While we are celebrating the great glorious highlights of black history, we still have a long way to black liberation. One of our biggest highlights: Mass incarceration. The United States of America has more prisoners than any other country in the world per capita and it is a direct result of racism. The criminalization of black and brown people, which started during slavery, is so ingrained in American culture, it is enumerated in the Constitution’s amendments. There may not be an end in sight to racism but we can beat its systems to get to liberation. In order to beat the systems, we must arm ourselves against the knowledge of how it works. Here are some resources we think could help you get acquainted on the subject.
Happy Black History Month!
Music soundtracks the struggles and triumphs of black life. From gospel to blues to what is dubbed “reality rap,” black musicians bare their souls to create art that relates to our daily experiences. I started out making a playlist about hope but couldn’t stay away from the protest songs we’ve accumulated over the decades: songs about lynchings, police brutality, and life in impoverished conditions. As a student of music, I saw fit to cover a narrative that wades through these emotions and accepts them without judgement. The hope, the satire, the vulgarity*, the anger – all valid here. We are policed enough by others for expressing our blackness so why do it to ourselves? The playlist begins in 1939 with Billie Holiday singing about the Jim Crow era, travels to the 70s in hopes of some interplanetary relief with Parliament, and rests in the present day knowing “this ish is for us.”
Other songs in rotation this month: “VRY BLK” by Jamila Woods, “Say It Loud I’m Black and I’m Proud” by James Brown, “Everyday People” and “Don’t Call Me N***er, Whitey” by Sly and the Family Stone, “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar, Motown everything
*I’ve opted not to censor these songs so listener discretion is advised; some of the language may be uncomfortable. “They Don’t Care About Us” was censored by the artist himself after he faced backlash for Antisemitism*
In 2018, we would like to introduce a new monthly column: How To Fleurish. We want everyone to live their best lives and How To Fleurish is here to help. Wanna learn how to survive music festivals or get better at thrifting? Would you like to become more mindful during meditation or how to start a small garden in your apartment? We understand and in the spirit of thriving, we are here to help. First up: A New Year’s vision board to keep you on track for your goals.
Saying goodbye to our beloved Sapphire Blue hasn’t been easy. We really fell for this color and enjoyed integrating it into the site. But alas, all good things must come to an end and we’re excited to welcome a new color to the family.
Considering the failed expectations of 2017, a color like malachite green signals hope that better is on the horizon. Malachite is one of our favorite stones, as it represents transformation. It is associated with the heart chakra, imagination, and decision making. Green is a healing color, one that is tied to renewal, growth, and harmony.
We know that growth is not always pretty or even easy. With the power of healing green on our side, we are keeping our hearts open to new and enriching experiences. Grow and go green in 2018!
(Photos are not ours; credits can be found by hovering over each picture)
Music has the power to transcend all barriers and connect your heart with the sentiments of the artists. The albums this year did just that for us. With reflections, introspection and pure artistry, each album on this list was a well thought out, well executed masterpiece which reminded us why musicians are called artists. Here’s our list of the best and brightest artists of 2017, in alphabetical order.
So, you must have noticed that we have been gone for a while. There’s a reason for that. I (Dream) have been on vacation. Not just any vacation, the Welcome to JamRock cruise. Before I get into this, I want to thank TIDAL for this trip of a lifetime. If you were trying to buy my loyalty, it worked because I will never pay for any other service ever. Y’all lit.
So the story about how I won the cruise was a bit sorted. While listening to BAM, TIDAL had a pop-up that said those who listened to Bam enough times would be invited to an album listening party for Damian Marley. I was going to listen to Bam anyway. A few days later, while in DC, I got an email I won tickets to the 40/40 club for the party. I tried to rush home from DC to get to the party on time but I only arrived in the city after 9. Despite everyone telling me I was being stubborn, I still made a mad dash to the party and I barely made it. I had pretty much missed Damian Marley and the whole party but I took photos to post under a hashtag because hell, at least I was in the 40/40 club. I wasn’t really thinking about the cruise promotion because who the hell wins a cruise? But a TIDAL rep reached out to me to enter me in the contest and bing bang boom, I won! So now, the story begins.
This cruise was designed for reggae lovers. And basically, I had the time of my life.
It’s the season for giving and we are counting down to gifting time. Here are some things on our list that we are excited to give (and receive!) this holiday season.
Clockwise from top left: “You Got the Whole Wide World” ASATT sweatshirt, $70, available on Saint Heron until Dec 22; Fenty Beauty Stunna lip paint, $24, Sephora; Tsubota Pearl Latitude lighter, $35, Maimoun; The Autobiography of Gucci Mane, $16.20 on Amazon; Plum Cast Iron Kettle, $17, on sale at Cost Plus World Market; Talkspace giftcard, $156/1 mo; $420/3 mo via Talkspace ; Girls Trip, $19.99 on Best Buy ; How To Make Lemonade box set, $299.99 (sold out, but we can dream)