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Last year, Audible joined with The Meteor, a storytelling collective focused on gender and racial justice, for In Love and Struggle, which shared the lives and experiences of Black American women through monologues, music and comedy.
Now the two groups are ready to launch their multi-year collaboration’s second installment, In Love and Struggle: A Black Woman Grows in America, which kicks off with a free live virtual event July 8 featuring its contributors and hosted by podcaster Brittany Luse.
The title of the series comes from an inscription (based on the work of activist couple James and Grace Lee Boggs) that Alice Walker wrote in a copy of her poetry collection to cultural critic Rebecca Carroll, who curates, narrates and executive produces the series alongside The Apollo Theater executive producer Kamilah Forbes. Noleca Anderson Radway directed the special.
“We’re inspired by the women who have decided to share their truth with us and thrilled at being able to work with Audible to bring their stories together into one collection,” said Forbes, who directed HBO’s Between the World and Me special, in a statement. “Rebecca Carroll’s curation and Noleca Radway’s direction have created a uniquely powerful project illuminating what it means to live in your skin as a Black woman in 2021.”
Eleven women from the ages of 17 to 90 are featured in the second installment, including: music producer Drew Dixon, who discusses the impact that Russell Simmons’ alleged sexual assault had on her skyrocketing career; dancer Carmen de Lavallade, now 90, who recalls working with Josephine Baker; transgender youth activist and TikTok star Ve’ondre Mitchell, who shares a story of high school heartbreak; Pulitzer-winning playwright Lynn Nottage, who describes what it’s like to mother a Black son in 2021; and actress, writer and producer Franchesca Ramsey, who reflects on the life-changing haircut she received at age 35.
Other contributors include activist and Harvard film student Treasure Brooks; playwright Pearl Cleage, poet Jasmine Mans, podcast host CC Paschal and television host Bevy Smith.
“There’s a lot of talk about Black Girl Magic, but what about our ability to just be? That’s what In Love and Struggle aims to amplify and celebrate,” Carroll, who also serves as The Meteor’s editor-at-large, said in a statement. “And the opportunity to curate, present and myself be among a thread of voices – ranging from a proud Black trans TikTok star and an absolute legendary 90-year-old living ancestor to a Pulitzer-winning playwright and one of the dopest record makers in recent history, all Black women – is an ascendant moment in our cultural zeitgeist.”
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