Issue 52

The Death Ain’t Always This Good edition

A weekly dispatch from What We Seee. Part of an ongoing mission to fulfil the cultural promise of the internet. An enriching and eclectic collection of music, art, film and stories. Think of it as your digital 5-a-day.

WWS is capturing the feelings of injustice. A photographic observation of diverse voices, faces and emotions united by pleas to end systemic racism. View the full series here.

We are not unique in our evils

Eddie Glaude, the chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University, spoke about American culture, racism and how blaming political leaders is too easy and challenges us to confront the “manifestation of the ugliness that’s inside us”.

Hold that weight

Hold That Weight (2020 music video) from One Love Picture Classics on Vimeo.

The Hold That Weight film is about the work that goes into trying to re-acclimate to home life and society when released from prison; battling thoughts, trying to navigate a way forward; and battling a prison system that traumatizes those it incarcerates and then gives no thought to what happens after people are released. It is also about the people that rally behind you, support you, make sure you feel love, everything you were missing when you were incarcerated. What does it really look like to support each other in difficult times?

Death ain’t always this good

Sunni Patterson is poet, singer, and activist with an oratorical gift. In her poem ‘We Made It’ she offers hope and calls for action. Her words are provocative and insightful but the real power lies in her delivery. Watch as she unveils racism word-by-word until its roots are exposed.

I’ve lost everything I had
And I’m not angry and I’m not mad

Listen Michael Kiwanuka sing “Black Man In A White World.” where  repeats the title phrase more than 40 times in four-minutes. The song is not angry, it doesn’t assign blame and isn’t confrontational. It is contemplative and he takes us along his journey, struggling with the world as it is.

Getting ready for a war we can’t prepare for

In Javon Johnson’s poem ‘cuz he’s black’ he rebukes his young nephew from hiding while confronting his own indecisive feelings between police and black men. He is simultaneously a strong mentor and struggles with inner turmoil providing a honest portrayal of the contradictions and complexities of black male experiences.

Cover photo

Photo: Helen Levitt, 1940

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