“Many black parents tell black children to strive; to seize opportunities that will enable upward mobility. However, they also give their children a poison capable of eroding black children’s innocence. They tell them to be twice as good; that there is no room for failure or mistakes.” Nicole Dennis-Benn, author of Here Comes the Sun, writes about how black children are denied the privilege of innocence.
Could James Baldwin be America’s greatest essayist? Ta-Nehisi Coates believes so -- at The Atlantic, he argues that The Fire Next Time shows Baldwin committing “amazing acts of intellectual and emotional courage.” (Related: Buzz Poole paid tribute to Baldwin back in 2008.)
“Some psychiatrists say that music has therapeutic powers and can even restore fluidity and mental structure for a moment in some patients – music is the opposite of chaos. It may be that heavy metal, the music his parents blamed in part for this entire catastrophe, is the only thing that gives order to my cousin’s worn-out brain. No one knows, except him.” On trying to seek refuge from schizophrenia in heavy metal.
Hats off to our own Edan Lepucki for being named a Face to Watch by the LA Times! In an article, David L. Ulin says Edan’s upcoming novel is “steeped in southern California narrative tradition” and describes how a drive along Sunset Boulevard inspired the setting of the book. (You can catch up on Edan's work by looking through her archive.)