The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Culture Corner—Books and Videos worth a Look:

Oct 11, 2021

Movie: Respect, 2021, featuring Skye Dakota Turner as the young Aretha Franklin, Jennifer Hudson as the adult, Audra McDonald as her mother, and many others in this strong cast. Available in theaters and for streaming at home.

This film follows Aretha Franklin through her life and development and shows the influences on her of the men in her life, of her family and of the church community. It also shows how she was a product of the times: growing up in Detroit, her involvement in the civil rights movement, its impact on her, and her voice joining the call for freedom. More than anything, this movie is about her voice, her music and how her songs resounded with all her listeners in a time where millions were raising their voices. Even today you can hear an echo of the power of that time; her voice carries the hopes and dreams of us all.

Book: The Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin. Book 1 of 3 Is The Fifth Season, 2015.

This award-winning author has written an amazing science fiction work that describes a dystopian world where “… the world ends … for the last time. It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world’s sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun. It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester. This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.”

It highlights race, class, exploitation, brutal effects of climate change, and the need and call for change. All this in a world imagined like nothing we’ve seen, and yet hauntingly echoes our own.