- FSG: What is the first book you ever remember reading (or having read to you)?
- Maria Venegas: The Bible. When I was a child, my mother used to gather us in her bedroom and read us a Bible story each night before bed. They were wild and fascinating stories that often consumed my imagination for days, and I kept coming back to her with all kinds of questions: How exactly did Jonah survive inside the fish’s stomach for 30 days? What did he eat? How did he breathe? When Moses lifted his arms and the sea parted before him, was it like two tall walls of water on either side, so that to walk through the opening would have felt like walking between two giant aquariums where you could see the dolphins and fish swimming around? Was Jesus a Mexican or an American? When he walked across the water, was he barefooted or wearing sandals? How fast did he have to walk in order to keep from sinking? When Lazarus came back from the dead, did he remember who he was? The list went on and on, and my mother did her best to answer all my questions. I actually saw Colm Tóibín’s The Testament of Mary last year, and it was so good I felt a tinge of jealousy for not having thought of it—how exactly did Mary feel about her son calling attention to himself by turning water into wine, and then by bringing people back from the dead? No way to know for certain, as Mary’s point of view is all but absent from the Bible. In The Testament of Mary, Tóibín imagines the story of Jesus from his mother’s point of view, and it’s wildly imaginative, heartbreaking, and hilarious. It’s easily one of the best pieces of theater I’ve seen in years.
This is for you sis.
Palais de Glace dress by Christian Dior
Jennifer Weiner at Barnes & Noble, UWS, 6/17/14
Academics have developed complicated theories and obscure jargon in an effort to describe what is now referred to as structural racism, yet the concept is fairly straightforward. One theorist, Iris Marion Young, relying on a famous “birdcage” metaphor, explains it this way: If one thinks about racism by examining only one wire of the cage, or one form of disadvantage, it is difficult to understand how and why the bird is trapped. Only a large number of wires arranged in a specific way, and connected with one another, serve to enclose the bird and ensure it cannot escape.
What is particularly important to keep in mind is that any given wire of the cage may or may not be specifically developed for the purpose of trapping the bird, yet it still operates (together with other wires) to restrict its freedom."
Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow (via mehreenkasana)
David Attenborough x Louis Armstrong
Soccer Dads: Top Footballers of African-descent From Africa and the Diaspora.
- Pelé and family. (Afro-Brazilian)
- Zinedine Zidane and son. (Kabyle)
- Cristiano Ronaldo. (Cape Verdean great-grandmother)
- Didier Drogba. (Ivory Coast)
- Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima. (Afro-Brazilian)
- Samuel Eto’o and his children. (Cameroon)
- Kwadwo Asamoah with his wife and son. (Ghana)
- George Weah and his children. (Liberia)
- Nwankwo Kanu and family. (Nigeria)
- Jay-Jay Okocha and family. (Nigeria)
"Guard against cynicism. The truth of the matter is, for all of the problems we face, if you had to choose any moment to be born in human history, not knowing who you were going to be, you’d choose this time. The world is more tolerant than it’s ever been, more educated than its ever been. The only thing that stops that is people thinking they can’t make any change."
President Barack Obama in a June 10, 2014 conversation with Joe Hanson and other science advocates.
For a potent antidote to cynicism, see George Saunders on kindness.(via explore-blog)
Broadway legend Audra McDonald performs “Crazy He Calls Me” with an uncanny vocal transformation and mannerisms of Billie Holiday
"Two beings who love, alone, isolated from the rest of the world… is very nice! But what would they talk about all the time? As the world is despicable, they need it to be able to talk."
From The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (which I never finished - just couldn’t get through it. Might be time to rethink my stance on the novel).
Resistance means using art for the things that it does best, which is to create human portraits and communicate ideas and forge a climate where people of different races or classes are known to you because they make themselves known. In the simplest terms, art humanizes. It opens the circuit of empathy. And once that process happens, it’s that much harder to think of people as part of a policy or a statistic. Art reverses the alienation that can creep into society. After Johnson, after DuBois, the Harlem Renaissance itself stalled, largely as a result of the Great Depression, and many of the economic gains made by African-Americans were lost, but cultural influence persisted. You could make an argument that it was as important as anything for speeding along the very real political and social gains of the ’50s and ’60s.
That’s what music has been good for, historically, in the black community. Jazz did that. It forced the mainstream to see black musicians as virtuosos with complex ideas and powerful (and recognizable) emotions. How are you going to treat someone as less than human, in any way, once they’ve been so deeply human in full view? Soul music did that, because it addressed universal romantic problems. Who has trouble identifying with a Smokey Robinson lyric? No one human, that’s for sure. Hip-hop started from that premise. It was rooted there. It didn’t shy away from the fact that America, built the way it was, made certain economic and social advances difficult for African-Americans, but it also made an entire community visible, impossible to ignore, impossible to dehumanize. Hip-hop, because of the way that it was made, because of what it was at its heart, blazed new trails and also recontextualized the past. Where other musics, like disco, were plastic to the point where they started to feel like factory product, early hip-hop was the perfect music for an era of flexible accumulation: fast on its feet, fleet with its thoughts. It could range and roam and shine a light into any corner of the culture."
From the sixth and final part of Questlove’s essay series “How Hip Hop Failed America”. The whole thing is absolutely worth the read.
At times like this
We measure our words
Because we are
Measuring a life
A friend was not
Lost nor did she
We recognize a good
Life was lead a
Ceases to beat
A hearty laugh will
No longer be
We measure not
But the width
We place our love
On the flowers
That cover her
Under the clouds
That embrace her
Into the Earth
That owns her
We will miss her
Spirit Her demands
Her hopes for us
And therefore Herself
At times like this
We are sad
At times like this
"What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it."
Gabriel García Márquez (via psychotherapy)