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A fresh perspective on old ideas

Historically, in order for Black intellectual products to be viable to mainstream society, there needed to be a white institution to stamp the validity of the intellectual product.  Even artistic concepts that pertain specifically to Black people have often required white people, and their institutions, to sanction them as legitimate.

LBS’ autonomous intellectual innovations are products created by members of the organization aligned with our particular framework and beliefs.  These innovations include music and spoken word projects, critical texts and poetry books, paraphernalia and more.

Through our private trainings, public talks, published books and music, curated art, and retail merchandise we are able to share, and when possible monetize, our work allowing for a uniquely independent perspective on issues impacting our community that we hope gains more traction in the academic and cultural mainstream.

The value of our autonomous intellectual innovations lies in its function as an accessory of learning and entertainment that helps to concretize a lot of the hyper-intellectual aspects of our work into a common and more digestible format.

Our innovations offer a sustainable financial contribution to our on-going work and way for Black families and communities who may not have the time and energy to labor with us in the work, to invest and mutually benefit from products that educate and entertain.

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Current Projects

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  • Malcolm X Talks are monthly series of free conversations, seminars, and workshops that are free to the public and offer reflections on the Black experience in Baltimore.  Join us, usually on the last Friday of the month, as we unpack complex public policy, elevate the voice and work of Black people, and share our art and autonomous intellectual innovations.  Our Malcolm X Talks serve as a resource for 21st Century nation-building.
  • We view ourselves as political ambassadors animated by the legacy of the Black freedom struggle. As such, we honor our commitment to education and political change by creating talks that are engaging, challenging, and interactive. 
  • Our past events have integrated spoken word and hip hop performances, audio-visual imagery, public debate formats, and panel discussions as our preferred means for information dissemination. All of our events emphasize a focus on audience participation and allow for question and answer time.

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  • The Black Book: Reflections from Baltimore’s Grassroots is a text that puts academic theory in conversation with the lived experience of black folks in one of America’s most dysfunctional cities. The collection of essays shows how Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle has applied some of the most cutting edge theoretical concepts in their grassroots activism, creating a unique text which combines academic analysis with personal narrative to grounds abstract theory in the real life struggle.

  • Worse Than Trump: The American Plantation explores the pitfalls of contemporary activism, Black Nationalism, racism in the Democratic Party and describes in detail the author’s experiences of the Baltimore Uprising in 2015. Black people must begin to look for freedom beyond the exploitative relationship they have with liberals and the political Left, and Worse Than Trump provides them with a way to do that.

  • New Timbuktu is an online platform linking academic analysis and political pragmatism to promote emancipatory possibilities for thriving Black communities.
  • The New Timbuktu Platform is an initiative designed to function as a grassroots intervention into the academy. The platform began in 2014 under the leadership of Lawrence Grandpre, the Director of Research for Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle (LBS), and is oriented towards molds of scholarship and analysis that accurately reflect the lived reality of Black life in America. And thus the online learning community reorients scholarship towards the production of material benefits for oppressed people. Drawing on community organizing, political advocacy, and intercollegiate policy debate experiences, The New Timbuktu Platform seeks to create dialogues between community activists, citizen scholars, and professional academics that offer unique perspectives for both activism and academia.
  • In a world where it has become in vogue to talk about race, equality, and struggle, it seems harder and harder to truly understand the complex dynamics which impact our lives. Social media has increased visibility of oppression and given millions a platform to discuss issues, but has often created a shallow pool analysis which fails to understand the complex history of radical Black struggle and the complicated, at times, counterintuitive realities of how power works.
  • Rather than add to the increasing deluge of hot, pop culture centered takes on race relations, the New Timbuktu Platform seeks to synthesize the cutting edge academic experience with real-world practical experience to create unique insights on how to advance social justice in an increasingly complex world.

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