Happy Mother’s Day! I’m back on the internet, and too much happened! Highlights: Jordan Neely, WGA, US Labor movements, archiving Black Twitter, Jamie Foxx, Janelle Monáe, monarchs, Elizabeth Holmes, and KCIII.
The Nation: One Man Killed Jordan Neely—but We All Failed Him
On Monday, May 1st, Jordan Neely, a Black man, was murdered on the subway in New York City by former marine Daniel Penny, a white man. “The murder happened in broad view of the other passengers and was captured on video,” and no one stopped it. Neely “appeared to be homeless, was allegedly being ‘hostile and erratic’ on the subway, but he wasn’t being violent.” Racism, however, “is only the most obvious of [the story’s] horrors. This murder takes many of the problems we have in our society and shoves them into a giant melting pot,” and poverty and homelessness also played a major role.
More Perfect Union: Why Hollywood Writers are Going on Strike‘
Hollywood writers are on strike. Formally known as the Writers Guild of America, members went on strike last Tuesday after contract negotiations fell through with the nine largest production studios. “At the center of that fight is something called residuals: one of the most important ways writers get paid,” which have greatly declined with the rise of streaming. In another video for More Perfect Union, David Simon, the creator of The Wire, explains why the strike is necessary to protect the next generation of writers, and the current business model of mega-studios.
The Jacobin: Right Now Is the Most Exciting Moment to Join the Labor Movement in Decades
While the Hollywood writers strike might be the most covered strike currently take place, it is not the only one. The writers are joining workers at large corporations such as Amazon and Starbucks and continue to organize for workers rights. Grad students across the country are petitioning for—and winning—unions. Although “US unions are weak, it’s true” and not all strikes have been successful, “there’s more excitement, more of a spirit of militancy and experimentation, and more hope in today’s labor movement than there has been in a long time,” as Alex N. Press writes in her summary of the current labor movement.
The 19th: ‘The world’s largest Black group chat’: Behind the mission to preserve Black Twitter
Like with many Twitter users, when news of Musk’s acquisition of the platform was announced, I was highly concerned with saving my data from Twitter. Withn the lifespan on the platform, I haven’t been on it very long, only joining in 2017. Since then, however, I’ve come to find various communities, and rely on the app as a touchstone for what is happening, and get perspectives—Black perspectives—on current events and events the mainstream platforms can fail to cover. Black people are foundational to Twitter as we know it today. Together, Black Twitter users are known as Black Twitter, which is, as André Brock described it, “the world’s largest Black group chat.”
Even before Musk took over, people like Meredith Clark have been archiving and studying Black Twitter’s rich cultural landscape. Now, with the apps ever teetering fate, there is a renewed (and larger) push to archive Black Twitter and “to preserve the stories of Black people and extend existing archival practices to the digital sphere. Archiving The Black Web (of which Clark is a member) “see an urgency to preserving Black Twitter in a world in which Black history and Black women’s cultural labor are undervalued or unacknowledged — and where the future of Twitter seems unknown. They also want to document the racist and sexist abuse that Black women on the platform received, in part to help people dream up and create a more inclusive way of connecting that prioritizes the needs of the most marginalized.”
I used to hang out with a lot of musicians, and some of the best things I’ve ever heard are from just being around them when they happened to be trying to figure something out. Many of these moments only exist as memories, or clips buried on inactive Facebook profiles. Sometimes they are on YouTube, but rarely.
Music journalists and people in the industry “often get to hear a piece of recorded music before it is filtered through the machine of a record label.” Whether it is joining an artist at a studio session while working on a profile, or going to a listening party, “sometimes you encounter a song that will not fade away, though you never hear it again.” These enduring moments are the Lost Ones, the lost songs “that it is impossible for you to listen to. I’m sorry to report that it cannot be streamed. It cannot be purchased on a compact disc or a cassette, used or new. There’s no rare vinyl pressing listed on Discogs.”
CNN: Jamie Foxx’s friends and family aren’t sharing his medical diagnosis. Here’s why
Jamie Foxx has been hospitalized for a month, however there is still little public knowledge about his diagnosis. While some fans are frustrated at the lack of information, “the desire for privacy is in keeping with how the “Ray” star has always lived, despite a career that puts him in the spotlight.” I hope Foxx recovers soon!
YouTube: Janelle Monáe – Lipstick Lover [Official Music Video]
Summer has not yet begun but Janelle Monáe is going for artist of the summer! First she released Float, and now Lipstick Lover—either of could be (or will be) the song of the season. Some people are surprised by Monáe’s freedom and autonomy in the video, noting that it is a deviation from the buttoned-up tuxedo uniform for which she is known. However, for anyone that has followed the singer’s career Lipstick Lover is the most recent episode in a long evolution.
Atmos: Saving the Monarch Butterfly Migration
My mother has always planted milkweed in the yard of the house I grew up in. I remember a neighbor once asked why she kept the weeds in the side yard, to which she told the neighbor that the weeds were for the monarch butterflies. This is when my mother explained, as Romina Cenisio does in this piece, that “milkweed [is] a native perennial flowering plant that’s a crucial piece of the migratory species’s survival. It’s the one plant on which monarchs lay their eggs and the one food source for the monarch caterpillars during the spring migration.”
Monarch numbers have been decreasing for decades, and officially became endangered in July of last year. When I was very young, I loved breaking apart the plant to watch its milk flow out. But ever since I learned about monarchs, I’ve withheld my urge, saving them for the butterflies.
New York Times: Liz Holmes Wants You to Forget About Elizabeth
The subtitle of this article says just about everything you need to know: “The black turtlenecks are gone. So is the voice. As the convicted Theranos founder awaits prison, she has adopted a new persona: devoted mother.” This profile of Elizabeth Holmes, who has been convicted of criminal fraud, is gobsmacking. Throughout the profile, Amy Chozick goes into great detail to humanize Holmes in ways that the Times does not treat many marginalized people. This is not a complex or nuanced profile. It is propaganda.
The Atlantic: King Charles’s Very Hobbity Coronation
This is not the most scathing take I’ve seen on King Charles’s coronation, but Helen Lewis comically considers many of the frivolous traditions of the ceremony and critiques of the crown. Perhaps my favorite part of this is Lewis’s use of a quote from Petronella Wyatt’s piece in The Telegraph in which the latter exasperated that “it is particularly disturbing that the Earl of Derby has not been asked to provide falcons, as his family have done since the 16th Century. These little things deprive people of their purpose in life.”