The activist and memoirist gives EW her pop culture favorites.
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Unbound by Tarana Burke
Credit: Dougal MacArthur; Flatiron Books

Tarana Burke is most famous for her role as the founder of the #MeToo movement — she's been using the phrase to raise awareness about sexual abuse and assault since 2006 — and now she's added "memoirist" to her resumé. In Unbound, she recounts the ways in which traumatic moments of her childhood led to a life of activism, and how she came to launch the movement in the first place. In honor of the book's publication, the author offered up her own recommendations for essential (to her) pop culture.

My favorite book as a child

Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor. This book got my little rebel heart riled up as a kid. It helped me understand better how and why injustice played out the way it did for Black folks.

The last book that made me cry

You Are Your Best Thing, coedited by Brene Brown and myself — I don't know if it's cheating to add my own book, but so many of these essays made me weep openly. Tears of joy and pain and familiarity and catharsis. 

The first album I bought with my own money

Tender Lover by Babyface. I was 15 and I still remember leaving the store and fighting with the packaging to get it open and in to my walkman. I LOVE this album to this day. 

The last concert I attended

IRL it was the Global Citizen festival; I'm not a huge concert person, but I will go out for Mary [J. Blige] and Beyoncé every time. I haven't missed many Verzuz during quarantine either — but earlier this year reggae legend Beres Hammond did a virtual concert and it was MAGICAL!! 

The movie I watch over and over

The Color Purple. I know every word, every movement, every song, every ad lib of this movie. It is a balm for me. 

The last TV show that made me laugh out loud

Ted Lasso is one of the funniest shows I have seen in a while. Also, Atlanta makes me belly laugh always. 

The books I read that helped inform my own writing

Work by Black women from Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison, to Imani Perry and Lorene Cary.

The last TV show I binged

Manifest — and I feel like I willed this new fourth season into fruition so there is that. 

The fictional world I'd most like to live in

Ashridge, the enchanted forest from Maleficent. I wouldn't dress like a fairy or anything, but I would wear loose-fitting clothes and traipse around with the fairies all day. 

The writer I wish more people knew about

Gayl Jones. She was an inspiration for the great Toni Morrison. Not much more to say. She has a new book [Palmyres] releasing the same day as mine. Everyone should get it. 

The movie I think everyone should watch

Exterminate All the Brutes. It's one thing to say Black Lives Matter; it's another to get a deep understanding of why the need for the phrase and movement came about. This film can help with that understanding.

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