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Saturday Links: M.I.A. Universe Edition

Plus a delightful new podcast, Lupita hella laughin’, and a really good reading list.


The multilingual Lupita Nyong’o appeared on Plaza Sésamo, aka the Mexican version of Sesame Street, to teach and encourage us to laugh. It’s 17 seconds of awesomely joyous bliss and, man, if you need a pick-me-up, it really works! Now, let’s all laugh together: Uno…dos…trés…JAJAJAJAJA!

Chirlane covers New York Magazine. Photo by Ruven Afanador.

Chirlane covers New York. Photo by Ruven Afanador.

This story on Chirlane McCray, New York City’s amazing new Mayoral First Lady, had me in tears from the sheer INSPIRATION of it. An excerpt on feminism:

I don’t think it’s about “leaning in.” In this day and age, it comes down to improving life, for girls especially, young girls—improving the numbers of opportunities, the kind of opportunities.

McCray has much more to say about feminism and other topics, and the takeaway is that she has always gone her own way and been her own person—something we can all learn from.

But, of course, being your own person isn’t always easy. Not long after this profile was published, all sorts of New York publications started shaming her for “bad parenting” based on a quote that basically discussed that she could never be satisfied just being a mom, because she loves working, too. On Friday, McCray responded on her Tumblr with typical grace:

There are many different ways to be a good mother—so we choose the one that works best. And when we have moments of doubt, as we all inevitably do, it is healthy to share with others. No one should be belittled or criticized for that [...]We still have a lot of work to do, but we’re now one step closer to a future where women can speak honestly about their lives.



Memorial Day weekend is a perfect time for planning your summer reading, and Rookie’s own Anna F. has made it super easy for you. She put together this awesome list of the 40 best YA books for Rolling Stone. Diversity in YA has been a huge discussion lately, and this list really showcases all of the amazing voices out there. You’ll find some classics like The Outsiders and The Bell Jar on there, as well as big books you’ll recognize, like The Hunger Games, but Anna covers such a wide range of books that even people like me, who already read a ton of YA, will have a bunch of new books to discover.

Caitlin D.

Heklina, the owner of the club. Photo by Robin Russell via SFist.

Heklina, the owner of the club. Photo by Robin Russell via SFist.

San Francisco’s most famous drag institution will no longer be known as T****yshack, announced the founder, Heklina, this week. “We can see this as progress and a step forward, or we can engage in fighting and divisiveness,” Heklina wrote in a Facebook post. “Whichever one you choose, I am going for progress, and away from hurt and anger.”

At The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf has shared a stash of quality longform nonfiction that will have you in authentic voice and scintillating storytelling for weeks. It includes just over 100 fab pieces of journalism. Sorry if you had other plans today.


StyleLikeU is one of my absolute favorite sites on the entire World Wide Internet Web. Many hours of my life have spent watching the closet interview videos with people whose styles couldn’t be more dissimilar, but the passion with which they put into their outward appearance is only matched by their inner glow.

That’s the premise of StyleLikeU’s new What’s Underneath Project: that style isn’t just the clothing that the world sees. It’s the way they wear their hair, how they present their gender, their mannerisms, the diction when they speak, the comfort they feel in their own bodies. These little intricacies, and more, are all of the things that left over when a person removes their daily armor. The amazing people in the video strip down to their underwear to reveal the essence of who they are. I love how you can feel their confidence exuding from their words even when they aren’t wearing any clothing. This video even features Rookie’s own Cindy Gallop! I wholeheartedly cannot wait to see the next of the videos in this series.


As a recent study in Psychological Science, written about at Hazlitt by Nicholas Hune-Brown, asks, does being racist also make you less creative?


M.I.A.’s self-directed music video for the track “Double Bubble Trouble” just dropped this week. It’s taken a while for her to get it out into the world, following struggles with her label, who refused to release it, and then blocked it promptly after it was published. But now it’s here, unblocked and uncensored in all of its colorful, direct glory.

A “Drone Survival Guide” serves as the background for her backup dancers, and brown girls hide their faces behind burqas printed with the photo of a smiling white girl. From the peace drones and censored grills she had custom-made just for the video, M.I.A. is just as dedicated as she was before to remind us that the world is filled with a lot of turmoil, and governments across the globe aren’t giving their citizens voices.


Call Your Girlfriend, a new podcast series that basically involves two bi-costal best friends—the very likable Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow—getting together and hanging out for 30 recorded minute is liquid friendship, and I am drinking it UP. Two reasons I love this: radio and podcast voices make me feel less alone in a super chill way, and almost every one of my best friends are long distance buddies…so there’s something about this podcast that kinda fills those needs for me, comin’ in through the earholes. It’s a lot of fun to listen to.

HBO's "trigger warnings." Still from HBO via The Atlantic.

HBO’s “trigger warnings.” Still from HBO via The Atlantic.

Here’s a look at how HBO handles their pre-show viewer warnings in regards to different types of potentially disturbing content and why theirs might be a good model to follow in other places.

I feel for you, Miley. We both lost our very beloved pups in April, and you know what? It was really hard! This post at Science of Us reminded me that grieving over a lost pet friend is a good thing, even if it may be hard to understand for others. With all due respect, I understand why outsiders like my teachers and co-workers may have not understood why the week my dog died was so hard for me—for some, a pet just is a pet. But for me…and Miley…our pets were best buddies, and family. Reading this post reassured me that “disenfranchised grief” can be real and it is so totally OK to be sad while I deal with my little friend’s passing. If you’ve gone through the same loss, too, remember that! ♦


  • AnaRuiz May 24th, 2014 12:33 PM



  • synesthh May 24th, 2014 12:54 PM

    DBT was incredibly potent and powerful. M.I.A. has never stopped delivering quality even since she has gotten increasingly more popular amongst more mainstream audiences. So glad to see Rookie share this!


  • honorarygilmoregal May 24th, 2014 1:45 PM

    Lupita is so delightful.

  • puffling May 24th, 2014 2:24 PM

    Aren’t the women in the M.I.A. wearing the niqab, not the burqa?


  • flocha May 24th, 2014 5:29 PM

    M.I.A is the bossss godammit


  • andkatewaslike May 24th, 2014 6:05 PM

    Lupita, stop. I can’t handle this much adorable.

  • kimchi May 25th, 2014 2:16 AM

    I found the article about racism and creativity really fascinating. I’ve lived in Australia for five years now, and I’ve found people here are often more complacent with racism in comparison to other places I’ve lived. My friend from England and I are too frequently disturbed and disgusted by the nature of racism here. When we see racism, we confront it, yet when we do, many protest that that’s just the way things are here. I like how this article ties racism to natural selection in regards to creativity and our ability to use tools for problem solving. We’ve risen because of our ability to be creative and use tools, and this article shows how the thinking which promotes racism is a detriment to our development. Racism is completely unnecessary.

    Also, I am so into M.I.A.’s new video. It is awesome when someone with something interesting to say has the budget to make their message into a striking piece of art.


  • ruby May 25th, 2014 5:30 AM

    Has anyone heard the two songs from First Aid Kit’s new album? So. Good.

    • Zoe May 25th, 2014 8:00 AM

      Omg yes! They’re so so so so good.

  • Vlada May 25th, 2014 2:39 PM

    I love Lupitaaaa she’s so awesome.
    Also, I loved the YA list because books are the best thing for me :)
    I didn’t really know that there ws a website like SLY but it’s so cool just like MIA’s new video

    PS: This is my blog http://speakingofvlada.blogspot.com/

  • DymondMag May 26th, 2014 11:49 AM

    Lupita laughing and new MIA??? well I’m pretty much set.

  • Maddy May 26th, 2014 10:34 PM

    Longform journalism is my life!!! I’ve read a bunch of them thanks to AS’s Things I Read That I Love, but I can’t wait to spend hours reading the others!