On this day, 171 years ago, Edgar Allen Poe died for mysterious causes. To honor the legend he left behind, here are five of his lesser-known must-reads. Read to learn more about his life, in addition to adding your Poe-tfolio!
Here are some ways you can support the BLM movement, by reading publications that center around black issues.
Sad news in the writer’s world. Binyavanga Wainaina, a deeply influential Kenyan writer and LGBTQ activist, has passed away at age 48, according to NPR. He was the founder of Kwani? a literary magazine and loose collection of Kenyan writers that bounded together to foster creativity, passion, and fostered the work of Kenyan young writers. He also won the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2002 and became widely known for his written piece, “How To Write About Africa”, cheekily instructing Western writers how to do just that. The full piece is below:
“In your text, treat Africa as if it were one country. It is hot and dusty with rolling grasslands and huge herds of animals and tall, thin people who are starving. Or it is hot and steamy with very short people who eat primates. Don’t get bogged down with precise descriptions. Africa is big: fifty-four countries, 900 million people who are too busy starving and dying and warring and emigrating to read your book. The continent is full of deserts, jungles, highlands, savannahs and many other things, but your reader doesn’t care about all that, so keep your descriptions romantic and evocative and unparticular.”
Image Via The Star
It was first published in Granta and became a sensation, often used as a descriptive shorthand to show the laziness Western writers use when approaching Africa in their work. The author came out as gay in 2014 and since then, had been an outspoken for LGBTQ rights. He publicly revealed his sexuality in an essay titled “I Am A Homosexual, Mum” a piece often hailed as extremely brave considering homosexuality is illegal in Wainaina’s country of Kenya. The piece earned him widespread recognition, including a nod from Time, who named him as one of the most influential people in 2014.
Unfortunately, the next few years were not kind to him. Wainaina suffered a stroke in 2015 before he was diagnosed with AIDs in 2016. Wainaina continued to push ahead, announcing he was getting married in 2018 but succumbed to his illness nonetheless on May 21st, 2019. For his part, Wainaina announced he did not fear death and was the happiest he could have been due to finding love.
Image Via BOMB Magazine
Wainaina is truly was one of the most influential writers, not just in Kenya, but to the world. His passing will be very much missed, robbing the world of a great talent far too early. Nonetheless, his work will live on through the community that supported him, carrying on his legacy of love.
Featured Image Via NPR
Essence magazine will once again become a fully black-owned publication for the first time in almost two decades. Richelieu Dennis, the founder of Sundial Brands, a personal-care products company, is set to acquire the publication, though the sale has not yet gone through. Dennis intends to “serve and empower women of color. This will give Essence a platform and a voice to serve its consumers, which are women of color. They have allowed us to invest into the business so that we can bring in the infrastructure and resources.”
Richelieu Dennis. | Image Via the New York Times
According to a statement from the magazine, Essence will keep its executive team in place, which is entirely made up of black women, including president Michelle Ebanks. Dennis intends to give the executive team an ownership interest in the business as well.
In the statement, Ebanks said:
The acquisition represents the beginning of an exciting transformation of our iconic brand as it evolves to serve the needs and interests of multigenerational Black women around the world in an even more elevated and comprehensive way across print, digital, e-commerce and experiential platforms.
Essence has been in publication for 48 years as a monthly lifestyle magazine focusing on fashion, pop culture, music, and black life, holding a majority-black audience. The magazine holds an annual music festival in New Orleans—Essence Fest—which was featured in 2017’s Girls Trip with Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall, and Tiffany Haddish. It was headlined last year by powerhouse musicians Diana Ross, Mary J. Blige, and Chance the Rapper.
Melody Spann-Cooper, chairwoman of Midway Broadcasting Corporation, welcomed Essence’s return to an all-black-owned company, saying:
I am a believer that when we own our media companies they represent an authentic voice. We have an opportunity to control our media and tell our own story and that is often muted when traditional media companies that represent the African-American culture are owned by someone outside of an African-American’s hands it loses something. This is historical.
Dennis was raised by a single mother who read Essence, and his four daughters also read it. “I’m very focused on giving back, investing and growing my community. This is a continuation of my quest to do that.” Essence‘s motto is “Black women come first,” and Dennis intends to live up to that motto.
Featured Image Via Essence Magazine.
Now is the time of year when eating feels a non-stop Olympic event. From traditional dishes to first times at trying new plates, now is the time to have a little fun in the kitchen and get, dare I say, artsy.
Image Via Amazon
Of course, leave it to Vogue to help us enjoy food in a fashionable way. As one of the biggest magazine publications in the world, the masters at Vogue have recently released a brand new book, Food in Vogue, containing notable images and writing on food from their pages over the years.
Image Via Vogue
Renowned photographers like Irving Penn and Tim Walker are shown in a way that is more stylized than mouthwatering, but the photos are beautiful and inspiring nonetheless. Jeffrey Steingarten is a long-time food columnist for Vogue who also graced the book’s pages. He also graces the judge’s table on the popular show Iron Chef America.
Fashion + food + book = #FoodInVogue = perfect Sunday. ⠀ ⠀ Food In Vogue collects the most elegant, mouth-watering food photography and finest food writing from one of the most respected magazines in the world. ⠀ ⠀ This is more than a book about food. It’s a book about trends, fashion, and culture, told through the world’s common language.⠀ ⠀ @AbramsBooks @VogueMagazine ⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #book #bookstagram #vogue #voguemagazine #jeffreysteingarten #irvingpenn #phyllisposnick #photography #journalism #essays #editorials #chefs #iconic #bibliophile #foodie #food #foodstagram #fashion #style #lavish
With the artists and writers shared experiences of travelling, tasting, and knowledge of something so universal, how could we not be tempted to gift it away to someone we love this season?
Image Via The Jakarta Post