Play It Cool This Weekend Reading List

Featuring: America's bloody and disgusting obsession with guns, a conversation about men experiencing sexual assault, some Frank Ocean stanning, memes as a new and defining part of the Black experience (+ why we need to protect them), and a beautiful eulogy from one black artist to another. 

By Wallace Mack

Say What You Meme, Meme What You Say

Jason Parham, The Fader

Jason Parham is a senior editor at The Fader, and an editorial inspiration of mine. Most of Jason's work approaches music, sports, and culture from a historical lens, and anyone that knows me can tell you that my favorite thing on Earth is drawing parallels. In this piece, Jason discusses how communication between black peoples continues to evolve, and how the meme has become the latest addition to our collection of shared experiences. "Memes, to me, were such a mode and a language until suddenly they seemed less so. I don’t yet know what will happen next, how we will learn to speak anew, only that we will continue to make our way across the digital Black Atlantic, eyes ever forward."

Zeke Thomas Speaks Out for the First Time About Being Assaulted

Carl Swanson, The Cut

So often, our conversations about sexual assault neglect the many ways in which men experience it too. When we are having conversations about men who experience sexual assault, it's usually a reactionary backlash at #feminist and how "da #feminist never talk about dis!!" More often than not, gay men are never able to claim stake in the conversation. That is the importance of this interview with Zeke Thomas.   

What Bullets Do To Bodies

Jason Fagone, HuffPost

In conversation with Dr. Amy Goldberg, a trauma surgeon with 30 years of experience in Philly hospitals, Jason Fagone explores the side of gun violence that many are never exposed to: what it looks like in hospitals. Definitely adding a [TW] to this one for graphic recounts of gun violence and a few (well shot) photos of what bullets actually do to bodies.

What's Going on With Frank Ocean's New Songs? 

Craig Jenkins, Vulture

I am a self-confessed Frank Ocean stan. I admit this, am proud of it, and never attempt to hide it. In this piece,  Craig Jenkins explores Ocean as a songwriter (because he's a damn great one) and explores how the function of his writing has evolved over the course of his musical career. Ultimately, Jenkins declares that Frank Ocean is offering depth and ambiguity to pop music, something that the genre hasn't had at once in quite some time. 

Barkley L. Hendricks Painted Black People as We Are

Antwaun Sargent, VICE

First thing first, if you aren't following Antwaun Sargent on Twitter, today is your day to make that happen. Sargent is a passionate writer, dedicated to telling stories that center art and the condition of the black artist. In this piece for VICE, Sargent pays homage to the recently and dearly departed Barkley Hendricks, one of his favorites. Sargent reminisces on his first exposure to Barkley's work, expressing how the art resonated with him as a young queer boy. In a very surreal full-circle moment, Sargent recounts his first interview with Barkley, an interview which he felt wasn't going so well until the end when, artist to artist, Barkley tells Sargent: 

"You focused too much on the politics and not the art."

Of that moment, Sargent says, "It was a lesson that has forever changed the way I look at art."

Oh yea, btw, new SZA this week. Get into that!