On our Lists this week: Tank and the Bangas, and Morgan Parker

New Orleans soul-funk-hip-hop-rnb-jazz-poetry band led by soulful singer Tarriona "Tank" Ball.

New Orleans soul-funk-hip-hop-rnb-jazz-poetry band led by soulful singer Tarriona "Tank" Ball.


Morgan Parker: There Are More Beautiful Things than Beyoncé. I saw the cover of Parker’s collection of poems on Instagram and the title seduced me. I’ve read at least a third of the anthology and it’s medicinal.
This week I read two poems — We Don’t Know When We Were Open and 13 Ways of Looking at a Black Girl — out loud in front of the mirror after work to close off the day. The speaker feels like me. She’s vulnerable and messy, she’s militant and deliberate. She’s a black woman actively working on herself, questioning what she consumes, rebuilding and affirming herself. (ZH)

Mmatheo Motsisi: Odyssey of the Healer. Encouraged by the cover art by artist Dineo Seshee Bopape, I bought this book on Amazon Kindle. But after I had read the first few pages, I put it down. A month later, I’ve picked it up again and am engrossed in a true but fantastical story of Motsisi, a doctor and sangoma who shares the details of how she came to be the spiritual sage that she is. I was not ready when I picked up the book the first time, in the sense that I wasn’t open to hearing some of what is written in the book. Motsisi reveals aspects of her soul’s journey and approaches the large questions of life in ways that I’m familiar with. The difference is she locates these questions in Africa, writes about them in isiZulu and isiXhosa and Sesotho and English. This is a physical embodiment of the importance of archiving and documenting indigenous knowledge systems for modern Africans. (MB)


Tank and the Bangas: Tiny Desk Concert. Jazz meister Herbie Hancock says if music does not come from the heart, it does not mean anything. Everything is the word I would use to describe this heartier than hearty New Orleans soul-funk-hip-hop-rnb-jazz-poetry band led by the most soulful young singer I’ve seen in a minute. My colleague Govan put me on to their NPR Tiny Desk Concert, which won the station’s live concert contest and I’ve been sing-rapping along to them this week. (MB)

Darkie Fiction: Selula. If Selula is telling of what’s to come, I’m waiting for a full EP from Darkie Fiction like it’s payday. Their isiXhosa lyrics over a beat that mashes up Afro-funk and kwaito is a recipe for the working-class millennial’s anthem. (ZH)

The Lists were compiled by Friday editor Milisuthando Bongela and Friday intern Zaza Hlalethwa 

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