And welcome to the Cultural Reads Newsletter with book, music, and movie recommendations from around the world.
In this week’s newsletter: AI Playlist, Amenti HipHop, Notable People, Soft White Underbelly, Country Under My Skin
Need a new Spotify playlist?
You can easily create it yourself by using this AI tool.
Type in the vibe you’re looking for, and the algorithm turns it into a Spotify playlist.
It can be anything from “super popular 80s rock music” to “sad goth music because I just broke up with my girlfriend.”
Try it out here!
Guys, what should the theme be?
Trauma, someone yelled.
Damn, that’s heavy, but ok, ok. Let’s do it.
This is how Amenti’s HipHop freestyle performance started at BOOM festival in Portugal this summer.
Amenti’s founder, Gil, healed from psychosis through dance and founded Amenti to help people deal with their emotions through movement.
Amenti also performs theater shows and some of the best Hip-hop performances you’ll ever see (check out their Instagram)
Last week, I attended NOM.NOS, a show about guys with African roots who are searching for their names, stories, and family histories.
This incredibly inspiring group is worth following!
I only feature a few U.S. recommendations because most American movies and authors are already mainstream.
However, I found something worth sharing this week: the Soft White Underbelly YouTube channel.
This channel features documentary-style interviews with people on Skid Row, an L.A. neighborhood with one of the largest homeless populations in the United States.
Most of these individuals are “frequently invisible in society—the unhoused, the sex worker, the chronic drug user, the runaway, the gang member, the poor and the sick.”
It’s an incredibly raw and honest way of interviewing.
How often do you encounter an author who has smuggled weapons and rubbed shoulders with Fidel Castro?
Gioconda Belli is one of the few writers who did. In her memoir, The Country Under My Skin, she describes Nicaragua’s revolution and her role in it.
She’s one of the most influential Latin American authors and has been critical of gender issues and politics. The latter led to a forced exile after criticizing President Ortega (who led the revolution she participated in earlier in life).
I was very close to interviewing her in Nicaragua, but she was out of the country, unfortunately. Instead, I spoke to TV star Gabriel Traversari, who had ties to the Somoza family (who ruled before the revolution). His second aunt was, in fact, the dictator’s daughter.
You can find the interview here.
For the remote workers and digital nomads, have a look at RemoteBase.
Founder Chris shares this cultural integration tip: Build habits around local people… Like baristas! They understand the local area, and they’re happy to chat. At first, you’re a customer, but soon you’re friends.
RemoteBase is a newsletter sharing curated long-stay accommodations for nomads & traveling remote workers.