“Everything we do, everything we are as Black women…is in love for ourselves and each other and in struggle for what we grow and have grown into.” —Rebecca Carroll, In Love and Struggle

What does it mean to live as a Black woman in America? That’s the central question of In Love and Struggle—a series that centers the lived experiences of Black women through storytelling, music, and comedy.

First developed as a live event at the intersection of Black History Month and Women’s History Month, In Love and Struggle premiered in 2020 at the Audible Theater at the Minetta Lane Theatre in New York City featuring Anita Hill, Sasheer Zamata, Alicia Garza, and more.

Curated by cultural critic Rebecca Carroll with director/producer Monica L. Williams (chief curator and director of programs at 651Arts) and creative advisor Kamilah Forbes (executive producer of The Apollo Theater), In Love and Struggle was also released as an Audible audio special. The series takes its name from an encounter Carroll had with Alice Walker at a bookstore nearly 30 years ago.

Now, a year later, Carroll and Forbes have returned as executive producers with a new work exploring the real lives of Black women at every age. In In Love and Struggle: A Black Woman Grows in America, 11 women, ages 17 to 90, share stories about love, work, microaggressions, mothering, and just being. Directed by Noleca Radway, this powerful new Audible Original features everyone from TikTok star Ve’ondre Mitchell to two-time Pulitzer-winning playwright Lynn Nottage—and together their stories add up to a spellbinding collection.



Treasure Brooks

Activist and Student

Rebecca Carroll

Writer and Cultural Critic

Pearl Cleage

Author and Playwright

Jasmine Mans


Drew Dixon

Music Producer

Carmen de Lavallade

Dancer and Choreographer

Lynn Nottage


Franchesca Ramsey


CC Paschal

Podcast host

Ve’ondre Mitchell

Teen advocate

Bevy Smith

TV host

See the credits


“I vote because I don’t give away my power—not by force, and never by choice.”

—activist, educator, and writer Brittany Packnett Cunningham on her vote, and yours

“I already know that no one is listening to the women and that the women are supposed to lead. I have been knowing that my whole life.”

—Black Futures Lab cofounder Alicia Garza on listening to women

“The goal isn’t to agree. Not with your family, your office, not with the world. The goal is to disagree with decorum.”

—author Jodie Patterson on respecting difference



Aaron Philip

Model and speaker

Alicia Garza

Black Futures Lab cofounder

Anita Hill

Professor of social policy, law, and gender studies

Bassey Ikpi

Writer and mental health advocate

Brandee Younger


Brittany Packnett Cunningham

Educator, organizer, and writer

Jodie Patterson


Mahogany L. Browne

Writer, organizer, and educator

Mumu Fresh

Singer, songwriter, and activist

The Reverend Dr. Lakeesha Walrond

Educator and change agent

Sarah Jones

Performer and Writer

Salamishah Tillet

Professor of African American Studies and Creative Writing

Sasheer Zamata

Actor and podcast host

Toshi Reagon

Singer, composer, and musician