I’ve been flattened by this album every time I’ve listened to it. This world doesn’t deserve A Seat at the Table and Lemonade in the same year, but we got it anyway.
I’ve been looking for articles celebrating these two sisters releasing their odes to black femininity that are so utterly appropriate for each woman, but all anyone can talk about is how Solange is sure gonna endanger Beyoncé’s Grammy! Some people like her album more than Beyoncé’s!
Ugh. Can y’all shut the fuck up? First of all, who gives a fuck about the Grammys. Second of all, why don’t we focus on what is good about each of these albums and why we’re losing our collective shits over both of them?
The year 2016 has been a crock of bullshit in a lot of ways, but black art is not one of those. Netflix graced us with The Get Down and Luke Cage, HBO debuted Issa Rae’s long-awaited Insecure last week, and Donald Glover released his brilliant series, Atlanta. Finally, we’re not compelled to support any and every black work out of rarity (at least for now). We can pick and choose.
If you love shows like Game of Thrones, Avatar: The Last Airbender and Marco Polo, you should probably to choose to support Malika: Warrior Queen. Set in fictional fifteenth century West Africa, Malika is queen and military commander of Azzaz, a large empire with five provinces she inherited from her father. Trouble arises within Malika’s council, as well as abroad, with a foreign empire planning to destroy her people (sound familiar?)
We must stop denying racism and instead acknowledge it, examine it, critique it, make every attempt to abolish it. We live in a racist society where people of color have less agency than white people. We internalize the reality of the situation, regardless of which race we are. If you’ve ever seen that video of black kids saying they’d rather have white dolls because they’re more beautiful, you’ve seen (a minute example of) what internalized racism does. If you view the status of black people in this country – more likely to live in poverty, more likely to be accused of crimes, more likely to go to jail, more likely to be on welfare, etc. – and do not actively consider it the effect of hundreds of years of subjugation, starting with forced removal and slavery, and consistent inequality since – then you are passively blaming black people for their own status in this country. (more…)
Several powerful themes emerged from the Republican National Convention last week: American society is synonymous with freedom, our Constitution is sacred and the only instrument capable of securing our freedom, and law and order must be restored in a country that has succumbed to widespread violence. The gusto in support of such ideas was on full display during the affair’s dramatic finale, but do they accurately portray how the broken system of criminal justice plagues our country?
Before the Republican Party turned to demagoguery to inspire their reactionary base, Georgetown University Law professor David Cole published No Equal Justice, a depressing study of our country’s criminal justice system. In the book, he shows that the Constitution fails to protect all Americans’ rights equally, and that the Supreme Court has encouraged Fourth Amendment abuses by law enforcement in black communities.(more…)
I feel as though I’ve been through an emotional ringer the past two weeks, and I know I’m not alone. I, and others like me, have been assaulted with headlines, videos and links to bleeding, dying black bodies. I have watched young men and women, bold enough to cry out in front of cameras, critics and cops, suddenly silenced. I have watched murderers walk away from dead black men and women with little consequence and proactive protection. I am tired.
Over the July 4th weekend, before the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, I consumed an instructive dose of history from Christopher Hitchens’ short biography, Thomas Jefferson: Author of America. Introducing his subject, Hitchens wrote, “It would be lazy or obvious to say that he contained contradictions or paradoxes. This is true of everybody, and everything. It would be infinitely more surprising to strike upon a historic figure, or indeed a nation, that was not subject to this law. Jefferson did not embody contradiction. Jefferson was a contradiction.”
Here, the essence of an incredibly influential man is asserted, and the difficulty in painting an accurate representation of an entire nation is revealed. Given the diverse perspectives, styles, shading, hues, and brushes available, it’s impossible to render an authentic sketch of any nation.(more…)
For 12 years, I was required to pledge my allegiance to, “…one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” For 20+ years, I have celebrated “our independence” from the oppressors, across the pond.
Today however, I am in total shock and disappointment at a nation that permits the execution of its citizens (natural-born or otherwise). Today, I am in solidarity with those whose are in utter disbelief that lives, black lives to be exact, can be so easily discarded. Today, I am outraged, unconsolably so. Today, has irrevocably changed my life. (more…)
Elle Varner’s post made me sad. I’m not exactly sure why it did; it is entirely possible to create a beautiful R&B album in 2013 and say something problematic in 2016. Still, I sit here guilty of the same thing Erykah Badu fans were guilty of last month: equating musical excellence with cultural awareness. Obviously, we still love Erykah Badu, just as we still love Elle Varner, and they may be culturally aware on some level (don’t forget, it was Erykah who told us to ‘stay woke’). Still, this doesn’t mean they can’t be dead wrong when it comes women, dress codes and modesty.
When an artist of Beyonce’s stature announces a tour, odds are it’s going to sell out. But, when Beyonce tells the world to get in Formation, oh boy, do we. Sold out stadiums, demands for second shows, police forces literally trying to “Boycott Beyonce.” All this to say, whatever Beyonce put in our kool-aid is not of this world. (more…)