INTERLUDE | In the New Age of Instagram Poetry

Over 146,000 people—myself included—find Instagram user @yrsadaleyward absolutely beautiful. She’s got impeccable taste in fashion, gorgeous hair, and an uncanny talent for combining messy colors to create the perfect aesthetic. Yet, unlike the many other powerhouse Instagram accounts that claim these same attributes, Yrsa Daley-Ward’s followers aren’t just there for the visuals. In fact, we’re much more interested in what she has to say and the movement she represents. Yrsa Daley-Ward belongs to a growing generation of young poets emerging on Instagram today.

SKATCH | The Asian Representation Movie-ment and Its One Pitfall

The two movies pictured above have set off a wave of Asian and Asian-American embracement both cinematically and across the internet that has given hope to millions of Asians, myself included, who finally get to see people who look like them in roles other than the stereotypical Harvard (blegh) nerd with humorously strict parents. The media’s Asian representation movement is powerful and wonderful. Sitting in the theater for Crazy Rich Asians and hearing the song my Mom swears she played while I was still in the womb (“Tian Mi Mi” by Teresa Teng) provoked an emotional experience I hadn’t felt since my sister forced me to watch Joy Luck Club some seven-odd years ago. Just as back then, I recognized a storyline whose parallels intimately related to my own life (not in the “I’m a Singaporean billionaire kind of way,” but in the “Wow Asian families love hard, fight hard,” kind of way). As my eyes welled with tears, the moment was made more beautiful when I looked to my friends and saw their tears streaming as well.

SOUND OFF | Jordans vs. Yeezys

Jordans have been, are currently, and always will be infinitely times better than Yeezys. They outcompete Yeezys aesthetically in quality and range, and in most sales metrics, despite Kanye’s tweets. And Michael Jordan doesn’t need a Twitter account to do it. Disagree? In this article I’ll compare Yeezys and Jordans side-by-side with a few metrics including aesthetics, sales metrics, hype and influence.

ON MY MIND | I Am Not Your American: Reviving James Baldwin’s Opposition to U.S. Empire

The figure of James Baldwin has been buoyed in recent years by a revival across the liberal wings of the United States’ political, cultural, and intellectual establishment. Most notably, during remarks given at the dedication ceremony of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2016, former President Barack Obama quoted from Baldwin’s short story “Sonny’s Blues.” That same year, Raoul Peck’s Oscar-nominated film I Am Not Your Negro enjoyed widespread critical acclaim over its solemn presentation of the Civil Rights-era writer’s saliency to the present-day (A. O. Scott of the New York Times dazzles readers with the headline “Review: ‘I Am Not Your Negro’ Will Make You Rethink Race”; Simran Hans in The Guardian remarks that “Baldwin’s words feel as urgent and articulate as ever”). In 2015, the Library of America published a volume of Baldwin’s later novels, which had “yet to receive the consideration given his earlier fiction.” This effort was mirrored in the academic sphere with the founding of an annual journal called the James Baldwin Review, dedicated uniquely to studies of Baldwin’s works of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. The trend continues into 2018: Barry Jenkins, of Moonlight fame, has directed a highly anticipated film adaptation of Baldwin’s novel If Beale Street Could Talk that is set to release in theaters on November 30. Little Man, Little Man, a children’s book written by Baldwin in 1976 (his only venture into the genre), is currently back in circulation with a new edition being published by Duke University Press — at a time when, according to the New York Times, “children’s book authors and publishers are more frequently placing black and brown children at the center of narratives about everyday life.” In August, on what would have been the writer’s 94th birthday, social media feeds on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram were awash with Baldwin quotes and commemorative posts by ordinary and verified users alike — from the rapper/actor Common to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

AKABAS | Stop Complaining About A Perfectly Good NBA Finals Matchup

Since when did NBA fans become so spoiled? All I see online is people kvetching about another “boring” finals rematch between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers and how Kevin Durant has ruined the NBA. Said people are dumb. First off, this is the best option we had. The Celtics are fun, but they would have gotten romped by either Western Conference team.

SOUND OFF | Music on the Mind

People generally agree that music has an impact on mental health and our moods, whether through numerous studies that show correlations between music, relaxation and improved mental health, or through countless Twitter memes about sad Drake songs. Some people even program music around their lives, listening to certain music in the morning to pump themselves up for the day, or calming music at night to sleep. One of the most intriguing explorations of music’s cognitive impact has been the incorporation of music into mental health treatment. Music therapy, as it’s called, is not meant to cure mental health issues on its own, but can help alleviate some of the pain involved with certain symptoms, as well as augment actual cures such as medication. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, there are four major components to music therapy: lyric analysis, improv music playing, active music listening and songwriting.

NOSTALGIA CAFE | Why Loki Failed as a Villain (And How Killmonger Succeeded)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has done miraculous things, namely building a highly successful franchise with eighteen (and running) feature films, turning formerly B-list heroes into household names. Who had even heard of Tony Stark before his popular appearance in his successful solo movie, Iron Man?  But when it comes to villains, the writers suddenly revert back to eight-year-old children who still see villains as the exact cartoon cut-out of the cackling monster-alien super-beings from the comic books they read in the 80s and 90s. That’s fine: generic comic villains are okay for a few runs before they become tedious and predictable. Unfortunately, most superhero movies are trapped in their limited existing beliefs of what a superhero story should be, with the first law of superhero movies being: the hero can’t die.

THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM | The Crossing: Child of the Soil

A healthy person who begs for food is an insult to the generous farmer~ Ghanaian Proverb

Ava’s strongest memory of her father was the day he left. Memory is a weird thing, Ava thought as her toothbrush slowly crept into the inside of her jaws. It’s bristles were running out of power. She made a mental note to leave it in the sun to recharge when they landed. Do I have more of my father in me?

AKABAS | A Way Too In-Depth Analysis of the Avengers: Infinity War Trailer

Last Friday, the second Avengers: Infinity War trailer was released, and millions of nerds around the country immediately creamed their pants. Let’s analyze it. Here is the trailer, for those of you who have been living under a rock for the past week (although if you haven’t seen the trailer yet, I have no idea why you would have clicked on this article):

0:01 – If you don’t see that shot and immediately think of this, I don’t know if we can be friends. 0:06 – Unlike the first Infinity War trailer, the first 45 seconds of this trailer isn’t just a teaser trailer for the rest of the trailer. 0:09 – Classic unnecessary pronoun game.

NOSTALGIA CAFE | The Immortality of Avatar: The Last Airbender

I have a very peculiar taste when it comes to television. You won’t see me catching up on the latest Riverdale or binge-watching The Office. I pass the teen drama aisle, skip the usual laugh-and-chuckle, feet-on-the-couch sitcom, and maybe linger on the pretty cover of a new superhero series before moving on. I’m either on the edge of my seat sobbing over a dog on Game of Thrones or sitting in the dark contemplating my existence in Westworld. However, there is a third option.