Black Imagination Takes Up Where Hamilton Leaves Us

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Black Imagination

Since arriving in Australia last week, Hamilton fever has swept the nation and Google searches for Hamilton reviews have increased by 950%! Whether you managed to get yourself a seat so far or not, you can now get your Hamilton fix thanks to the new reading service Scribd.

Only launched in Australia last week, Scribd has enlisted the star from Broadway’s original Hamilton – Daveed Diggs who played Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson – to create an audiobook of Natasha Marin’s Black Imagination.

Along with Diggs, the Emmy Award-winning writer, creator and producer, Lena Waithe, make the audiobook a showcase of diverse perspectives of the Black community. 

In fact, the catch cry for Black Imagination could be that Black Lives – and imaginations – Matter.

Black Imagination is a stirring celebration of Black voices in the form of short stories and poetry. Dedicated to “the beauty, strength, and enduring resilience of Black People everywhere,” this collection brings together individual creators who reflect on, and revel in, Black joy, healing and the imagining of a world where all Black folks are loved, safe and valued.

Here’s what some people have had to say about Black Imagination:

From Steven Dunn, an American poet who won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2001 and has received an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He wrote the forward for Black Imagination: “Don’t think for one minute that Black Imagination is easy. As you will read here, it is hard-earned and sometimes dangerous, but it’s necessary, and radical, to claim and work towards. Listening to my people in this book gave me so much life, and I’m pretty sure, dear reader, you’re in for the same.”

Natasha Marin, a Seattle-based conceptual artist, published poet, activist and viral curator: “Witnessing is sacred work too. Seeing ourselves as whole and healthy is an act of pure rebellion in a world so titillated by our constant subjugation.”

Gloria Steinem, an American feminist and social political activist who’s recognised worldwide as a leader and spokeswoman for the feminist movement:A first step toward freeing ourselves.”

Kiese Laymon, an American writer, editor and a professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi. He has written three books including Heavy: “I’ve never felt the physical feeling of pages melting in my hands or chapters folding themselves into squadrons of black airplanes flying to freedom because I’ve never experienced an art object like Black Imagination.”

Christian Campbell, who studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and received a PhD at Duke, as well as being the author of Running the Dusk: Black Imagination required Natasha Marin to curate as a curate in the medieval sense— a spiritual guide that cares for souls… We are challenged to move beyond the abject, beyond pure pessimism, on the wings of a different criticality… ‘visioning a world where none is lonely, none hunted, alien’.”

Kwame Dawes is a Ghanaian poet, actor, editor, critic, musician and author of Nebraska: “Defiantly hopeful… think Soul Train Line, think The Stroll, think the joyous striving with language for the possibilities of safety and hope.”

Credit: The cover art for Black Imagination is by Vanessa German.

About Scribd: Scribd is the reading subscription service which is changing the way the world reads. For a fee per month, Scribd offers access to ebooks, audiobooks, magazine articles and more. The Scribd app is available across iOS and Android devices as well as web browsers.

About Scribd Audio: Scribd Audio titles are available to Scribd subscribers as part of their subscription.

New titles now available on Scribd include: 

Dressed for a Dance in the Snow: Women’s Voices from the Gulag by Monika Zgustova (Other Press)  The Bone Rattler by Eliot Pattison (Counterpoint Press)  Hysteria by Jessica Gross (Unnamed Press)   Djinn City by Saad Z Hossain (Unnamed Press)   The Fire in His Wake by Spencer Wolf (McSweeney’s)   The Committee by Sterling Watson (Akashic)   On Account of Race: The Supreme Court, White Supremacy, and the Ravaging of African American Voting Rights by Lawrence Goldstone (Counterpoint Press) 

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