It’s only been a few weeks since I last posted the shorter, edited snippet of this track, but we’ve finally got a full-length version and it is GLORIOUS. Eight minutes of pure euphoria and joy, like the musical equivalent of the peak of the dance floor. It’s thrilling and magic and I love it.
The longer I knew them, the more bold I grew. In the end, they were playing a game and they one, but I found something better.
I grew bold in my blackness. At first I noticed that there were few people who looked like me. They didn’t want me to say much of anything. But in the end, I made sure I was seen. All they want to do is pretend you’re not there.
"I’m not racist, right?" he asked. What could I say? I still had to eat. They controlled the cash.
He asked again some months later. I had an answer.
Identity is not a crutch, but something that roots us in our society, in our humanity, in our survival. To be free of identity is to be free in the truest sense of the world. I’m learning now that I don’t want that “freedom.” I don’t want the blankness of freedom, the emptiness of no self, no history, no lives reality and truth.
No, I want all of the things that make me - my blackness, my womanhood, my etc. etc. etc. - for without them, who am I but just a person moving about the world?
Last year, the day after my birthday, I crouched underneath the harsh spray of my shower knowing deeply that the next 12 months would be anything but easy. The night before was lovely on the surface, like most things are. Lovely, you know, and then not. I threw up and went to bed. I woke up and felt dread. Constantly, I would find, this is the cycle of our lives.
He went to the store to get medicine for our mistake and later, I couldn’t look him in the eye. He would forever be a reminder of something now gone - namely, the ease of innocence and the comfort of “emerging” and myself as it was being shaped and defined.
I used to wake up and think of different ways I could get out of bed. Work was next. It took me three hours to go one mile by bus. Getting there was an accomplishment.
Today, I will be sensual, I thought, and my limbs will slink out of the sheets as if I am a woman who knows it all and not just a girl still.
I could do this only when I was alone. With someone else, I just needed to get away.
Today, I will be practical. I will not make a mess of things. I will leave the bed as if I will make it again. My sheets won’t be a crumpled mess on the cold, rotted wooden floors. Elegance will be in reach.
I don’t think of you as an object, but I’m letting you know that I see the world and my desires as objects, as give and take, as mine mine mine. He said this and I thought about slapping him, but I also needed a ride home so I let him keep talking until he had nothing else to say.
I feel like you’re judging me, he began. No never, I said, but really, yes, yes I was.
I spent the summer angry that he was never caught. I spent the summer jealous. You see, they were attacked at the wrong time in the right place. They were visible. I was not. I was jealous that the world’s brutality was left in secret, was deliberately buried. I got it.
Our timing was never right and then when it almost was, it wasn’t again.
This track is more than a year old, but I’m posting it in anticipation of Buscabulla’s (Raquel Berrios and Luis Alfredo Del Valle) debut EP which drops October 6th on Kitsune. This track is pure fire, and I’m excited to see if they’ve crafted more most-perfect grooves for the EP. This single at least shows promise.
It’s been nearly a year since I last posted a Rosie Lowe song and it was a cover. I’m excited to see the direction of her solo music, a sort of soulful, groove-heavy pop that shows immense promise. Also, since I first heard this a few days ago, this has been my go-to nighttime jam. Just like that cover, Rosie knows how to craft songs that are perfect for the promise of darkness.
I’ll always welcome a new track from Fantastic Mr Fox. It seems like we’re constantly waiting between singles and then he drops tons of strong, compelling material in rapid succession. This track is good, catchy, reliable … basically what I expect and enjoy from one of his singles.
Hello, I recently read your article on hello giggles about following your dreams, and it was really empowering and encouraging. At age 23 I am struggling with the fear of failure and rejection more than I have ever before, but your article helped me find a place to start pursuing my dreams once again and break through all the fear. Thank you. :)
The fear of failure is normal, natural. Sometimes that fear makes us work harder and crave our own personal successes even more. It certainly did for me. I hope you find fulfillment and drive in pursuing your dreams. Good luck!
Parts of this remind of a sort of perfect combination of Bat for Lashes and the quieter moments of Karin Dreijer Andersson’s solo work, so obviously I’m a fan. It’s that eerie quality of Lydia’s voice and the cold, isolating instrumentation of the synths that really tips this over the edge. This sounds like winter personified, but I like it.
I especially love this because it plays with the standard structures of this whole Brit, post-r&b aesthetic that won’t end (and I don’t really want it to) and turns the song into something weird, warped and haunting.
When black women share their pains about being ridiculed, objectified, limited and stereotyped, you should believe them. Even now in 2014, we are often left to defend ourselves and even women in the highest positions of power and prestige must compete with unnecessary criticism that other non-black women or men won’t face. Consider the constant criticism for Michelle Obama for everything — from the size of her body to her healthy eating initiatives for children. Was anyone ever this upset about Laura Bush? And how often do we criticize Beyonce for her feminist credentials when many young women (and celebs) are afraid to even utter the word?
I write about four times over the weekend for HelloGiggles. Just wanted to share this recent piece about the inaccuracies and problems of that infamous NYT piece on the lovely Shonda (my personal favorite lady).
This absolutely feels like one of the last warm nights of the year. The desperation in those around you is so palpable that you can smell it easily, can almost taste it even. There is a clock somewhere near signaling the cold and all that comes with it. Meaning, the desire to turn in and stay in. I’m never ready.
Feeling like I can no longer have conversations with people and they can no longer have conversations with each other. Rather, we are all talking to each other about the specifics of things, of objects, of nouns, but we are lacking any emotional depth. Our conversations feel like blank stares, like dead eyes. I leave with the bottom dropped out of my stomach. I can’t remember what I just said. I can’t remember what you just said. And I feel worse for it. We won’t see each other again, not really, not until we do this all over again. All nouns, no verbs.
I am not done finding myself. No one is. But the easiest way I could find myself was through my time alone. Not alone at home, but alone with other people. Alone in public. Alone in places that typically require friends, require acquaintances, require other loves. You see, being in that awkward and vulnerable of a position puts you in a state of mind that allows you to recognize the things within yourself that you felt you could never address. These are the things that made you weak. These are the things within yourself that you were afraid of. It can also give you a sense of pride and a sense of fortitude. You think, I can do this. And then you think, I am this person. I am here. I am strong. I am seeing the world and with that, I can do most anything.
I’ve finally updated the ESSAYS portion of this tumblr with any and every essay I’ve solely posted here. The archive goes all the way to 2008 and includes musings on Michelle Obama, gun violence, Arthur Russell and The Real World/Road Rules Challenge, among other things.
“Dance music needs riot grrrls. Dance music needs Patti Smith. It needs DJ Sprinkles. Dance music needs some discomfort with its euphoria. Dance music needs salt in its wounds. Dance music needs women over the age of 40. Dance needs breastfeeding DJs trying to get their kids to sleep before they have to play. Dance needs cranky queers and teenagers who are really tired of this shit. Dance music needs writers and critics and academics and historians. Dance music needs poor people and people who don’t have the right shoes to get into the club. Dance music needs shirts without collars. Dance music needs people who struggled all week. Dance music needs people that had to come before midnight because they couldn’t afford full admission. Dance music does not need more of the status quo.”—The Black Madonna
Lauren is one of the most brilliant and kind people I know, and we’ve never met. Like many people who read this blog, we only know each other online. And yet, I cherish what she’s taught me about photography, historical subcultures and the arts. She is a special person, but she is also suffering.
In 2011, Lauren was diagnosed with a Pelvic Floor Disorder which has caused Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). She suffers from daily dizziness, nerve pain, fatigue, nausea, headaches, rapid heart rate, insomnia and weakness. It has left her bedridden after multiple hospitalizations, unable to work. There is no cure, but there is help.
Lauren is looking to go to Mayo Clinic Pelvic Floor and Mobility Programs. She has spent all of her savings and many of her treatments are not covered by insurance. She is also looking to move into a one-floor controllable living environment to help with her debilitating symptoms. If you are at all capable of donating to her fund, that would be wonderful. And if you can’t donate, but can signal boost, that would be wonderful as well.
I received an email about this track and was surprised that it only racked up 600 views since it was posted three days ago. “For A Night” is such a fun, straightforward house track, the sort of perfect accompaniment to any dance floor and one that I immediately fell for on the first listen.
“Um, excuse me. Can you move?” a man asked me on the train a few years ago.
I was in my seat fully and only carried a small bag. On my body, an all-sequined jacket. Dainty on the outside, but sharp upon touch. I had just bought it a month before and I began wearing it almost every other day. It was not a shield but rather a nod, a clap, a reassurance of whom I was becoming.
“I’m not in your seat,” I said confused.
“My legs need more room,” he said. His legs, his body, his space, his comfort, his self. I looked at him, shorter and smaller than me. What about my legs, my body, my space, my comfort, myself? I already gave more than I needed. What more did I have to give.?
I looked him over again. I didn’t move and returned to my book, the one I never put away, the one I never wanted to put away again.
He sat down and stretched out, spreading his body into my seat, his arms jutting into my own until I heard a low yelp.
“Ouch!” he cried. I looked over at him.
“Your jacket!” he shouted. Ah yes, my jacket. This jacket. Can you feel it all?
After her bestselling first book, MWF Seeking BFF, Rachel sets her sights on the glamorous lives of movie stars. In Jennifer, Gwenythand Me, she embarks on a quest to emulate her Hollywood role models—while sticking to a budget—to see if they really hold the keys to happiness. In discussion with local writer Britt Julious, Rachel will explain the preparations behind the project, her own relationship to Hollywood, and her biggest takeaways from writing Jennifer, Gwenyth and Me.
In addition to her books, Rachel has written for the New York Times Magazine, O, The Oprah Magazine, Marie Claire, More, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Fitness, Women’s Health, New York, Huffington Post, CNN.com, and more. Rachel has written about everything from porn films to shark skin, and her work has been included in three of the O, The Oprah Magazine annual anthologies.
Host Britt Julious is a born and bred Chicagoan with a devotion to snappy pieces of really, really good writing. In 2014, Britt founded Inland, an online and print publication examining contemporary Midwest culture. She also writes for a variety of different publications and organizations including Vice, where she is the Chicago contributor, The Guardian, WBEZ, Pitchfork and Rookie. She currently serves as the senior editor of literary site This Recording where she is free to expound on the merits of Ishiguro and Whitney Houston equally. In 2012, The Chicago Reader named her the city’s “Best Local Writer Who Excels at Social Media.” She is a champion for the underdog, a lover of sequins and a proud Black Hippie.
The London producer will release her next full-length through Hyperdub in October.
Listening to Cooly G’s new album will give me the chance to finally explore that highly feminine, modern and aggressively sexual quality to her music that is rare, relatable and unchallenged. I’ve been trying to articulate it accurately, but really, it’s one of those sounds that make only make sense to the listener and even then, the listener must come to that true conclusion. Saying it is not enough. It could never just be enough.
I feel like I’ve been waiting forever for new George Maple. It’s been too long since we’ve gotten a chance to float in her syrupy, lovely vocals. And this new track from her upcoming EP on Future Classic is both a welcome reminder and a new direction from the singer. I’m so used to George’s vocals complimenting a rainy Sunday afternoon. Her music was perfectly quiet and moody, contemplative and sensual. But this new track is practically danceable, with a compelling beat and catchy chorus sure to make her finally break out to the masses.
“You must think you’re cute or something. That’s the only way you’d look like this right now.” This was one of my cousins.
“I don’t,” I said.
“That’s right. You ain’t cute. So what’s this about?” she asked.
And then she began to grab at first my clothing, my cheap dress, the fabric a mix of things both flammable and not. And then she began to grab at my body, my arms, lined with muscles, and my legs, much sturdier than I felt.
“Stop it!” I said.
“Stop WHAT?” she asked. “I’m just letting you know who you are, who you’ll ALWAYS be.”
“Who am I?” I replied.
"Nothing special," she said. "I’m not special and neither are you."
It’s best to remember that, she seemed to be saying.
A trick of the mind will fool folks before they get a chance to read you. And, you see, someone told her she could not see greatness in herself. That’s not her role. That’s not where she rests.
But who are all of these women finding divinity in their skin, their bodies? Who are these women who can look and feel and touch and taste and think: everything I sense is right and good? Everything about me is right and good.
My eyes were my greatest weapon, my defense against the sites before me. You learn to soak it in and process, but never too much. If my life was a series of processes, I would be nothing but a being of hate, a culmination of hate for others and hate for myself.
No, you must see and then unsee. See and then shred. See and then sacrifice. Sacrifice the reality of the world around you and instead build a world that sees you as perfect and divine and good. Revel in that world. Build upon that world. Make it grow into something true and from that truth you will find something realer than yesterday.
I was wondering when Jessie would go back to that simple, yet sleek sound she first debuted with “Imagine it Was Us” and it looks like “Want Your Feeling” is the track to make its return. It is light and lovely too, like everything else Jessie has given us for this new LP. Perfect.
I pretend that I don’t need to see things to appreciate them, but that is not true. The act of longing, of visibility is an act of giving new value to even the most mundane or simple or kitschy items you own.
On my bedroom wall is a disco ball I purchased from RR #1, a perfect little gift shop on Chicago & Ashland. I purchased one for myself and one for Gabe, one of my best friends. He lives in New York now, but we talk most every day and looking at the ball is a reminder of what we had when we was still here and what is missing now that he is not.
Next to the disco ball are intricate, skeletal harnesses, body chains that invoke a serious sexuality and confidence of self. My dear friend Alysse designed them and I made my first purchase even before I felt worthy of the detailed breast plates, the dangling, delicate chains, the shimmer and shine. To me, they told the story of who I wanted to be and what I had lost.
I wore the gold one in 2012 in the midst of a bout of depression caused by the inevitable age of change. I was post-college and pre self-assurance. People were leaving. I came home and looked at my space and felt haunted by rooms and walls that were not my own. Sometimes, I woke up in the middle of the night in a state of panic.
But the harnesses showed me who I could be: sensual and aggressive and strong. Because it was at risk of falling apart due to too much push or pull, I had to reacquaint myself with my limbs. I wasn’t changing myself so much as finding new methods of moving. I will not cower from this piece. I will love it. And I will love myself in it. And later, I will not cower from myself. I will love myself and everything I encompass.