Welcome to the second Millennial Black newsletter - my monthly(ish) roundup of things that I want to share, without having to navigate the Instagram algorithms - all in one place for you to digest in your own time.
I’ve been preparing for my TEDxLondon talk, which is happening on Feb 6th. It’s a long (and to be honest, nervewracking) process which means a lot of talking out loud to my cat, who is frankly sick of the sound of my voice, and isn’t hiding it.
At the same time I’m doing final edits on my book Millennial Black, going through everything with a fine-tooth comb, agonising over every comma and line break, teaching people how to use Google Docs. I can’t wait until the book is in the world, and I can really tell you all about what the process has been like, because it’s been unbelievable.
Both of those things together means that the ‘words part’ of my brain has been feeling pretty full up, so there’s a lot more to look at and listen to in today’s newsletter.
Why you should actually, just start listening to Black women.
How the world reacted to Lizzo posting about a detox, what it tells us about our society of diet culture, but also what it tells us about our feelings of ownership over black women’s bodies and their messages.
What Black Lives Matter UK are planning to do with the funds they raised.
How women in America were using dating sites like Bumble to find and identify people posting and bragging about being a part of the attempted coup on Jan 6th - until Bumble shut them down.
How to protect yourself from burnout as a Black woman (written by me in Oct 2020)
How Google employees have unionised after years of activism - an incredibly unusual thing for a US tech firm.
How the past is rarely as long ago as we think. Change is slow, and can feel glacial in so many ways. But, in important ways, change can also be much quicker than we imagine, when we want it.
What job losses (and gains) looked like, and who was impacted most (expanded upon in this article)
The story of Eugene Goodman, perfectly told by @TheFakePan, as always. Click through and take a look if you don’t already know.
Eddie Izzard talking about how none of us have magical answers, for politics, or all of the other structural things we’re all working and struggling to change together. But how the only way for us to make change is for us to work together and get stuck in and to make mistakes, and still keep on going. (From the starting position up to around 52.59)
On the other end of the spectrum, I, like everyone else in the world, am also watching a robot dance. Don’t stope watching until you see the robot’s friend, and their dog. In the last few years we’ve gone from watching these robots learn to climb stairs and open doors, all the way to this. As one of the top commenters on this video said ‘the end of the world is going to be surreal.’
I’m listening to
Sea Shanties. I can’t believe it either.
Because I’m writing, I’ve mostly been listening to songs without words in them, to keep my ‘words brain’ free, (maybe I’ll share a playlist next time). But, a few unexpected words heavy songs have managed to sneak their way into my rotation, including this one from Kimya Dawson, released in 2011. Whilst the first half of the song is strangely fitting to how we’ve seen things play out in the last 12m, the part of the song that resonates most with me is from 3.02
You think, you think, you think
You think I'm preaching to the choir but I am not, I'm not
I'm singing with the choir
We are all birds, birds of a different feather
We each sing the way we sing and we are all in this together
You think I'm preaching to the choir but
I'm not, I'm not, I'm not
I'm singing with the choir again
I am, I am, I am, I am
I sometimes, often, feel uneasy that the first book of mine that was released was about allsyship - a conversation that by it’s very nature caters to and centers whiteness, and white readers. I worry that in doing this I’ve done a disservice to Black people - taking our pain and struggles and turning it into a cute little pink book, for the benefit of white readers. I certainly have that criticism leveled at me, both inside my mind, and from others. I think Kimya does a good job of articulating what I’ve not easily been able to - I’m not trying to preach to the choir. I’m trying to lift up my voice and sing with the choir, because we’re all in this together, trying to use whatever tools we have to make a real, necessary, change.
You can interact with me over on my Instagram, OfficialMillennialBlack.
You can buy my book Anti-Racist Ally (coming out in the US and Canada on Feb 16th 2021)!
You can check out this book I contributed to - This is How We Come Back Stronger, knowing that 20% of the price of every book sold goes direct to Women’s Aid and Imkaan, as did my contributor’s fee.
You can hear me talking about identity, and the intersection of Blackness and Womanness on The Guilty Feminist.
You can pre-order my book Millennial Black on Amazon, it’s coming out in April 2021 (more buying options coming closer to publication). I shared the cover design this week, it’s a really exciting moment!
It’s goodbye, for now
Whew! I was worried I didn’t have anything to share, turns out, I was wrong! I’m going to keep on experimenting with the format and timing of these newsletters, I like them a lot and I’d like to do more of them, so I won’t say see you next month because maybe, hopefully, I’ll see you before then.
So, as always, I’ll leave you with Alex the parrot’s last words
‘You be good, see you tomorrow. I love you’
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