James Baldwin, Seen Through His Record Collection

January 22, 2021

At Hyperallergic, Valentina Di Liscia speaks to Hammer Museum curator Ikechúkwú Onyewuenyi, who compiled a 32-hour Spotify playlist based on James Baldwin‘s sprawling record collection, which includes Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Shirley Bassey, and more. “The playlist is a balm of sorts when one is writing,” Onyewuenyi says. “Baldwin referred to his office as a ‘torture chamber.’ We’ve all encountered those moments of writers’ block, where the process of putting pen to paper feels like bloodletting. That process of torture for Baldwin was negotiated with these records.”

Image source: Allan Warren

is a writer and illustrator. She is the author of two illustrated books, Last Night's Reading (Penguin Books, 2015) and Sanpaku (Archaia 2018).

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