The Internet Is Exploding: 10 Must-Read Articles This Week 6/20

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The internet was weird this week, I wasn’t that into it. Highlights: Juneteenth is a national holiday, Azealia Banks on Candance Owens, Taylor Renee Aldridge on David Driskell, “History as End,” Eve vs. Trina, H.E.R, #savearea405, and “Love and the Burning West.”



1. HuffPost: The Hypocrisy Of Honoring Juneteenth While Condemning Critical Race Theory

On Thursday, President Joe Biden signed a bill into law that made Juneteenth a national holiday. The bill was previously passed on Wednesday by Congress, but “for many, making Juneteenth a federal holiday also flies in the face of recent statewide laws to ban the teaching of critical race theory in schools — an academic framework that critiques how institutionalized racism has impacted the most marginalized.”

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when “Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to tell enslaved Black people in the state that slavery had been abolished,” more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. 



2. Twitter: @YesAurielle on Juneteenth

I have seen this tweet EVERYWHERE this week. I’ve seen it on at least three different social media platforms, and come across it multiple times a day on Instagram specifically. Amongst my network, this is the general feeling about Juneteenth becoming a national holiday. 



3. Instagram: @teachandtransform

In addition to a lot of synced tweets critiquing Juneteenth becoming a national holiday, many memes have been made. This is my personal favorite that I’ve seen this week, and I screamed when I first saw it. The accuracy is unprecedented.



4. Complex: Azealia Banks Shuts Down Candace Owens Over Juneteenth Tweet

To no one’s surprise, conservative pundit Candace Owens tweeted in disagreement with Juneteenth becoming a national holiday. 

Azealia Banks doesn’t always get it, but when she gets it right, she gets it right! On Instagram, Banks posted a screenshot of Owens’ tweet with a long caption DRAGGING “her and her crispy hair immaculately,” as user @kelechnekoff commented. The caption, using Owens’ logic, outlines the life Owens could have lived had she been enslaved. It was a read—and it has already been deleted. 



5. Gagosian Quarterly: Game Changer. Dr. David Driskell

Taylor Renee Aldridge always writes with an awe-inspiring amount of reverence. In this essay, Aldridge writes about the late Dr. David Driskell in a way that I think about her. 

While it is interesting to read about the artist, educator, curator, and scholar’s biography and career, it is really Aldridge’s masterful framing of it that made me reread this article. Aldridge contextualizes Driskell’s “enduring legacy” to a Black American tradition where “inheritance is not historically tied to economic wealth, but to memory, culture, rituals, and wisdom—a different kind of prosperity that is engendered out of love and respect.” A tradition where “elders are sometimes chosen, and through acts of deference we become worthy of their legacy.”



6. Harper’s Magazine: History As End

There are some articles I read for this column and immediately save a PDF. This was one of those articles. 

History has always been political. Over the past few years, history has seemingly played a more prominent role in popular discourse, and while “every modern political movement makes some contact with history . . . the role of history today, especially within liberal discourse, has changed. Rather than mine the past for usable politics—whether as analogue, inspiration, or warning—thinkers now travel in the opposite direction, from present injustice to historical crime.” Today, “American conservatives, traditionally attracted to history as an exercise in patrimonial devotion, have in the time of Trump abandoned many of their older pieties, instead oscillating between incoherence and outright nihilism. Liberals, meanwhile, seem to expect more from the past than ever before. Leaving behind the End of History, we have arrived at something like History as End.” 

This essay by Matthew Karp offers an overview of the discipline of American history, which is currently at an inflection point. He argues that “the past may live inside the present, but it does not govern our growth. However sordid or sublime, our origins are not our destinies; our daily journey into the future is not fixed by moral arcs or genetic instructions. We must come to see history . . . not as ‘what we dwell in, are propelled by, or are determined by,’ but rather as ‘what we fight over, fight for, and aspire to honor in our practices of justice.’ History is not the end; it is only one more battleground where we must meet the vast demands of the ever-living now.”

I was absolutely captivated by this read and sent it to many friends—and I’m sure we will discuss it at length in the coming weeks.



7. FITE: Verzuz: Eve vs. Trina

I LOOVVVEEEEEE Eve. I usually don’t watch Verzuz live, but I did watch part of this Wednesday night when it streamed and listened to the whole thing as I wrote this week. Trina was good, but I was really here for Eve. 



8. Spotify: Back of My Mind by H.E.R. 

Next week I start my summer proper, which usually consists of lots of beach days at Lake Michigan or other lakes in Michigan. Back of My Mind, H.E.R.’s debut full-length album, is the perfect beach-day album for me. It has the right amount of energy with an ever-present chill vibe. This will be featured heavily in my music rotation this summer. 



9. BmoreArt: Beloved Artist-owned Space Area 405 Listed for Sale

If you have not already read this piece by BmoreArt editor Cara Ober, about the uncertain future of the artist-owned Area 405, please do! The 66,000-square-foot mixed-use arts space in Station North has been co-owned since 2002 by 3 Square Feet LLC, comprised of five owners. Stewart Watson, who with her husband Jim Vose owns a 27.16 percent share of the building, “has acted as the managing partner of the building, and for anyone who has interacted with Area 405 over the past fifteen years, Watson has been the main public- and community-facing member of the group.” Watson and Vose—and the 50 or so studio tenants, including Ober—learned of the sale through a Baltimore Business Journal article. 

This could be devastating for Station North as nearby properties have recently sold for millions, far above their market value, and community members are anxious about developers capitalizing on this and displacing residents and renters. “It is never simply about the artists,” said Jackie Milad, an artist who has had a studio at 405 since 2015. “It is the continued and regular threat of whole-community displacement in our Black and brown city.”



10. Shondaland: Love and the Burning West

This personal essay by Sarah Berns came up on a few long-reads lists I subscribe to, and I was interested in it because of its subheadline: “She nearly died while fighting a fire. All she could think about was the tragedy of dying while still a virgin.” The subheadline did what it was meant to and got my attention, but from the offset, I wasn’t convinced that it was what the story was about. As the story progresses Berns addresses this. It wasn’t that she was scared of dying before having sex, but rather, that “really I was terrified of dying before I could find something — find the woman I was to become, on my own terms.”



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