guess who is back...
Well it's obvious since I just sent an email, but hello.
It’s been a few weeks since I last wrote and I wish I could say it was for fun reasons like traveling or that I was taking a self-care break or something, but honestly, it was just because I have been procrastinating big time - but I’m back.
I have a lot of things to read and listen to that I wanted to share this week so I will keep this brief and just go into recommendations. Next week I will be back in the rhythm and back to my randomness.
A few things worth reading this week:
I can’t say enough good things about Danyel Smith’s new book Shine Bright: A Very Personal History of Black Women in Pop, but I loved it. As a music lover and a reader, I devoured this book. When I first learned that Danyel Smith was writing a book, I knew it would be good as she is one of my favorite writers and music/culture critics. She has a unique way of mixing storytelling with history, and I think this book shows this through and through. Danyel writes about different iconic women in black pop like Gladys Knight, Donna Summer, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and more for this book. She weaves their stories in with her own, which I think for me, as a music lover, made my heart sing and, as a reader, provided good timestamps for the stories. I had two favorite parts of this book, the Gladys Knight chapter and the chapter highlighting Jody Watley. As part of the promo run for the book, Danyel was featured on two of my favorite podcasts: Jemele Hill Was Unbothered and The Stacks.
+ A plug for Jody Watley: Jody was a Soul Train dancer before joining Shalamar. One of my favorite things to watch on YouTube is “I Was a Soul Train Dancer.” Although Jodi isn’t featured in the series, it’s still worth watching.
Elon really needs to take a chill pill, honey.
I had no idea what DeuxMoi was until a few months ago and pretty interesting. I feel like once my friend told me about the Instagram handle, I just keep seeing all this stuff pop up about it. If you aren’t familiar with or not following, here are some interesting reads I found about their digital trail, how their influence could change how/where you eat, and also how the subreddit is rebelling.
A few things worth listening to or watching this week:
My favorite food show, Somebody Feed Phil is back on Netflix, and I loved the new season. Phil went to Madrid, Portland, Oregon, Portland, Maine, and Oaxaca. I had no idea Portland Oregon was a street food hub, although it makes sense, and I also had no idea that Portland, Maine, is supposed to be a city/state with the best food. Thus, I will be traveling there this summer with my friends.
The older I get, the more skeptical I have become about astrology. I think it’s fun to read compatibility charts and see if characteristics ring true for you, but we all know your birth chart + upbringing impact how you walk through life more than your sun sign. At least, I hope we all know that. That being said, I found this episode of Lovers and Friends with Shan Boodram to be pretty interesting. For the conversation, Shan connects with different experts to discuss how your sign does or does not play into who you are.
I don’t think I shared how much I love Kehlani’s new album, blue water road, but I love it. In an interview I watched, Angie Martinez said that it sounded like Kehlani recorded the song barefoot and in a happy place, and you can hear that while listening to the album. The album, to me, feels light, carefree, and confident. Most of the album sounds very consistent aside from two of my favorites: “wish i never,” or “any given sunday,” which features Blxst, who is my favorite right now. I thought this was a very well-written article about the project, her growth as an artist, and Kehlani’s music.
I’m still making my way through Kendrick Lamar’s new album, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers but really enjoyed this review on the album. Here are a few blurbs from the article that made me snap my fingers:
Lamar idealizes family as a sanctuary from a judgmental outside world, but his memories also surface the strife that festered in his childhood home. He has often drawn insight from his tumultuous upbringing—see the autobiographical revelations of “good kid, m.A.A.d. city”—and on “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers” he is most perceptive when peering inside his own family, using his household as a diorama to examine the conflicts and curses of the Black family unit.
By stepping down from his pedestal and looking inward, Lamar starts to unpack some of his own myth-making, a gnarly bit of work for an artist who has fed his own veneration as a rap messiah with knotty, trapdoor verses and cipher constructs his entire career. (He once said that “damn.” was made to be played backward.) He can’t resist a bit of religious self-aggrandizement—on “Rich Spirit” he compares himself to Christ and the Buddha—but he is markedly human on this album: paranoid, insecure, and flawed. Most of the songs reveal a desire to be relieved of his duties as a public figure.
As always, my cozy playlist is still thriving. I will have a new playlist to share next week.
That’s it for this week! Sending you lots of hugs.