As someone who prides herself on her absolutely incredible taste when it comes to practically everything (as well as her obvious modesty), I want to share a few things that I’ve loved recently – with you! It’s all nicely packaged into different sections -just for your eyes.
Goddess – BANKS
BANKS’ practically self-titled album (get it?) is a masterpiece from start to finish. I’ve loved BANKS for as long as I can remember and even though the album came out over two years ago, I always find myself returning to it, when I’m upset or happy or in any mood under the sun. I’m actually listening to Brain as I write this! (#WhatFourthWall) BANKS’ has a hauntingly beautiful voice that is incomparable. A compilation of incredible music, track after track, is something very few artists can achieve but BANKS does it, on her debut album nonetheless.
DAMN. – Kendrick Lamar
Anyone who has been on the Internet in April knows exactly how ready we all were for this album. Kendrick’s production definitely takes centre stage on this album but his lyricism still remains far away from backup. As per usual, his music tells a story, as is heard in BLOOD. If you’ve never embraced the combination of political discourse and art that is his music, DAMN. is a fabulous place to begin. Trust me when I say that it’s time the world gives Kendrick Lamar the appreciation he deserves.
Hijabi – Mona Haydar
Mona Haydar is amazing. I never thought I was someone who enjoys the combination of traditional Asian sounds with hip-hop/rap/electronic music (with the undeniable exceptions of Horsepowar, Mura Masa and Nucleya. Obviously.) but Mona made me a believer. In her debut single, she destroys so many stereotypes surrounding the hijab and its wearer. Her equally incredible music video features hijabi women of various ethnicities and outfits, whilst including a pregnant yet badass Haydar. It is super intersectional, just like Haydar’s own brand of feminism.
Palestine (A Personal History) – Karl Sabbagh
If you are interested in learning about the beginnings of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Al-Nakhba, but don’t know where to start, I’d suggest starting with Sabbagh’s autobiographical work that details his father’s time covering the 1947 UN vote about the conflict and the partition of Palestine, as well as the subsequent creation of Israel. The book beautifully deals with the issue at hand and chances are you will tear up at the end of the book.
The Second Sex – Simone de Beauvoir
In the words of Camille Rowe, “aujourd’hui je m’en sens très Simone de Beauvoir.” Born during the existentialist movement in France, The Second Sex explores all aspects of second-wave feminism. It is considered by many to be an “essential read for all feminists” and I strongly agree. While you may not agree with all of de Beauvoir’s ideas, I think that your literary education would be incomplete without at least an attempt at reading it!
Race Rebels (Culture, Politics and the Black Working Class) – Robin D.G. Kelley
So, I read the eighth chapter of Race Rebels, called: Kickin’ Reality, Kickin’ Ballistics. The chapter deals with Los Angeles post-industrialisation and the genre of “gangsta rap.” As a strong proponent of rap music and a widely known history and race relations’ nerd, I thoroughly enjoyed the chapter and really like the premise of the book. However, I’d recommend it as reading for anyone who is looking for a good, meaty read!
Poems by Nizar Qabbani
I absolutely adore poetry. Like a lot. I am also super interested in the Middle East. So, I was bound to find Qabbani’s poetry soon enough. With a beautiful and incredibly touching register, Qabbani will drag you into his world and make you want to stay in his words forever. A good place to begin would be my favourite – The Face of Qana. Superb imagery and really sensitive content. Explore at your own risk.
The Get Down
I know. “But all we’re hearing about is the GET DOWN! It’s everywhere!” This is true. But… THE GET DOWN IS SO GOOD. It explores the lives of five fictional members of a DJ crew living in the Bronx and it explores it like a dream. I am in awe of Baz Luhrmann’s characterisation and the portrayal of these amazing people. If you only decide to consume one of the things on this list, watch the Get Down. And thank us.
Dear White People
The iconic 2014 film is now a TV show. Yes, folks. Watch the lives of Sam and her peers at Winchester in episode format and soak in the true artistic beauty and political themes at your leisure. In all seriousness, the film version truly introduced me to the extremely intricate world of race politics and it’s definitely a good thing to binge-watch next weekend.
DNA. – Kendrick Lamar
You may argue that this listicle contains two too many mentions of Kendrick Lamar but once you see this music video, you’ll know why. Don Cheadle is in it and it’s so well made and extremely enjoyable! I have nothing much to say about it as the video itself speaks volumes. Go forth and appreciate!
On that note, this post comes to an end. The world is full incredible and interesting artists and ideas – we’re here to promote those to you. A disclaimer- All things mentioned here are things we’ve actually enjoyed and we are *not* being paid to promote them. If you have recommendations or questions of any kind, feel free to contact us through the contact form, our social medias and our email! Enjoy them and make it a lovely week!♥