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The Internet Is Exploding: 10 Must-Read Articles This Week 4/17

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The internet was a lot this week. Highlights: The Black women of country music, Faith Ringgold, Free Brittney Griner, Todd Hodne, NY subway attack, Eddie Conway, Elon Musk, celebrity relationships, and farewell to Scrat!

 

1.Vanity Fair: How Brittney Spencer, Joy Oladokun, and Other Black Women Musicians Are Reframing Country Music

Tressie McMillan Cottom’s writing on Black women in country music is broadening the genre’s audience. I am a person of that growing audience. Many of country’s stars in recent years are Black women, Cottom writes: “Grounded in multiple musical traditions, each has a unique sound, but all of them pay homage to the Black music dynasty.”

This is a profile of both country music and Black women “carving a hallowed space in opry’s pantheon,” artists who are laying “their claim to contemporary country music” which “reaches back before genres sliced culture into commodities, back to ‘the root of the thing,’ as Angela Davis might say of country music’s glaring erasure of Black artistry.”

 

2. Zora: Can a White Woman write about “Trap Feminist Theology”?

Jennifer Buck, a white woman, wrote a book, Bad and Boujee: Toward a Trap Feminist Theology, released in March. This week the book “is being dragged through the proverbial mud across the internet.”

There are a lot of concerns, such as why “No one is stopping institutions like Yale Divinity School from awarding her $10,000 for this project, a grant that could have went to a Black woman writer.” Further, Buck uses a Black woman on the cover of her book, performing a sort of literary blackface. The fuckery and audacity are, unsurprisingly, not left to the cover as the official description of the book on Amazon doesn’t even capitalize the b in Black.

If you want to read about trap feminism, “Black Feminism, Black Theology, or Black Sexuality that are actually by Black Women,” Whitney Alese compiled a great list at the end of this article, including Sesali Bowen’s Bad Fat Black Girl: Notes from a Trap Feminist. According to an article at The Cut, Bowen coined the term “trap feminism” in 2014, which “encompasses what she calls the ‘complex, sex-positive, financially ambitious, and self-affirming components’ of trap music.”

 

3. PBS: Artist Faith Ringgold’s life’s work celebrated in New York exhibit

If you have the opportunity to see Faith Ringgold’s retrospective, American People at the New Museum, go! Covering her 60 years in the art world, the exhibition addresses how Ringgold “challenged art trends by using craft techniques like quilting and art history by adding women and African Americans into the story.” Ringgold, who is 91, was “giving myself the freedom to take another look at the possibilities of what life could be” in her work. In American People, the vastness of her imagination is on full display.
 

4. Jacobin: Free Brittney Griner

WNBA superstar Brittney Griner is still imprisoned in Russia, two months after she was initially detained. Griner was traveling to play professional basketball in Europe for additional income—something “nearly half of WNBA players [do] to earn extra income, since salaries for these professional players are a fraction of men’s in the National Basketball Association.” Although it has yet to be confirmed, Griner was accused of having vape cartridges with hash oil on her when she entered Russia, and in the worst-case scenario she could be sentenced to “ten years in prison and up to five years in a labor camp.”

It took weeks for the public to learn of Griner’s detainment, and since then the “people closest to her, including her wife Cherelle Griner, her agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas, and her teammates in the WNBA, remained nearly universally quiet about the situation.” Griner’s detainment became a forbidden topic in the women’s basketball world with state officials signaling “if you say something, you could make this even worse for Brittney Griner, so leave it to the people who know what they’re doing.” On Monday, however, “the WNBA decided to shift its media strategy around Griner. But members of the women’s basketball community who want to get her home safely should inquire about why.”

 

5. ESPN: Untold CW: sexual assault, r*pe, murder

Penn State used to be a beacon of college football until “the sexual abuse committed by an assistant coach named Jerry Sandusky came to light.” The abuse crumbled its reputation, and its legendary head coach Joe Paterno, who was dismissed from the organization in 2011 following accusations that he assisted in concealing the abuse. Before that, however, Todd Hodne, a linebacker for the team in the 1970s, was also a serial sexual predator—one who found some protection under the clout of the organization.

This investigation is not only the story of Hodne but those of the lives he ruined.

 

6. NY1: Subway attack places scrutiny on police transit safety efforts

On Tuesday morning, a man on a Manhattan-bound N train started shooting, injuring 29 people, including 10 who endured gun wounds. No one was killed. The attack happened at the 36th street station in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park, a predominantly Chinese and Latinx immigrant community. On Wednesday, nearly 30 hours after the rush-hour attack, NYPD officers arrested 62-year-old Frank R. James, “who they said was their only suspect.”

Since Mayor Eric Adams has been in office, transit safety has been one of his top priorities, and there has been an increased police presence in subway stations across the city. This attack has “put police efforts to bring subway crime under control into the spotlight.” Even with a high presence, “it’s not clear what role police officers played in the aftermath of the shooting attack. The New York Times reported that a police officer in the station asked people fleeing the smoke-filled train to call 911 on their cell phones, because his radio was not functioning.”

 

7. The Real News Network: A Statement from the Family and Friends of Eddie Conway

Baltimore’s Marshall “Eddie” Conway, a former Black Panther Party member who was wrongfully convicted of murder, has recently fallen ill. The Real News Network, where Conway is an Executive Producer, published a statement that he “is currently hospitalized and will need long term care and support for his healing and recovery,” and asked for “prayers for his swift and total recovery. We know Eddie will pull through this as he has with many other challenges in his life thanks to the ancestors, family and community.” Please send your support to Eddie Conway, and “reach out to Erica Woodland at ewoodland@gmail.com if you have questions or additional offerings of support.”

 

8. The Guardian: Elon Musk offers to buy Twitter and unlock ‘extraordinary potential’ – business live

After buying up nearly 10% of Twitter’s stock last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk offered to buy the company for $54 a share in a hostile takeover—an offer worth more than $40 billion. After the offer, “he was subsequently offered a seat on the social media company’s board but in a last-minute twist refused to take up the position.” If this proposal goes through, it will likely have massive ramifications for the social media platform and the internet—let’s hope it doesn’t get to that.

 

9. YouTube: Celebrity relationships won’t save your own 😬 | Khadija Mbowe

On Thursday, it was rumored that A$AP Rocky cheated on Rihanna, who is currently pregnant. While the rumors about A$AP and the couple were unconfirmed and quickly dismissed, the topic was still heavily debated across social media.

A few weeks ago, Khadija Mbowe made this video on people’s parasocial obsession with celebrity relationships. In the video, Mbowe addresses how investment in and commentary on the relationships of others won’t save your own, the limited forms of love and intimacy normative society presents, and how the general public really has no clue what goes on in celebrities’ private lives.

 

10. Vulture: Scrat Got Nut! Scrat Got Nut!

Recently I rewatched all of the Ice Age movies chronologically. Scrat, a nut-obsessed saber-toothed squirrel, is perhaps the most iconic character from the franchise. Since the first film was released in 2002, Scrat “has been trying to get his grubby mitts on an acorn. Through teaser trailers, sequels, and a video game, we grew up watching Scrat, the breakout mascot of the Ice Age franchise, get his furry ass handed to him in pursuit of his humble goal. His sorry existence was to suffer only so we could laugh.”

On Wednesday, Scrat’s journey came “to a merciful, bittersweet end”—he finally got to eat his coveted, beloved acorn when Disney dissolved Blue Sky Studio, which was behind the franchise. The squirrel’s desires were simple. “Some people ask for the world. Some people are so greedy they want to own Mars or Twitter or both. Scrat just wanted a nut to chomp on. And he got it.”

 

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The internet was all about abortion this week. 

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The internet felt random this week, but it was interesting.