at the United States Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court, where he clerked for Thurgood Marshall. His many books include Interracial Intimacies, The Persistence of the Color LineFor Discrimination, and Sellout. In Say it Loud!, Kennedy offers a collection of provocative essays about George Floyd, birtherism, Clarence Thomas, antiracism, and more.








Honorée Fanonne Jeffers | The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois with Kevin Young | Stones

Recorded October 18, 2021

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers is the author of five poetry collections, including The Gospel of Barbecue, Red Clay Suite, and The Age of Phillis, which was longlisted for the 2020 National Book Award for Poetry and won a 2021 NAACP Image Award. Critic at Large for The Kenyon Review and a Professor of English at the University of Oklahoma, Jeffers has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Antiquarian Society. Additionally, Jeffers has been honored with the Harper Lee Award for Literary Distinction and with induction into the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame. An instant New York Times bestseller and an Oprah Book Club selection, her debut novel The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois chronicles the centuries-spanning journey of a Black American family from the days of the colonial slave trade to our own unsteady era.

The director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Kevin Young is also the poetry editor for The New Yorker, where he hosts the Poetry Podcast. He is the author of the poetry collections BrownBlue LawsBook of Hours, and Jelly Roll, a finalist for the National Book Award. His nonfiction books include Bunk and The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. The former director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library, Young has been honored with the Lenore Marshall Prize for Poetry, an American Book Award, and the Paterson Poetry Prize. Stones is the newest collection from Young, "one of the poetry stars of his generation" (Los Angeles Times).


Yusef Komunyakaa | Everyday Mojo Songs of Earth: New and Selected Poems, 2001–2021

Recorded April 28, 2021

Yusef Komunyakaa won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Neon Vernacular, a collection of poems that spoke about the realities of the Vietnam War, of which he was a veteran. His other collections include Warhorses, Taboo, and The Emperor of Water Clocks. The Distinguished Senior Poet in New York University’s Creative Writing Program and a former Chancellor of the American Academy of Poets, he is the recipient of the 2011 Wallace Stevens Award, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, and the William Faulkner Prize, among other honors. Full of Komunyakaa’s signature jazz-like meter and moving imagery, Everyday Mojo Songs of Earth includes both new work and selected poems from the last two decades.




Tarana Burke | Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement

Recorded September 17, 2021

In conversation with Imani Perry.

A longtime activist for justice and equity, Tarana Burke founded the Me Too movement in 2006 as a way for women to come together in their shared experiences of sexual violence. She is the Senior Director of the advocacy group Girls for Gender Equity, founded the Just Be nonprofit organization, worked at Art Sanctuary Philadelphia, and has collaborated with many other groups to hold workshops and create initiatives around issues of sexual violence, discrimination, and economic justice. The recipient of the Ridenhour Prize for Courage, a VH1 Trailblazer Award, and the Sydney Peace Prize, she was one of TIME magazine’s 2017 Persons of the Year and one of its 100 Most Influential People of 2018. Unbound is a memoir of Burke’s journey from childhood trauma to the role of empathetic, empowered advocate for worldwide social change.

Imani Perry is the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies and Faculty Associate in the Program in Law and Public Affairs and Gender and Sexuality Studies at Princeton. She is the author of six books, including the award-winning titles, Breathe: A Letter to My Sons and Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry.

For more engaging and thought-provoking discussions with authors like the ones above, visit our Author Events schedule.

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