how ‘i am not your negro’ crafts an evocative and empowering portrait of black america

There is no doubt in my mind that James Baldwin was one of the most significant writers of the 20th century, and I Am Not Your Negro serves as both a history lesson and an introduction to one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.

Raoul Peck uses an unfinished, 30 page draft of Baldwin’s to envisage the book that he never completed, translating it into film form. Using a mixture of archive footage of Baldwin and footage depicting the civil rights movement, Peck weaves together a history of blackness in America from writer’s often poetic point of view.

Continue reading “how ‘i am not your negro’ crafts an evocative and empowering portrait of black america”

why pablo larraín’s ‘neruda’ is sheer fantasy

To say that Pablo Larraín has a talent for biographical filmmaking would be an understatement. What he does with the genre is much more interesting than a strict documentation of a person or a period in their life. In Neruda, Larraín’s film about the Chilean poet and politician Pablo Neruda, he takes the skeleton of a biography and twists it into a detective story turned mythological tale; so spellbinding that it seems implausible that it could resemble anything close to the truth.

Continue reading “why pablo larraín’s ‘neruda’ is sheer fantasy”

the world deserves more movies like ‘mustang’

I have spent a lot of time considering my childhood as a girl. In fact, thinking about it has been an integral part of working out my own identity, as well as where I fit in the world. Mustang, Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s portrait of Turkish girlhood, is both culturally specific while remaining reminiscent of the lives of young women on a universal scale. As a result, this is not a tale of five orphans, this is a story about five incredibly strong girls.

Continue reading “the world deserves more movies like ‘mustang’”

pop culture influences the hijab with meriem bennani

Like many others, I came across the work of the talented MERIEM BENNANI in an article scribed by  Kat Herriman for The New York Times. My initial interest was struck by the similarities we both seemed to share. For starters and perhaps most obviously, we are both women. Secondly, we are both Moroccan. And finally, we have almost the exact same name (her – Meriem, me – Myriam). After seeing some of Bennani’s work in Ara-B-Less at the Saatchi Gallery last month, I spoke to her about her artistry and the influence of growing up in Morocco.
Continue reading “pop culture influences the hijab with meriem bennani”

Joanna Newsom brought me to tears at her Brighton show

I meandered my way through town on an evening slightly warmer than usual for November, no chill in the air but the energy of something. Post Halloween stragglers in the street and the shock of winter making life feel a bit surreal.

Continue reading “Joanna Newsom brought me to tears at her Brighton show”

Succumbing to the hype of ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’

When Good Kid, M.a.ad City came out in 2012, it was a game changer; catapulting Kendrick Lamar into the mainstream. So when To Pimp A Butterfly appeared on iTunes last week, the internet collectively lost it.
But those looking for a re-hash of his debut will be disappointed. Kendrick’s new album is much darker than his initial effort; his delivery is more urgent, more intense, and his subject matter touching on deeply emotional themes. Issues of God, depression, success, violence and what it means to be black in America all feature on To Pimp A Butterfly,and considering the state of race relations in America right now, how could these things not be included? The police have always been derided in rap music, but abuses of Black communities in America has only intensified, and with this, so too has the disdain felt for the police force. This feeling has a tangible presence here: both politically charged and personal.

It is being hailed as a classic rap album, but as a casual listener, I found it harder to access and much less listenable than Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City. However, this might be a good thing. Because of this, I’ve listened to the album both chronologically and several more times than I usually would have with something similar. Upon first listen, I found it too jarring; a serious leap in an opposite direction from his previous effort. After multiple listens it just keeps getting better, and I feel all the better for exerting so much effort into giving it a few more tries.

To Pimp A Butterfly may not cater to everyone’s tastes, but that’s okay. Kendrick Lamar has given us an exceptional album that is filled with honesty and urgency that’s laced with excellent production (shout out Flying Lotus). Next time, let’s hope he doesn’t make us wait another three years for his another album.

LISTEN TO ‘TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY’
Dance to: KiNG KUNTA
Cry to: THE BLaCKER THE BERRY