When it comes to content, it’s easy for us to stick to what we know or want that old thing back. But for a rare few, being a true content connoisseur is about being on top of what’s hot, what’s trending, and what’s next. Luckily, this new guide is everything for your music, literary, film, TV, and live experiences needs.
Each week, yours truly, Kevin L. Clark, will be your go-to advocate, spotlighting all those content cravings worth enjoying.
You’re now tuned into This Weekend, a weekly round-up for content culture lovers and those who love to avoid FOMO.
For Friday, Dec. 17, we’ll share some freshly-discovered treasures from this week for you, your family, and friends to get into. It contains a healthy dose of sonic vibes, some powerful words, and, of course, something streaming that’s a feast for the eyes.
So bon appétit to all those true savants who are purveyors of content culture out there.
For Listeners Only:
Interestingly, Dr. Dre not-so-quietly released a bunch of new songs as part of the highly anticipated Grand Theft Auto: Online update. Before the next-gen version of the game drops next year, the Beats By Dr. Dre co-founder gave us a lot for our earholes to ingest with this cut, “The Scenic Route,” featuring Rick Ross, Anderson .Paak, and Bruno Mars. Over a soundtrack for bosses only, this quadrumvirate delivers luxe lines and family-centered croons meant to inspire you to strive for greatness!
Look at us, The Weeknd on This Weekend, right?! The first single from Aaliyah’s upcoming posthumous album is, “Poison,” a duet featuring the fantastic singer. Over DannyBoyStyles and Nick Lamb’s ethereal production, Baby Girl and the late Static Major flex their signature pen-and-melodious riddims, which hints at how this early holiday gift promises a few perfect surprises for long time listeners. Unstoppable, the first official new Aaliyah release in more than a decade, will also feature Snoop Dogg, Drake, Future, and more putting their touch on this record. Add this song to your growing R&B catalog immediately.
Two African giants reunite to celebrate their championship-winning 2021, as Burna Boy and Wizkid ignite on “B. d’Or”. Following their collaboration on “Ginger,” this song was first hinted at during Starboy’s sold-out O2 concert in London last month. Produced by P2J, two of Afrobeats/Afro-fusion’s biggest and most successful talents showcase Ballon d’Or award-winning style and flair, which will have you dancing in the rafters of your own home. Channel your inner Mohammed Saleh and play this one to kick off a fierce Friday!
Reading Under The Rainbow:
Mel D. Cole has faced unstable counter-protesters and been arrested for “photographing while Black,” but continued to place himself in the mix of America’s most volatile situations from lockdown silence to Black Lives outrage. In American Protest, with an introduction by Jamie Lee Curtis, Cole documents the early days of the COVID-19 lockdowns in New York and dedicated the rest of 2020 to capturing the unaired moments during the Black Lives Matter protests that swept the country and their ramifications. In a time where we’re mourning so many of our creative greats (R.I.P. Greg Tate, bell hooks, Hub) pick up American Protest by the acclaimed author of Great: Photographs of Hip Hop.
Two-time Emmy Award-nominated actor, comedian, pastor and author, Kel Mitchell wants us to get activated in bold with his new book, Blessed Mode. Released this week, Dec. 14, the devotional-led title finds us on an inspiring 90-day challenge with Mitchell, focusing on the blessings received when trust and faith are placed in God’s ever-changing hands. Blessed Mode stems from Mitchell’s knowledge of struggling through depression and addiction to finding freedom in the blessings of God. Ever passionate since his days as a youth pastor, the Kenan & Kel fan favorite shares the spiritual side of himself in testimony meant for those other blessing collectors out there.
Deem Journal | Issue Two
One of my favorite print journals that has a unique flair online, Deem Journal is a biannual effort focused on design as social practice. Issue Two, “Pedagogy for a New World,” is led by a conversation between artist, architect, and community organizer Lauren Halsey and Deem editors Alice Grandoit-Šutka and Isabel Flower. Examining the role of design, the importance of community autonomy, architecture, and the power of place — this is my Oprah’s Book Club guarantee that you’ll learn new ways to produce and share knowledge after a few read-throughs of this offset-printed and perfect bound beauty. Cop two via Philadelphia Printworks immediately.
Watch The Streams:
The first season of HBO Max’s Music Box anthology series — which includes DMX: Don’t Try To Understand — closes out with a heart wrenching look at a rising hip hop superstar in Juice Wrld: Into the Abyss. The immersive documentary premieres alongside Fighting Demons, the late rapper’s second posthumous album. Directed by Tommy Oliver (Black Love, 1982), Into the Abyss is culled from two years of footage and a deep place where depression lived, amidst Juice WRLD’s ascendance to worldwide fame. This is a you-were-there portrait of a young artist whose meteoric rise opened a rift into a descent becoming one of hip hop’s most tragic entries.
A Black British spin on the Richard Curtis formula, Boxing Day stars Aml Ameen (I May Destroy You) and Aja Naomi King (Sylvie’s Love) as a soon-to-be-married couple who return home for a culture clash, a Christmas rom-com perfect for a snuggly weekend indoors. Ameen plays a successful, Hollywood-based novelist who returns with his American fiancée (King) and a lot of baggage. The Roots’ James Poyser provided the score for this charismatic cast to inject some sparkle upon, which makes Boxing Day a festive feature to play while enjoying your cozy vibes.
LeBron James Jr. and the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers are back and hungry for more Ws. The IMDb TV original, Top Class: The Life and Times of the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers, launches into its Season 2 and picks right up where the last one ended. Just before their state championship game, the show highlights the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic which force these high school student-athletes to bring their historic season to a halt. Executive produced by SpringHill Productions’ LeBron James and Maverick Carter, Top Class follows some of the nation’s highest-ranking — and most Instagrammed — players as they navigate their daily lives to playing in sold-out arenas. Share this one definitely with the hoop-lovers and sports fans in your circle.
Live at the Experience:
There’s something to be said about the power of love.
This weekend’s Once Upon a Time in L.A. one-day experience will be filled with the whole gamut of multi-era-defining rap, soul, funk, and R&B of today and yesteryear that will have you caught up in the rapture of the riddim. Held at Banc of California & Exposition Park on Dec. 18, Uncle Snoop Dogg’s Army will feature the Def Jam CEO and an unbelievable lineup, including Al Green, 50 Cent, Dom Kennedy, The Isley Brothers, Parliament Funkadelic, and more.
If there’s an emptiness in you that only great music can fulfill, this adventurous genre-hopping event is one not to miss. This is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. PT until 11 p.m. PT, and tickets can be copped on all major ticketing platforms such as StubHub, Vivid Seats, Ticketmaster, SeatGeek, and MegaSeats.
Check back to BET.com and BET Digital for more weekly installments of This Weekend.
Kevin L. Clark is a screenwriter and entertainment director for BET Digital, who covers the intersection of music, film, pop culture, and social justice. Follow him on @KevitoClark.