Books·My Life in Books

4 books that 21 Black Futures playwright and poet Peace Akintade loved reading

The Saskatoon poet and writer of Madness with Rocks shares the books she's loved reading. 21 Black Futures premieres on CBC Gem on Feb. 12.

21 Black Futures premieres on CBC Gem on Feb. 12

Peace Akintade is the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild's Youth Poet Laurate for 2020-21. (Don Somers/CBC)

Peace Akintade is a Saskatoon poet, public speaker, playwright and Saskatchewan's youth poet laureate for 2020-21. 

Akintade is a contributor to 21 Black Futures, a new anthology series featuring 63 Black Canadian playwrights, directors and performers addressing the question, "What is the future of Blackness?"

The 21 Black Futures production Madness with Rocks was written by Peace Akintade, directed by Jamie Robinson and performed by Dion Johnstone (pictured). (CBC)

Presented by CBC Arts in partnership with Obsidian Theatre Company, 21 Black Futures will premiere on CBC Gem on Feb. 12. Subsequent episodes will be released on Feb. 19 and Feb. 26.

Akintade's contribution to the 21 Black Futures anthology series is titled Madness with Rocks. Written by Akintade, directed by Jamie Robinson and performed by Dion Johnstone, Madness with Rocks is a futuristic allegorical tale that looks at nature, Nigerian fables and poetry to explore the magic of storytelling. 

Peace Akintade talked to CBC Books about four books she loved reading.

Born A Crime by Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah is a South African comedian, television host, political commentator and author. (Rich Fury/Getty Images for The Recording Academy, Anchor Canada)

"When I was younger, my mother read Born A Crime by Trevor Noah as a bedtime story. My siblings and I didn't understand the racial nuances or hidden meanings yet, but the lighthearted stories about going to prom, getting his first haircut and fitting into a new school resonated with us.

During a time when we slept on the floor with one blanket to share, this book treated us with warmth and understanding.

"We would laugh together at scenes where he ran from his mom until our stomachs hurt! During a time when we slept on the floor with one blanket to share, this book treated us with warmth and understanding." 

Exit Thru The Afro by Jalynn Harris 

Jalynn Harris is a Baltimore poet, educator, editor and press founder. (jalynnharris.com )

"In my journey to evolve in my artistry, Exit Thru the Afro by Jalynn Harris is one of my biggest inspirations. Her work showcases lyrical storytelling of Black queer people without limiting their experience to just trauma. There is joy, laughter and kindness in the stories told, and it changes the narrative to how we as a society can move forward.

Her work showcases lyrical storytelling of Black queer people without limiting their experience to just trauma.

"Black History Month is a month to celebrate Black joy too."

All About Love by bell hooks 

bell hooks is an American author and feminist. (Alex Lozupone/Wikimedia Commons, William Morrow Paperbacks)

"All About Love by bell hooks came to me when I was dealing with self-loathing and intense imposter syndrome. The type of love I needed was not available for me. Instead of leaving the toxic environment, I chastened myself for wanting the wrong type of love. bell talked about rethinking self-love and the interconnectedness of ideal love. I felt heard and seen in a way that brings peace and compassion.

bell talked about rethinking self-love and the interconnectedness of ideal love. I felt heard and seen in a way that brings peace and compassion.

"I am now the embodiment of my art because that is my love language. More importantly, I know that I have the right to be happy and love fully."

A God Dance in Human Cloth by Nasra Adem 

Nasra Adem is the author of A God Dance in Human Cloth. (Glass Buffalo Publishing, Nasra Adem)

"I met Nasra during a showcase for the Voices of Today poetry competition in 2019. Their positive energy lifted me from the ground and told me I was going to be okay. On the flight home, I binge-read their entire poetry book, A God Dance in Human Cloth, and wept. Nasra takes us on a journey of self-discovery while singing about religion, family and art.

Nasra takes us on a journey of  self-discovery while singing about religion, family and art.

"They were the first artist that I connected with as an up-and-coming poet. Since then, I go back and read my favourite poems just to feel their warm energy."

Peace Akintade's comments have been edited for length and clarity.

Watch the trailer for 21 Black Futures 

21 Black Futures trailer

3 months ago
1:44
Presented by Obsidian Theatre and CBC Arts, 21 Black Futures premieres Friday, February 12 on CBC Gem. 1:44

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