Posted in The Here and Now

Book Review: You Should See Me In A Crown

This review is mainly spoiler-free but tread lightly if you have yet to read it!

Last week I read and finished the book You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson. If it’s not available at your local library, you can buy it here from a local bookstore rather than Am*zon! This came out during the summer of 2020 and I found it on a list of, at-the-time forthcoming queer literature. I completely forgot that I discovered the book from a queer list so I was surprised when our protagonist, Liz Lighty, ended up being a lil homo!!! We love it here!

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

This adorable story is about Liz Lighty, a Black high schooler who feels out of place as a poor, Black, tomboyish girl attending an incredibly affluent school. This is her senior year and she has to earn enough money in order to attend college next year. The musician decides to run for prom queen in order to earn the scholarship prize money in order to attend her dream school and become the doctor that she wishes her mother had. She meets Mack, a new student who has just joined the school orchestra as a drummer. The story explores their relationship to one another and to prom in general.

There are many side stories happening in this book. Some might find it overwhelming and unfocused but I think Johnson did an incredible job of keeping each “side quest” extremely relevant. All of the relationships in the book are incredibly realistic in how many layers any one high schooler would be sifting through.

Rating: ★★★★☆

I’m giving this book 4 out of 5 stars. Overall this book is so incredibly CUTE!! While reading, I thought that there were some incredibly foreshadowy moments– it almost made me not continue reading. I was pretty certain there was going to be a very specific outcome. Gratefully, I was somewhat incorrect, but it was a little off-putting to feel like I had “figured it out” before the story really even got started.

This is a great read for anyone who is in the mood for a cutesey-feel good dose of adorable sapphic charm.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Posted in The Here and Now

new pic, who dis?

i’ve decided to mentally promote one of my followers on tiktok from the category of Mutual all the way up to Friend; it’s hard being this gracious 😌

his name is R and he lives in kansas and i’m getting more and more drawn to living somewhere rural based on his videos but that’s a post for later

he changed his profile picture to this CUTE avi that i assumed was hand drawn by him so ofc as a ✨ patron of the arts ✨ i asked if he was taking commissions– all to find out there’s legit just a website that you build your avi yourself !!

anyway i made mine and i love them. look how cute they are!!! they make me want to get bangs and repierce my ear . . . stay tuned tbh

made here

i put them in a fit that is most aligned with my most gender affirming aesthetic (peep the florals, the single dangly queer earring, and the BUTTON okay like we’re doing it ALL)

the background is a failed sunset photo i was trying to take among the brutalist architecture of my beloved alma mater but my slippery fingers said, “not today tha’am”. i never got around to deleting the pic though and i ended up making it the cover image for the first original tracks i’ve ever released, so now this haze of color and darkness has a bit more meaning to me

anyway i’m boutta do that thing where i change every single profile picture to this and use it for the next 11 years xoxo

Posted in Writing

Feminism, Feminism, Who’s Got Feminism

I can’t remember a specific moment or time or event or occasion where I became a feminist. I don’t recall a singular point where it all suddenly clicked and I decided where I stood in terms of women’s rights and equality. It was just one of those things that happened ever so slowly over an extremely long period of time. Or maybe it was a standard period of time. Maybe it wasn’t as long as I remember. Or maybe there aren’t clear boundaries to the time it takes to grow into someone different.

 

i.

My family and I were walking out of church one day and a parishioner approached us. I’m not going to point out the fact that he was both white and male because that’s the default and you’ve already assumed that. Somehow, he and my mother got to the topic of education and he turns to my sister and I and says, “You have two strikes against you: you’re female and you’re Black; So you’re going to have to work that much harder.” I remember walking home ruminating on that sentence. In all honesty, it made me sad to think about. I don’t want to have to work harder. I always forget about this encounter until I have to reach back and think about my interaction with not only feminism but also myself. It’s just one of those things that sticks out in my memory.

 

ii.

In high school I travelled a lot. I always found myself either in the Middle East or with a group of Middle Eastern students. In the airports, the group of us would always run into difficulties getting through the lines. One of us was always being held up for questioning—primarily the ones of us of Arab descent. Even years later, when I travel alone, my passport filled with “concerning” visas would grant me the occasional detainment. I thought with these experiences, I could relate to my friends. I thought I finally understood what their lives were like. Like: Hey, let’s all discuss this microaggression that we all share. But I quickly learned that this small annoyance was nothing like their lives. I listened to my friends lament the struggles of being Arab in a post 9/11 America, and it made me so angry. I heard them rattle off a series of horrible names they were constantly being called. I watched them cry when they retold harrowing stories about getting harassed for wearing hijaab. I wanted to do something to combat these images. I just had to learn more about the region so I could remind the naysayers that people are just people with actual feelings. People don’t want negative stereotypes projected on to them. People would prefer not to have a tiny group of individuals be the representative for every single human with a similar complexion. In all honesty, immersing myself in the difficulties of another marginalized identity, gave me the freedom to ignore my own.

 

iii.

I went to high school with a girl named Nora. I later learned that her name was Nora and not “The Girl With Two Moms” as everyone called her. She cut her hair and became president of the Gay Straight Alliance and suddenly everyone started calling her names that were less matter-of-fact. In all honesty, I aspired to be as strong as she was but didn’t understand why she needed to be strong. I never felt revolutionary in standing up for her even though it unfortunately was.

 

iv

Kath Weston mentions in an article entitled “Theory Theory Who’s Got The Theory” that we theorize all the time whether we think about it or not. I realized that I believe in equality far before feminism was something I understood. However, I theorized something along the lines of “people shouldn’t be so mean” and “even though we are all the same, I don’t think we’re all treated as such.” And in doing some street theorizing, I was able to navigate my way into more socially conscious circles, whether I truly grasped what that meant or not.

 

As with anyone, any aspect of my identity works together with all the aspects of my identity and shape what I know and believe and theorize. I appreciate that my identity as a feminist is not something that I can find a clear beginning for. Much like being a woman or a African or Hard of Hearing or the countless other attributes of myself, it was something that was always there but never had a name for. It was something that was so intrinsically part of me that finding the term “feminism” felt like finally picking out and trying on the right sized shoes.

 

 

Posted in Research, The Here and Now

#MainstreamMediaSoWhite

We’ve all seen the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, a commentary on the extreme lack of diversity present in this years Oscars Award Ceremony nominations. Unfortunately this exact same phenomenon occurred with the Brits Awards across the pond. With the majority of its non-white nominees being from the International Artist/Group pool, it only makes sense that the hashtag #BritsSoWhite was birthed.

But this post isn’t about the underrepresentation and underappreciation of musicians of color. This isn’t about the inevitable discrimination against groups that have such an impressive effect on modern/pop culture today. It’s about my (ex) gurl Lianne La Havas.

She’s an amazing artist with songwriting talent seldom paralleled. No songs get to me as much as “Gone” or “Lost & Found.” This post isn’t about her music.

It’s about how she didn’t agree with the #BritsSoWhite hashtag simply because if artists want to be nominated they should “just make good music and [they’ll] be fine.” She called the “horrible horrible” hashtag “racist” which is laughable because its entire purpose is to challenge a discriminatory structure. She completely ignored the fact that power structures keep POC at at disadvantage. It’s silly to look at the Brit Nomination lineup, see the minimal POC present and attribute it to the fact that they’re just not as good as their white counterparts.

This post is probably coming out very angry and “blamey” but I’m allowed to be angry when even people who have huge followings, money, and influence are being swept under the rug because of their race, regardless of their talent. If literal actual celebrities are having trouble making it, what’s gonna become of me and all my not-famous, not-rich POC brothers and sisters?

Lianne is entitled to her opinion but it’s heartbreaking to find out someone you admire doesn’t seem to understand someone as prevalent and important as basic representation.