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 can help you experience new music, literature, film, and TV.
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, Jan. 14, this week’s special MLK-inspired episode finds us with some freshly-discovered treasures for you, your family, and friends to get into + share with others. 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:
Pivot Gang co-founder Saba is back and rejuvenated. The Chicago rapper-producer gives the listener a “Midwest Swing,” collaborating with Cleveland rapper Krayzie Bone of the Grammy Award-winning hip-hop group Bone Thugs–N-Harmony on his new single, “Come My Way.”
A fresh and harmonious offering from Saba’s highly anticipated third solo album, Few Good Things, set to drop on Feb. 4, 2022, is the third single issued and one with major replay value.
A personal hero of mine, Robert Glasper’s contributions to music and culture are not to be scoffed at. Glasper's exceptional legacy merges contemporary art, creativity, and advocacy from scoring films (Miles Ahead) to infusing his jazz ethos into classic works (To Pimp a Butterfly).
On “Black Superhero,” the first single from Black Radio III, the Grammy Award-winning musician takes listeners on a ride with Killer Mike, BJ The Chicago Kid, and Big K.R.I.T. In the Charlie Buhler-directed video, this “ode to Black strength, vibrancy, and joy” highlights real-life Black heroes who live and work for their communities.
“Black Superhero” is the perfect soundtrack to harken Glasper’s solo return and celebrate the 10th anniversary of the first Black Radio.
Spillage Village’s J.I.D is going for the gold in the new year. Fresh from announcing his 2022 Coachella performance, the Dreamville MVP drops “Surround Sound,” featuring 21 Savage and Baby Tate. The Mac Grant and Chad Tennies-directed video is a bit NSFW for viewing, so the clean version serves as a solid reintroduction of what the East Atlanta rapper is capable of.
For fans of rapid-fire wordplay, quick wit, and braggadocious bars, “Surround Sound” is a great song to add to your rotation.
Reading Under The Rainbow:
Charmaine Wilkerson’s moving debut novel, Black Cake centers on two estranged siblings who must set aside their differences to deal with their septuagenarian mother’s death and her hidden past.
A stern presence in their lives, the family saga involves uneasy company for the siblings as they go on a journey of discovery from the Caribbean to London to California and ends with a rum and port soaked “black cake” from an old family recipe.
Readers will enjoy this stellar first-time entry from a talented new writer that’s full of food, surfing, and rich patois.
Lorraine Hansberry: The Life Behind “A Raisin in the Sun”
In Charles J. Shields’ moving story about Lorraine Hansberry, he pens an authoritative biography of one of the 20th century’s most significant playwrights and Black History icons.
Remembered for her play, A Raisin in the Sun, Shields, the biographer of Harper Lee and Kurt Vonnegut, draws on correspondence, interviews, and the identity and sexuality issues she struggled with to examine the parts of Lorraine Hansberry’s life that have escaped public knowledge.
Many of the topics this book delves into are still relevant and urgent today, making The Life Behind “A Raisin in the Sun” another landmark title to add to your collection.
Bernardine Evaristo is the first Black woman to with the Booker Prize, and in Manifesto, she reflects on her decades-long career. If you’ve read Lara, Other or Girl, Woman, this memoir combines her own life and writing to powerful effect.
Her consistency was well established before the publication of her first novel, Lara, in 1997, and in Manifesto, she grows in her breadth of thought and the space to express herself.
As unconventional as she has been, the format works — the autobiographical parts on unstoppability and creativity serve as vivid lessons, while the power change and self-confidence help any interested reader evolve their public declarations.
Watch The Streams:
There is a lovely thing happening with shows delving into the finer life of the Black, rich, and fabulous. Shows like Our Kind of People and Greenleaf are excellent looks at aspirational life filtered through a Black lens.
In The Kings of Napa, which stars Isaiah Whitlock Jr., Ebonee Noel, and Yanni King, the Kings are a family whose vineyard in Napa has brought them great success. When the dynamic power shifts, the three King siblings uncover deceptions and play a risqué game that threatens their kingdom apart.
The Kings of Napa made its premiere on OWN this week, so make sure to spend your weekend with this soapy series.
Denzel Washington is a masterclass in one of the finest films to start 2022. The Tragedy of Macbeth, directed by Ethan Coen, visually leans into noirish tropes, which add an uber-moody quality to William Shakespeare’s incredible writing. Shot in silvery, at times gothic black and white by Bruno Delbonnel, the Apple TV+ exclusive even has more fog than San Francisco.
However, in a cast that features A-listers like Frances McDormand, Corey Hawkins, and Brendan Gleeson, Washington is a regal masterclass as Macbeth. His performance is both a testimony to his exceptional skill and buoyed by that patented Denzel swagger. A must-add picture for hardcore cinephiles and lovers of the Bard.
Premiering today, Jan. 14, on Netflix, Mamoudou Athie (The Circle, Uncorked) stars as an archivist named Dan Turner, who spends his days exploring and preserving the past. Archive 81, a horror series loosely inspired by the first season of the same-named podcast, is capable and compelling, full of appreciably chilly moments.
There is a connection between Dan's obsession with the past and his family members' tragic deaths that make references to other horror classics that don't hide their significance. It's a credit to creator Rebecca Sonnenshine and her array of collaborators that the trippy toxicity of Archive 81 is a challenging experience to shake off.
Live at the Experience:
MLK Day is observed as a national day of service, “a day on, not a day off.” And while most people are using the time away from their 9-to-5 to rest, recharge, or go to some MLK-inspired day parties, there are a host of opportunities available for those who want to get up, get out, and do something in person.
AmeriCorps has a searchable database of volunteer opportunities available around the country. Place your zip code in and click on the “MLK Day” box to find the projects that could use your help. UNCF (United Negro College Fund) offices and the UNCF National Alumni Council are staging special virtual events featuring keynote speakers to musical performances to celebrate the legendary civil rights icon.
If COVID-19 has you concerned about going outdoors to volunteer, donating to organizations to support justice causes that Dr. King dedicated his life to can be an option, too. The Equal Justice Initiative is working to end mass incarceration, excessive punishment, and racial inequality. At the same time, The National Urban League, which has been fighting for Black Americans for more than 100 years, provides economic empowerment options to those in need.
Also, TIDAL has a host of MLK-inspired playlists by rappers who pay their respects to the civil rights activist (Check The Rhyme), musicians who knew and sung about him (Songs for Martin Luther King Jr. Day), and by the man himself, revisiting his most iconic speeches (Martin Luther King Jr. Speeches). I hope that all of this will be of value to you as we continue to honor the legacy of the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
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.