my shero janet mock interviewed tracee ellis ross, star of the new sitcom blackish, on larry king live. the interview covered everything from race to natural hair to big butts, all wrapped in tracee’s effortless humor. interesting tidbit, blackish isn’t meant to convey being “kinda black,” but instead the “isn” black folks deal with.
in my most humble opinion, kelela is one of the breakout stars on solange’s st. heron compilation album. the la-based singer/songwriter/producer laces her sultry voice over r&b infused electronic beats AND is absolutely stunning. in an interview with pitchfork, the daughter of ethiopian immigrants stated “i’ve always wanted to interrupt the space—more than sounding like anything, my commitment has just been to fuck it up.”
here’s a few links from around the interwebs that made me sad, mad, cry and hit my dougie:
1. i’ve been running from the story of another black teen shot for no other reason than being black — it’s just too hard. the fact we live in a country where these crimes can happen as a result of such visceral racism makes me sick to my stomach. for those who don’t know, renisha mcbride was brutally shot in her face when seeking help in a detroit suburb after getting into a car accident. the white homeowner claims he mistook her for an intruder, despite the fact that he was safely inside his home when he shot her through a screen door with a shotgun. watch this video produced by writer, activist and filmmaker dream hampton here that chronicles renisha’s senseless killing. her killer, ted wafer was arraigned last friday.
a few months ago, i told a group of friends that i refused to listen to any more of kanye west’s music. after his album graduation, things just got weird. his mainstream success seemed to have bred a pretty rank materialism, and i couldn’t relate anymore. in light of all the media hoopla as of late — a baby named north who is part kardashian, constant fights with paparazzi and a new album titled yeezus (rhymes with jesus) — i thought i was safe to give a side eye whenever someone mentioned his name. imagine my surprise when i watched kanye’s full BBC interview and began to actually relate.
after experiencing laughter, anger, empathy and confusion, i’m pretty clear that kanye is an artistic genius who will tantrum his way into recognition. while i still find some of his struggles unrelatable (he complained about fendi not accepting his designs, including the “omnipresent” leather jogging pant), i also bang really hard with his socio-political analysis regarding race and class.
here are my thoughts on 10 gems from kanye’s historical interview:
- “people are slowed down by their perceptions of themselves. i was taught that i can do anything, and i’m kanye west at age 36. just watch the next 10 years.” possess an undying love and appreciation for yourself — it’s your job to be your biggest fan.
- “go listen to all my music. it’s the codes of self-esteem. it’s the codes of who you are. if you’re a kanye west fan, you’re not a fan of me, you’re a fan of yourself.” not only should we posses an undying love and appreciation for ourselves, but it’s also necessary to be keenly aware of how we bless others.
- “you will win with me.” we have the power to change our karma and win in these streets. it’s all about unlocking our unlimited potential.
- “dopeness is what i like the most.” why settle for mediocrity when dopeness is at your fingertips?
- “when i say i am a God people say who does he think he is? i just told you, a God.” granted, i’ve never walked on water or fed thousands with two fish and a loaf of bread, but i do recognize that we’ve been created in the creator’s image. that makes us all a reflection of greatness and power.
anacostia is a washington, dc community that is home to such local landmarks as the big chair and frederick douglass house. it’s also one of the poorest parts of the city with the highest unemployment rates and lowest performing schools. john johnson, a local actor, poet, playwright and director takes up the issue of gentrification in anacostia in his play i am anacostia. in the play, he provides the space to have an open dialogue about the changing dynamics of communities east of the river.
here are some of john’s thoughts on the play:
what inspired the play?
the folks in the community i have conversation with everyday in southeast, dc.
if you ride the red and green line trains in dc after a few stops past gallery place you will get a city the is clearly still culturally divided. this play explores the differences with humor and honesty.
i want people to have a good time — a good time talking about our tough issues in a creative place called a theatre. i am looking forward to the conversations we will have after the show; they are usually very colorful and thought provoking.
Women think they need so much just to stay in trend and feel like they have enough. I learned that you really don’t need that much at all. Especially since fashion is an art form, I treat it as such. It’s not about abundance and mindless buying.
i stumbled upon the tiny closet a few months ago and fell in love with this sister’s sophisticated and funky style. while others would find these adjectives paradoxical, the blog’s creator has a wardrobe that effortlessly combines trendy, classic, boyish, and sexy pieces. i was very excited when she accepted my interview request, and her answers were more insightful than i could have imagined. three words: style, beauty, and brains.