Kanye is Wrong, Americans Are Lonely and Five Breaking News Haikus

May 4, 2018, 5:59 PM UTC

Here’s your week in review, in haiku.



“What about Stormy?”

She squints her perfect, smoky

eyes. “I don’t know her.”



Please: dona Nobel

pacem from harassment; stop

cooking the books, too



Markle’s sparkle reigns.

Mixed-race royalty rankles.

God Save The Princess.



R. Kelly? You there?

Speak up! It’s almost like you’re

on mute or something.



May the fourth be with

you, Iron Man! Enjoy the

light saber. (For now.)


Have a musical and non-lonely weekend.

On Point

You'll be my American boy, American boyClint Hill, who is an irreplaceable voice on race, history, and culture, says Kanye West has been trafficking in one of the most “pernicious lies” of white supremacy in the United States. As a result, the mega-star has become part of a long line of black folks to do so. Hill begins by offering a receipt-filled refutation of West’s poorly conceived idea about slavery “as a choice,” but then explains why it’s so dangerous. “Coming from one of the country’s most famous entertainers, it legitimizes the still-pervasive belief that African Americans are somehow to blame for their condition,” he writes. “In this, West has become the latest in a long, unfortunate line of black people who have become mouthpieces for white supremacist ideas.”New Republic

Does anyone really know what time it is?
The Indian city of Bangalore has earned its reputation as a tech innovation center, but long before it was tagged as another “Silicon Valley” wannabe, it was known for a decidedly more analog innovation: wristwatches. The now-defunct state-run Hindustan Machine Tools (HMT) dominated the mechanical wristwatch markets for decades, then lost market share to foreign competition (and smartphones) and was shuttered by the government in 2016. But now, a husband-and-wife entrepreneurial team want to revive the distinct art of Indian watchmaking and local style. They’ve launched the Bangalore Watch Company, a "microbrand" that aims to create watches by and for timepiece true believers, people (well, men, to be honest) who love both the craftspersonship and its unique Indian origin story. Look out, Rolex.

Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids
Three D.C.-based black teen girls were overjoyed to discover they were finalists in a NASA competition that encouraged students to use space technology to solve real world problems. The team had developed a method to purify lead-contaminated water in school drinking fountains. But the three 17-year-olds, Mikayla Sharrieff, India Skinner and Bria Snell, were alarmed to discover that racist trolls from the anonymous forum 4chan had flooded the public voting portion of the competition, in an attempt to derail their quest. The comments used racial epithets and encouraged people on pro-Trump threads to pile on with negative comments. They even proposed hacking mechanisms to help teenage boys win. NASA shut down the public voting. For a happier ending, click through for how totally cool this competition is.
Washington Post

Where do they all come from?
The quest for inclusion is now becoming a public health issue. A nationwide survey of 20,000 people by the health insurer Cigna finds that more than 50 percent of respondents are lonely, saying that they feel alone or left out always or sometimes — a shockingly high figure. The survey used the UCLA Loneliness Scale, a series of questions that gauge people's sense of isolation, lack of companionship, and whether they feel that the people around them "are with them." (Fifty-six percent said no, ouch.) Exclusion takes a toll. "Oftentimes, medical symptoms present themselves and they're correlated with mental, lifestyle, behavioral issues like loneliness," says David Cordani, the president and CEO of Cigna Corp.

The Woke Leader

Somewhere in the dream we had an epiphany, Now we right the wrongs in history
If you want a memorable musical metaphor for allyship, then take a few moments to enjoy this extraordinary performance of the Oscar-winning song “Glory.” It's from the Ava DuVernay film Selma, about the 1965 voting rights marches; John Legend and Common won Best Original Song at the 2015 ‪Golden Globe Awards and the 87th Academy Awards for the song. But the staged version, which was performed at the Oscar ceremony, offers a subtle lesson in grace in racial partnership that’s easy to miss. As the “marchers” fill the stage to sing during the dramatic finale, the white performers march shoulder to shoulder with the black ones – but stand in silent solidarity. The glory is in the details.

I think of a place where there’s love overflowing
Buddy Bolden was a bold, brash, New Orleans cornet player, who is widely credited as an early creator of jazz music. As a technician, he invented the beat called The Big Four, an innovation on the marching band beat which transformed the musical form into one that was ripe for jazzy improvisation and includes a pattern drawn from sub-Saharan African rhythms known as the hambone rhythm. He had a short and profoundly tragic life and is little remembered, though deserves to be. (Chadwick Boseman would be a great casting choice, IMHO.) I mention all this because Bolden’s humble New Orleans home has fallen into neglect and is rotting away. Legend has it that people came from miles around to listen when he practiced on his stoop; it seems like it’d be worth preserving. Here is a nine-minute clip about his life from Ken Burns’s documentary on Jazz that will break your heart; below is a terrific news story about the attempt to save his home.

The everyday Picasso, the streets is my canvas
Street artist Alejandro Poli Jr, better known as Man One, has been around long enough to see graffiti culture go from being a punishable offense to a venerable art form. It’s been his life, from tagging busses as a kid in the 1980s, to having his paintings and installations welcomed in high-tone spaces around the world, and collaborating with performing artists and publishers. But for a lot of low-income kids, street art is the only art education they ever get, and Man One is determined to change that. Particularly now, as graffiti art is increasingly accepted as a rigorous medium, even in academic programs. He is now working with LA Made, a series of programs at various Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL), and is planning a series of workshops in June and July in L.A., in neighborhoods of color like Hyde Park and Watts. “I would have parents come in [to a gallery I use to have] all the time and say ‘oh, my kid really loves ‘graff’ what can I do to support him?’
Latino USA


Rejoice at the death and cry at the birth: New Orleans sticks close to the Scripture.
Jelly Roll Morton

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