Here’s your week in review, in haiku.
Harvey’s heavy hand
now forces one of our own.
FEMA or a wall?
Hey, did any old
racist Joe get a statue
back in the day? Damn.
master and commander now.
In Phoenix? On break.
Can poor Katy and
Kimye can shake it off yet? Look
what they made her do!
Remove obstacles! We have
No trunks left to give
Stay safe this weekend, Texas. Sending love, luck and the dream of clear skies to the Gulf Coast.
|James Comey takes a high-profile gig at Howard University|
|Longtime raceAhead readers already knew that Comey was an ally, and a consistent, interventionist voice for greater diversity in the FBI and beyond. In addition to presenting the keynote speech for the opening convocation at the historically black university this year, Comey has been named the 2017-2018 Gwendolyn S. and Colbert I. King Endowed Chair in Public Policy. Along with that honor, Comey will deliver five guest lectures, that the university says will “foster fruitful discussion and spur meaningful interaction.” Comey was on his way to a diversity recruitment event when he was abruptly fired. Never forget.|
|Rocking out with CP|
|Culture Abuse, a punk band out of California and currently touring in the UK, has a memorable lead singer. “They think I’m fucked up no matter what,” David Kelling told The Guardian. “So I’ll just act like I’m partying to make people more comfortable.” In fact, Kelling has cerebral palsy, which makes his life challenging on a daily basis – he often has trouble getting off the stage or up the stairs in the venues they're now playing across the UK. While the scrappy band is living some sort of dream at the moment – they recently opened for Green Day - Kelling also feels a bigger calling. “There are female musicians, there are black musicians – almost everyone can find someone who is like them. But disabled people have no role models at all.” Such a good read.|
|Yes, we still need to talk about Sally Hemings|
|Why? Because her story, and the way we have often framed it, offers real guideposts for unpacking the rest of our difficult history, says Annette Gordon-Reed. Her book, “Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy,” was the first to explore Hemings in her full humanity, and Gordon-Reed continues to argue that Hemings was far more complex than talking points might suggest. For one, she was educated and had agency. She leveraged her time in Paris well, engaging lawyers to challenge her legal status as an enslaved person in the U.S. “The need to write about enslaved people sociologically — what happened to the group as a whole — should not foreclose considerations of individual enslaved people’s lives,” says Gordon-Reed. “We learn much about the institution from both perspectives.”|
|New York Times|
The Woke Leader
|Ten must-read writers from Africa and the diaspora|
|Samira Sawlani, a writer who covers politics and economic development in the East and Horn of Africa, has curated this list of nine new or re-released novels (and one poetry collection) that she feels are worth putting on your list. Sawlani infuses as much life into her reviews as possible, and her selections touch on big themes – colonialism, tradition, modern life and culture, and the heavy lifting that African writers must do to set their homeland records straight. “We live in a time where history suggests that colonised lands and people only came into being when the white man discovered them,” she says. “Kintu [written by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi] reminds us that this is not the case.”|
|Renting family in Japan|
|Ryuichi Ichinokawa runs a successful business in Japan casting stand-ins for people typically thought of as irreplaceable, like the father of the bride at a wedding or other important occasion. In this oddly touching account, he explains how he started his substitute loved one business, and how it has grown into a robust agency of more than 100 substitute relatives. “There is something in Japanese culture about people’s excessive concern for appearances and how they are seen by others,” he says. “We are their last resort.”|
|The mathematical genius of John Coltrane|
|Coltrane was a magical figure to many, part transcendent jazzman, part spiritual seeker. Those two elements came together in a sketch experts call “the Coltrane circle,” a version of the musical “circle of fifths” –or the twelve tones of the chromatic scale – but with a Coltrane twist. Some see elements of Islam in the sketch, a type of mathematical mysticism that’s connected to the divine. But in addition to his spiritual journey, “Coltrane was also very much aware of Einstein’s work and liked to talk about it frequently,” says musician and writer Josh Jones. “Musician David Amram remembers the Giant Steps genius telling him he “was trying to do something like that in music.”|