Discover black culture In the sixties

June 13, 2020

Did you see the news this week?

Not only did they find a suspect for Madeline McCann (whatt?) but, most importantly, we watched the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.

It took over social media, town centres and it took over a lot of my brain space.

The movement compelled me to read, watch and learn more about what it is to be black in the Western world.

And I began to realise that saying “I’m not a racist” isn’t enough to help the black community.

It’s being passive which is allowing systemic racism to continue.

I’ve learned how unjust the world is this past week and thought more about the role I play in it.

It doesn’t matter that I am not racist, what matters is that there are people who are.

And unfortunately, there’s more than I assumed there were.

I always thought racist’s natural habitat was in the south of America, where bragged of their “superiority” whilst consuming several hamburgers and milkshakes.

But they’re everywhere. And if I’m honest, I’ve probably witnessed some of my friends experience racism.

I realised that I need to do better.

I’m going to read more, learn and help amplify black voices. And I want to start right now by sharing with you, my favourite things that came out of the black community during the 60s. 

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings By Maya Angelou

This one has been on my to-read list for a long time. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is the first book in a seven-part-autobiography detailing her life as a young black girl in America. When it was released in 1969, it became an instant classic and still remains a best seller.

Back To Black: 60s Music Playlist

I’ve compiled a playlist of all of my favourite 60s tracks by black artists. It begins with Jimi Henrix and spans Motown, blues and ballads by Nina Simone (there’s also an amazing Nina documentary on Netflix right now). This is going to be a playlist that I will constantly add to and update. Give it a listen!

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Paris Blues (1961)

One of my all time favourite sixties movies is Paris Blues. And not just because it’s set in Paris. Sidney Poitier and Diahann Carroll tackle the difficult issue of race and why it’s important to stand up against racism rather than be passive. It’s a beautiful movie that deals with many things including racism, addiction and jazz.

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La Noire De... (1966)

I have a thing for French movies so naturally this French-Senegalese film ended up on this list. The story is about a girl Diouana who leaves Senegal to follow her dreams in France. Only to find her she is opressed in France by her new bosses who treat her like a slave. Senegal was independent in the 60s, so this goes to show that even though slavery had ended, she was still treated like one.

Angela Davis, Author & Activist

Angela Davis is another author that caught my attention. She writes passionately about the struggles and history of race in America. In the 60s, she became an inspiring activist who got involved with the feminist movement, The Black Panther Party and the campaign against the Vietnam war. Her experiences and stories are gripping and incredibly important.

There are so many more resources I would love to share but this email would become a novel. And I’m already trying to write one of those.

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