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Unapologetic. Ours. A publication from Medium for Black women.

Art

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Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Artist Carrie Mae Weems at Jack Shainman Gallery in New York in 2016. Photo: Photo: Stephanie Diani/The New York Times/Redux

Carrie Mae Weems is widely considered to be one of the most influential contemporary artists of recent history. While she is best known for her photography, Weems also works in text, fabric, audio, digital images, and installation video. She’s a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship (or “Genius Grant”), the first Black woman to have a retrospective at the Guggenheim and has even been cited as an influence for Beyonce’s “Lemonade” visuals.

Weem’s work primarily features Black subjects…


Liza Donnelly, famed visual journalist for such tony publications as the New Yorker, has found her happy place once again. She’s sharpening her pencil to capture the new occupants and…


Author and youth advocate Nicole Russell’s new book will help people of all ages begin their journaling journeys

Black woman mulling her thoughts as she writes in her journal while sitting at a table.
Black woman mulling her thoughts as she writes in her journal while sitting at a table.
Photo: Vladimir Vladimirov/Getty Images

In 2012, Nicole Russell’s mother became a foster parent to a four-year-old girl who suffered from severe night terrors, something not uncommon for children dealing with the foster system or homelessness. Witnessing the experience of her little sister gave Russell a radical idea.

“The thought of half a million children navigating the foster care system who might not have a teddy bear to hold on to or a parent to run to in the next room just didn’t sit right with me,” Russell told ZORA. In partnership with her mom, she started the Precious Dreams Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to…


An interview with 77-year-old Howardena Pindell about her new exhibition ‘Rope/Fire/Water’

A portrait of Howardena Pindell in front of a colorful art piece.
A portrait of Howardena Pindell in front of a colorful art piece.
Howardena Pindell. Photo: Nathan Keay

As a child, while visiting a friend whose mother was cooking meat for dinner, Howardena Pindell came across a recent issue of Life magazine. Inside the issue, a large photo of a Black man lying face-up on a log, set on fire, caught her eye. She took deeper notice of the White men surrounding the burning body, and their self-congratulatory smiles. The scent of cooked meat coming from the kitchen, coupled with the horrifying image, led Pindell to do without meat for a year due to instant feelings of fatigue and lethargy. In the early 1970s, as a founder at…


Everything we want to see, do, discover, and listen to during our downtime

Photo: Hulu/Everett Collection

Watch: High Fidelity on Hulu. Zoe Kravitz plays the lead in this gender-swapped reimagining of the story of a music fanatic who is trying to make sense of love and life. It’s perfect for music nerds, people trying to heal from a breakup, or those who simply love New York City life. — Jolie A. Doggett, platform editor.

Rent: 21 Bridges starring Chadwick Boseman. In this post-Panther thriller, Boseman puts his acting chops — and athletic prowess — on full display in his role as a cop who tries to beat the clock to catch a menacing criminal. — Vanessa…


Everything on our to-do, see, scout out, and listen to list

Teyana Taylor at the ‘Keep the Promise’ 2019 World AIDS Day Concert presented by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
Teyana Taylor at the ‘Keep the Promise’ 2019 World AIDS Day Concert presented by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
Photo: Rick Kern/Getty Images Entertainment

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Teyana Taylor displays all her sexy in the new Red Bull documentary Assembly Required: Teyana Taylor’s House of Petunia. It’s all about how she creates a perfect concert experience for us, her fans. Find it on YouTube or Red Bull TV. — Adrienne Gibbs, features editor

Read

Heart Talk: Poetic Wisdom for a Better Life by Cleo Wade. This compact collection of Wade’s poems, mantras, affirmations, illustrations, and notes will help you see all the strength, magic, and love within you. It’s more than a book—it’s like a little friend you can turn to who will always know just the right…


The Madam CJ Walker Exhibit at the Indiana Historical Society in Indianapolis, IN on January 10, 2020. Walker was considered the wealthiest African-American businesses-woman and wealthiest self-made woman in America at the time of her death in 1919. Photos: Maddie McGarvey

She was not only a millionaire but also a philanthropist and political activist

“I want to live to help my race” — these were some of Madam C.J. Walker’s last words from her deathbed. In her lifetime, the barriers she broke as an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and political activist were astonishing, and the ripple effect of her business and legacy can still be felt today.

When Octavia Spencer brings Walker to life in a biographical Netflix series debuting March 20, she’ll shine a light on a woman whose story should be in U.S. history books. Walker’s parents were former slaves, and yet she rose from abject poverty with just three months of formal education…


She believed that for Korea to experience true liberation, women had to be freed first

Na Hye-sok, 1915. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

In 1918, 22-year-old Na Hye-sok published Korea’s first feminist short story, Kyonghui. It’s a semi-autobiographical piece about a woman who returns home from Japanese university to be confronted by family members and neighbors who doubt the worthiness of educating girls. In Kyonghui, Na processes her own feelings about being an educated Korean woman and her frustration with the rigid gender roles in her home country:

“I’m a woman, and I am a Korean woman — a woman shackled by Korean society’s family conventions. …


We are still being subjected to unfair prejudices when it comes to this practice

Photo: Minal Jainn/EyeEm/Getty Images

Tattoos have been around for centuries. From Native Americans to ancient Egyptians to Maori tribes, tattoos have held significance in a lot of cultures. They symbolize a person’s identity in a number of ways, whether it’s status within a community, passage into adulthood, or a connection with a particular group.

Art and symbolism are some of the most consistent forms of communication we humans have sustained over the span of our existence. Art, drawings, and symbols have all, time and time again, helped us to express ourselves — whether to communicate with others or with ourselves. …


The situation poses challenges most of us never could have predicted

Juliana Garcia Uribe (left) and Joanna Garcia Salazar (right). Photography courtesy of the Salazar family.

Joanna Garcia Salazar is wrapping up a hectic workday at a middle school in San Leandro, California, a suburban town on the eastern shore of the San Francisco Bay. Her work desk is adorned with folk art by Bay Area artists, family photos, and artwork by her husband, Javier Salazar, who is currently living in Tijuana, Mexico. There is also a family portrait taken when her husband was incarcerated. Her daughter, Juliana Garcia Uribe, works at the school part time while also completing her third year in college at a nearby university.

Javier Salazar had been serving a 12-year prison…

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