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Why Solange’s unapologetic blackness is what we need right now.

Solange’s "A Seat at the Table" transcends black and white spaces, and it's awesome.

Why Solange’s unapologetic blackness is what we need right now.

When Solange asked me and basically every other black person to finally take a seat at the table, I brought a chair and a stool.

‌While listening to "A Seat at the Table," which is now easily one of my favorite albums of the year (surrounded by the likes of "Lemonade," "untitled unmastered," and "Blonde"), I went through several stages of emotion: pride, relief, excitement, but most importantly, mutual understanding.      

Solange’s knowledge of the black struggle — both current and past — was strongly represented in her new album, and people noticed. The singer/songwriter and producer received praise both in and out of the music industry for her unapologetically black ethos, and the album has already reached #1 on iTunes.  


But what's most important is that her album, while explicitly created for black people, will probably reach the ears of people everywhere — not just in the black community.

Solange (who is Beyoncé's sister) has spent the last few years of her career straddling the line between R&B, neo-soul, and indie, a genre generally filled with white musicians.  

In an age when unapologetic blackness is seen as a radical political act and when black bodies have continued to be brutalized by police, Solange's ability to straddle multiple genres is more important than ever. Her undeniably indie aesthetic is a welcome entrance of black voices in spaces that were initially appointed as white ones.

Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for Lexus.

When you look at the history of rock music, it's even easier to see how big of a move Solange is making with her new album.

One only needs to be reminded of Elvis Presley’s appropriation of black culture in rock music to understand how far back the fractured history between race and rock 'n' roll goes.  

Of course, all rock 'n' roll music is not racist. But there are certainly racist lyrics and overtones in some songs that often match the actions of those listening to the music.

Solange isn't immune to the racism, either.  

In a Twitter recap, Solange explained that she was recently at the German electronic pop band Kraftwerk’s concert with her husband and son. Surrounded by a predominantly white audience, Solange began dancing along with the music. But four white women began to berate Solange and her son, yelling at her to sit down and eventually throwing a lime at her.

Solange's story sparked debate on Twitter and raised awareness of how difficult it is for black people to simply exist without being harassed in predominantly white spaces.

Seeing black faces in white spaces is still a point of dissent for many, making this album even more crucial in today's music scene.    

Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images.

Solange has merged black pride and various music styles in such a way that her words will reach a multitude of ears — a necessary act when the world so clearly still has yet to acknowledge why loving one’s blackness is a beautiful thing.    

Not too long ago, lyrics that talked about the complexities of blackness and the issues surrounding black life in America were found only in rap and R&B (think Sam Cooke, Billie Holiday, and 2Pac), and they were typically heard by black people. Now, those messages are being taken to people outside traditionally black circles. Her album will more likely be heard by those who probably need to hear it most — people like those who threw a lime at her while she was dancing with her husband and child.    

Bold lyrics can change the world. Black faces in white places can change minds.

But it's also clear that Solange created this album for black people first.

In the leading chorus of “F.U.B.U.” — a sure-to-be anthem of black liberation — Solange boldly declares:    

All my niggas in the whole wide world / Made this song to make it all y'all's turn / For us, this shit is for us.    

This beautiful piece of work was a welcome gift for people of color like me. We are still expected to validate our existence in America and around the world. And these lyrics, lyrics of empowerment and ownership, will flow through the ears of many non-people of color. We should all be listening closely.    

There have been many iconic dance routines throughout film history, but how many have the honor being called "the greatest" by Fred Astaire himself?

Fayard and Harold Nicholas, known collectively as the Nicholas Brothers, were arguably the best at what they did during their heyday. Their coordinated tap routines are legendary, not only because they were great dancers, but because of their incredible ability to jump into the air and land in the splits. Repeatedly. From impressive heights.

Their most famous routine comes from the movie "Stormy Weather." As Cab Calloway sings "Jumpin' Jive," the Nicholas Brothers make the entire set their dance floor, hopping and tapping from podium to podium amongst the musicians, dancing up and down stairs and across the top of a piano.

But what makes this scene extra impressive is that they performed it without rehearsing it first and it was filmed in one take—no fancy editing room tricks to bring it all together. This fact was confirmed in a conversation with the brothers in a Chicago Tribune article in 1997, when they were both in their 70s:

"Would you believe that was one of the easiest things we ever did?" Harold told the paper.

"Did you know that we never even rehearsed that number?" added Fayard.

"When it came time to do that part, (choreographer) Nick Castle said: 'Just do it. Don`t rehearse it, just do it.' And so we did it—in one little take. And then he said: 'That's it—we can't do it any better than that.'"

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

OK, sure, there are no assigned seats, but you've been sitting at the same desk since the first day and everyone knows it.

So why does the guy who sits next to you put his phone, his book, his charger, his lunch, and his laptop in the space that's rightfully yours? It's annoying!

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via Seresto

A disturbing joint report by USA Today and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found that tens of thousands of pets have been harmed by Seresto flea and tick collars. Seresto was developed by Bayer and is now sold by Elanco.

Since Seresto flea collars were introduced in 2012, the EPA has received incident reports of at least 1,698 pet deaths linked to the product. Through June 2020, the EPA has received over 75,000 incident reports relating to the collars with over 1,000 involving human harm.

The EPA has known the collars are harming humans and their pets but failed to tell the public about the dangers.

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