Foreword Reviews

Rebel Speak

A Justice Movement Mixtape

Rebel Speak records searing, insightful dialogues between Bryonn Rolly Bain and activists dedicated to police abolition and fighting mass incarceration.

Bain speaks with activists at all stages of their careers, from relative newcomers like Jennifer Claypool and Wendy Staggs, to legendary veterans like Dolores Huerta and Harry Belafonte. Each discusses the work they have done; some also describe their own horrific experiences with America’s criminal (in)justice system, which drove them to become activists. The book ends on a personal note: Bain interviews his brother Cheyenne about his unjust imprisonment and plans for rebuilding his life.

Many dialogues suggest means of ensuring that no one else has to suffer behind bars. They extol the power of education, the arts, and political activism, both to improve the lives of those affected by incarceration and to dismantle the prison industrial complex as we know it. Raw, emotional testimonies speak to the topics’ urgency—including the trauma that will continue to befall others if ordinary citizens do not push those in power to abandon cruel, oppressive systems.

Coming at a time when those who benefit from white supremacy are attacking critical race theory and Black perspectives generally, Rebel Speak is an impassioned addition to conversations about how America was designed to harm Black citizens—and how it continues to do so.

Reviewed by Eileen Gonzalez

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the publisher for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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