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Ask the Mary Sues: Our Pop Culture Picks to Celebrate Black History Month

What are you watching/reading/playing in February?

Fast color movie still the whole family sits around a table.

February is Black History Month, so naturally it’s a great time to spotlight the contributions of Black artists and creatives. From literature to art to film and television and beyond, Black narratives are essential and inimitable. We wanted to share some of our favorites, and we want to hear from you too: what are you watching/reading/playing this month? Let us know in the comments!

Alyssa Shotwell:

My pick is Separate Cinema: The First 100 Years of Black Poster Art by John Kisch. I hesitated to put historical art book by a non-Black author, but this was co-signed by Henry Louis Gates Jr. (who wrote the forward) and Spike Lee (who wrote the afterword) so I don’t feel that bad. I’ve been reading this book and pouring over its glossy pages for a few weeks now and I’m still not done, because I really like to sit with each section. The book’s strength lies in the large period of time it covers capturing both moments of horror and triumphs needed in discussions of Black film history. For any history, movie, or art nerds out there (to which I’m all three), I recommend checking this book out.

Princess Weekes:

Static Shock was a huge moment for me growing up. There have always been Black superheroes, but to have a show all about one, with a Black family at the focus was huge. Not to mention Static’s legacy in the comic book world brought to life through Dwayne McDuffie. I’m so glad I got to grow up seeing that normalized.

Briana Lawrence had two words for us: ABBOTT. ELEMENTARY. Enough said!

We also love this clip from Jimmy Kimmel Live!, where Kimmel surprises series creator and star Quinta Brunson with her 6th grade teacher whom Quinta named “Abbott Elementary” after. So touching!

Chelsea Steiner:

I’m late to the party on Julia Hart’s phenomenal superhero drama Fast Color, which stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Loki) as a woman with supernatural powers on the run from law enforcement and scientists who want to study and control her. When she returns home to her mother (Lorraine Toussaint) and her daughter (Saniyya Sidney), the three women begin to unpack their generational trauma and embrace their powers. Fast Color is currently streaming on Netflix, and I couldn’t recommend it more.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t include the series that singlehandedly got me (and others) through the pandemic. Robin Thede’s A Black Lady Sketch Show is the best sketch series of the past decade, and I cannot wait to see what season 3 has in store.

What are you watching this month?

(image: Codeblack films)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. She currently lives in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, son, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.