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Envisioning Black Futures

Event date: 
Saturday, December 5, 2020 - 7:30pm to 9:00pm

Charis welcomes co-editors Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham and contributors Donovan X. Ramsey and Antonio M. Johnson, for a conversation moderated by Theo Tyson in celebration of the multidisciplinary wonder, Black Futures. This event is co-sponsored by the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History and For Keeps Books. 

Black Futures asks what does it mean to be Black and alive right now?  An archive of collective memory and exuberant testimony. A luminous map to navigate an opaque and disorienting present. An infinite geography of possible futures. 

Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham bring together this collection of work—images, photos, essays, memes, dialogues, recipes, tweets, poetry, and more—to tell the story of the radical, imaginative, provocative, and gorgeous world that Black creators bring forth today. The book presents a succession of startling and beautiful pieces that generate an entrancing rhythm: Readers move from conversations with activists and academics to memes and Instagram posts, from powerful essays to dazzling paintings and insightful infographics.

In answering the question of what it means to be Black and alive, Black Futures opens a prismatic vision of possibility for every reader.

This event is free and open to all people, especially to those who have no income or low income right now, but we encourage and appreciate a solidarity donation in support of the work of Charis Circle, our programming non-profit. Charis Circle's mission is to foster sustainable feminist communities, work for social justice, and encourage the expression of diverse and marginalized voices.

This event takes place on crowdcast, Charis' virtual event platform. Register here.

We will be archiving this event and adding closed captioning as soon as possible after airing so that it will be accessible to deaf and HOH people. If you have other accessibility needs or if you are someone who has skills in making digital events more accessible please don't hesitate to reach out to We are actively learning the best practices for this technology and we welcome your feedback as we begin this new way of connecting across distances.

By attending our virtual event you agree to our Code of Conduct: Our event seeks to provide a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), class, or technology choices. We do not tolerate harassment in any form. Sexual language and imagery are not appropriate. Anyone violating these rules will be expelled from this event and all future events at the discretion of the organizers. Please report all harassment to immediately.

Kimberly Drew is a writer, curator, and activist. Drew received her B.A. from Smith College in art history and African-American studies. During her time at Smith, she launched the Tumblr blog Black Contemporary Art, which has featured artwork by nearly 5,000 black artists. Drew's writing has appeared in Vanity Fair, Elle UK, and Glamour. She lives in Brooklyn, New York (just a few blocks away from Jenna Wortham). Twitter: @museummammy Instagram: @museummammy

Jenna Wortham is a staff writer for the New York TimesMagazine. She is also co-host of the podcast Still Processing, as well as a sound healer, reiki practitioner, and herbalist, all of which she lovingly practices on Kimberly Drew. She is currently working on a book about the body and dissociation. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. Instagram: 

Donovan X. Ramsey is an indispensable voice on issues of identity, politics, and patterns of power in America. Ramsey served most recently as the commentary editor at The Marshall Project, a Pulitzer Prize-winning news organization dedicated to the U.S. criminal legal system. Ramsey holds a master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Morehouse College. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and is currently completing his first book, a history of the crack cocaine epidemic for One World

Antonio “Tone” Johnson is an emerging visual artist whose work focuses on concepts of home and healing. Johnson, a self-taught photographer, was raised in West Philadelphia and educated at Morgan State University, a his­torically Black college in Baltimore. Today, he calls Brooklyn home. His work is undeniably in­timate, authentic, and without frills. Johnson’s projectYou Next focuses on barbershops as sites for the cultivation of Black male identity and wellness. In exploring barbershops, he’s interested in capturing how those spaces and the communities within them are constructed and maintained. Johnson has a steadfast desire to create images of otherwise hidden parts of society. Ultimately, by shining a light on spaces like barbershops, he hopes to create relationships between them and viewers, con­nections that would not otherwise exist.  Twitter: @antoniomjohnson • Instagram: @antoniomjohnson @theyounextproject

Theo Tyson is a curator and avant-garde academic. Her research is firmly rooted in historical and contemporary photography and the performativity of fashioning an identity. She uses fashion, art, and sociology to marry visual and material culture as an accessible, universal language to offer sartorial narratives that provide unique points of entry for civil discourse. Having worked previously with SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film and Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Tyson is currently the Polly Thayer Starr Fellow in American Art and Culture at the Boston Athenæum. twitter: @ms_theotyson | instagram: @ms_theotyson | site:


Event address: 
Black Futures Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399181139
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: One World - December 1st, 2020

“A literary experience unlike any I’ve had in recent memory . . . a blueprint for this moment and the next, for where Black folks have been and where they might be going.”—The New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice)

What does it mean to be Black and alive right now?

This Is What I Know About Art (Pocket Change Collective) Cover Image
By Kimberly Drew, Ashley Lukashevsky (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780593095188
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Workshop - June 2nd, 2020

Pocket Change Collective was born out of a need for space. Space to think. Space to connect. Space to be yourself. And this is your invitation to join us.

"Drew's experience teaches us to embrace what we are afraid of and be true to ourselves. She uses her passion to change the art world and invites us to join her."--Janelle Monáe, award-winning singer, actress, and producer

Event Summary: 
Charis welcomes co-editors Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham and contributors Donovan X. Ramsey and Tone Johnson, for a conversation moderated by Theo Tyson in celebration of the multidisciplinary wonder, Black Futures.