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I’m back! You’re back (or you’ve just joined - and I’m delighted - a little background on gold/dust here).

Hi from Montana. We’re not living anywhere at the moment (#suitcaselife), so Kevin and I came here searching for clean air, quiet, and mountains after an absolute hurricane of a few months in Brazil and Colombia: see above where I got a little gif-extra (not sorry). I’m promise you I’m still tired from Rio’s Carnival. It was my first time to both countries, and I wrote a little bit about two sharp and deeply determined creatives fighting for Afro-Colombian-and-Brazilian communities. I had the luck of lunches and mountain walks and coffees and bubbles with both of them and they each expanded me in the way only the most grounded, most visionary, most prophetic kind of people can and do.

the curators/

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Meet Paula Marcela Moreno Zapata, former Minister of Culture for Colombia and founder of a widely-loved, deeply important non-profit fighting for the culture + rights + visibility Afro-Colombian communities. Her auto-biography is a vital roadmap and is soon to be translated to English. Alongside her legendary resume, she’s warmest human being I know. Spend a little time with her here.

To the right, to the right (or to the top, if you’re on your phone?): Keyna (KAY-nah) Eleison. Our Rio lunches were ever-punctuated by champagne (we’re sisters in bubbles), and Keyna’s an alien in the best sense. She’s making a way for Afro-Brazilian artists where there is no way, pulling black creatives up with her as she goes. And Brazilians recognize: she played God As A Woman at the head of a bloco at Rio Carnival this year. Get to know Keyna here.

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the creators/

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Here’s R&B crooner Yuna making the country of my birth look like a dream (which it is: Malaysians persevere in the face of shit leaders, infamous corruption, Saudi-stirred racism etc, and it remains site of absolute diversity and beauty). The country counts Yuna as an emerging hero: she films here across 11 locations, drawing on traditional Malay instruments and poetry. Forevermore is an ode, and a jam. Her whole catalog is, really.
Video and a little Hypebeast fangirling here.

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I saw Adia Victoria speak at Yale in 2014, when she easily stole the spotlight from panel-mate Jack White. She was just getting started then, but the sound of her gothically gravelly first single, Stuck in the South, stayed with me. She’s on to her sophomore effort now, Silences, a not-so-classic blues album. You can get into some background and music-dude thoughts here and here, but I’d just spend some time listening through her stuff. She’s got something potent. See also: her style! Her whole look. It’s thrifted genius.

I met the determined, vision-filled filmmaker Tamara Shogaolu in Jakarta a couple years back, and made it a point to keep tabs on her. Her new animated documentary virtual reality experience, Another Dream, launches April 26th at Tribeca. The film “brings the gripping, true love story of an Egyptian lesbian couple to life. Faced with a post-Revolution backlash against the LGBTQ community, they escape Cairo to seek asylum and acceptance in The Netherlands.” Tamara’s inviting us directly into the journey with first-hand audio accounts, visuals and VR tech.

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Another Dream is the second installment of Tamara’s Queer in a Time of Forced Migration, her series of stories of LGBTQ refugees across Egypt, Sudan, and Saudi Arabia. You can track down a schedule and grab tickets for timed performances here: the festival runs April 26 to May 5.

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the representers/

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I’m yet to meet her in person, but you know I for damn sure Instagram stalked and e-befriended [another #notsorry] the Bay Area-based chef Siska Silitonga Marcus. She just launched her Indonesian food truck, ChiliCali, which hits the streets of San Francisco soon. I love this piece she wrote for Healthy-ish about her path, her heritage, and the uphill battle that is bringing Indonesian cuisine to an American market. Let me tell you, y’all are MISSING OUT on the spicy sour sweet fiery deliciousness that makes up the astonishing breadth of Indo cuisine. BIG statement coming from a Malaysian. More about Siska here. Buy her mother sauces/ sambals here.

Dominique Drayford’s Melanin And  Sustainable Style (MelaninASS) is a powerhouse of a platform that “celebrates communities of color in Sustainable Fashion and Beauty spaces.” I learn of new brands and movements from her every week. Back in March she published a list of “47 Badass Women of Color in Sustainable Fashion.” It’s a striking collection of people to follow across media, fashion, advocacy. I think they’ll be increasingly powerful as we start to acknowledge that communities of color really invented sustainability, while now being disproportionately affected by over-consumption and the effects of environmental racism.

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we created sustainability
we substantiated ethics
we evoked consciousness
we are the change makers
we are the vanguards of style
we’ve always been fly as fuck.
- melaninass/47 badass women

… and a little of what I’ve been
reading this month….

Darian Halland Elisa Shankle opened up an intersectional wellness space in Brooklyn (another dream job alert): “I walked through the sunlit doors of the bright, mustard-yellow building and instantly noticed the feelings of warmth and acceptance. The majority of the people inside were black and brown. Immediately, I felt a sense of calm.” Bok Choy isn’t exotic: how a young generation of Asian-American farmers are coming back to heritage vegetables and in the process, their own culinary histories. Considering the real impact of anti-trafficking laws. With a renewed interest in black art, how are older artists dealing with the demand? Lizzo interviewed Janelle Monae for them: “It would only be right to have one free-ass motherfucker interview another for the occasion… both share a commitment to uplifting marginalized communities, championing self-love and self-care, subverting social expectations, and speaking their truths through their work.” Also: Lizzo’s new album is finally out and it’s on repeat like, all day. And I’m going to see her live in Boston SQUEEE!! This is a remarkable piece from last year about Joyce Maynard leaving Yale for J.D. Salinger’s toxic ass (anyone else completely unsurprised?), only to return at age 64. The dancer Alice Shepphard’s compelling op-ed draws us into the sounds, the textures, the emotions of dancing with a wheelchair, and advocates for access.

And this poem, from Lucille Clifton: “won't you celebrate with me what i have shaped into a kind of life? i had no model.”

until next month.

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