Eastside Crazy

We’d been forgotten so long, we’d become accustomed to feeling secluded. Jeffery Manor felt like living on the kind of suburban cul-de-sac where identical homes seem to pop out of boxes assembled, but it resisted such cold evenness with its homes of varying styles on streets that wrapped around like an embrace—holding itself and its people with snowballs sold at a table on the corner where an ice cream parlor didn’t exist, a library at the center of youth activity where a community center didn’t exist, karate in a school cafeteria where a dojo didn’t exist, Crystal’s where a corner store didn’t exist. Places that felt like they belonged more to the community than to any individual person. Outside of the city we were Chicagoans, but inside its borders we were East Side crazy, Jeffery Manor girls. Read more at TriQuarterly here

Liberation Through Abstraction: An Interview with Torkwase Dyson

As we end our call, I ask Dyson about one of her recent Instagram posts, which alludes to Breonna Taylor. She writes, in-part, ‘There is no justice, only liberation.’ “I’m talking about trans women as well,” she responds, immediately. “I’m talking about Black, female-presenting bodies. Fighting for justice within this system of dominance, as long as it is operating, is absolutely the thing I’m doing, but it is not the thing I ultimately believe in. We will continue to fight for justice – until there is real liberation.” In those words, I find a possible path toward restoring what I have lost, personally and collectively. Through Dyson’s work, I gain the expanded understanding that the possibility of liberation is everywhere because our ancestors saw opportunities for liberation in everything. Instead of asking others for justice, my faith, our faith, can be restored by turning inward, and asking ourselves what we can create outside of existing structures, to liberate ourselves with the languages that have been given to us. — Read more at Cereal Magazine here

Picture Me Rollin’

I wanted to encase myself in 80 beats per minute and above, sounds faster than the car could move in traffic. If I had taken the train, I could have adorned my ears with headphones and settled into the bumps forward as we moved downtown and the lurches backward as the train came to a stop. Exiting the subway there could have been the assuredness of ground underfoot — a pleasure greater than that of buses and trains. The comfort that only I could propel myself forward. Seconds later the ash grey neon pulled up in front of the school. “I know what the fucking problem is, what the problem really is,” my father said, turning toward me, so close I could feel his spit sprinkle the tip of my nose. “You need to grow your ass up and learn how to drive.” — Read more at The Seventh Wave here.

She Begat This: 20 Years of the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

“Did you bop to Drake’s “Nice for What?” this summer? Did you watch Cardi B perform “Be Careful” on Saturday Night Live, revealing her baby bump in a beautiful white ruched gown? Did you scream when that same “regular degular shmegular girl from the Bronx” joined Ms. Lauryn Hill as the only woman rapper to have a number one solo single on the Billboard Hot 100? If you did, Hill’s influence is reverberating through you.” — Read more here

If You Let Me Tell You a Story

“I might start telling you I didn’t really graduate high school so much as I escaped. I ditched prom and said fuck you to graduation while administrators simultaneously padded my community service hours to force me out. That was nearly seven years ago but my aunt will still remind any willing or reluctant ear that I barely finished whenever the opportunity presents itself and even when it doesn’t.” — Read more at the Rumpus here