This essay-review examines Emily J. Lordi's The Meaning of Soul: Black Music and Resilience since the 1960s (2020), Sharrell D. Luckett's African American Arts: Activism, Aesthetics, and Futurity (2019), and Kimberly Mack's Fictional Blues: Narrative Self-Invention from Bessie Smith to Jack White (2020). Although differing in scope and form, the three books are recent works that are invested in explicating Black, and especially Black women's, artistic creation as sites of and spaces for alternative Black world-making. This review argues that these works share a demand to consider how Black expressive culture is personal and political, singular and social, and how it can offer creative, collective, and intersectional strategies for living in a more liberatory world. Indeed, this review illustrates how, for past and present Black artists, and Black women artists in particular, cultural production is a key site of struggle in grappling with multiple and concomitant oppressions as well as developing alternative formations of Black living and being, inevitably showcasing the importance of Black cultural production in our contemporary world of anti-Black racism. Although differing in scope⋯ and form, the three books are recent works that are invested in explicating Black, and especially Black women's, artistic creation as sites of and spaces for alternative Black world-making.
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