J. Cole announcing a new album and pro basketball career highlights an all-star level of dream chasing

Photo courtesy of Dreamville Ventures

Rarely are promotional rollouts for rap albums transformative. Normally, they follow a standard playbook: daily bloviation on social media about their next work being their best work; a video for new single with an in vogue guest appearance; plus a couple media interviews for good measure. Yet the red carpet for J. Cole’s freshly released fifth solo album, The Off-Season, is a product push unseen. Mainly because the product isn’t the rapper’s top priority.

J. Cole has experienced repetitious rap success. Each of…

Mother’s Day 2020 is when I learned my mother had COVID-19 and was becoming my grandmother

Photo courtesy of aliexpress.com

Months passed before I learned my mother had spent consecutive days last year bedridden. She said it was the worst flu she’d ever experienced. Her breathing was bad; body aches were worse. She told me, aside from belabored trips to and from the bathroom, she’d spent the lion’s share of the week laying in her own sweat. This was May of last year — three months after she suffered through the illness. Mother’s Day, to be exact.

On that brilliant spring Sunday in Brooklyn, I stood on the bottom step of my mother’s East Flatbush home listening to her detail…

President Biden and the Department of Justice made a statement — but there’s still more work to be done

Photo: Melina Mara/Getty Images

You’d be hard-pressed to find two weeks of American history more honorable to the civil rights and lives of Black people than the last 14 days. The 2020 murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd didn’t slow the rate of police killing Blacks; more than 200 have lost their lives to “bad apples” since former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin suffocated Floyd last May, according to data from research group Mapping Police Violence. That figure includes the six Black people killed by law enforcement since Chauvin’s second-degree murder and manslaughter conviction on April 20.

These despicable statistics illuminated the answered…

Earl Simmons channelled his pain into his art — and forever changed the world along the way

Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

The largest angels rarely live the longest. For centuries, intellects and clergymen from the Eastern Hemisphere have spoken on existence being dictated by purpose. It’s been said throughout a myriad of cultures that once a person has completed his or her education, as student and teacher, their time in human form expires. Wherever your spiritual philosophies lie, Earl “Dark Man X” Simmons being a gift not only to music, but, more importantly, to the society of music lovers should be universal comprehension. Yes, the present was DMX’s presence. Moreover, the gift was a sum of his God-given gifts. …

Black Cuomo supporters are trying to paint a parallel between Emmett Till, the Central Park Five, and New York’s governor. No, seriously.

Governor Andrew Cuomo giving a speech.
Governor Andrew Cuomo giving a speech.
Photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo

One of the greatest weapons of systemic racism in America is the allied minds of Black people. In colloquial terms, sometimes it be your own people.

Albany, New York was a lava pit of exemplification last week, when the fight over whether New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo should leave office after several accusations of sexual misconduct — the most recent and damning coming from his current aide — turned disrespectful. In an attempt to dissuade the New York State Assembly Judiciary Committee from sanctioning an impeachment against Cuomo, Black supporters within the Democratic Party used analogies that were offensive to…

On the one-year anniversary of the pandemic, I choose to appreciate the gifts given in the craziest year of my life

In all transparency, I spiraled at the onset of the 2020 pandemic. To be obsessed with clarity and void of valid answers is to be crazed. At the time, the words of the country’s president and medical experts were incongruent. Nurses and doctors who I called friends were also clueless, and more tired. By the second week of March, I had taught my first writing course for less than two weeks before COVID-19 shut down all NYC schools. The…

The film ‘The United States vs. Billie Holiday’ illuminates Lady Day as an activist the U.S. government was determined to silence

The Inspiration: Billie Holiday’ by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District. Licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Many would find it difficult to believe that it was necessary for an Emmett Till anti-lynching bill to be presented to the U.S. Senate in 2020. The bill, which came 83 years after the introduction of the first bill intended to ban lynching, has yet to be passed. The first legislation proposed to outlaw lynching was written during the peak of the Jim Crow era — that post-slavery period when White people demeaned, oppressed, tortured, and killed Blacks whenever inclined. Their go-to method of murder was hanging by noose — at times, above of an audience of men, women, and…

H-Town has a climate problem—and Bun B says the only solution is switching from red to blue

Photograph by Todd Spoth

The weather in Texas this month has been more than just wintry—it’s been deadly. The calamities began in the state’s northern region on February 11, when Fort Worth temperatures dropped to the mid-twenties, freezing the I-35W expressway and causing a 100-vehicle collision. Several people died; dozens more were hospitalized. The crash was only the beginning of a hellish couple of weeks that left Houston — conditioned for average February lows in the forties — without electricity, gas, or water. Some locals went without power for several hours. More went without for several days.

Houston hasn’t been colder since 1989, when…

Movie studios and actors profit from the pain and names of political prisoners but rarely lend a hand in their fight

Courtesy of Sundance Institute. Photo: Glen Wilson

In 2018, the house in which Fred Hampton was assassinated went into foreclosure. Since then, his son, Fred Hampton Jr., who was still weeks away from being born when his father was killed in 1969, started a GoFundMe campaign to save his family’s Illinois home. By early February, “Save the Hampton House” had yet to reach its goal of $350,000. Promotion for the movie Judas and the Black Messiah, which chronicles the events leading up to the Black Panther chairman’s death was in full bloom. …

Stanley Nelson’s Netflix documentary opened my eyes to how much Black and Hispanic women were preyed on by the American government

A warrant search and raid in Washington, D.C. Photo: Shepard Sherbell/CORBIS SABA/Corbis/Getty Images

If you haven’t seen Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy on Netflix, you’re missing out on the most powerful documentary of this new year. Stanley Nelson’s film does a masterful job of contextualizing the crack era of the ’80s by highlighting both its roots and branches — from the White House to inner-city street corners. Much of the information Nelson doles out isn’t new. It’s widely known that the crack-cocaine epidemic was the brainchild of then-President Ronald Reagan to keep alive some ego-driven loyalty to Nicaraguan drug dealers. I knew it was supported by both Republicans and Democrats. …

Bonsu Thompson

Bonsu Thompson is a writer, producer, Brooklynite and 2019 Sundance Screenwriters Lab fellow.

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