How To Be a Plain Girl

Longreads

Lolly Bowean | Longreads | May 2018 | 17 minutes (4,414 words)

Prologue

Every black woman has a hair story. This is mine.

Good hair means curls and waves
Bad hair means you look like a slave
— India.Arie, “I Am Not My Hair”

1.

I had never even met John P., but there I was, on a bus in East Knoxville, riding to meet him where he lived in a troubled public housing complex called Lonsdale.

I should have been at school, sitting in homeroom with the rest of the freshmen. But instead, at 13, I had decided to cut class and take a journey across a town I wasn’t even vaguely familiar with, to meet a man I didn’t know.

John P. was my classmate Kayla’s uncle, and in the neighborhood and at our school, he was known to have “gifted hands.”

He didn’t have the proper credentials…

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The Enduring Legacy of the Willie Lynch Hoax

Longreads

Kanye West’s emergence from his self-imposed cocoon of social media silence last week has not been seamless. After proclaiming his support for Donald Trump and the president’s Make America Great Again plank, the musician and fashion designer took to TMZ Live on Tuesday for arguably the most bizarre of what has already been a bizarre fortnight of proclamations:

“When you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years?! That sounds like a choice. You was there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all. It’s like we’re mentally in prison. I like the word ‘prison’ because ‘slavery’ goes too direct to the idea of blacks. Slavery is to blacks as the Holocaust is to Jews. Prison is something that unites as one race, blacks and whites, that we’re the human race.”

Kanye is well aware of the weight his words carry. As someone who has referred to himself as the…

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Change is a pain

I have recently moved to Finland. What a beautiful place! I have moved literally from the equator to the pole. This is a tectonic shift for me and while I am all for change and 'not being in your comfort zone' I am going to be honest and say that I am not enjoying it... Continue Reading →

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