Kimberly Drew is a curator, the creator of the popular Black Contemporary Art Tumblr, and the person behind @museummammy on Instagram. For this edition of The Deep Web, we asked Kim to give us a look at some of her favorite places on the internet.
1. Black History Facebook Pages
Confession: I’ve learned more Black history on Facebook than I have anywhere else. Black Twitter can #StayWoke, but when I’m on the hunt for a potpourri mix of Black excellence, Facebook is a my first stop. Pages like Chistepper, Vintage Black Glamour, and Up From Slavery are hubs for vibrant, intergenerational dialogue and the hosts for myriad modes of communicating Black history.
2. Greg Tate’s essay on “Why Jazz Will Always Be Relevant” for The Fader’s “Producers” Issue
Full disclosure: I was in this issue of The Fader. I mention this not to be self-congratulatory, but as a frame for how broad and comprehensive The Fader has become since I began reading the magazine in the early 2000s. Under the visionary leadership of their bad-ass-lady editor in chief, Naomi Zeichner, the magazine has made leaps in thinking more critically about Culture (with a capital C).
This fan girl moment aside, I keep finding myself visiting and revisiting Greg’s essay chronicling jazz music. Tate’s writing from his seminal collection essays titled Fly Boy in the Buttermilk to his most recent dispatch, Fly Boy 2: The Great Tate Reader, have been guiding lights as I seek out scholarly writing that doesn’t subscribe to the traditional models and/or localities of academic text.
In this purely delicious essay, Tate takes us from the antebellum New Orleans’s Congo Square to our current ecosystem of bluetooth headphones, hoverboards that don’t leave the ground, and listening to Kamasi Washington on Soundcloud. Tate’s agility as a writer and his unceasing commitment to and privileging of black vernacular is urgent and necessary. Essays like this inspire me to be more rigorous in my definition of what being a public intellectual can look like in real time. It’s so much more about love, rigor, and context than grammar, exclusivity, and blindly following tradition. On Facebook, in academic journals, and in catalogues, Greg’s literature is very much his own. I’m attracted to both how this ownership is carved out and how it can be a rubric for a younger generation of writers.
Tracy Clayton is an American treasure and this Buzzfeed listicle is one of the many gifts she has bestowed upon her loyal followers. Seriously, I don’t care if the dress was blue or white—it was definitely blue—this is absolutely the most important piece in Buzzfeed’s history. On a personal note, Bounce music has been a catalyst for Black joy and freedom, and I’m so glad that Tracy did the good work compiling a list that speaks to one’s inner auntie and their inner freak. Pass the potato salad, Tracy. Damn girl. If you want to learn more about the history of Bounce music—I highly recommend checking out Tulane University’s NOLA Hip Hop and Bounce Music Archive.
Girls’ stories matter, Black girls’ stories matter, black women’s stories matter, and we all owe it to ourselves to get out there and record them in whatever medium makes the most sense with the resources that we have. I’m often guilty of juggling (read as: losing track of) one too many to-do lists that masquerade as journals, but it’s projects like Austin’s stunning The 25th Year Youtube series that remind me that slow-looking can afford us all some much-needed clarity.
Over the course of 12 episodes, Austin narrates her observations of her world with supreme sincerity. Early in the series she describes leaving New York and toward the end she continues to push through a mixture of family troubles, boredom, and raw humanity in a wavering journey through adolescence in real time. As we see in the news, on our social media, and in the faces of our families, life is short and events can shake us, but one thing that we have to remember is that while we’re here…we all deserve the right to record and celebrate our own existences through the joyous moments and through the tears.
Radiooooo is one of those web portals that I’m like 99.8% sure might be bad but I 110% don’t care. It’s just so good! Each time you visit this site you can listen to the music of most any country in the world at most any time in the country’s relative history. With one click you can hear the music of a revolution, of “a simpler time,” or you can revisit the sound of a time and place that you miss. Pro tip: Open Radiooooo, Wikipedia, and Spotify at the same time. Thank me later music nerds.
Jenna’s writing considers race, gender, pop culture, and technology all in the same swoop. In her columns, Wortham is able to communicate a well-researched and comprehensive view of how these issues relate to life and real experiences beyond communicating metrics. It’s no secret that we need more diverse pools of writers, editors, and reporters in media, and I think that Jenna is a writer who takes to this call superbly. Each missive is more ambitious than the last and through her own channels Jenna remains accountable for how her words are received. One of the great joys of “the digital age” is that we as consumers can be dialogical with brands and institutions that we engage with everyday and through her social media Wortham is able to remain woke and accountable to her readers. ♦
Kimberly Drew (a.k.a. @museummammy) received her B.A. from Smith College in Art History and African-American Studies, with a concentration in Museum Studies. An avid lover of black culture and art, Drew first experienced the art world as an intern in the Director’s Office of The Studio Museum in Harlem. Her time at the Studio Museum inspired her to start the Tumblr blog Black Contemporary Art, sparking her interest in social media.
Since starting her blog, Drew has worked for Hyperallergic, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and Lehmann Maupin. She has delivered lectures and participated in panel discussions at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, Art Basel Miami Beach, Moogfest, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Brooklyn Museum and elsewhere. Drew is currently the Social Media Manager at The Met and was recently honored by AIR Gallery as the recipient of their inaugural Feminist Curator Award, selected as one of the YBCA100 by the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and was recently profiled by The New Yorker.