Time magazine reveals The Black Renaissance issue cover: Amanda Gorman in conversation with Michelle Obama

Today, Time uncovers “The Black Renaissance,” a special project, created in partnership with historian and author Ibram X. Kendi, that celebrates the power of Black art and marks this moment as the Black Renaissance. 

Kendi writes: “In this first Black History Month after the racial reckoning of 2020, I feel impelled to do what historians rarely do: mark history while the story is still being written…. We are living in the time of a new ­renaissance—what we are calling the Black ­Renaissance—the third great cultural revival of Black Americans, after the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, after the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Black creators today were nurtured by these past cultural ­revivals—and all those brilliant creators who sustained Black Arts during the 1980s and 1990s. But if the Harlem Renaissance stirred Black people to see themselves, if the Black Arts Movement stirred Black people to love themselves, then the Black Renaissance is stirring Black people to be themselves. Totally. Unapologetically. Freely.” Read the full article here

Photograph by Awol Erizku for TIME taken on 29 January 2021

Time editor in chief and CEO Edward Felsenthal writes in his letter to readers: “When historian, TIME 100 honoree and How to Be an Anti­racist author Ibram X. Kendi approached TIME with the idea to partner on a project about marking this moment as a Black cultural renaissance, the most challenging question we faced was how to choose which of the innumerable artists and works—across poetry, film, television, music, theater and more—to highlight…. This renaissance features works that directly explore the quest for racial justice, as well as art that mines the everyday realities of moving through the world as a Black person—­finding the comedy and drama in work, relationships and family.” 

The project includes a conversation between former First Lady Michelle Obama and National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda ­Gorman. Novelists Brit Bennett, Jasmine Guillory and Jacqueline ­Woodson gather in a roundtable discussion with Rebecca Carroll about the difference between a renaissance and a trend as well as the power of their storytelling. Also, Time staff writers Josiah Bates and Andrew R. Chow explore how Black creators in film and television are reclaiming aspects of US history that have been misrepresented or omitted entirely in our education system and media, among other stories.

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