The Field Guide to the Black Experience

Kellee Massey

The aim of this auditory sound walk through Harlem, is to give others an insight to the experiences that Black people have as they navigate their world. These experiences are told in the form of auditory conversations and narratives, told by the people I interviewed, in their own voices.


I’m investigating the experiences black children and young adults have as they learn to navigate their world. Specifically, building a narrative around ‘the talk,’ police brutality, navigating environments, and situations dealing with authority figures.

The Talk, narrowly defined, is a conversation Black parents/parental figures have with their children to tell them how to act when dealing police/authority figures, in the hope that they come home alive at the end of the encounter. More broadly, the talk can encompass other situations that as Black people, we have to consider to navigate the world we live in. The conversations found in the field guide, often begin with the talk and continue into a broader range of conversation.

These conversations will be heard while a person walks through Harlem. By having the user listen to people telling their own stories, while walking through a neighborhood steeped in Black history, it is my hope to not only engage the user, but also to bring about a sense of empathy.

These conversations are honest, raw, and deal with sensitive topics that can be upsetting to some people. Still, I feel like these conversations are important to have in the hopes of starting conversations.

There will also be a call to action section that will give the audience resources on steps that they can take to be more aware of what’s going on around them, and how to be better allies.