Autumn has only just begun, but 2020 has already been a study in contrasts: Some of us have taken to the streets, but even more of us spent an unprecedented amount of our time at home this year. Our discourse has unimaginably become even more divided, but we are holding our loved ones and ideals closer. We are both grieving and grasping at the desperate hope that things are, in fact, as different this time—and as we continue to come to terms with a new normal, we also recognize that it is anything but.
While our televisions have provided plenty in the way of entertainment these past six months, some of us have turned to the written word for comfort during this time of uncertainty and unrest. The insights, inspiration and empathy found in books, poems, song lyrics—and yes, even those screenplays that make our favorite shows and films sing—have been more than a happy distraction. In many ways, they’ve been a reminder that even in the midst of suppression, our minds and creativity remain free, unfiltered and the sharpest tools in our arsenal.
Here at The Root, we’re in the business of words—a predominately Black staff writing for Black readers. But we’re not just all about news: In early 2018, our Editor-in-Chief Danielle Belton launched It’s Lit!, a showcase for original short fiction intended to celebrate the writers in our midst. Passing the torch to me, Maiysha Kai (managing editor of The Glow Up), the platform has since grown, highlighting new and noteworthy offerings from Black writers and the vast world of Black literature—and because we just can’t get enough of Black brilliance, on Friday, It’s Lit! expands yet again, as we bring the voices of these wordsmiths directly to you via our new podcast, The Root Presents: It’s Lit!
Co-hosted by Danielle and myself (co-producing with Micaela Heck from our sister site, Lifehacker) The Root Presents: It’s Lit! centers the voices and ideas of Black writers—not only authors but journalists and essayists; thought leaders and dreamers; poets and playwrights; screenwriters and songwriters. It’s Lit! stands at the intersection of Black literature and Black lives—because both matter.
Our first guest? New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and our number one 2020 Root 100 honoree Nikole Hannah-Jones, who will speak candidly about the ever-expanding impact of The 1619 Project, (the next phase of which will be powered by Lionsgate and none other than Oprah) the importance of Black investigative journalism, and the debt owed by America to its Black founders.
Join us as the first episode of The Root Presents: It’s Lit!, featuring the incredible Nikole Hannah-Jones, goes live on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, Google Podcasts, Amazon, NPR One, TuneIn, and Radio Public.
And as always, keep it lit!