Art

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="2235" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][ultimate_spacer height="90" height_on_tabs="50" height_on_tabs_portrait="50" height_on_mob_landscape="50" height_on_mob="50"][vc_column_text] ESSAYS | FALL '20 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] AN IDOL FALLS [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] ESSAY by PICASSO MOORE ILLUSTRATIONS by PACO MAY [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="12px"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]“Oh, the fracking?” Let’s start there. With the clip, that birthed a meme, that crystalized a sentiment. Bob the drag queen and Peppermint, two celebrities in their own right, had a tangential moment during an Instagram live. Just after, there was some infectious laughter (the kind that lets you know you’re amongst the girls and that you’re all good to let your hair and wrists down) followed by a near-instantaneous redirection back to the topic at hand. I recall seeing it on my twitter feed and not getting it. The general concept of fracking is somewhat clear to me (I mean, I saw that Matt Damon film, Promised Land, which received all that undo Oscar buzz in 2013), but what was gay twitter’s fascination with hotly debated and highly politicized energy-sourcing practices? A few taps and swipes revealed that none other than Mutha Ru’ herself had once again found herself in the hot seat.  In an interview with not The Tenth Magazine, she offers the world a glimpse into her idyllic life away from the spotlight. The husband, the flannel, the 60,000-acre ranch in Wyoming, the leasing of the mineral rights to various oil and energy conglomerates… Oh, the fracking. Perhaps it was a moment of candor she thought to be innocuous. Perhaps it was boastful exuberance that had unintended consequences. Whatever it was, to Twitter, it was bad. But why? I mean, yes, there is the obvious toxification of the water supply and the pollution of the air we breathe, the corporate monopolization of political and financial capital, and the general shut-the-fuck-up-ocity of a glamazon droning on about the harrowing duties of land management on her national-park-sized property, but none of that was being articulated by the Twitterverse. People were outraged that RuPaul could do something so blatantly capitalist, that her life off-screen and her time out of drag didn’t seem to syncopate with her public image. The tears in the eyes of the masses weren’t the result of gas in the air, but the sheer horror of seeing one of our idols fall.  But isn’t it always true that the crux of every matter is always just there in front of our eyes? That the clue that solves the mystery is the one at the scene of the crime? Celebrities strike a chord in us because they are specific enough for us to see our selves but ambiguous enough for us to project our ideals. Love yourself. That’s the sentiment. The slogan. RuPaul has been telling us to love ourselves and live unapologetically for decades, and how wonderful! How many of us needed and (still) need to hear that? To be told that we have an indelible power within us and an inalienable right to take up space? It’s fortifying to turn on the television and see a chocolate faggot twirling and serving all in front of a crowd of people whose shouts are of praise rather than hate. But along the way, the line between seeing yourself and conflating yourself becomes blurred.  “She’s such an obnoxious hypocrite!” read one tweet. “We been knew sis was bullshit” read another.  But, I don’t recall the statement “love yourself” ever being followed by “...

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][ultimate_spacer height="90" height_on_tabs="50" height_on_tabs_portrait="50" height_on_mob_landscape="50" height_on_mob="50"][vc_column_text] ESSAYS | FALL '20 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] STILL HERE [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] WORDS by NKGOPOLENG MOLOI IMAGES of DISTRICT SIX, CAPE TOWN [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="12px"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]Southampton County (1831), Cincinnati (1836), Memphis (1866), Okahandja (1904), Kinshasa (1959),  Sharpeville (1960), Soweto (1976), Bristol (1980), Handsworth (1985), Los Angeles (1992), Brixton (1995), London (2011), Marikana (2012), Minneapolis (2020). A haunted past. A lifetime of pain and suffering. A lifetime of fighting for dignity. A lifetime of fighting for liberation—riot, upheaval, protest, dissent, resistance, refusal. Despite all that, we are still here. Despite genocides, despite lynchings, despite racism, and despite the violence…..WE ARE STILL HERE. In 2017, Afro-French Cuban musical sister duo Ibeyi, made up of Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Diaz, released their second studio album Ash. The album addressed themes of racism and misogyny. The third song on the album is called Deathless—a response to a traumatising encounter Lisa-Kaindé (one part of the duo) experienced with the French police at age sixteen. Deathless became a mantra to symbolise strength in the face of racial injustice. [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="60px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_row_inner row_type="row" type="grid" text_align="left" css_animation=""][vc_column_inner width="1/6"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="2/3"][vc_column_text]Whatever happens, whatever happened (oh hey) We are deathless We are deathless Whatever happens, whatever happened (oh hey) We are deathless We are deathless [/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/6"][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text]The words are repeated over the thwacking percussion—thump thump thump, deathless, thump thump thump, deathless. In an interview with the Brussels-based music blog HighClouds, Naomi said, “In truth, 'Deathless' is a poignant response to racism and an anthem for anybody who feels too little: minorities, the weak, and the deprived.”[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="60px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_row_inner row_type="row" type="grid" text_align="left" css_animation=""][vc_column_inner width="1/6"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="2/3"][vc_column_text]Deathless (adjective) - unceasing - perpetual - likely to endure [/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/6"][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text]To be Black and queer and poor in this world is to be in danger, but it is also to be deathless. Not in the sense of immortal but rather as unceasing, perpetual and likely to endure. We have existed before and will remain existing. Historical deathlessness—the Khoi and the San peoples, the first human communities on the face of the earth, whose direct descendants still exist in Southern Africa. Symbolic deathlessness—as seen through the great pyramids of Giza and of Kerma, which stand tall four millennia later. Mythical deathlessness—Black Atlantis, the underwater country populated by the unborn children of pregnant African women thrown off of slave ships. To be Black in this world is to be in danger but it is also to be deathless. My aim is not to offer up an explanation for how Black people have survived some of the most horrifyingly wicked injustices, but rather I will echo and reverberate the sound and voices of the many who have come before, highlighting sonic registers of refusals. I refer back to the continua in Solomon Mahlangu's “Tell my people that I love them and that they must continue the fight, my blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom, Aluta continua." [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="60px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="2158" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][vc_row_inner row_type="row" type="grid" text_align="left" css_animation=""][vc_column_inner width="2/3"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/6"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/6"][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]In 1950 the apartheid government in South Africa enacted the Group Areas Act which sought to racially segregate the country geographically. Under this law, District Six in Cape Town was designated a “whites only” area, which led to the forced removal of 60,000 residents. The forced removals dismantled the strong communal ties between families and friends that had been built and nourished over the years. Reflecting on the removals four decades later, a former District Six resident Nomvuyo Ngcelwane said:[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="50px"][vc_column_text] ❝ In August of 1963, my father received a letter asking him to report at the Drill Hall in connection with arrangements that had been made by the local authorities for him and his family. We had been expecting it, of course, because some of the Black residents had already received their notices. The removal was going to bring a lot of change to people’s lives; for immediate neighbours, there was no guarantee that they would be living together as neighbours in Nyanga West. The fear was that we would be scattered all over. To those who walked to their place of work, it meant budgeting for bus or train fares in the future.❞ [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="30px"][vc_column_text]Ngcelwane is one of many residents whose histories are recorded and remembered in the District Six Museum. On one of my visits, I noticed a short and striking phrase on a banner outside the museum: “No matter where we are, we are here.” I later found out that this was an important slogan that was carried across by ex-residents of District Six to speak of resistance and persistence following the experience of being forcibly removed. The residents were protesting against erasure, silencing, and the general disregard by those who thought of themselves as superior because of the colour of their skin. The phrase speaks of endurance and can be read through its multiplicity. Here can refer to District Six itself, where their memories and stories linger decades after their physical bodies are removed. But here can also refer to wherever they are. It takes on a more expansive meaning and no longer refers to place or position but rather refers to existence itself…owning objective reality. No matter where we are, we are here. We exist, We are still here. I started to think a lot about this slogan in relation to protest, refusal and Afrofuturism (to the extent that Afrofuturism suggests to us that Black people have existed in the past and will exist in the future). I’m interested in these phrases—we are here and still here—beyond their literal definitions, but as powerful philosophies with emancipatory potential. I’m thinking through them as mantras that do not exclusively relegate our existence to suffering or passively accept that suffering. Mantras that refuse the logic of oppression and function within the realm of what Christina Sharpe’s seminal work, In the Wake: On Blackness and Being, refers to as “wake work,” which “acts through the contemporary conditions of Black life to imagine otherwise.” Sharpe explains that “wake work” accounts for moments of rupture despite imminent death. It is “a mode of inhabiting and rupturing this episteme.” Still here disrupts the dominant narrative of Black life as inferior and disposable. Within this philosophy Black life is sacred.  The philosophy of still here recognises the non-linearity of time and frustrates time. It shifts the contours of radical imagination. It recognises that the past ruptures our present, it touches the future of the past and the past of the future. We are here, guided by the spirit of those who have come before, existing simultaneously as the wildest dreams of our ancestors as well as ancestors of our unborn. Similarly to “wake work,” the phrase still here does not embrace death but rather pushes against it. Still here demands to be seen, and it demands dignity and liberation. Still here demands that breath be put back into the Black body.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="2184" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="60px"][vc_column_text]This spirit of still here runs through artistic practices of young and old creators on the continent and in the diaspora. When photographer Thembinkosi Hlatshwayo chooses to tell his story of a childhood marked by violence using powerful imagery, he is saying still here. When Sabelo Mlangeni celebrates Lagos’ queer community through his series “The Royal House of Allure,” he is saying still here. When Frida Orupabo cracks open the Black archive and reflects joy, anxiety, pain, beauty, and horror, she is saying; still here. When performance art duo FAKA sing Uyang'khumbula (you remember me), they are saying still here. Still here echoes and reverberates throughout history, sometimes it is a low hum only audible to those paying attention and sometimes it is as loud as thunder rumbling, unmistakable, emphatic.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="60px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_separator type="normal"][vc_empty_space height="60px"][vc_column_text]   NKGOPOLENG MOLOI Nkgopoleng Moloi is a writer and photographer based in Johannesburg, South Africa, “excited and intrigued by history, art, language and architecture.”   [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="50px"][vc_single_image image="675" img_size="full" alignment="center" onclick="custom_link" qode_css_animation="" link="https://thetenthmagazine.com/"][vc_empty_space height="10px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row]...

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][ultimate_spacer height="90" height_on_tabs="50" height_on_tabs_portrait="50" height_on_mob_landscape="50" height_on_mob="50"][vc_column_text] ESSAYS | FALL '20 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] POP GOES THE AMERICAN PIE [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] WORDS by KHARY SEPTH ARTWORK by DONOVAN EDWARDS [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="12px"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]Bayard Rustin writes in Myths of Black Revolt (1969), “Blacks are not demanding revolution, but rather participation in the democratic process and the enjoyment of the fruits of American society; in general, they want a piece of the pie.” And if Rustin—the Black, gay Godfather himself, were to rise from the dead, he’d be delighted to see our faces covered in it; strange fruits dripping from our lips, crust scattered about the corners, and the knife which cut the pie into little bits of mainstream visibility, a mortgage up in Harlem, and fewer lost souls to the AIDS epidemic, suddenly de-weaponized and placed in a drawer. In a matter of two decades, we were no longer watching for a blade at our throats in the dark on the piers, nah. The gays had finally grown into our good fortunes, which had finally become the American sitcom’s recurring theme. As the clock struck midnighte on the roaring new ’20s of the aughts, you could say it was all-you-could-eat queerness in every shade of a Fenty foundation kit, showing up in every cis white girl’s fairytale, and in a sense, this was seen by the community to be a Revolution. But in February we met a tiny microbe named Miss Rona that did a costume change by mid-March into an all-out pandemic, and suddenly, it seemed the Good Gay Times wouldn’t last as good times—we all know—never do. She said, “Miss Thing, there is no guestlist, there is no pie, there is no spoon—a young boy tells Neo in the Sci-Fi banger The Matrix, who up to that very moment had lived his life within the limits of the accountable, or the real. It’s a Hollywood paintbrush on ancient Buddhist philosophy which in essence expresses that what we think of as rigid reality is no more real than what we see on the other side of a mirror. The man in the mirror doesn’t move—his mind does, and the coronavirus was here to prove this immaterial truth.  As Black queers, this point can be hard to get, no less stick. With so much struggling, we’ve hardly the time to live highly examined lives, and if we’re thriving, we’re typically thanking from podiums or on panels a generally foolproof system for allowing us in. Sure, we can observe aspects of our life in and for ourselves and put them on the Internet, but full tea: We often preserve the oppressors’ point of view and, like it or not, always work in their tradition. As James Baldwin put it, “It was not the world that was my oppressor only. If the world does it effectively enough, you begin to do it to yourself.”  Yet these days, the man has turned his back on us and when facing forward, has met us with a pie cutter to the face *gags and drops* then a knee to the throat, and we are now uneasily standing on the edge of the future gasping for air, wondering what to do next? As the seasons roll by, and with Pride cancelled and bread lines forming, if the gays had become distracted and docile high achievers up until now, heaven knows there is nothing to distract us anymore. [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="center" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="1561" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]Cause we saw it: the overrun emergency rooms, the shortage of personal protective equipment, the far-too-few ventilators, and an irresponsible President responding with chaos to a gaggle of Governors trying to rise above it in order to “flatten the curve.”  And you felt it: the panic of a nation with no savings, no social safety net, and soon enough, no compassion. I walked the canyons of the city and heard no crying, and it must have sounded like this before the Dutch colonists arrived in the 17th century to buy it in blood from the Natives, as its population was suddenly, and almost willingly, sent to bed with a lullaby of clanging pots and 24-hour cable news.  And while we were sleeping… Legislation. A cash grab called The Cares Act that was supposed to save Main Street and out-of-work Americans with $2 trillion in desperately needed cash, but which in two weeks was ran off with by the Big Bad Wolves of Wall Street. For the plebs without personal bankers it was a 24-hour-a-day call campaign to the DOL/SBA/PPP/PUA shitshow, where it was processing…pending… better luck next time.  And coming up from the sewers was the stink of celebrity going bad because no one was watching. It was sad to see people used to having such tremendous influence, now the front-page news of endless rooms unremarkably on display for Zoom. It seemed with only the die-hard devotion of their couches, they no longer looked like rock stars, because (come to find out) the Hollywood “it factor” was borrowed from glam squads, and publicists, and mainly us, whose perception of them as stars made them worthy of everything, but yet (come to find out) of no real value at all.  But of course there was Saint Cardi in a protective mask, spitting Keynesian theory.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="50px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_row_inner row_type="row" type="grid" text_align="left" css_animation=""][vc_column_inner width="1/6"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="2/3"][vc_column_text] ❝If you think that after the coronavirus… that sh*t is going to go back to normal. You muthaf***ing wrong b**ch, you about to enter a recession. You think you gonna get your job back? Bro, Sis, you might not get your job back no more…❞ [/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/6"][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="50px"][vc_column_text]And then the epiphany. America was built on the notion that upholding Christian values such as a strict morality, cordial manners, delayed gratification, and so on, were the very reason for an individual’s success in the market. Even the Founding Father Benjamin Franklin wrote in an essay, Necessary Hints to Those That Would Be Rich, of Invisible Hand “success ethics” that allowed men to create a life of unimaginable financial bliss not only fit for a spot in heaven, but right here on God green’s earth just the same.  But this wasn’t that. This was America writing an essay called Life’s Not Fair for millions of immigrants and working poor people doing “gig work” and working for Walmart, stocking empty grocery shelves, and being treated like trash. These were indeed jobs taken in response to the calling—of a chatbot looking for “low-wage and unskilled labor,” or off a vinyl sign on the side of a building, and you’d have to be wearing rose-colored protective goggles to not see that these workers were at odds with what the free market would consider success. To suddenly be calling them heroes for standing in COVID’S line-of-fire to keep us consuming—but mostly, to keep themselves and their families fed—was an ethical disaster at best.  There were racialized headlines (Coronavirus is Disproportionately Killing the Black Community) and racialized fear (The Citizen’s Arrest Law Cited in Arbery’s Killing Dates Back to the Civil War), and for our EntertainTment, there was even a COVID comedy of errors starring a colored CEO at the helm of a cruise ship. ACT ONE: a floating Carnival is found making transatlantic trips and bouncing around the Caribbean. On the bridge of the ship we find a negro named Arnold Donald, who is one of only but a small handful of negroes at the helm of billion dollar ship. He knows a virus is spreading, but continues to send ignorant masses of poor and old and fat white people to their deaths. Perhaps, it was a present his people's past would have wanted, and so no apologies would have to be made.  My Gawd, it was moral mayhem, and it made me terribly sad for the future of the human race. To see rich white folks flee the city, leaving their sick and tired doormen behind to get the memo that we are all just apes trapped on a piece of intergalactic coal in the middle nowhere, where no optimistic venture capital or silly white boy founder was going to build anyone a rocketship to Mars.  But in America, living on the edge is not a vice, why it’s a virtue, and like Wile E. Coyote (the Looney Tunes character said by his creator Chuck Jones to be "a living, breathing allegory of Want,”) these white boys have driven us right off a cliff. At 2,000 feet and falling even the good Pastor will markup the price of a coronavirus test for his desperate flock, and at 4,00 down, the greedy pharmacist will fill a billion bottles of time-released pain just to make a quick buck.  In God-blessed America, by the time one hits rock bottom, even the boys in NYPD Blue are selling ass and murder-for-hire on OnlyFans, and the federal government is stealing shipments of PPEs and ventilators from the states for a few points of political gain. The coyote in Mark Twain’s book Roughing It, upon which the cartoon is based, is described as "a long, slim, sick and sorry-looking skeleton" and, yes indeed, that sounds about right. Like an empty stadium of NBA owners, or the attendees of an “Ideas conference,” whose BIG IDEAS, just like the cartoon coyote, are nothing more than the same ol’ Saturday morning mistakes. [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="center" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="1562" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]Through the forty-some-odd years of protests and outrage I’ve lived through, it just may be that a real choice has yet to present itself. Somewhere on the protest line, I became subconsciously aware that the day-in and day-out misery of tens of millions of Black and Brown folk that was just to be our problem, was a hard-knocks distraction from the fact that our demands could not possibly be fed by a pie and the machinery that makes it, that is not real.  Blood, sweat and overpriced GDP heels, our sense of self as personal net worth, the myth we’ve been told from birth that if you hustle hard you’ll be Rich & Famous is just not real. An economic system that couldn’t survive a two-week shutdown was so not real. There is no spoon: The pie is just dessert to be nibbled on by the rich. There is no spoon: The exhaust from all the ovens and baking has ruined the air. There is no spoon: For decades, even as political power has shifted from Left to Right, deciding whose turn it was to don the baker’s hat, Blacks, with watery mouths and hungry hearts, have seen no more than the Revolution of a plate.  There was never enough pie to feed my N!g*as, no less the Natives, and let’s just forget about the developing world. According to the chief economist at the World Food Program, before the coronavirus arrived, 135 million people were already facing acute food shortages around the world. Now amidst the pandemic, 130 million more will go hungry this year.  And yet, there's a whole planet. The majority of us living without adequate jobs, healthcare, education, security, electricity, no less, political stability and WiFi—preheating the ovens (cheap energy) and fixing the fillings (even cheaper labor) and looking at us as a model for how to bake a pie of their own.  Maybe it’s not a pie we need, but a sheet cake with Karl Marx’s face on it. And maybe it’s not “Get Rich Or Die Trying” scribbled on top, but “POWER TO THE PEOPLE” written in Black Panther meringue buttercream, and then covered with rainbow sprinkles for cunty effect. Perhaps after COVID, we can move on from the killing fields of capitalism where we fight to death for success. Maybe it’s time to rethink our shopping plans and summer vacations and stand still like the...

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="1310" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][ultimate_spacer height="90" height_on_tabs="50" height_on_tabs_portrait="50" height_on_mob_landscape="50" height_on_mob="50"][vc_column_text] THE ACADEMY | FALL '20 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] KING RA SUMA BA [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] INTERVIEW by THE TENTH PHOTOGRAPHY by KAMOLLIO BENNETT [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="12px"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS: HOTEPU, Brothers. I am fully aware of what it took for you to be here today. I have seen it—what you’ve done—and am most impressed that you did it. Actions tell me volumes. We shall help you in return.  We as Black men cannot become great thought white men’s ways. In Africa—particularly among Kemet and the Dogon, we have our myths for the pink people. The Dogon say, “the pink man is pink, because he hasn’t finished cooking.” They call the supreme being Ama in Kemet, and say that Ama didn’t finish cooking him so he came out incomplete, and the mark of this is that he has no brown. When you cook things they become brown; batter is always white, but no one eats batter at dinner.   So he is not complete to us.  What am I saying? That you are more complete than he is.  I’m actually implying that you may be better, if we define better as complete. When I say complete, I mean you’ve awakened your higher brain functions. The pink people cannot awaken the higher brain center; it’s not their destiny. The problem with the Black Power movement overall: Malcolm was Muslim—they enslaved us worse than the pink people did. The muslims were brutal to us in Africa; still are. Then there’s the Martin Luther King Christian branch, but in the name of Jesus my grandmother swung from a tree, so I can’t embrace that and still love my grandmother—how insulting. So Black people have not had the intelligence of their ancestral memory yet—except for a few of us—to say, “Our liberation comes from Africa.” Christianity helps Europeans. Allah helps Arabs. Africa helps Africans. My goal is to inspire your eye to look home for the solutions you need. But you will face pink insecurity—some call that racism, I call it what it is: pink insecurity over our genetic power. They will try to end you, which I’m sure you’ve met once or twice along your journey so far.  I made my YouTube channel to create a space for the mind of my tribe.  [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="2102" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]10TH: Thank you. HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS: You’re most welcome. I want you all to be the Kings that you are.  This is our planet. This is our world—wouldn’t you say? We deserve resources, and money, and power, and respect like anyone else. We’re not marginal. We’re not a sideshow. In fact, we are the Supreme; we are gatekeepers. So I made my channel to create a space in the Black male consciousness that we are power, and I don’t ask for power, I take it. No one who asks for power gets it. You will never find a history where this is true. The power is in us. It’s a deep, ancient power, and we are bashed because of it. We are feared. You don’t bash someone for millennia and not fear them.  My first temple was open to all people. It was mostly Black heterosexuals, a few gay men, some lesbians. I discovered that the heterosexuals were jealous—I watched with my own two eyes. We would do rituals every full-moon… We would drum,and burn frankincense and myrrh and sing to the African Gods, and I watched the gay men go out into a trance—a power state—so quickly. The hetero men were envious and they began to do nasty things… small comments and rude statements. I said, “I will remove you so fast, your head will spin.” I see heteros as secondary to us—the texts of Kemet say so. Heterosexuals came second. We came first. So you can see how their fear comes out as bullying and humiliating us, but you can’t humiliate a divine person—it’s impossible. I’m unlimited consciousness. You follow? 10TH: Yes.  HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS: As you build your magazine they will try to humiliate you, but they can’t if you are unlimited consciousness. How can you humiliate space? How can you destroy the ocean by throwing rocks at it? So for your magazine to bloom, you have to know first, who you are, because you’ll be challenged by that. They will say, “Who are you?” You say anything less than unlimited consciousness and they will get you.  If you say “I am (GOD) AWWO”—Infinity; well, how can you attack infinity?  It cannot be done.  This is why we need Spirituality for our community, which is a fancy word for Philosophy; it’s our word for philosophy. And once you know who you are, no one can touch you. And if they try… the Cobra of Egypt will strike.  Our Native American bothers call us two spirits—we are more than that—we are all spirits. We are beyond two. We are the number zero which can become any number. What that means is you can become any intelligence: executive intelligence, administrative intelligence, defense department—you can become all of these quickly and efficiently. That’s the value of knowing who you are.  What concerns me most in my tribe is the drug and alcohol use. I do not blame my tribe for it; we are programmed to turn to those things to feel better. It’s very stressful being Black, gay, and male. They have a bullseye on our back, and we’re trying so hard to survive all this and it’s difficult, and tiring for our brothers, and it was my pain in seeing this that created my YouTube channel. I could not see anymore of us killed like that—spiritually, physically, emotionally, mentally. I will not tolerate it.  When I became public with my channel, a lot of hate came towards my person I shall say, not towards me. They can’t touch me. The hate was heterosexual for the most part… “Gay African what are you talking about???” “That’s a white man’s thing!” “You’re ruining the Kemetic Movement.” I just hit “hide user”...

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][ultimate_spacer height="90" height_on_tabs="50" height_on_tabs_portrait="50" height_on_mob_landscape="50" height_on_mob="50"][vc_column_text] ESSAYS | FALL '20 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] URBAN FASHIONS OF YORE [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] ESSAY by MARCUS BROCK ARTWORK by DONOVAN EDWARDS + JON KEY [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="12px"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]Oh, what a time to be alive. The Nobel Prize-winning Gabriel Garcia Marquez captured the heaviness of living and loving in a medical crisis in Love in the Time of Cholera. And now, we no longer need nostalgia to capture history because we are now living history, living and loving in the time of corona. Not since over a century has the globe experienced a pandemic of this proportion, the coronavirus, COVID-19.  Once the World Health Organization established a pandemic was at our doorsteps on March 10, it only took seconds for so many to turn the growing need for face masks into a commodity with some cunning humans taking advantage of the ill-impressioned, with some others trying to pass the time with needle and thread for some charity due to hospital shortages, and more justly-hustling to supplement the income they would inevitably lose. And through this all, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo and elected officials like Mayor Bill DeBlasio had announced it mandatory to don face coverings outside and especially inside of businesses. Immediately when I don a mask, I feel like I’m a character in The Hughes Brothers' Dead Presidents. Or, that others see me as that. Black and brown folks have a storied history with masks, whether it’s the corner store or the plantation. I recently received a simple, black face mask that shows more of my face—that a human lies underneath. But up until then, I cautiously wore a bandana, oscillating between pink, mint green, and polka dots. With seeing eyeglasses off? No, on. I often wear top coverings, so I would never combine a mask, beanie, and the bandana simultaneously, sugarcoating the mask’s history and sugarcoating my black body so that onlookers would feel disarmed and not as though I was bearing arms. I was much more acutely aware of anti-Asian and anti-black racism, so the proper coordination was a must.  When society imaginatively forces you into the margins, you are often acutely aware, aren’t you? You’re acutely aware of what it's like to fend for survival, to resort to public assistance, to fill the soap dispenser with water to make it stretch, to make a dollar out of fifteen cents, and you may not understand solitude, but you are intimately aware of its presence. When you are a woman, black, or queer, you are actutely aware of your body being sized up, taken in, ridiculed, beaten, forced, and even made pliable by the onlookers gaze twisitng and contorting you into a shortcut in their imagination—all in the strident effort to dehumanize the vessel that stands and lies before them. And yet, still, we rise.  As my own neighborhood gentrifies, it matters to me none, because it only takes one person to remind me that I am black and that I am gay. And trust me, the world has a sneaky way of reminding us that we don’t belong, so we have to stay ready, so we ain’t gotta get ready.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="center" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="1580" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]In These Streets “You must be one of them Crenshaw Mafia motherfuckers.” The late John Singleton made one of the most seminal, naturalist films ever when he delivered Boyz n the Hood to us in 1991. The film and its cast of still-admired thespians touched me then as it touches me now. I recognized myself in those characters because the vivid insight was a daily life I was familiar with in Los Angeles - it was Compton, South Central, Bellflower, Newark, Southside Chicago, and St. Louis, on the world’s stage. Tre Styles (Cuba Gooding Jr.), wasn’t one of those “Crenshaw Mafia motherfuckers.” But it didn’t matter no-how. When best friends, Tre and Ricky (Morris Chestnut), are stopped by the police, the black cop, heavily breathing over Tre at a forced pull-over haunts me every time I watch it. It’s a warm California night and 1990s streetwear with bulky tennis shoes adorn these young boys driving down Crenshaw Boulevard. Suddenly, Ricky and Tre are stopped by a black and white police officer, pointedly Officer Coffey, the anti-black black cop serves up the vitriol. Ricky looks on helplessly, while the black officer violently leans into Tre force-feeding his Smith & Wesson into his neck and face, looking him up and down like he ain’t worth a Nissin Cup Noodles, ain’t worth shit, with grit in his teeth, his face snarled and menacing. And with heavy breath, he exclaims, “You think you tough, huh? What set you from? Look like one of them Crenshaw Mafia motherfuckers. Naw, you probably one of them Rollin’ 60s.”  Tre wasn’t in either gang.  But the officer is declarative. There is no recuse or explanation. As the Smith & Wesson pierces Tre’s neck, his muscles tighten as he swallows his own saliva, gulping down his pride to silence this damn near swan song. He is unable to fight back, unable to speak, but his emotion must come out somehow from somewhere. And it does. A single tear drips from the corner of his eye and slowly moves down his right cheek. There have been times when I watch that scene, alone, and a single tear escapes my eye as well. These are the notes of a Native Son.  For some time now (all my damn life and yours), blackness—our black cool—as Rebecca Walker calls it, has been under attack. When you read colonial travel diaries such as Joseph Conrad’s novella, Heart of Darkness, you are reminded that for centuries, black people have been looked upon with an odd gaze of fantasy, fetish, and fiction since forever. No one knew what to make of the “Dark Continent” and those who have transcended from the African Diaspora. And onlookers still gawk at our bodies, our fashion, our adornment with the same malignant intrigue they once had during colonial times—they were so intimidated by our beauty and culture so they named it savage, instead. Ratchet. Non-bourgeois. And Declassé. Today, they name it fashion and commodity and fourth-quarter sales projections—oh, that’s that “Black Cool” Rebecca Walker is reminding us about. That “Black Magic” that Krin Gabbard is historicizing.  The fashion industry, particularly Anna Wintour, knew exactly what they were doing when brands fused with hip hop culture—a lifeline to revitalize the industry. Kris Kross had me wearing my clothes backwards, Cross Colours had me black and proud, canvas-clad Christian Dior purses were all the rage, and leather black Africa medallions lay clad on my cousin’s chest back in the day. We been on!   For two years, I was a drive-thru cashier in high school, and I was slick with it, bouncing from the freezer, taking orders on my headset to pulling greasy tacos from the fryer, packing a bag, counting the change, mixing a milkshake, and all while taking the next order. I toiled on my job to buy my September fashions for the new school year. The Lakewood Mall’s Up Against the Wall were where you could get your Enyce, Rocawear, Ecko Unlimited, Lugz, and Avirex. Now since my mother couldn’t afford to pop tags, I often ended up with the discounted, last season versions from Ross or Marshall’s. All good. I remember one year, my mother bought me a faux-Starter jacket; I never wore it. It stayed in my closet and I never said anything, but I’m sure it hurt her feelings. I just couldn’t think of mustering the ridicule. Later on, I stacked my paper as we said in the 1990s, or as the children say today, I “secured the bag,” and took $100 to Up Against the Wall and bought me an Avirex jumpsuit, a bright orange jumpsuit, with a distressed Avirex logo across my back. It was a mess, but quiet as it’s kept, it was also a look. [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="center" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="1835" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]Adorned So as the fashions of yesteryear become the looks of the present and future, I’m feeling a way about it. During Fall 2018, Fila held its first-ever fashion show in Milan. As an Italian heritage brand, it’s been among us since 1911. I remember when I learned how to iron during the 1980s, I had this slick Fila tracksuit. Nylon. I went into the kitchen, plugged in the iron, had it on full-blast and burnt a triangular hole right through my pant leg. Oh, the devastation. But I had another Fila hoodie that was oh-so-mean, too. It had a zip-down hood that had “Marcus” sprawled in blue script on the inside and it laid flat once unzipped, adorning my upper back.  Chile, you couldn’t tell me nothin’—not a damn thing!  I have no idea where my mom bought it from, whether it was bootleg or not, but one thing was for sure: it was the mood du moment and I was en vogue. But I’m feeling a way. When Fendi x Fila did the collaboration with rapper, Nicki Minaj, she boasted “I been on/Fendi prints on,” which help set up their comeback. I felt a way when students strolled into the classroom with Fila shoes and sportswear from Urban Outfitters on the campuses I taught on. I didn’t feel a way about the students, just the cultural shift. I felt a way when I saw the logo on a fellow subway passenger right in front of my face leading up from the subway stairs. This new generation of streetwear sartorialists aren’t at fault for the past—but I still feel a way about it.  The young set walks around in a millennial-Gen Z-swag performing as the dopest. But unfortunately, the same urban trends that hipsters, yuppies, buppies, and the like enjoy today were the same trends that motivated racial profiling and police brutality of young black and Latinx men and women of the 1990s. These fashions, commonly found at the swap meet for a fraction of what they cost now, signified to police that you were affiliated with gangs when you were, in actuality, just walking home from school trying not to miss Darkwing Duck and Batman.  For a time, what has always been black, but popular culture has been jive, Ebony-Phonics, African American Vernacular, but with social media, you notice everyone has jumped aboard hood vernacular to sound cool. What was once frowned upon is now cool for all, not just “Black Cool.”  But Fila, and street brands like it are back like no other. And while Fila may be waning eventually, something will soon take its place because street culture and style is here to stay overpriced, but we shall pay. LL Cool J already requested an “around the way girl,” because that’s just it – street culture has long been a fabric of the urban. “A girl with extensions in her hair, bamboo earrings, at least two pair. A Fendi bag with a bad attitude.”  The “drop culture” of limited brands like James Jebbia’s Supreme, has caused a frenzy for who is adorned in the finest, just so you can say, “Then I spent four hundred bucks on this, just to be like nigga you ain’t up on this!” It’s no wonder the brand that started as a skate shop in the mid-1990s is valued at over 1 billion dollars today. While street culture often refers to subcultures around the world from Japan to Los Angeles to New York to Oaxaca, let’s be clear, it is often created from the have-nots. And much of it today, is gleaned directly from hip hop culture and underrepresented youth, where the purveyors and the pioneers are Latino and black. [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="center" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="1833" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"...

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="1822" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][ultimate_spacer height="90" height_on_tabs="50" height_on_tabs_portrait="50" height_on_mob_landscape="50" height_on_mob="50"][vc_column_text] GET IN! | FALL '20 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] 100 BOYFRIEND BRONTEZ [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] WORDS by BRONTEZ PURNELL PHOTOGRAPHY by MARCUS BRANCH [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="12px"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]I am rolling around naked on a Chinese rug from like the late 1800s. I’m thinking really, really hard about it because I’m on ketamine and can’t telescope back any emotion for the life of me. Every shape of every thought becomes bigger and bigger and then multi-sided—I have to catch my breath when I think of, like, the world and its vastness and blah blah blah, things of that nature. Like, China, OMG! that’s SO. FAR. AWAY. And the late 1800s, also. OMG! SO. FAR. AWAY. Just by rubbing my schlong on this old ass rug I feel like I’m sticking my whole dick in the space/time continuum without a rubber. This is probably how the characters on Star Trek feel ALL THE TIME. My Daddy is this older Asian dude, he collects boys and art. He has shit in this house that’s even older than the rug. In fact, everything in his house is like a THRIVING specimen of a different time. Himself included.  He’s damn near 60 but looks like a 9-year-old in the face. He’s wearing a black see-through lace romper that, for whatever fucking reason, is paired with a big ass button that says “Kiss Me, I’m Irish.” I’m like, “but it’s not St. Patrick’s Day?!” “No, like, I’m from Vietnam, you get it?!” He is holding a plate of drugs and high as fuck also. He asks this without a hint of humor or irony and this is why I love this man. [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="1816" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]My Daddy is handing drugs to some guys on the couch. He is holding his annual Wednesday orgy.  Doing copious amounts of drugs with other gay men is so cathartic. Gay drug brotherhoods are powerful. Every time I do hella drugs with other faggots I feel like it erases, in my brain, a time a bully kicked my ass.  I might really actually be in love with this man but he is upset with me for two reasons. 1. I can’t participate in the orgy cause I have chlamydia in my dick hole (I got the call from the doctor the morning of the orgy) and 2. He told me a month ago that he wanted me to make him a special painting just for his collection, something he could keep from me forever. But it felt like such a call to action that I flaked on it for months.  The first time he and I fucked I was so stoned I actually said, “Have you ever thought about how the word painting has the word pain in it?” That’s when he decided I should make him a painting for his personal collection.  Part of me dreams of slaying box at this orgy, of course. This is, of course, only a dream. Even though I don’t have chlamydia in my asshole, it’s still a blood-born virus; it doesn’t mean I can’t give it to someone out of my dick. My Daddy is insisting I come to the couch and get fucked anyway, “These sluts don’t give a FUUUUUUCK,” he insists, but out of modesty and self- preservation I stay high and solitary on the carpet.   Now I need not play the prude here—I know all the nooks and crannies of the city, all the deep dirty dark cuts and cervices, places I can go where the boys don’t care what you have; in fact, you need not talk about anything. I know places where the boys don’t care how much money you make, or what private college you went to. Places where the boys are so horny, they don’t even give a fuck what your dick looks like. Places where a penicillin shot in your butt cheek or a lifetime regimen of pills is merely an occupational hazard. The places where I can go and not mention a single thing about myself. I can be just a walking fuck shadow that’s willing to grant any stranger, who insists upon it, any inch of my body full entry. That is to say, I could do this…but I’m just too fucking comfortable high as fuck on this ancient ass Chinese rug. “IM ON DRUGS ON AN ANCIENT CHINESE RUG RIGHT NOW.” I send it in a group text. OMG!  Is this how Grace Jones felt in the ’80s? Is this how Grace Jones feels EVERYDAY? I mean, probably![/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="1824" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]As I roll around on this ancient rug, I keep fantasizing about moonlighting as a top. Sometimes I wish I could have been like the boy in Moonlight. That movie, remember? Like the movie where he touches one dick as a teenager and spends like 20 years really really wrestling with his desire around it. I think that’s why that movie won an award—he didn’t become the lavender menace that boys like me become the second a dick enters our life. He let that hand job crescendo him into a specimen of masculine restraint, and honestly, I’m so fucking over the world rewarding piety, but of course I’m a promiscuous homosexual and no one listens to me. If it had been a movie about a boy like me, it would have suffered from a lack of piety. Like there would be the scene of me touching my first dick and then another and another and then like 900 more, and it would end with a shot of the camera panning down from a group of wind-wisped leaves falling onto a tombstone (mine) that reads, “She touched A LOT of dicks”. The movie about my sexual life would be a bleak romantic comedy with super-awkward and chatty orgy scenes sprinkled all through it. I don’t see it winning any awards.  I am curled in the fetal position and playing with my penis, it is hard and the head of it is resting on my navel and the skin around it is configured into some asymmetrical circular shape and I am envisioning what it would look like if I were to be circumcised. I can’t really picture it, but I pull back the foreskin and my dick is lacrimating from the view of my Daddy fucking literally everyone on the couch. Like is it even an orgy if there’s just one top? Or is this called “community work”? Someone should REALLY buy my Daddy lunch for, like, getting all the drugs AND topping. (Again, I might actually really be in love with this man.)  My Daddy has absolutely zero interest in my dick; as the saying goes, that man is such a top that he doesn’t even bother wiping his ass after he takes a shit. Only, like, that’s just a saying. This man not only is a top who owns a bidet, but he still also splashes expensive French toilet water on his asshole and balls as, like, a whole aromatherapy trip for whoever’s sucking his dick. (Again, I MIGHT ACTUALLY BE IN LOVE WITH THIS MAN.)   I am not by nature an overly choosy person when it comes to lovers but my one rule is that his skin has to be as soft and as beautiful as mine. Just like my Daddy’s.  I like the feel of another smooth body, so smooth that I can only imagine it being akin to the texture of the skin of a dolphin. Like every time I fuck another hairless man, part of me can’t help but imagine that we are having telepathic, high-pitched, squealy dolphin sex that’s too high-pitched for other humans to hear, and only we can hear it in our heads and every dog within a two-block radius is like dying from how dog-whistle-like our fucked-up human-dolphin sex sounds. We say nothing because dirty talk is for people who watch too much porn. Sex with a top of my caliber demands a telepathic-charged silence. Except for the dolphin imagery, every part of the scenario is turning me on, and I jack off on the carpet alone away from the five others on the couch having sex. I honestly don’t think I’ve noticed any of them once. I spray the entire contents of my balls all over myself and my stomach is covered in chlamydia laced seamen and I am so relieved that I found enough ego within me somewhere to bust a nut and my mind can finally calm itself. I don’t even bother to wipe myself clean. I simply sleep in it. [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_separator type="normal"][vc_empty_space height="60px"][vc_column_text]   BRONTEZ PURNELL is an Oakland-based writer, musician, dancer, filmmaker, and performance artist. To them, he’s one of The New York Times’ 32 “Black Male Writers of Our Time,” but to us, he’s a renegade fag who knows no fear nor lack of freedom in his work, no less his body. His new work, 100 Boyfriends, is available to pre-order HERE.  MARCUS BRANCH is a visual artist whose images matter because of their health benefits—extreme joy, the warming effect of vivid color, the strength of a solid identity, a photographic representation of the love effect. A Philadelphia native and art world “it kid,” since Volume One, he’s continually bent the Black Queer form into startling new shapes for us.  [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="60px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="1828" img_size="full" alignment="center" onclick="custom_link" img_link_target="_blank" qode_css_animation="" link="https://us.macmillan.com/books/9780374538989"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="50px"][vc_single_image image="675" img_size="full" alignment="center" onclick="custom_link" qode_css_animation="" link="https://thetenthmagazine.com/"][vc_empty_space height="10px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row]...

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="1446" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="1432" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="1452" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="1434" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="1435" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="1436" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="1437" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="1443" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="1444" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][vc_empty_space height="60px"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_separator type="normal"][vc_empty_space height="60px"][vc_column_text] Shouts to the homie Theo Anthony, a filmmaker and photographer based in Baltimore and Upstate New York. His first feature documentary, RAT FILM, premiered to critical acclaim, with a successful festival and theatrical run followed by a broadcast premiere on PBS Independent Lens in early 2018. [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="50px"][vc_single_image image="675" img_size="full" alignment="center" onclick="custom_link" qode_css_animation="" link="https://thetenthmagazine.com/"][vc_empty_space height="10px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row]...

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="1807" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][ultimate_spacer height="90" height_on_tabs="50" height_on_tabs_portrait="50" height_on_mob_landscape="50" height_on_mob="50"][vc_column_text] FEELINGS | FALL '20 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] ANTI-SPIRAL [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] WORDS by ANTHONY WASH ROSADO COVER PHOTO by TIMOTHY ROSADO + SELF PORTRAIT [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="12px"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]Literature is the only part of my life that Miss Rona hasn’t quaked; until now. How can anyone know the actual truth when capitalism sinks its fangs into every media frenzy that blinds and brainwashes U.S. citizens? Has history not taught us that she repeats herself? If we look back to 1918, in celebration of the war’s end, impatient people around the world cancelled their quarantine early. They immediately returned to business as usual, as if a virus was not plaguing the globe. Those who did not heed warnings against social interactions were killed by the Spanish Flu’s second wave, which killed four times more people than were murdered in World War I. Does this not advise us that social distancing for the entirety of 2020 is the way to avoid Darwinism’s inevitable filtering? Isn’t it enough of a sign that people walk NYC’s overpopulated streets with masks under their chins and gloves strewn across sidewalks before quarantine’s end? How can we envision a future, when so many people are trying to return to a “normal” that no longer and will not ever again exist? Excuse me if my passion is aggressive. I am here with nothing but affection. I am babbling. However this rant is a deep sigh outward, releasing tension from my upper back and trapeziums. Hear me, my loves: “God is change.” Shape God to your needs. Adapt in and with this epoch. Trust the process. Find purpose and pursue it relentlessly. Persist. Persevere.  Know the facts. Refrain from large group gatherings and anonymous sex. Intimacy, from hugs to casual sex, is natural. Physical affection is requisite to maintain a happy and healthy livelihood. Inspirit your Self and Body with unconditional love and respect. It’s hard for me to sacrifice receiving pleasure as often as I need, but it is worth it to choose my sustenance over a casual fling. As a positive man I know firsthand all the revolutionary mentors we lost due to HIV/AIDS stigmas. We who are immuno-deficient, healthy, clean, and thriving; it is up to us to educate our community upon the many ways to interact with the world while keeping our Self and Body safe. It is time to engage in the risk communication that our ancestors lacked during the HIV/AIDS epidemic. This will minimize transmission. As quarantine-fatigue amplifies with the rise in temperatures, how do we safely conjure the liberation that comes with community interaction? How can social distancing be utilized when dating? Let your heart grow fonder.  Didn’t you notice that the local and federal governments moved with urgency until they realized COVID-19 has been impacting Black and Brown people at a higher rate than whites? Nurses are exposing the genocide of Black and Brown patients in NYC hospitals at the hands of racist medical care professionals. This is the world we live in.  So speak its name with your voice: CoronaVirus. This shit is not Voldemort. COVID-19. How do you feel when you say it aloud? Uttering “HIV” used to terrify me. For the longest time I only referred to myself as “Positive.” In an effort to assist my sisters in understanding that I am as healthy as a negative individual, I told them that my HIV is a cute and sleeping Gizmo. I reminded them what happens when you don’t follow the rules, gremlins multiply from Gizmo and wreak havoc. I assured them that consistency with my antivirals, vitamins, water, diet, and exercise ensure my Gizmo stays sound asleep for the rest of my long life.  I have used this story to inform many people, yet this analogy was useless while touring Brazil between 2017 and 2020. "Positivo” is not the Brazilian-Portuguese translation when referencing someone living with HIV. The word is “Portador” or carrier. Upon getting tested in February 2020, the nurse asked me if I am a “Portador.” I exclaimed, “No! I am Positive. I am not a carrier.” It is logical, but also heart-wrenchingly demonizing. Shaming is futile and will only drive people into underground means of socialization, perpetuating risky behavior. The wild thing is, the shame-inducing digital environments of Grindr and Jack’d have seemingly been unaffected by Miss Rona. “No fats, no femmes, drug and disease free” is still used in countless profile biographies. Members are still willing to meet before divulging one another’s status, let alone what their quarantine procedures have been.  Do you now understand why so many gay men are DTF before there is a mutual sharing of either party’s status? How does the saying go, ignorance is bliss? If Black and Brown gay men in our communities have a general idea of HIV yet are still disproportionately infected by it, then how do we ward off COVID-19 misinformation (or lack thereof)? This is why HIV knowledge is foreign to many gay men from New York City to Salvador, Bahia, in 2020. Since two years young, each of us started to move toward our desires and far away from our fears. So how can we be more transparent about our recent sexual history? True, touch is essential to human survival. It is crucial. I challenge you: Is steady growth between two or more individuals possible in the virtual world? Can you use digital spheres to expand how you give and receive pleasure? Can you touch yourself in a new way? Can a Zoom date direct you to touch yourself? Would you prefer directing? Or are you down for all the shenanigans?  If you are like me and social distancing is incomprehensible for the entirety of 2020, who can you share a bubble with? Sharing our bubbles all at once will cause a catastrophe, but just like with any skilled top, the slower the start the more ravenous we can be later on. In this case, “later on” is Spring/Summer 2021. Let’s be real and put it all out on the table. This is a brilliant and tiny virus that has yet to show signs of whether it can mutate again. It seems as though it’s a hybrid between HIV, Herpes, and the Flu. People can be symptomatic (they are positive, contagious, and show signs of infection) or asymptomatic (they are positive, contagious, and show no signs of infection). As a person positive with Herpes Type-2 who has had the flu in his life, I adamantly urge you to consider the fact that Miss Rona walks the fiercest runways during the winter; and we have only seen her in one look. We don’t know if she will sport other guises during her Winter/Spring 2021 reprise. She might though. The cold season is literally her stomping grounds. Pun intended. What we do know is she isn’t going anywhere this summer. I believe low-risk socialization like outdoor recreation with a small group of people is possible.  On the realest of reals: What do you know? Are you going to trust in the system that fashions dollar bills and white picket fences from your labor? Trust me instead. I love you. They could care less if you are secure. I need you to be safe. They don’t wanna see you shine! I do. I vision a future where we are happy and healthy. Clip any thought of large, IRL socializing until 2021 and focus on your survival. Do you know how to make a fire? Or hoist a bear bag? Are you able to get your bearings in order using a physical map and compass? Do you know how to defend yourself? Can you grow your own food? Have you compiled a list of natural antiviral alternatives? Knowledge is the most valuable tool to share. I am here to help. Reach out to me if you have any questions or needs.    Love, Anthony[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_separator type="normal"][vc_empty_space height="60px"][vc_column_text]   ANTHONY WASH ROSADO is a young scholar and curator on a global mission to "preserve and gift Afro diasporic storytelling technologies."   [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="50px"][vc_single_image image="675" img_size="full" alignment="center" onclick="custom_link" qode_css_animation="" link="https://thetenthmagazine.com/"][vc_empty_space height="10px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row]...

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="764" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][ultimate_spacer height="90" height_on_tabs="50" height_on_tabs_portrait="50" height_on_mob_landscape="50" height_on_mob="50"][vc_column_text] NOSTALGIA | WINTER '18 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] AN ATYPICAL FIGURE [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] STORY by PICASSO MOORE PHOTOGRAPHY by LAQUANN DAWSON [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="12px"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]Before I begin, I’d like to state that this profile will be atypical. It will contain no lazily strung together quotes, or stats about the subject’s following on social media. Nor will it bare mention of his place at the center of an intersectional identity. At no point will it delve into his work in activism, his position as a fixture of the New York performance art scene, his skill as a lyricist and producer, or his propensity to eat a stage. I will not compliment him, compare him to other artists, urge you to buy his record, or otherwise blow smoke. This profile will be atypical. Now that I’ve given those givens, let’s begin.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="758" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]“I think more than anything it’s an artist’s burning desire to ‘make’, you know? Like, if you’re not creating and producing something, it feels like the world’s going to end. That’s what I had to reconcile for myself… I don’t want to do anything else other than make visual works and preformative works,” says DonChristian. It’s this passion he speaks of which has garnished the quickly rising rapper’s career with a cherry on top of Bushwick street cred, and a Betty Crocker bevy of international stans… New York gallery gurls, millennial debutants, and 9,000 hyperreal followers on IG who have found something delicious, light, airy, and chocolatey, about the rapper’s unapologetically black, and rainbow-sprinkled, queer musical works. It’s the way he lives; the things he puts his energy into: from lecturing Rhode Scholars at Oxford on American criminal justice reform to teaching at the The Hetrick-Martin Institute (an LGBTQIA+ high school in Midtown Manhattan), he brings it all to his performances and gives the music, no matter how heightened and dramatized—community roots, and a worldly perspective and message. His connection to the granular gives texture to his lyrics and allows the soundscapes he creates to become the soundtracks to our black queer lives. He’s excellent—something his straight white counterparts sometimes are but don’t have to be. If you haven’t already, you have to plug into the black queer matrix that is “Where There’s Smoke.” Take the red pill and see how deep, how honest, and how beautiful DonChristian’s world is. Okay before you say it, shhhh! Remember when you were young and your parents told you to bite your tongue when grown folks were talking? Same here. When a writer is contradicting themself… shhh! In my defense. It wasn't a lie. Not really. I set out to write a profile different from any other and I’m aware I did all the things I just said I wasn't going to do, but it’s not my fault. All of it turned out to be true. In an age where a publicist would have bribed a journalist with a Kim K “vampire” facial and a steak dinner at Pennsylvania 6 to write such hyperbole, DonChristian actually earns the accolades. No strings, publicists, or steak dinners attached. Talent granted, Don stands out because he is real. A feat seemingly insurmountable by the bulk of today’s social creatives.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="765" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]Case and point: The Name. To be stylized as DonChristian. A month after our conversation on the set of his photo shoot for The Tenth, I posted a screenshot of the corner of an early draft of this piece to my Instagram story and he hit my DMs. “...

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="772" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][ultimate_spacer height="90" height_on_tabs="50" height_on_tabs_portrait="50" height_on_mob_landscape="50" height_on_mob="50"][vc_column_text] NOSTALGIA | WINTER '18 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] TOY STORY [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] STORY by STEVEN LOWE ILLUSTRATIONS by MELISSA ROBLES [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="12px"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]She’s burned OUT, and that’s not unusual for queer folk around the holidays; memories alone can spark post-yuletide stress syndrome. But Christmas mornings were the BEST— the woes of being bullied or secretly heartbroken by some boy in middle school drowned out by the sound of tearing wrapping paper almost louder than Mariah Carey Christmas in the background were forgotten. I've been thinking about holidays past and my favorite gifts—and one stands out among the rest: a remote-controlled Super Turbo Train. No, it wasn’t a game console (SMH); it was a gateway drug leading to the tech and game floozy I am today. Part of the track was made to run up the wall and back down again in a sort of super-speed half circle, jumping a gap in the track. Mind BLOWN. Today, I might wish for an Amber Rose African toy goddess who screams “you betta” when you pull a cord, but I wanted to know what made the other bois and gals cry out for joy. Here’s what they found on their favorite mornings of Christmas past.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="782" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]Johnalynn Holland Illustrator + Painter @johnalynn When I was eight years old, I wanted a robot. Not just any robot, the Omnibot 2000 found between the pages of the Sears Christmas catalogue that retailed for $500. My father, who worked 14 hours days to provide for our family, laughed when I showed it to him. My plan was to make this robot my best friend because according to the commercials, it would wow all my peers and transform me from geek to cool kid. I’d make it carry my books at school (even though I was in elementary school and didn’t change classes or have a locker). I woke up Christmas morning to find a robot under the tree that was not the Omni 2000. I don’t remember the exact model number of this bootleg robot. No moving head. Arms slightly tilted. It was short and fat. It looked more like R2D2 than Johnny Five, and this was a problem. Looking back, the robot debacle taught me a valuable lesson about expectations and gratitude. Over the next month, I took a liking to the inferior robot and a month after that, my mother found it hidden in a corner of my closet, dismantled and stripped of its vital parts like a stolen car on cinder blocks. Not only did I not turnout to be a selfish, entitled monster, had I actually received and dismantled a $500 robot, I’d still be grounded to this day.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="772" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]Marko Cotton-Critelli Co-Host of Relationsh!t Podcast @mdotcot Like every other red-blooded American in the 90s, my family and I were die-hard fans of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. We had so much memorabilia: tapes, cologne, trading cards, and don’t forget about the shoes. At the same time, another basketball player was dominating the courts, and he was much more my speed. At seven feet one inch, and 325 pounds, Shaquille O’Neal was the center for the Orlando Magic and was the coolest person on the court. When my brother and I woke up on Christmas morning in 1995, not only did I get an oversized Orlando Magic winter coat with the team’s logo sprawled across the back, but inside of a leather accessories box was a watch with an Orlando Magic face and black leather band. My gasp must have shocked everyone, because Dad said between laughs, “You’re reacting to this watch like you’re acting in a commercial!” I was stunned trying to separate myself from the “norm” and wanted my parents to see me as an adult. I have them to thank for that memory. [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="781" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]Thaddeus Coates Graphic Designer @hippypotter Ahh, so one of the best gifts I've ever received on Christmas was definitely my VideoNow. Now for all those born after 2000, VideoNow was the hottest portable digital viewing device ever that played your favorite TV Shows. And because my mom didn't have cable at the time, it was my way of bringing the cable TV to my world. I was obsessed with “Drake & Josh.” Me and my little brother would often re-tell their jokes to one another and pretend we were them—well, the black version which is actually "Kenan and Kel" sips tea but anyways...

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