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

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 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.



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.



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.



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.



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


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.

Posted in Research, The Here and Now


On Monday night, precisely on Martin Luther King, Jr Day, the hashtag #BlackAtBLS started trending on Twitter. It was filled with tweets written by students of color at Boston Latin School expressing their frustrations with the racial climate that exists.

As an African-American who attended BLS, the tweets resonated with me a lot. I found that the students today have similar experiences as I did. There were multiple instances of microaggressions throughout my six years in attendance. For the most part, it was initiated by people who did not even understand why or how they were being racist or offensive. High school is a difficult time socially: these 13-18 year olds are doing whatever they can to fit in and feel accepted even if that means degrading others in the process or being entirely unaware of social issues.

Unfortunately as well, the hashtag contained the tweets of students who felt that POC having a supposedly safe space to talk about their feelings was infringing on their ability to peruse the internet. A lot of students, both members of BLS and otherwise lashed out against the #BlackAtBLS hashtag and the people behind it. It was heartbreaking to witness the amount of hatred exhibited, especially behind the mask of fake accounts.

What I learned most from reading #BlackAtBLS was the statistical racial disparity between the BLS population and the BPS population. Half of the white students who attend Boston Public high schools go to Latin. There are over 20 high school in Boston and while BLS one of the biggests, it does not make up for these statistics.


Once in a health class, the teacher had for some reason asked a question like, “if you had not gotten into BLS, how many of you would be in private school?” and nearly everyone in my majority-white (typical) class had raised their hand. I remember feeling extremely isolated at the time that it had happened and after recent events, I realise the gravity of that question and subsequent answer. I realise that it meant the students who were coming to BLS, specifically the white students who were so egregiously outnumbered in elementary and middle school, were essentially being pipelined into the top school in the city. After attending private or charter schools and having the highest quality education that money could buy, achieving acceptable scores on the entrance exam is simply expected.

Boston Latin School, along with the other Boston exams schools, provide students with a lot of opportunity both academic and extracurricular. Just having matriculated at any of these schools enhances your networking power exponentially. Our BPS students are being elbowed out of the BPS schools with the greatest selling power. It only proves to further embed the cycle of oppression that people of color and people with a low economic background face.


Beginning in the mid-70s, after the Boston Bussing Riots had broken out, there were very few students of color enrolled at Boston Latin School. To remedy this, they used Affirmative Action as part of their admissions vowing to admit at least 35% black and hispanic students. Ever since this practise was taken away in 1995 the racial profile of BLS has continued to become more and more unbalanced.

I now attend a school with a nearly identical racial profile and feel even more uncomfortable. This is not an accurate representation of the real world, or at least not a world that I want to be a member of. We need diversity in order to learn and grow. The world is not homogeneous so why should our schools be. As I transition from undergrad to post-grad/grad-school life, I have a great deal of choices to make. I am essentially decided the type of community that I want to be a member of for the next phase of my life.

As an alumna of Boston Latin School, it fills me with immense hope that individuals are finding the courage to call injustice to attention. It shows me the beauty of the world that we are living in and who are are evolving into. #BlackAtBLS, just like #BlackLivesMatter is just a small slice of the civil rights movement that is taking place in this day and age. It is a continuation of the work started in the 60s that I hope will never stop until true equality and justice is attained. As unfortunate as it is that we still need to be having these conversations, it’s inspiring to watch it unfold. If I could go back in time and say one thing to my doe-eyed, sixie-year self, it would be, “take action.” I think the shift between young people today and young people even a few years ago is that we were not empowered enough to unify, fight, and make our voices heard for change. BLS B.L.A.C.K.’s success comes from great leadership and the realisation that there is no time like the present.