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.
Fresh from the New Year’s Celebratory break, Friday, Jan. 7, finds us with 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:
It has been my life’s mission to put true culture connoisseurs onto the lyrical stylings of Leikeli47. The VA-to-BK MC release two of the best rap albums of 2017 and 2018 with Wash & Set and Acrylic. And after a quiet 2021, Leikeli47 looks to race past the competition with some new heat called, “Chitty Bang.”
A high-energy single, which follows last year’s effort, “Zoom,” the Michael Barney-produced number is another great example of the skills she shows on her forthcoming album, Shape Up. If you’re unafraid of addictive, left-of-center rap that is imbued with different shades and characters, then Leikeli47 is an artist to add to your rotation ASAP.
Shenseea is never not working despite what time it is. The 25-year-old rising reggae star showed in 2021 why she’s a name not to overlook when it comes to creating those big chunes. “Dolly,” which features Dancehall Life stars Prettii Prettii, TC, and Rebel in the music video, is a continuation of Shenseea’s dominance from last year.
In the Chimney Records and Romeich Entertainment-produced single, mi favorite gyal confidently brags about her looks with no apology, and has a truth bomb for those jealous ones, singing, “Ah, nuh my fault you born ugly.” Now that we’ve formally delved into 2022, Shenseea’s fusion of dancehall, hip hop, and R&B sets the tone for the riddims we hope to hear on her next project!
The Weeknd launched into another uniquely imaginative chapter in his music oeuvre after debuting a live-streamed “sonic experience” on Thursday, Jan. 6, on Amazon Prime Video. The Grammy Award-winning talent held audiences in the palm of his hand to mark the launch of his new album, Dawn FM, which is the first major arrival of 2022.
“I Heard You’re Married,” which features Lil Wayne continuing his solid run of guest verses into the new year, is a song that will fully engulf and immerse you in his signature lite-R&B vibes. With other well-placed collaborators such as Tyler, The Creator, Quincy Jones, and Jim Carrey, Dawn FM is an all-night dance party of an album that can be played 24/7, 365.
Reading Under The Rainbow:
Writer, organizer, and educator Mahogany L. Browne weaves together prose, poems, and vignettes in her latest, stunning novel titled Vinyl Moon. In her sophomore effort, the story centers on Angel, a young woman who hides the scars of domestic abuse, and discovers healing in the form of love language, music, and the gift of community. As Angel becomes immersed in the revolutionary stylings of Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, and Zora Neale Hurston, she revels in the chance to find herself again. This work from Browne, a critically acclaimed author and poet, is one to add to your collection to start the new year.
Daphne Palasi Andreades is a recipient of the 2021 O Henry Prize and scholarships to the Martha’s Vineyard Institute for Creative Writing. The latter, she won the Voices of Color Prize, and infuses her stream of consciousness and free verse writing in her debut novel, Brown Girls. Intertwining womanhood in class and race, Brown Girls reckons with the periphery of the American dream and displays an ambitious attempt to be a fiercely poetic love letter to today’s generation of brown girls.
Within one of New York City’s most eclectic boroughs, Queens, young women of color — Nadira, Gabby, Naz, Trish, Angelique, and countless others — reconcile their immigrant backgrounds with the American culture in which they come of age. One of the most anticipated books of 2022, Brown Girls, is a title to have as a suggestion for the next group book club meeting.
You Don’t Know Us Negroes and Other Essays
Covering 35 years of life and writing, Zora Neale Hurston’s You Don’t Know Us Negroes and Other Essays turns to language, race, gender, art, and much more in this must-have collectible. Editors Henry Louis Gates and Genevieve West invite longtime and new readers of Hurston’s work to enjoy her razor-sharp wit, artistic prose, and griot-worthy folktales that explore love, the spirit, and provide context for her better-known writings.
“Characteristics of Negro Expression” is a choice place to start when it comes to dissecting Hurston’s skill with the pen, and Gates and West help spotlight her deft ability to sprinkle personal insights where others might not notice. This is an invaluable nonfiction companion to 2020’s collection of Hurston’s short stories, Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick.
Watch The Streams:
While Zendaya has been crushing box offices and red carpets with her appearance in Spider-Man: No Way Home, it is really all about the long-awaited return of HBO’s hit teen drama Euphoria. Returning this Sunday, Jan. 9, the cast of Zendaya, Algee Smith, Hunter Schafer, Jacob Elordi, Sydney Sweeney reunite to take viewers into the highs and lows of high schoolers navigating life.
In it, Rue Bennett (Zendaya) “must find hope while balancing the pressures of love, loss, and addiction,” per a series synopsis, and promises enough tension (and drugs) to give fans — both returning and fresh to the series — a reason to tune in to watch the new episodes which will drop weekly.
Opening in theaters today, Jan. 7, The 355 is an action-adventure that promises a tetonic shift in how you’ve seen films like this in the past. Directed by Simon Kinsberg (the X-Men film franchise) — a top-secret weapon falls into mercenary hands, leading a wild card CIA agent (Jessica Chastain) to join forces with a rival badass (Diane Kruger, In the Fade), her former MI6 ally and cutting-edge computer specialist (Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o), and a skilled psychologist (Penélope Cruz) on a thrilling, no-holds-barred mission to retrieve it. This is a fun romp to enjoy safely with friends after you read our chat with the Oscar–winning actor, Penélope Cruz, which you can read here!
Sistas may have only just ended not even a month ago, but the new year thankfully brings new episodes of the Tyler Perry-created show back to BET. Season 4, which is currently airing on BET+ (for free!), gave us an early hint as to what fans could expect in the promo trailer. And now, with legal issues and threats being lobbied back-and-forth, this season looks to be a pretty wild one for Andi, Danni, Karen, Sabrina, and Fatima. With a new Sistas spin-off coming soon, this season could see two major cast members leaving the show.
Live at the Experience:
This is your ADVANCED WARNING to get your tickets for this year’s MUST LOVE BEARDS party ASAP. The caps are warranted as the I DON’T DO CLUBS-created national day party series has been a premiere event for men who rock beards and the women who can’t get enough of them.
Originally, founder Genese Jamilah had this month planned to start the new year off righteously, but the pandemic put a pause on that. This hasn’t stopped the hype for this trendy event from growing. With tickets still available for the March 20, 2022 date, women who want to mix and mingle with Black, West Indian, and African professionals and creatives, will not want to wait until then to cop.
And don’t worry fellas, you will be allowed into the party for free, beard or not!
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.