“Don’t Look Up” Exposes How Capitalism Won’t Save Us

Historically, pandemics have caused immense social upheaval, horrific death, and large-scale change. After the 1918 Spanish Flu crisis, governments around the globe adopted healthcare initiatives to ensure widespread access to medical assistance, public sanitation initiatives increased, and the United States even saw the implementation of public housing safety requirements, such as fire escapes and social distancing. Within 100 years after the Black Plague ended in Italy, Feudalism fell, social

Black Emotional Labor is Core to my Columbia Experience

Entering Columbia University, I knew that I would have to partake in the Core Curriculum. I did not realize that in addition to mandatory coursework and rigorous academics, I would frequently be required to offer my existence and knowledge as learning tools, let others challenge the fabric of my humanity, and allow my peers to use my emotional vulnerabilities for the greater sake of education and awareness. I am never thanked for my emotional expenditures, but I am always left feeling as if I’ve

Roundtable: "I’m Angry and Sad and Scared and I Know Nothing is Going to Change"

We thought, naively in retrospect, that things might change after Sandy Hook — that the literal mass murder of small children might impact even the coldest, most NRA-lined heart in Washington. We were wrong. Since the Columbine shooting in 1999, little has been done to prevent the reality so many teachers, students and parents have been forced to accept about the kind of violence and bloodshed this country is willing to tolerate in our schools in the name of our white supremacy-rooted “second am

The Power of Remembering: A Review of “Men We Reaped: A Memoir” by Jesmyn Ward

In the Prologue, Ward recalls her brother confidently declaring that there were ghosts amidst her and her siblings. She, as the narrator, describes the children watching carefully for movement, for some sign of supernatural life. A sign of the existence of ghosts never comes, but they do learn that someone did, in fact, die there. And at the same time, we, the readers, learn that many, including Joshua, leave the earth prematurely in DeLisle, Mississippi.

“Men We Reaped: A Memoir” by Jesmyn War

Beyoncé’s "Renaissance" Is an Unapologetic Dedication to Blackness and Queerness

The first time I learned about sampling was because of Beyoncé. I was no older than five or six when my childhood friend and I would curate dance performances for our mothers — and Beyoncé was always the soundtrack. We’d design zany, rather camp outfits using princess dresses that barely fit anymore and random accessories to complete our looks. We strutted and danced to “Crazy in Love” and “Déjà Vu,” two young Black girls turning the small Crenshaw living room into our powerful main stage.


Janelle Monáe's Art Was The Musical Manifestation of My Truest Self

In a short yet powerful episode of Red Table Talk, the magical, multifaceted, and highly talented Janelle Monáe announced that she identifies as non-binary! Upon learning this news, my heart overflowed with unwavering joy, warmth, and pride. I have always felt represented by Janelle Monáe’s art, and as a Black and non-binary ArchAndroid myself, this takes it to an elevated level. It felt overwhelmingly special to know that the person who helped shape the understanding of my own identity, has und

The Sounds of Gen-Z: Five Queer R&B Artists That Blend Sultry with Sweet

R&B is one of the most expansive and soul-baring music genres of all time. It is a beautiful amalgamation of history, emotion, identity, love, joy, and pain. An impactful fusion of rhythmic bass, prominent percussion, layered instrumentation, and vocal agility all wrapped together to create passionate and expressive melodies about life’s multitudes.

While the genre’s name developed out of a marker of racial difference — created to replace the label “Race Music” as previously used by the industr

Syd's "Broken Hearts Club" Beautifully Captures Queer Love

As a young Black queer femme from Los Angeles, I have always felt very represented by Syd. Also from Los Angeles, Syd makes alternative R&B music that pushes the genre into new arenas. She sings openly about her sexuality and love of women, and challenges traditional gender presentation for Black women. With her sophomore album Broken Hearts Club, Syd vulnerably shares her own experience with love and captures the experience of queer relationships through her representational, cinematic musical

The Sounds of Gen-Z: Five Queer Rappers Making Waves

There has always been a throughline of queerness in rap music. On the one hand, the men at the forefront of this genre have historically used — and continue to use — rap as a means to defend, establish, and assert the force of their masculinity. Often using queer folks and women as the punching bags and stepping stools to do so. Yet, on the other, queer folks and women have always persisted in the genre and have been killing the game since rap’s birth. Shaping the sounds, pushing lyrical boundar

The Thief Collector

Full of twists and turns, this true crime documentary (DocPitch 2019) will shatter your preconceived expectations and reveal that everything and everyone are not as they seem—and sometimes the truth is hidden in plain sight. After being boldly and recklessly sliced from its frame, as well as lost for decades, Willem de Kooning’s famous Woman-Ochre resurfaces in an unforeseen place: the home of Jimmy and Rita Alters. On the surface, the Alters seem like a lovely couple, described as “cool soulmates” by their friends and family. With a love of traveling and art, they lived life to the fullest, packing their days with adrenaline rush inducing adventures. Over the course of this curious story, viewers alongside local police, federal detectives, family members, art scholars, and others work to piece together the truth of this crime as the unexpectedly dauntless inner-life of the Alters is slowly unraveled.

Everything Will Change

This genre-bending documentary serves as both a jarring awakening and a cautionary tale regarding the future of Earth, revealing what will happen if we don’t take action to divert the current climate emergency. Viewers are transported to the year 2054 where they find a gloomy city surrounded by eerie pink flora. In the midst of a society ruled by internet algorithms and technology, three friends see the light after a chance encounter with an elder underground conservationist. Following their discovery of a fading videotape filled with images of biodiversity they don’t understand, and curious creatures called “giraffes”, they set out to change the world, daring to travel back in time to the decade that holds the power to determine Earth’s future, the 2020s. With a mixture of scientific analysis provided by bona fide scientists and futuristic tales, Everything Will Change shows that humanity holds the power to reverse course before it’s too late.

My Old School

Sixteen-year-old Brandon Lee lived a difficult and unorthodox life. While a student at Bearsden Academy in Scotland, he faced the death of his mother, father, and grandmother. Despite this hardship, he flourishes as an A-student as he works towards his dreams of attending medical school. Through an engaging mix of cartoon illustrations, retellings from classmates, and multi-award winner Alan Cumming’s tour-de-force performance of Lee’s personal narration, viewers revisit Brandon’s old school experience to better understand his journey. One may start this film asking, “Who is Brandon Lee?”, but, as the film progresses, we start to question, “Is Brandon Lee even who he says he is?” As the documentary unfolds, Lee’s astonishing secret comes out, inspiring feelings of incredulous shock and an ever-deepening curiosity as to “Why?”

By Fighting Gender Expectations, My Mother Made Room for Me to Be Myself

My mother has always made an effort to push against forces that try to define her personhood. As a child, she actively challenged the image of the “perfect Black daughter” that her sisters created and abided by. Instead of focusing on getting good grades or learning how to do hair like her siblings, she spent her days hosting relay races on her neighborhood block, dreaming of being an auto-mechanic, making others laugh, flirting with boys, and living her life the way she wanted to.


"I Wanna Dance With Somebody" Settled for Being Superficial, Instead of Exploring Whitney and Robyn’s Depth

Kasi Lemmons’s new musical drama I Wanna Dance With Somebody is the first biopic to explore the life of Whitney Houston. Lined with a star-studded, extremely talented cast and team of producers, the latter of which includes Houston’s sister in law Pat Houston and record executive Clive Davis, I entered this viewing experience with high hopes. By utilizing live-action biopics, directors have the unique opportunity to show depth of life narratives in a way that makes stories feel alive, as though

Soul Soup

Soul Soup is a zine created by the 2021 Black Feminist Portal class, taught by Sista Docta Alexis Pauline Gumbs. The work in this scene is inspired on the works of Black feminists Zora Neale Hurston, Ntozake Shange, June Jordan, Toni Cade Bambara, Audre Lorde, the Combahee River Collective, and many more. Collaborators: Elizabeth Burton, Amari Gaiter, Ari Jones, Brianna Johnson, Bryn Evans, Cassidy Gabriel, Cindy Espinosa, Darielle Fernandez, Diogene Artiles, Ella Weiner, Justice Robinson, Makee

Black Queers Look For Accountability in Kendrick Lamar's "Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers"

shea and Amari discuss Kendrick Lamar’s latest album, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers. The conversation touches on their love of hip-hop, accountability and growth on that side of the industry, and what to do when queer themes arise on the albums of cishet hip-hop artists.

shea: So just jumping in – I’ve been a Kdot fan since Section.80, I think that’s when my younger sister introduced me to his music. I saw him live in 2014/2015(?) surrounded by a ton of white kids in the DC suburbs. That experi

"You Can Live Forever" Shows Sapphic Love in A Religious World

This You Can Live Forever review contains very mild spoilers. It was originally published from The Tribeca Festival in June 2022. You Can Live Forever is now streaming on Vudu, Google Play, and Amazon Prime.

In this Canadian romantic drama, two young teen girls from completely different worlds discover a love for each other amidst familial and religious pressure to adhere to strict tradition. You Can Live Forever attempts to break the mold of the typical teen love story, by utilizing a very con

Will "The Color Purple" Get Black Queerness Right This Time?

The Color Purple by Alice Walker is one of those culturally-essential novels and films that has been internalized in the popular Black historical lexicon for as long as I can remember. I feel as though I have known of Walker’s impactful tale my entire life, seeing glimpses of the film as a young child on television and the book on display in my favorite stores.

In addition to the original 1985 film, there has been a Broadway play, radio dramatizations, and now a musical film adaptation coming f

In "Truth of The Divine" We Explore What It Means To Be Human

Science fiction is one of my favorite genres. It provides us, as readers and writers, with an opportunity to take stock of our material reality and push our minds beyond what we assume to be humanly possible. In Truth of the Divine (book 2 of the Noumena Series, Axiom’s End was book 1) Lindsay Ellis writes a story that exemplifies the power of science fiction. Encouraging readers to utilize our imaginations and interrogate our internalized presuppositions about what it even means to be “human” i

Jen Winstons' Greedy Reminds You To Remember The "And"

The first time I heard the word “Greedy” weaponized against bisexuality was in high school. A friend found me after dance class and informed me that our dance teacher, one of the only two Black women who worked at the school at the time, went on a rant about how bisexuals are salacious cheaters who steal everyone’s dating options and just can’t make up their minds. This is just one example of the harmful rhetoric that left me feeling unsafe in — and unsure of — my own sexuality for years.

As I

A Black Woman's Res(t)istance

I have always viewed my grandmother as the embodiment of perseverance. Grandma, known by her friends as “Geri” or “GiGi,” helped raise me alongside my parents. Whenever my mother and father were working during the summers, I would go to Grandma’s house, where I was always greeted with the warmest hugs and the most delicious food.

“Rest” was rarely in her vocabulary. Despite my youthful inclination for naps and television, she insisted upon remaining active in one way or another and bringing me
Photo by Dan Prado on Pexels

My Tattoos Help Me Cope With Misogynoir And Remind Me I Am Worthy

My tattoos do not change the systems at hand, but they do announce to myself and others that I exist in multitudes and no one can take that away from me.

If I could travel back in time and tell a younger me that I have tattoos, my child self would be in disbelief, having internalized tenets of respectability from her elders and a society that declared tattoos ugly and permanent signs of “sin and unprofessionalism.” I would also be surprised by—and immensely proud of—the passion with which I bel