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Great Escape

The verdict so far? Mixed.

Last year, Angie Thomas, author of the bestselling young adult novel The Hate U Give, moved to suburban Jackson, Mississippi, with her mother. Her reasons were twofold. One, the book — which follows the political awakening of a black, 16-year-old girl who witnesses the murder of her unarmed friend at the hands of a police officer — gave her the means to do so. And, two, Thomas wanted to get away — get a little space, peace and quiet, and a greater degree of safety than her old neighborhood could not offer.

Thomas didn’t just move to the suburbs. She…


Great Escape

A surfer challenges modern American narratives about black bodies, water, and freedom

The cold of the Pacific Ocean hits you like a drug high. It’s a painful, pleasant shock to the system. The water bites, but doesn’t break the skin. Instead, it penetrates.

As you walk into the water, the purple light of dawn against your back and a surfboard under your arm, you equally welcome and recoil from the predictable sting. The first wave swallows and submerges you. When you resurface, the cold runs down from the crown of your head; it streaks past your eyebrows and rushes down your face in tiny rivers of frigid liquid. The sea water exhilarates…


YOUTH NOW

A bullied kid reinvents herself as a brawler, and then a poet

A lot of my writing is centered around the idea of survival: how I learned to survive in my body as a fat black queer woman. When I was younger, I learned to use my mouth as often as I used my fists, and both were used often.

My humor, my ability to talk shit about anyone, especially myself, was usually my first line of defense. And, if that didn’t work, there was always a baseball bat or a screwdriver.

I don’t know how many fights I’ve been in, but I do know that I haven’t lost one since the…


YOUTH NOW

As a young black son of immigrants, the closer Dajourn Anuku came to affluence and success, the more vulnerable he became

On a muggy Saturday morning in August, 18-year-old Dajourn Anuku stood outside the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City, wearing cutoff jean shorts and a baseball cap sporting the phrase “Be Humble.” A large, meaty kid, Dajourn was sweating beneath the weight of his massive backpack and a plastic shopping bag stuffed with laundry detergent, paper towels, and dryer sheets. Earlier that morning, he’d lugged all of this from a Georgetown University dorm room to his bus, where the driver requested $35 for the luggage. Dajourn had the money but wasn’t willing to part with it. …


Power Trip

It’s a vision of a free black future that keeps us on our feet

In ideal circumstances, the human body flows in a state of strut. A jauntiness, an ease. A response to the rhythms that animate the earth. To strut is to reflect the graceful rotation of the planet in one’s breath, in one’s step, in the pace and melody of one’s speech, in one’s swerve and laughter. I strut, therefore I am.

Strut is the body in motion, occupying, manipulating, and moving through space. Strutting requires freedom, the liberty to flex and stretch. Lately I have been habitually watching a short film by Andrew Margetson. His camera follows the brilliant dancer Lil…

GEN

What matters now. A publication from Medium about politics, power, and culture.

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