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MacArthur “Genius” Books and a Literary Activist Transitions - 10/5/2021


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BadFatBlackGirl AALBC2

From funny and fearless entertainment journalist Sesali Bowen, Bad Fat Black Girl combines rule-breaking feminist theory, witty and insightful personal memoir, and cutting cultural analysis for an unforgettable, genre-defining debut. Weaving together searing personal essay and cultural commentary, Bad Fat Black Girl interrogates sexism, fatphobia, and capitalism all within the context of race and hip-hop offering a new, inclusive feminism for the modern world. Buy Now ▶


Books by 2021 MacArthur “Genius” Fellows

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, each year, identifies talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. Awardees receive a no-strings-attached grant of $625,000, paid out over five years.


Algorithms Of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism by Safiya Umoja Noble

Algorithms Of Oppression is a revealing look at how negative biases against women of color are embedded in search engine results and algorithms.

I noticed this problem more than a decade ago, when I observed Google’s search results highlighted the most negative aspects of Black women authors — so much one had to dig hard to discover their positive accomplishments. Recently, Facebook rejected the inclusion of Algorithms Of Oppression on my Facebook store. This bias is simply baked into the way the handful of companies, who control the World Wide Web, operate. Learn More ▶

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Sing, Aretha, Sing!: Aretha Franklin, Respect, and the Civil Rights Movement by Hanif Abdurraqib

A young Aretha Franklin captivates her community with the song “Respect” during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, in this striking picture book biography that will embolden today’s young readers to sing their own truth.

With Hanif Abdurraqib’s poetic voice and Ashley Evans’s dynamic illustrations, Sing, Aretha, Sing! demonstrates how one brave voice can give new power to a nation, and how the legacy of Aretha Franklin lives on in a world still fighting for freedom (Preorder: Ships Dec 28, 2021).


Felon: Poems by Reginald Dwayne Betts

The AALBC bestselling book, Felon tells the story of the effects of incarceration in fierce, dazzling poems — canvassing a wide range of emotions and experiences through homelessness, underemployment, love, drug abuse, domestic violence, fatherhood, and grace — and, in doing so, creates a travelogue for an imagined life. Reginald Dwayne Betts confronts the funk of post-incarceration existence and examines prison not as a static space, but as a force that enacts pressure throughout a person's life.

Drawing inspiration from lawsuits filed on behalf of the incarcerated, the redaction poems focus on the ways we exploit and erase the poor and imprisoned from public consciousness. Traditionally, redaction erases what is top secret; in Felon, Betts redacts what is superfluous, bringing into focus the profound failures of the criminal justice system and the inadequacy of the labels it generates. Challenging the complexities of language, Betts animates what it means to be a felon.


Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

Kendi is also the author of the bestselling book on AALBC.com for 2020, How to Be an Antiracist. But it his earlier work, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, is his most critically acclaimed. AALBC captured video of Kendi, in 2016, when he won the National Book Award for nonfiction in 2016.

In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-Black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. Stamped from the Beginning uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to offer a window into the contentious debates between assimilationists and segregationists and between racists and antiracists.


Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Race for Profit uncovers how exploitative real estate practices continued well after housing discrimination was banned. The same racist structures and individuals remained intact after redlining’s end, and close relationships between regulators and the industry created incentives to ignore improprieties.

Meanwhile, new policies meant to encourage low-income homeownership created new methods to exploit Black homeowners. The federal government guaranteed urban mortgages in an attempt to overcome resistance to lending to Black buyers — as if unprofitability, rather than racism, was the cause of housing segregation. Bankers, investors, and real estate agents took advantage of the perverse incentives, targeting the Black women most likely to fail to keep up their home payments and slip into foreclosure, multiplying their profits. As a result, by the end of the 1970s, the nation’s first programs to encourage Black homeownership ended with tens of thousands of foreclosures in Black communities across the country.


An AALBC gift certificate is a great way to share the joy of reading. Gift certificates can also be applied to all of AALBC’s services including advertising — a perfect gift for the author in your life.


Literary Activist Lynda Johnson Passes


Lynda Johnson was a renaissance woman. She was a professor, fashion stylist, and magazine journalist. She was also the President and Co-founder of Go On Girl! Book Club a national literary sisterhood, boasting more than 48 chapters, 500 members, across 16 states, supporting authors, in multiple genres, from the African diaspora.

Lynda was an ardent supporter of AALBC. She helped make what I do possible. She encouraged and celebrated my efforts. I will always love her for that. Her loss will be profoundly felt across the Black book world. May she rest in peace.


Dear Reader,

As always, you are why we’ve been able to make AALBC the premier online platform for books by, or about, people of African descent. Your paid subscription, book purchases, suggestions, engagement on the site, commenting, social sharing, and advertisements helps support AALBC’s mission.

Peace and Love,
Troy Johnson
Founder & Webmaster, AALBC.com


This message is sponsored by sponsored by Amistad Books
Consider sponsoring our eNewsletter or a dedicated email.
★ AALBC.com eNewsletter – October 5, 2021 - Issue #336

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