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Order from MahoganyBooks
For more than a decade, Ramunda and Derrick Young have been promoting black authors and connecting with black readers. They began MahoganyBooks in 2007 as an online retailer with a focus on “books written for, by, or about people of the African Diaspora,” then transitioned into a physical bookshop in Anacostia in 2017. Their storefront was the first new bookstore east of the Anacostia River in more than 20 years. During the coronavirus pandemic, MahoganyBooks is still going strong: They’re offering curbside pickup Tuesday through Friday, they have a thriving online store, and they offer expertly curated book bundles for young people, from early readers to high schoolers. MahoganyBooks is also organizing virtual events through their “Front Row” series, which brings conversations with black authors to viewers’ screens. Their collection is wide-ranging and diverse, including authors and titles from more than just the Big Five publishers’ frontlist catalogs. As Ramunda Young told City Paper in 2018, black books matter to the people of Anacostia and D.C. at large. “The books on these shelves are critical for them, they’re critical for us, they’re critical for our development, they’re critical for our self-esteem,” she said. Books are available to purchase by calling (202) 844-2062 or online at mahoganybooks.com. Prices vary. —Emma Sarappo
Stream 40 years of hardcore punk and spend your money supporting emerging artists
After go-go, no genre of music is as synonymous with D.C. as hardcore punk. Arguably (and people will argue, because nothing lends itself to circular debate quite like the origins and taxonomy of punk music), the foundation of hardcore is Dischord Records, an independent, anti-corporate, DIY label founded in 1980 by Jeff Nelson and punk icon Ian MacKaye. The label planted a flag at the partition between the spastic, reactive punk of the ’70s and the punk of the ’80s, which was hard, fast, and nakedly political. Dischord is notable for its community-mindedness and determination to put principle before profit, so it’s no great surprise that their 40-year catalog of iconic albums is free for all to stream on Bandcamp. That means anyone with Wi-Fi (or careless neighbors) can ruin their eardrums with the help of Void, Minor Threat, Teen Idles, The Nation of Ulysses, Rites of Spring, Slant 6, and, of course, Fugazi. Once hours of listening have infused you with a radical urge to support the current standard bearers of the punk ethos, cancel Spotify Premium and use some of the money you’ve saved to buy music from independent artists. Better yet, do it on June 5, when Bandcamp will waive its usual 15 percent fee, so that more money goes directly from you to the bands—and here’s a list of artists that offering special releases or giving their proceeds to racial justice organizations. Come back to buy on June 19, too, when Bandcamp will donate its share of sales to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Punk has already survived Reagan, two Bushes, and Good Charlotte—all the more reason to help keep it from becoming another casualty of COVID-19. The Dischord catalog is available at dischord.bandcamp.com. On June 5, all proceeds go directly to artists. On June 19, all of Bandcamp’s share will go to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Prices vary. —Will Lennon