We’re sending HUGE congratulations to Munira Khalif, a Minnesota high school senior, who was accepted into all eight Ivy League universities! Munira’s parents are Somali, and she credits them as her driving force: “When you come here as an immigrant, you’re hoping to have opportunities not only for yourself, but for your kids. And that’s always been at the back of my mind.”
Even before this feat, Munira was doing amazing things. The Star Tribune ran a profile of her last year, and outlined some of her incredible work. Munira founded a non-profit called Lighting the Way, dedicated to improving access to education for East African young people, especially girls. Her work has been recognized by the United Nations, who presented her with the Special Envoy for Global Education’s Youth Courage Award. Apparently, even with all this going on, she makes time for sleepovers and cooking with her friends. Munira hasn’t decided which school she’ll attend this fall, but according to the article, she plans to major in political science and to continue her public service.
This week, the President addressed a White House petition to ban all LGBTQ conversion therapy. The petition was created in response to the death of Leelah Alcorn and has gained more than 120,000 signatures. President Obama stated that he does not support any form of conversion therapy for minors. Conversion therapy has long been debunked and discredited by several major health organizations. Whether the President’s administration will work to outlaw the practice federally—it is currently banned in only two states—remains to be seen.
Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark in Game of Thrones, covered Dazed & Confused magazine. In the interview, Maisie talks about anticipating voting for the first time in the UK’s upcoming elections, and how she loves singing Joni Mitchell songs. Maisie also told the magazine: “you don’t know shit. You have no idea what it’s like to be 17 years old.” !!! This is a really fascinating long read.
Our EIC Tavi, was in the New York Times Magazine this week with the fashion design duo Chris Peters and Shane Gabier of Creatures of the Wind. They spent a few days in Charlotte, North Carolina to celebrate the new Creatures of the Wind collection landing at a Charlotte boutique. There’s a gallery of beautiful photos to click through.
The ’90s shoegaze pop band Ride, played their first show together in over 20 years in their hometown Oxford, England. I spent almost an entire day watching the footage from the concert. Even on shaky iPhone videos, they sound every bit as spritely and cohesive as they do on their records.
#RhodesMustFall has become #RhodesHasFallen! On Thursday, a statue of Cecil John Rhodes was removed from the University of Cape Town (UCT) campus. This history-making event came after one month of protest which began when Chumani Maxwele, a fourth-year political science student, threw excrement at the statue in protest. The cause was taken up by others who refused to have a statue of the racist imperialist Rhodes, occupy space in their university. Older South Africans who struggled against Apartheid are always saying that “the youth” have no politics. The #RhodesMustFall movement shows that each generation has its own battles to fight. I am full of love and gratitude to UCT’s student activists!
“She wasn’t born Toni Morrison. She had to become that person,” writes Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah in her long profile of the author Toni Morrison. Ghansah outlines the Nobel laureate’s importance to the U.S. literary canon, and explains how Morrison’s work as an editor at Random House created greater diversity in the publishing industry. Toni Morrison is a deity in my eyes and it delighted me to see her written about in such eloquent and beautiful prose.
Today Walter Scott is being laid to rest by his family and friends, after he was shot in the back eight times by the police officer Michael Slager. This brutal event—in North Charleston, South Carolina—is one of so many deaths of black people at the hands of the police. I was deeply moved by Melvin Backman’s reflections on being black in North Charleston. Backman closes the piece with powerful words that move outward from the specificity of South Carolina, to take in the U.S. as a whole:
But Scott’s family, a fiancee and four children, will endure a far deeper, far more complicated pain. And you shouldn’t make it worse. Don’t forget that this isn’t the first time this has happened, or even the first time it’s happened on camera. Don’t forget that an officer sworn to protect people like Scott lied to protect himself. Don’t forget all the little inequities came together to put this incident into motion, or that we can’t let them keep piling up.
May Walter Scott rest in peace.
The British filmmaker Cecile Emeke talked to Dazed and Confused about decolonizing film. Emeke is best known for her gorgeous web series Ackee and Saltfish, and her now-international documentary series Strolling. I love that Emeke isn’t afraid to talk about how messed up the world is, as she says: “Our society is run on patriarchy, it’s run on white supremacy, on heteronormativity, it’s run on all these different systems that oppress people […] I feel like there needs to be a core change, and it’s not going to be simple but it needs to happen.” You can watch an episode of her documentary series above.
The promised day has finally come! The most recent iOS update for iPhone comes with a keyboard of racially diverse emoji, as well as a heck of a lot more national flags. There are still a few flaws in the system. All the masculine-looking faces are blond, for some reason, and the default, non-customizable icons like couples and families are a bright shade of yellow—but, it’s absolutely a step in the right direction. I’m mad there’s still no avocado, or person-in-a-dress-skateboarding though!
Say no more, mon amour—it’s Rex Manning Day!—at least it was on April 8. The ’90s cult classic movie Empire Records is about a bunch of miscreants whose lives revolve around working at a local record store. The film takes place over one day—the day that the most cheesetastic singing Baywatch clone this side of Rod Stewart is due to make an in-store appearance. Fans of the film gather on “Rex Manning Day” to watch the film and yell at the screen. So, shave your head (not mandatory), curl up with a bowl of popcorn and say—“Oh Rexy, you’re so sexy!”
Over at New York magazine, a member of Kim Kardashian’s famous “glam squad” talks about contouring—the practice of defining, highlighting and blending multiple shades of foundation and powder on the face. The makeup artist Rob Scheppy talks about how he’s used this magic technique to transform the structure of models’ faces if the shoot he was on called for a different “look.” He advises beginners to use their natural face shape as a guide and work on simply enhancing your favorite features.
WEETZIE BAT FANS, ARE YOU READY? Please, brace yourselves, because our prayers have finally been answered. There’s going to be a Weetzie Bat movie!!! We must have collectively wished on enough pink cars, first stars, and baby teeth because the author Francesca Lia Block told MTV that a cinematic version of her 1989 novel, about the whimsical life of a girl named Weetzie and her friends, is in the works. There’s no word on when the movie will be released, but I am SO excited. FLB has even created a Pinterest board for ~vibes~ that she’s encouraging fans to contribute to. Not gonna lie, I have so many questions. What will the wardrobe look like? What will the soundtrack have on it? WHO WILL PLAY WEETZIE?!?! And finally, does anyone want me to do their nails for the premiere?
Nicki Minaj gave some sound career and life advice in Glamour magazine this week. Minaj is a powerhouse who plays by her own rules, and lives life her way. So it was amazing to hear what the rapper had to say on channeling an inner-boss and appreciating your own worth. She mentions Jay Z as a personal inspiration, and then says: “That’s what I want to do for young girls, to say, ‘It doesn’t matter where you started in your life. You too can become a mogul and anything you want to be.'” Yes, Nicki! I want to hear those words echoed a million times!
Way, way back, in 1868, a 15-year-old girl published a set of illustrations that depict different countries as people, under the pseudonym Aleph. Titled Geographical Fun: Being Humorous Outlines Of Various Countries, this girl sure had some fun personifying maps! These sorta-caricatures only represent European countries, but I wonder what America would look like from her satirical point of view.
Plans are afoot to remake the 1999 classic film, She’s All That. Sure, the original had Rachael Leigh Cook walking gracefully to the tune of Sixpence None the Richer’s “Kiss Me.” And who can forget about Dreamboat McDreamboat, Freddie Prinze Jr., as the soccer jerk turned slightly nicer jerk? Still, it’ll be SO exciting to see a reboot of this film which features a diverse cast.
COOL TOY ALERT. A Golden Girls Lego set could be in the works, after the idea was backed by 10,000 signatures. The genius behind this brilliance talked to Vocativ about the project and his Lego passions.
For opera-heads (or those of you who are intrigued by it!), there’s now a new subset of musical dramatization: DIY opera. Learn about it. Love it.
I love Netflix for many, many reasons, but two of them were the talk of the internet this week. First, the producer Brian Grazer announced another season of Arrested Development! And then…
…Netflix released the official trailer for the new season of Orange is the New Black which starts June 12 and which you can watch above. Alex is back! There’s a new inmate! And Suzanne has apparently written some erotic fiction involving… aliens?!?! I. Cannot. Wait.
I was already intrigued by Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the forthcoming documentary about Kurt Cobain’s life. Then I read this article in which Hannah Ewens points out that for years men have shaped the narrative of Kurt Cobain’s life, music, and legacy, and I became even more eager to see the film. Montage of Heck is executive produced by Kurt’s daughter Frances Bean Cobain, and it mainly features interviews with the important women in his life—his mother, sister, former girlfriend, and his wife, Courtney Love. In this interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Frances spoke publicly about her father for the first time. She also discusses the film, and her own art and creativity. ♦