Friday Media Prep : Long Live the Queen

Every Friday we will feature the inspiring books, movies, TV shows, and other works of art you have to check out. Please share your suggestions below!

The passing of Aretha Franklin, the eternally-reigning goddess of music, has sent a ripple of sorrow around the world. You didn’t have to know her to be shaken by the beauty of her voice, nor the incomparable stature of her career. Beyond her music, Aretha Franklin was an outspoken champion of civil rights who wasn’t afraid to assert her worth as a black woman. She knew she was a queen and would be damned if we didn’t as well. Today’s Media Prep is in honor of the everlasting mark Aretha left on the world; it’s a rundown of some of the ways I’ve seen the spirit of her life reflected in media recently. I hope you’re inspired to assert your worth as well. Enjoy!
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Articles

  • First up, The Cut profiled women in Appalachia working tirelessly to secure women’s healthcare, with the fate of Roe v. Wade hanging in the balance. I highly recommend this piece. [ The Cut ]
  • Oftentimes, when we talk about the Suffrage Movement of the late 19th to early 20th century we conveniently gloss over the truth of how the movement was rooted in segregation. This article from Bust explores how black women were forced to fight for their place in the discussion. [Bust]
  • Beyonce. Normally I wouldn’t have to say more, but I want to hit home how important this interview really is. She tackles generational trauma, body image, and emotional wellness in women and men. This piece means the world to me. [Vogue]

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Books

  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker is one I wish I could hand out on the streets. Alas, I’m not brave enough to implore strangers in person, which is why I’m hawking it on the internet instead. You have to read this book at least once in your life. Watching the movie is a good start, but you really must give the book a go. Set in the deep South of the early 20th century, the story is the life of a young black woman named Celie. After having two children by her father, then having those children taken away, Celie is sold as a bride to the abusive “Mister”. Through literacy and empowering female relationshios, Celie begins to find herself. It’s a beautiful, heartbreaking, necessary work.

Movies

  • “Crazy Rich Asians” is out this weekend, a film that,  in addition to being super enjoyable, is a huge deal historically. It’s the first time in 25 years that an all- Asian cast has led a film. But, I’m not just supporting the movie for the historical weight. I shamelessly champion movies about love, humor and taking chances, so this one is a must-watch for me. Some might call it melodrama, I call it my sustenance. The movie follows the relationship of Rachel and Nick as they travel to Singapore to meet Nick’s wealthy, traditional family. Tears, abs, love, pretty sights? I’M THERE.

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Music

Finally, the only music you need today is the voice that inspired the post. This video comes from the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors, where Aretha Franklin honored Carole King with her rendition of “(You Make Me Feel) Like A Natural Woman”. It’ll give you chills.

Friday Media Prep: Planes, Trains and Batmobiles

Let’s start with a celebration for the weekend:

 

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‘Cause we DID THAT.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s look at what the world of media is offering us to digest this weekend! From Batman think pieces to divas talking about divas to Denzel, the world is aflame with just the right amount of weird to give you hope for next week. Join me in the rabbit hole!

Music 

This week’s music recommendation is a little different. Rather than one artist, song or album, I suggest a the Cliporama channel on YouTube. There you can relive some of the greatest feuds in divadom. Whitney vs. Mariah, everyone vs. Madonna – it’s the best kind of cringe! Rich Juzwiak of Gizmodo Media explored the feuds featured on the site, which you can see here. May the drama of extremely wealthy people sustain us all.

This is my personal favorite, because Cyndi confronts the sexism that pitted all these women against each other in the first place.

Movies

Equalizer 2

Den- to-the-zel! He’s back in his very fist sequel (since they’re always killing him off) to defend the streets against injustice and bad Russian accents. As for triggers or triggering moments, this film is going to be heavy on violence, with murder, fight scenes and other tense situations. I don’t suggest seeing this movie if you are currently struggling emotionally, as it could be a push in the wrong direction. However, if you’re doing ok, feel strong and know your limitations, this could be a nice diversion.

Articles

This week -just in time for Comic-Con – is the 10th anniversary of the The Dark Knight, so my feed was bombarded with images of my favorite brooding superhero, along with the best version of the Joker to ever grace the page or screen. Christopher Nolan’s version of Batman wasn’t just good, it was groundbreaking. The world felt real like never before, the characters were finally believable, and the villain outshone the hero in a way that elevated the genre to new heights. Below you can click through my favorite assessments of the film and why it still matters to us 10 years on.

“How a Dark Knight Best Picture snub forced the Oscars to change” by Nathaniel Rogers for Polygon

“The Complicated Legacy of ‘The Dark Knight’ ” by Richard Newby for The Hollywood Reporter

“The Dark Knight 10 year anniversary: Christopher Nolan’s sequel reduced the superhero genre to ashes” by Jacob Stolworthy for Independent

 

Have a great weekend and stay safe out there!

 

Friday Media Prep: The Human Spirit is Unstoppable

Every Friday we will feature the inspiring books, movies, TV shows, and other works of art you have to check out. Please share your suggestions below!

This week’s media prep is all about the beauty and power of the human spirit. Whether it be saving your soccer team, making music meant to encourage social change, or merely wrestling with concepts through art, we are a sight to behold. Let’s jump right in with this week’s good stuff!

 

Music

Mavis Staples. If you need more than that, you’re on your own. Google her!

TV

The World Cup Finals

In all honesty, I don’t even really like soccer. My husband used to play, so my propensity for making fun of all the flopping was an early point of contention in our relationship. Sure, I played for a few years as well, but every single person who has ever sported was thrown onto a soccer field by their parents as a five-year-old to learn how to follow a ball around. However, it is my rule that if there are black folks doing something, I’m going to cheer. Whether it be tennis or a spelling bee, I’m here for the melanin. Now that France (a team that’s black as hell) is heading to the final against Croatia (a team that is the complete opposite of black as hell) you might as well just call me a fan until Monday. Don’t hate. You can catch the battle for the gold? Gilded boot? Trophy! on Sunday. Belgium and England will be playing for 3rd place on Saturday.

Movies

Skyscraper

My stance on cheering for black people regardless of the event is the exact same for The Rock. Along with my brother and father, I used to watch with the elation of someone who just discovered processed sugar as Dwayne Johnson tore up the wrestling ring. I’ve seen all of his movies (even Baywatch), because he represents such a carefree time in my life, when pain would stop and I could laugh with my family like a normal kid. What I love about his movies – that seem to come out every 3 months – is how lighthearted I leave feeling. It might be a guilty pleasure to  some, but not for this girl. In his newest film he plays the a guy saving the day like always, so why not?

Articles

“What Marilynne Robinson’s and Margaret Atwood’s Gileads Can Teach Us” by Alissa Wilkinson

I borrowed my mother’s copy of Gilead by Marilynne Robinson a few years ago, when I was looking for a change of pace from mystery novels, comics and Marvel movies. I picked up the book expecting to a gentle mental push, but got more than I bargained for in this exploration of humanity, love, loyalty, and religion in the Iowa town that bears the book’s name. After reading Robinson’s take on the concept of Gilead, I picked up The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood for a book club. Only two of us could finish it, and I’m so glad I did. Sometimes being shaken to the core is what the doctor ordered.

I love how Alissa Wilkinson explores the nature of paradise through these two works. Our “promised land” , whatever you choose it to be, is more than a place. A promise and a curse, an end to pain or the discovery of frightful new depths; perspective is everything in this world, no less so than in the arts we love.

You can Read Alissa’s piece for Vox here

“Thai cave soccer team: how Buddhist meditation kept them calm ” by Eliza Barclay

Self-care is very often a means of survival, as we have seen in the harrowing story of the young Thai boys trapped in a cave with their soccer coach for two weeks. Their coach , Ekapol Chanthawong, lived and trained in a monastery for ten years, beginning at the age of 12, when he was left orphaned. He learned to meditate as part of that training, and taught the young boys to as well, to keep them calm during the ordeal.

There are so many messages to take away from this moment in history, from altruism to the wonder of modern technology, however what will stay with me is the knowledge that the human spirit is durable beyond measure. I highly recommend this article by Eliza Barclay if you want to feel better about the world, learn more about the remarkable young man who kept his team alive, or need a reminder of your own potential for survival.

Read it here

That’s all for this week! Enjoy your weekend (and life) the best way you can!

Media Prep

Every Friday we will feature the inspiring books, movies, TV shows, and other works of art you have to check out. Please share your suggestions below!

We’ve been granted another weekend to celebrate, so let’s do it! This week we’ve rounded up some of the best pieces of music, literature, and commentary for you to explore, as well as the movies hitting the scene. From Scarlett Johansson to mermaids, this list is a doozy. Enjoy!

Movies

Sorry to Bother You premiers this week and we can’t wait to see it. The film debut of musician Boots Riley, Sorry to Bother You has been highly anticipated since it was first screened at Sundance in January. Lakeith Stanfield leads a cast of Danny Glover, Tessa Thompson, Terry Crews and Armie Hammer in a look at race, wealth, identity and perception through the lens of a young black man. If nothing else this film is definitely timely.

Ant Man and the Wasp

This is the 8 millionth Marvel movie to hit the cinemas in their 10 year dominiation streak, but we can’t stop running to the theaters to check out the films. Ant Man and the Wasp is the sequel to Ant Man (2015), which followed thief Scott Lang (played by Paul Rudd) as he teamed with Hank Pym and his daughter Hope van Dyne (Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly) to save the day by shrinking to the size of an insect. Sounds crazy, but was so good! The sequel promises just as much of a fun ride, so you should check it out with the rest of us nerds.

Music

High as Hope by Florence + The Machine

This is the band’s fourth album and it arguably goes deeper than ever before. Florence Welch has opened up about her struggles with alcoholism, disordered eating, family relationships, and aging. Her voice soars and swells, stripped down to the essentials to deliver something beautiful. You can catch videos of the band’s recent performance here .

Books

The Seas by Samantha Hunt

Samantha Hunt’s novel is being reissued , and we highly recommend giving it a look if you’re interested in thinking about the nature of reality and identity through the eyes of a young girl. Narrated by a young girl who doesn’t reveal her name, the story explores her isolation with her mother in a small town and her belief she is a mermaid. We suspect the novel will stick with you long after you’ve put it down.

Articles

It was recently announced that Scarlett Johansson would be playing a trans man in her upcoming flick “Rub and Tug”. Writing for Slate, Evan Urquhart explains why it’s not only inappropriate, but downright offensive.  If you’re struggling to understand what all the commotion is about, Evan makes it quite clear. At a time when there is push back from marginalized groups about who gets to tell their stories, this misstep is particularly frustrating. Read Evan’s article here.

(If you already knew about Scarlett’s nonsense and just want to laugh at the burns she received, go here.)

In not so great news, the Trump administration is working to undo an Obama-era protection for diversity on college campuses, essentially creating a timeline for the revocation of Affirmative Action. You can read more about the process here.

Finally, in news that gives us hope for the future: on the 4th of July activist Therese Patricia Okoumou climbed the Statue of Liberty to protest the separation of children from their parents by I.C.E and the administration’s treatment of immigrants in general. Upon her release she had this to say,

“Michelle Obama, our beloved First Lady that I care about so much, said when they go low, we go high. And I went as high as I could.”

Please have that printed on a shirt for me IMMEDIATELY.

You can read more about Therese and view her press conference here.

That’s all for this week, folks! Take care of yourself out there!