Staff Picks for Black Futures Month

Staff Picks for Black Futures Month

February 22, 2024
To celebrate Black Futures Month, we asked our staff for their favorite pieces of Black art that inspire their vision of the future. Here's what they said!

What pieces of Black art inspire your vision of the future?

Cover of "How Long 'til Black Future Month?" book by N.K. Jemison.

How Long 'til Black Future Month? by N. K. Jemisin

"N. K. Jemisin's science fiction and fantasy short stories in How Long ‘Til Black Future Month expanded my imagination beyond anything I had ever pictured before. The complexity, beauty, and power in each story have stayed with me and remind me of what is possible when we dream."

- Adina

"What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye album cover.What’s Going On? by Marvin Gaye

"Released in 1971, this brilliant album unfortunately still resonates today. It’s an indictment and a commentary of inner city Black life, police violence and harassment, drugs, crime, poverty and the destruction of the environment. Marvin Gaye was a visionary, and this album proves that truth has no time limit."

- Phyllis

Cover of 1804: The Hidden History of Haïti1804: The Hidden History of Haïti directed by Tariq Nasheed

"I am always inspired and grounded by stories of our vision for a new reality and our commitment and drive to have it come to fruition."

- Rachèl

Artist Bisa Butler with their artBisa Butler, Fiber artist |

"Bisa Butler's fiber art vibrantly depicts Black life in the U.S. Her images get at the multifaceted lives and experiences of Black people and communities, past and present, which counters simplification and erasure. In her works, Black people are whole people living in community and family, navigating sweetness and drudgery, shaping their lives and futures."

- Miriam

Cover of Binti by Nnedi OkoraforBinti by Nnedi Okorafor

"A gripping Africanfuturist science fiction account of a young woman who is the first of her people to be accepted to the most prestigous university in the galaxy. Survival depends on her abilty to communicate and negotiate with groups that are difficult to understand, let alone trust."

- Jason

Cover of Texas Hold 'Em by Beyoncé“Texas Hold Em” & “16 Carriages” by Beyoncé

"I mean, what is there to say? Ultimate creator and innovator. Beyoncé consistently models what it is to build the future she wants to see in her present, relentlessly pursuing and evolving her expression of Black artistry and joy."

- Adina

Art by Mickalene Thomas“Trois Divas” & “Sleep: Deux Femmes Noires” art by Mickalene Thomas

"Mickalene Thomas's art is about Black femininity, sexuality, power, race, queer identity, and change-making, and she explores those things with glitter, rhinestones, collage, and color."

- Jillian

Cover of Can We Please Give the Police Departments to the Grandmothers? by Junauda PetrusCan We Please Give the Police Departments to the Grandmothers? by Junauda Petrus

"Based on a poem, this children's book offers an inspiring vision into a future where communities care for and protect each other, where people's needs are met, and Black communities don't live in fear from over policing. It’s a beautiful vision!"

- Carrie

Art from Dope and Different series by Jessica ValorisDope and Different series by Jessica Valoris |

"In this piece, Jessica Valoris, a Black Jewish artist, is celebrating "Black and Brown activists, artists, organizers, and healers, who have transformed experiences of marginalization into liberated ways of being in the world."

- Enzi