Tananarive Due, award-winning author and scholar of Black Horror on The Between

In our 60th episode, Lissa speaks with Queen of Black Horror Tananarive Due on the re-release of her 1995 debut novel The Between (Harper Perennial, 2021). Due is a leading voice in Black speculative fiction, and teaches about Black horror and Afrofuturism at UCLA where she developed a course called “The Sunken Place: Racism, Survival …

LaTanya McQueen on her debut novel When the Reckoning Comes

On this episode, we hear from LaTanya McQueen about her debut novel, When the Reckoning Comes (Harper Perennial, 2021). The novel follows Mira, a young woman who travels back to the southern town where she grew up to attend the wedding of a childhood friend -- a wedding being held at a former plantation-turned-event venue. …

Author Carol Anderson on her new book The Second: Race and Guns in A Fatally Unequal America

“How can I be unarmed when it is my blackness you fear," writes Carol Anderson in her latest work, The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America (Bloomsbury, 2021). This episode was recorded as part of a live event in anticipation of the release of Carol Anderson’s latest Book The Second: hosted by …

“I pray for peace with the same mouth I hide the razor blade in”: Javon Johnson on his new poetry collection

In this episode, Lissa speaks with Javon Johnson, about his new poetry collection, Ain't Never Not Been Black (Button Poetry, 2020). Javon Johnson, Ph.D. is a poet, performer, professor and recipient of numerous awards. According to poet Rudy Francisco, Dr. Johnson is “is one of the most brilliant writers in the world”. This conversation was recorded …

VIDEO: “Art can be liberating, art is redemptive, and art is healing,” Ibi Zoboi and Dr. Yusef Salaam on their YA novel-in-verse Punching the Air

"Hope is the thing that drives us forward," says Dr. Yusuf Salaam of naming his novel's main character Amal, which means hope. "Because without hope we wouldn't see a positive future, we wouldn't imagine the opportunity to change the criminal justice system from the criminal system of injustice to the criminal justice system." Dr. Salaam …

“Change comes one at a time” – author Claudia Rankine on her latest work, Just Us: An American Conversation

Launching the sixth season of BMR, Lissa sits down with poet and essayist Claudia Rankine to dive into her latest work Just Us: An American Conversation (Graywolf Press, 2020). Rankine describes the book as the result of a challenge she set to herself to talk to white men - a group she rarely talks to …

Tell Me Your Names and I Will Testify: Author Carolyn Holbrook on her new book

"For me, the title of the book is about testifying on behalf of myself, my family, my children and adding to the conversation about the beauty of our people," says Carolyn Holbrook about her newly released collection of essays, Tell Me Your Names and I Will Testify (University of Minnesota Press, 2020). In this episode, …

From Generosity to Justice: Ford Foundation President Darren Walker on his new book and reimagining philanthropy for social justice

“As you read these pages, please consider these words to be an open invitation—an extended hand and an opportunity to learn, to grow, to get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” writes Ford Foundation President Darren Walker in his new book, From Generosity to Justice: A New Gospel of Wealth. According to Walker, embracing discomfort is a …

Poet, Essayist Justin Phillip Reed on The Malevolent Volume

"Poetry is present in pretty much every culture," says Reed. "It is present across class boundaries." But, he notes, depending on those boundaries it looks and acts differently. "I think there is a way that certain kinds of poetry are rewarded as literature and therefore are given a kind of visibility that ends up reifying …