Shantrelle P. Lewis

Black is the new Black

I can’t say that I necessarily coined this phrase. However, I can admit that I’ve used it forever. Ever since I was aware that ‘Black was the thing to be’ (shout-out to ’Pac!). Despite having traveled back and forth for the past several years to the Netherlands, in exploration of what Blackness means here, outside of a U.S. American context, I was initially reluctant to say yes to this call to co-curate this year’s Read My World Festival. That hesitation had more to do with the fact that I’m hyper aware of the dominant narratives of whose Black is and whose Black ain’t.

But then I remembered, that as a daughter of New Orleans, whose world view has been shaped by institutions such as Howard University and the diversity of Blackness that exists within the borders of the huge empire that is the United States of America, I knew I had to do this. Blackness nowhere is a monolith. We are as diverse in the U.S. as you are here, in the Netherlands. Our identities are similar and familiar yet nuanced and complicated. It is my hope, that with this very small microcosm of some of the boldest voices in our generation you are duly engaged and reminded of how much there is for us to learn about each other, in our journey towards liberation for people of African descent everywhere! Stay Black. Stay Up.

With Love, Light and In Possibility,

– Shantrelle P. Lewis.


Shantrelle P. Lewis (1978) is curator, historica en documentairemaker afkomstig uit New Orleans. Op de momenten dat zij niet over de wereld reist woont zij in Philadelphia. Ze is een van de twee curatoren van het Read My World Festival 2017.

Ze schrijft o.a. voor The New York TimesThe Washington Post, NPRBBCThe Art NewspaperArt Net en Huffingtonpost. Haar debuutroman Dandy Lion verscheen in het voorjaar van 2017 in Amerika.