february-2021

Book Review: Ytasha L. Womack’s Afrofuturism

You don’t need a background in critical race theory to get a grip on Afrofuturism; after all, the arts came first — the theory came later. If you can jam to Parliament-Funkadelic or cheer on Uhura, you are already on your way.

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Book Review: Tyree Daye’s Cardinal

What I love best about Cardinal is the nuance and complexity with which it questions Daye’s conflicting desire to both stay in the South and leave, from his complicated relationship to the home that both raised and wishes to kill him to reflections on how being Black in America means being unsafe in America (‘I’ve never been through airport security / without being pulled to the side and searched / to know you can die anywhere / doesn’t feel like flying anywhere’). These remarkably tender verses are filled with love, grief, memory, and musicality: ‘if you see me dancing a two-step / I’m sending a starless code / we’re escaping everywhere.

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