What we'll be listening to, watching, and reading to sate our pop culture needs.
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This weekend will be powered by the soulful tunes of Nina Simone reinterpreted, the flask we’ll be sipping from while watching Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck, and the full range of emotions we’ll experience reading the two powerful books in this roundup—Ta-Nehisi Coates on race and Amy Seek on being the birth mother in an open adoption. Let’s get this weekend started!
Amy Schumer is on fire. She’s been blasting stereotypes of women right out of culture’s misogynistic waters with the torpedo-like precision of her Comedy Central show’s sketches. And now, we get a full two hours of her uninterrupted hilarity in this Judd Apatow–produced comedy she wrote and stars in. Bill Hader as her love interest is icing on the feminist cake.
The fact that Toni Morrison hailed Ta-Nehisi Coates’s new book as “required reading” is just one of the many reasons it should be on your nightstand. One of the most insightful and poignant people we have writing about race today, Coates recounts his racial awakening in Between the World and Me while attempting to answer the uncomfortable questions he’s been addressing in shorter form for his adolescent son. Questions that only loom larger and more urgent at a brutal, unrelenting moment when we are seeing news stories about Black men and women being murdered on a near-daily basis. A smart and powerful must-read for everyone.
What Happened Miss Simone? introduced a whole new generation of fans to one of our most important and enduring singer-songwriters and civil-rights activists—Simone’s songs are more culturally relevant now than ever before. So this Nina Simone tribute album really couldn’t come at a more perfect time. Especially when it features the album’s producer Lauryn Hill singing “Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair,” and Mary J. Blige putting her twist on “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.” It’s hard to make Nina better, but it’s still wonderful to hear other people interpret her brilliant work.
Yesterday’s Emmy nominations reminded us of just how many fabulous female-fronted shows we need to catch up on, and how many we’d like to revisit. We suggest plunking down and watching some of the newbie noms whether or not you’ve seen them, including Transparent, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Getting On (for supporting actress nominee Niecy Nash—a brilliant overlooked series, with a brilliant overlooked cast led by Laurie Metcalf), and finally … Orphan Black—not a new show, but a long overdue best actress nod for the incredible Tatiana Maslany!!!
Amy Seek was only 22 when she got pregnant, and nine months older when she decided to place her son for adoption, a choice she’s grappled with ever since—especially considering that she did an open adoption, she is still in his life. God and Jetfire is her searching, honest memoir that looks at the growing trend of open adoption from the point of view of the birth mother, one who’s trying to understand her role.
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