What: A bundle of speeches from iconic Black leader Angela Davis.
Why we care: Spike Lee’s just-released Netflix movie, Da 5 Bloods, which is set partially during the Vietnam war, opens with the sound of Black activism. A group of Black soldiers traversing Vietnam is intercut with a montage of speeches from Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael, along with Muhammad Ali’s famous interview, in which he said “I ain’t got nothing against them Vietcong.” It’s a stirring call to arms about the treatment of Black people in America in the 1960’s, which is just as relevant today. And it wouldn’t be complete without Angela Davis, the legendary activist who is still thriving in 2020, and is also included in Lee’s opening montage.
Davis is a scholar, author, and leader whose intersectional messages about people of color, feminists, leftists, and the LGBT community resonate with a wide audience. Born in Birmingham, Alabama, site of the infamous church bombing that killed four young Black girls in 1963, Davis has been alternately celebrated and persecuted during her seven decades of activism, going back to her stint protesting segregation as a Girl Scout in 1959. Now that George Floyd’s death at the hands of police has inspired a critical mass to educate themselves on anti-racism, it’s a perfect time to seek out Davis’s vital contribution to the conversation.
As a Twitter user who goes by poesrogue helpfully points out, Spotify has a treasure trove of Davis speeches, interviews, and spoken word albums streaming for free. These include the 1971 classic Angela Davis Speaks, along with newer material such as 2011’s The Meaning of Freedom. You won’t find a more appropriate (free!) soundtrack heading into what promises to be the most widely celebrated Juneteenth weekend in some time.