BL Shirelle is a hip-hop artist and activist who uses her music to share her experiences with police violence, addiction and the realities of prison for Black women. Her debut album, Assata Troi – which translates to “she who struggles is a warrior” – is described as a timeless hip hop classic that speaks of hope in our era of mass incarceration and systemic racism. In addition to her own music, BL is the Deputy Director of Die Jim Crow Records – the first record label in the United States for formerly and currently incarcerated musicians. We explore how 20 years in and out of prison has shaped her identity and informed her activism, and the lessons she’s learned from her elders within the prison system, who helped inspire and nurture her throughout her adolescence.
Busy Being Black is the podcast exploring how we live in the fullness of our queer Black lives. If you like what you hear, please take a moment to rate, review and subscribe; doing so lets others like us hear the voices amplified here.