In You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience (6.5 hours), Tarana Burke (creator of the #MeToo movement) and Dr. Brené Brown curate a collection of personal essays by Black writers and activists in an effort to apply Brown’s work on shame, resilience and vulnerability to the Black experience in America. Burke and Brown’s conversational preface feels like an engaging podcast as they explain the process of their collaboration.
The contributors, who include Jason Reynolds, Austin Channing Brown, Kiese Laymon, Laverne Cox and Imani Perry, read their own essays, infusing the listening experience with a range of voices and styles. These performances require the listener to reckon with poignant, often painful experiences that speak to the ways in which white supremacy adds an extra barrier to the process of overcoming shame. By narrating their personal stories, the contributors, along with Brown and Burke, demonstrate what is gained by bringing one’s authentic self to the work of deconstructing oppressive power structures. At the end of each essay, the authors’ biographies are read by actors Mirron Willis, Bahni Turpin, J.D. Jackson or L. Morgan Lee.
The production of this audiobook allows the listener to feel that the political is personal.