"Yeezus," the new and almost pathologically anticipated Kanye West album, was leaked online two weeks ago and then, probably out of custom, released legally last week. Upon first listen it reminded me of Nine Inch Nails, Death Grips, and my dad—but not because West now has a two-week-old child with girlfriend Kim Kardashian.
When my father was in undergrad at a small HBCU in the Midwest, he joined the storied black fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi. Fraternity chapters, despite their ethnic and regional differences, will nevertheless always share some DNA, and so it shouldn't surprise you that my dad's frat was big on giving people nicknames. Some brothers were called things [...]
To anyone paying attention, it wasn’t really a surprise when blacks didn’t come out in droves to support Occupy Wall Street. Despite the fact that blacks suffer from poverty and the ills accompanying it at wildly disproportionate rates, African-Americans have for a number of uncertain reasons been avoiding most of the liberal demonstrations of the moment. Blacks don't occupy Wall Street (or Denver or San Francisco) just as blacks don’t SlutWalk, or rally at the World Bank.
What was surprising was when the rappers started showing up.
At first it was just Russell Simmons—not technically a rapper, but a rap icon—his proselytizing becoming a daily fixture [...]
One of my father's better tendencies is to take in human beings who have somehow been led astray. He never once coddled me or my brothers in our childhood, and I've always known him to look at even his few close friends with a hint of suspicion in his eyes. But around loners, rejects and the generally downtrodden, the old man opens up, guffawing at their jokes and putting his arm around their burdened shoulders like he's an old fraternity brother of theirs.
The thing about New York stories that many storytellers often forget is that they can take place anywhere in the world. That's because for some people, New York City stays with them long after they've left it behind. Their time amid the soaring, sooty heaps of concrete helps define them in a certain way forever, like a tattoo or a scar from a fight. Regardless of how and where they live out the rest of their lives, everything they do will be tinged with an indelible sadness, or joy, or a sense of having had something great and then losing it through no fault of their own.
The story [...]
Uh oh. Our in-house LIBERAL ELITIST MAYBE-RACIST Cord Jefferson is back in his home state of Arizona, we have just learned from his Twitter, a trip he promised in his recent piece that argued against the Arizona boycott. There's no telling in what ways he might be trying to enliberal the local population of poorly-educated racists of that state with his "tolerance" and "offers of friendship."
I've never understood haute cuisine. I've never even understood spending in excess of 15 minutes–or $15–procuring something to eat. I think what most confuses me about fancy, expensive, time-consuming food is that, no matter how succulent the duck or the steak or the lobster thermidor, it will all soon quite literally be excreta (or, on a bad night, ejecta). I've got a lot of reservations about the fashion industry, too, but at least a $300 pair of jeans with sequins on the behind will keep you warm for a few months in the winter. This is probably why it was relatively easy for me to become a vegan.