Black Voices

New Book Celebrates Chicago’s Black Culture and Influence

New Book Celebrates Chicago’s Black Culture and Influence

Chicago native Arionne Nettles pens a love letter to Chicago in her new book titled, “We Are the Culture: Black Chicago’s Influence on Everything.”

In the book, she couples her family’s experience with the city’s history, celebrating the facets she feels often go unrecognized.

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“This book is the story of just some of those magic-makers — some we talk about, but many don’t,” Nettles writes in the book. “It’s a celebration of their greatness and what they achieved, because when we look back on their collective contributions, we see that one thing is clear: Black Chicago contributed to everything.”

When asked why she chose the topic, Nettles said she wanted to write something that paid homage to the city that raised her. 

“Being a Chicagoan and loving this place so much, I recognized that especially here in Chicago, how we are viewed sometimes by the rest of the country and the world, it’s not as influential as we really are,” Nettles said. “Then, being a Black Chicagoan, I wanted to make sure that I brought that home and I brought in a lot of the culture that I grew up in.”

The book will be released on April 16.

The book also features songs to accompany certain sections or chapters. Nettles curated the full playlist below. 

“We are the Culture: Black Chicagos Influence on Everything” Official Playlist 

“Sunday Candy” by Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment 

“How I Got Over” by Mahalia Jackson

“I’m Ready” by Muddy Waters

“Sweet Thing” by Rufus and Chaka Khan 

“Angels” by Chance the Rapper

“Les Fleurs” by Minnie Riperton

“Have You Seen Her” by the Chi-Lites

“I Am Changing” by Jennifer Hudson

“TV Is The Thing (This Year)” by Dinah Washington 

“Fantasie Nègre” by Florence Price

“GO!” by Common

“VRY BLK” by Jamila Woods featuring Noname

“Home” by BJ the Chicago Kid

Follow Angel Idowu on Twitter: @angelidowu3

Angel Idowu is the JCS Fund of the DuPage Foundation Arts Correspondent.

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