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I.C.Y.M.I.: Racial Justice Movies, Books, Music & More

'Just Mercy' movie poster

Greetings, fellow pop culture aficionados, and welcome to week 17 of our I.C.Y.M.I. (In Case You Missed It) blog series. Our museum may be temporarily closed to visitors based on guidance from public health officials to slow the spread of coronavirus, but we're still here to recap a handful of trending tidbits from the past week(s) in popular culture, in case you missed them.

Last Friday, we called attention to an 'All In WA' coronavirus relief benefit concert, which has since been postponed to June 24 to honor the ongoing marches and protests standing up for racial justice following the killing of George Floyd. And that's where our focus lies this week, as we provide a few pop culture-related resources and ways you can support those here in Seattle and around the country speaking out against violence perpetrated against Black and Brown people (plus, check out this post from Nerdist for even more ways to get involved).



What To Watch

Just Mercy, a film released in 2019 about the civil rights work of attorney Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) and his defense of Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), who was wrongfully convincted of murder and sentenced to death, is now free to rent on digital platforms. Warner Bros. Pictures made the decision this week to make the movie easily accessible throughout the month of June.

"We believe in the power of story," Warner Bros. Pictures' statement reads. "Our film ‘Just Mercy,’ based on the life work of civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson, is one resource we can humbly offer to those who are interested in learning more about the systemic racism that plagues our society. For the month of June, ‘Just Mercy’ will be available to rent for free across digital platforms in the US."

The statement continues: "To actively be part of the change our country is so desperately seeking, we encourage you to learn more about our past and the countless injustices that have led us to where we are today. Thank you to the artists, storytellers and advocates who helped make this film happen. Watch with your family, friends and allies. For further information on Bryan Stevenson and his work at the Equal Justice Initiative please visit EJI.org."


What To Read

From USA Today, here's a handful of books to help you learn more about Black history:

Nonfiction Reads:

  • "White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism" by Robin DiAngelo
  • "How to Be an Antiracist" by Ibram X. Kendi
  • "Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do" by Jennifer L. Eberhardt 
  • "Raising White Kids" by Jennifer Harvey 
  • "So You Want to Talk About Race" by Ijeoma Oluo 
  • “The Black and the Blue: A Cop Reveals the Crimes, Racism, and Injustice in America's Law Enforcement" by Matthew Horace and Ron Harris 
  • "Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption" by Bryan Stevenson (sound familiar?)

Impactful Fiction from Black Authors:

  • "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf" by Ntozake Shange
  • "The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead
  • "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston
  • "Passing" by Nella Larsen
  • "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison
  • "The Color Purple" by Alice Walker
  • "White Teeth" by Zadie Smith

Bonus: The New York Times put together a list of Anti-Racism Books For Kids.


What To Listen To

Run the Jewels, made up of rappers Killer Mike and El-P, deliverd RTJ4 this past week, and outlets are saying the duo's fourth album is meant for the moment. Made up of 11 new songs and featuring other artists like 2 Chainz, Pharrell Williams, and Rage Against the Machine's Zack de la Rocha, the album was supposed to be released Friday. However, RTJ made the decision to release it two days early, noting "here's something raw to listen to while you deal with it all." Like all RTJ albums, it was released for free on their website and is available for listen on all streaming services, but the group is encouraging fans to donate to the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Fund, a "network of lawyers, legal workers and law students providing legal support for political activists, protesters and movements for social change."


What'd We Miss?

Now that we've filled you in on a few things, what do you feel we failed to mention? Let us know in the comments, or hit us up with a suggestion on social media. We'll look to include your ideas in our next edition of I.C.Y.M.I.


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About the author

Tony Drovetto is MoPOP's Content Marketing Manager.

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