“All I could do those days was stay in bed because my head was spinning from the painkillers."
Are Spotify’s Vibes the End of Segregated Listening? (That’s Not What the Data Says.)
What kind of world does Spotify—through its algorithmic sorting of millions of users’ desires, through our aggregated listening—produce for us to hear?
Until We Meet on the Dance Floor Again: A Playlist
“Consider the laughter on October 15, 1982—after 1,000 people died from complications related to AIDS—at the Reagan White House press briefing.”
(A)I, Rapper: Who Voices Hip-Hop’s Future?
If we accept AIs crafting rap, we repeat the same exploitation that currently separates Black and brown artists from the fruits of their labor.
“Lupin” and the Limits of “Haute Culture”
Does Netflix’s “Lupin” resist the notoriously white milieu of European high culture, or, instead, endorse it?
Nobody Verzuz a Nation
Though a new phenomenon, Verzuz isn’t new. Black artistic, scholarly, athletic, and political spaces have always been made into battlegrounds.
Public Thinker: Hua Hsu on Reading until You See Double
“When I write, I try to begin from a place of authority and then I try to lose it over time. I want to transfer it to the reader.”
The DJ Is a Time Machine
Let’s rupture and reject the “timeline,” a flawed and colonial form of teaching history.
Karen Carpenter’s Afterlives
Everyone knows that feeling when a song—written by someone else in some other place or time—sees you so completely in the present. But how does that happen?
“Somewhere in This Brain”: Memories of Segregation, Soul Music & “Macbeth” with Al Bell
"A song was written through me, and I say that because I didn't write it. The words were given to me."
Identity, Islands, and Hazel V. Carby
What histories do we inherit? In the current crisis of Brexit—which points to larger global shifts toward nationalism and xenophobia—there is no more urgent a ...
The Breaks of History
Ralph Ellison once suggested that “living with music” provides us with “an orientation in time.” Music, in other words, helps us locate and anchor ourselves within a history that exceeds us. Living ...
Power, Poison, Pain, and Joy
Sitting atop a police car beneath an oversized American flag, Kendrick Lamar opened the 2015 BET awards with his single “Alright.” “We hate the po-po ...
Dancing Queer Children
Fans of Dance Moms and of RuPaul’s Drag Race alike rejoiced when Netflix debuted Dancing Queen this past fall. As Abby Lee Miller—the Dance Moms teacher and queen of my heart—frequently and ...
Editor 2 Editor: Mary Francis and Gita Manaktala
How does a scholarly book differ from a dissertation, or a string of articles? What does and doesn’t change with a shift to digital publishing? What do editors do all day?
Muses Explain Things to Me
The feminist muse is an artist, too. No silent sitter, she swaps the easel-facing chaise for a work space wholly hers, sloughing off the obligation to inspire ...
How Christianity Created Rock ’n’ Roll
In the spring of 1998, in a Seinfeld episode called “The Burning,” Elaine, sitting with Jerry and George at the diner, tells them she had just borrowed her on-again ...
The Ambivalence of Appropriation
One day in the summer of 2001, English professor and cultural critic Eric Lott received a phone call from rock journalist Greil Marcus. Marcus had some news ...
Joni Mitchell’s Ferocious Gift
When Joni Mitchell first came to prominence, in the late-1960s “Summer of Love” era, she was often perceived as a kind of “poetess” or “nightingale” folk ...