Issue 55

The Unity, Freedom and Sunshine 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.

Now we got a showdown

Anderson .Paak gathers with friends as he reflects on racial injustice, police brutality, unemployment and COVID-19 in the new video for his protest song, “Lockdown.” The video features a devastatingly long list of Black people who have been killed, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin.

In the final moments of the video we see that the cast and crew the cast and crew who participated in the “Lockdown” video donated their salaries to Black Emotional and Mental Health collective (BEAM), Dream Defenders and Color of Change.

A record of pre-lockdown life

All Change is a project by thirteen photographers who have been documenting London and the areas around the London Underground’s final stops. Slowly but surely, the project built up a narrative of London, of the heterogeneous communities which inhabit the city and the multifarious topography included in its sprawling urban landscape. It paints a picture of a London which is different around every street corner but in which its diversity is the very thing unifying its population.
Via It’s Nice That

Bad people can do good things

 

The Felling of Colston is a film by Arthur Cauty that chronicles the felling of the statue of Edward Colston–a 17th Century slave trader–during a Black Lives Matter protest in Bristol, England, and how this act of rebellion made waves across the UK and the World.

The statue of Edward Colston was tied, pulled from its pedestal, rolled to the harbour, and poetically dumped into the very port used to transport millions of slaves in the 1700’s. The event trended Worldwide, prompting similar acts across the UK and the World.

What does this mean for other statues and symbols of problematic historic figures? How do we remember the past without glorifying the horrific deeds perpetrated by these people?

I wish you could know what it means to be me

Nina Simone’s performance of the song How It Feels To Be Free will open floodgates of emotion. She said that freedom for her meant “no fear”. Listen to this quiet anthem for the civil rights movement and for anyone struggling with issues of identity and individualism.

With eye like a sunbeam and foot like a feather

The Night Dance

Strike the gay harp! see the moon is on high,
And, as true to her beam as the tides of the ocean,
Young hearts, when they feel the soft light of her eye,
Obey the mute call, and heave into motion.
Then, sound notes – the gayest, the lightest,
That ever took wing, when heaven look’d brightest
Again! Again!
Oh! could such heart-stirring music be heard
In that City of Statues described by romancers,
So wakening its spell, even stone would be stirr’d,
And statues themselves all start into dancers!
Why then delay, with such sounds in our ears,
And the flower of Beauty’s own garden before us –
While stars overhead leave the song of their spheres,
And, listening to ours, hang wondering o’er us?
Again, that strain! – to hear it thus sounding
Might set even Death’s cold pulses bounding –
Again! Again!
Oh, what delight when the youthful and gay
Each with eye like a sunbeam and foot like a feather,
Thus dance, like the Hours to the music of May,
And mingle sweet song and sunshine together.

Thomas Moore

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Cover photo

John Coltrane. “Every time I talk about jazz, I think of prizefighters. One year it’s your year, like it’s mine now, and the next year everyone’s forgotten about you. You only have a few years, and you have to stay up there as long as you can…and be graceful about it when it’s somebody else’s turn.”


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