Auntie prefers #CASH, Jamaal Bowman, Mississippi Goddam, Arts & Culture: Juneteenth Edition
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Each Sunday we deliver the latest developments in world affairs, political economy, and culture straight to your inbox, served with a generous side of soul.
We spend the week scouring the internets for essential information and meaningful content to keep you informed, inspired and mildly entertained.
Monday June 22 is Octavia Butler’s birthday.
Happy Father’s Day.
CNBC: Jobless claims total 1.5 million, worse than expected as economic pain persists
The Guardian: PG&E confesses to killing 84 people in 2018 California fire as part of guilty plea
NPR: Supreme Court Delivers Major Victory To LGBTQ Employees
NBC: Supreme Court blocks Trump from ending DACA in big win for Dreamers
Washington Post: Netflix chief, wife pledge historic $120 million gift to Morehouse, Spelman and the United Negro College Fund
ESPN: Serena Williams says she'll play in the 2020 US Open
New York Times: India-China Border Dispute: A Conflict Explained
🏀 Auntie prefers #CASH
While we’ve all spent the last few weeks on quarantine lockdown, someone was out there putting “cash in the bank.”
No, we’re not talking about Amazon.
We’re talking about former WNBA point guard Chantel Tremitiere. She went viral on TikTok this week for her trick shots, served up with copious amounts of trash talk and boundless swagger.
After retiring from the WNBA in 2001, Tremitiere went on to eventually earn her MBA and PhD. She currently teaches at her alma mater, Auburn University. Apparently class is in session on TikTok:
While she spent most of the week actively campaigning for a Twitter “verified user” checkmark, she eventually concluded that she doesn’t need a check at all.
Because “Auntie prefers cash!”
WIRED: The FDA Revokes Its Emergency Use Authorization for Hydroxychloroquine
LA Times: COVID-19 surge in South, Southwest poses growing threat, experts warn
CNN: Beijing's new outbreak is a reminder to the world that coronavirus can return at anytime
🗳 Races to watch
The longstanding clash between establishment Democrats and the progressive left is playing out in two primary elections this week.
NY-16 Congressional District
Jamaal Bowman is waging a primary challenge against Eliot Engel in a race that has captured national attention. Bowman, who is black, is a middle school principal. Engel, who is white, has been in congress for 32 years. The district is majority Black and Latino.
Bowman has been endorsed by the likes of Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Engel, in turn, has picked up endorsements from establishment Democrats ranging from Hillary Clinton to Congressman Jim Clyburn.
Recent polling shows Jamaal Bowman leading the 16-term incumbent heading into Tuesday’s primary election.
Kentucky Senate Primary
Booker has garnered several endorsements from prominent progessive Democrats, including Ayanna Pressley, Elizabeth Warren, and Julian Castro. McGrath is the favorite among establishment Democrats. Although she has raised more than $40 million, observers acknowledge that she has generally been a lackluster campaigner.
The winner of Tuesday’s primary election will face off against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in November.
🏈 Mississippi Goddam
The NCAA announced that states who prominently feature the confederate battle flag will not be eligible to host championship events. Currently, Mississippi is the only state whose official state flag features the confederate battle flag.
The new policy regarding the flag is similar to a 2005 policy the NCAA issued regarding “hostile and abusive” mascots, which was aimed at ending the cultural appropriation and denigration of Native Americans and indigenous peoples. The rule prompted substantial changes of mascots and traditions from institutions that included the University of Illinois, The College of William & Mary, The University of Louisiana-Monroe, and Arkansas State University.
The SEC publicly considered whether it will ban conference championship events from being held in Mississippi if it does not remove the confederate battle flag from its current state flag. The SEC’s position was received with hedged commentary from Mississippi State’s Athletics Director John Cohen:
University of Mississippi Chancellor Glenn Boyce and Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Keith Carter were less equivocal in their joint statement in response to the conference’s announcement:
SEC member institutions that would potentially future ramifications from the announcement are the University of Mississippi “Ole Miss” Rebels and the Mississippi State Bulldogs, both of whom are charter members dating back to 1932.
🏛 After the protests
Charlotte, North Carolina is the face of the New South. An established financial center—second only to New York City—Charlotte is the fifth fastest growing big city in America.
But while a booming economy has attracted an influx of millennials and high wage earners, poverty in Charlotte has actually increased. And a recent study found Charlotte to rank last among big cities for social mobility.
In the wake of the 2016 police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, Charlotte elected its first Black woman mayor and a majority black and brown government.
Vice correspondent Alzo Slade spent six months in the city understanding how Black Charlotteans are waging a “struggle against forces of oppression that keep reinventing themselves.”
🎧 🎥 Arts & Culture: Juneteenth Edition
Teyana Taylor: The Album
Teyana Taylor dropped her third studio album entitled The Album. The 23-track album is broken up into five sections or “studios,” labeled A, L, B, U, and M. Each studio carries its own theme and attempts to take the listener through different emotions. Taylor boasts about having creative control on this album, something she feels that she didn’t have with her 2018 7-track album K.T.S.E (Keep That Same Energy), produced by Kanye West.
The Album features some heavy hitters like Lauryn Hill, Missy Elliott, and Erykah Badu, but what stands out is how Taylor’s family is the heart of the album. In fact, The Album’s introduction is recorded audio clips of her marriage proposal followed by a 911 call of a frantic Iman Shumpert during the unexpected home birth of their daughter Junie. Come Back to Me features Junie and Wake up Love features her husband, ex Knicks player Iman. The album is a personal project that brings the listener into Teyana Taylor’s world as wife and mother. It explores love, lust, vulnerability and hurt.
2020 is proving to be a big year for Taylor. Not only has she dropped a new album, she will release her cosmetics collection with M.A.C next month and is expecting her second child later this year.
Oumou Sangaré: Acoustic
Malian veteran vocalist Oumou Sangaré gives us her 8th album Acoustic. Acoustic is a reinterpretation of Mogoya, Sangaré’s 2017 album.
What sets Sangaré apart is that she is the leading contemporary exponent of the wassoulou genre, which comes from the southwestern Malian region of the same name. Apart from its beautiful sounds, the genre is notable for being a quintessentially female one — its performers are largely women, and its lyrics address themes and subjects relevant to the lives of women in the region.
Sangaré sings with as much if not more freedom and passion as she did on her debut some 30 years ago. She more than upholds the Malian traditions of rebels, undaunted in fighting for causes they believe in. And, in doing so, her voice and the entire musical presentation sounds joyous, spirited, and beautiful.
Listen to the beautiful single “Saa Magni,” which laments the passing of Oumou’s friend and fellow artist Amadou Ba Guindo.
Wale: The Imperfect Storm
Eight months after Wale released his 6th studio album Wow… That’s Crazy, he returns with a new EP, The Imperfect Storm. Wale delivers a 6-song track list inspired by the Black Lives Matter Movement and the current political climate. The striking cover art is a clear reference to the uprisings that erupted after the death of George Floyd.
Filmmaker Oge Egbuono’s debut documentary (In)Visible Portraits engages the “invisible otherizing” of Black women in America.
Egbuonu said that she initially submitted the film to the Sundance and Tribeca Film Festivals. They both told her they loved the movie, she said, but didn’t know how to categorize it in their festival programming. As protests and outrage continue to grip the nation following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor—and audiences flock to Netflix to understand racism via problematic content like The Help—Egbuonu is self-distributing the documentary.
The film debuted on Juneteenth and is available to stream at invisibleportraits.com.
Written and directed by Channing Godfrey Peoples, this film follows a former Miss Juneteenth pageant queen, Turquoise Jones (Nicole Beharie) and her daughter Kai (Alexis Chikaeze). Turquoise wants her daughter to follow in her footsteps into the pageant world. But Kai has other plans.
Peoples treats her characters with a sincerity that gives them heft. The film itself struck me for the depth of feeling it engenders, the beauty of Black life it swims in, and its specificity. This is what I yearn to see on the screen as a critic and viewer: evocative portraits of Black life that shirk expectations in favor of simple beauty and psychologically rich characterization.
This is Channing Peoples’ debut film. It is available on Amazon Prime and iTunes.
Roy Ayers: Jazz Is Dead 002
Roy Ayers, “The Godfather of Neo Soul,” teams up with Ali Shaheed Muhammad (A Tribe Called Quest) and producer-composer Adrian Younge to deliver Jazz Is Dead 002.
This is the second of several planned albums from the Jazz Is Dead record label.
What is Jazz in 2020? I can answer that this way: jazz artists have not only been an inspiration that has shaped my development as a musician, but their music is deeply rooted into the foundation of the Hip-Hop culture. We have risen because their head nodding beats, lush chord progressions, soul ripping melodies and bellowing basslines have given us a musical back beat to poetically flow on until the break of dawn. To me, it’s all freedom music and Jazz Is Dead is motivating a movement.
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