On our Lists this week: Chaka Khan, Teyana Taylor, Ming-Cheau Lin and Siya Khumalo

What We’re Listening To

Like Sugar by Chaka Khan: After 10 years away, the queen of disco, the timeless mama of soul, returned to us with a single that feels so gorgeous and so timely. I listened to Chaka Khan growing up, watching the women in my life move their hips joyously to her syrupy vocals. Like Sugar feels like a gift of honey and summer and brown skin in the sunshine from an elder with a youthful heart. (MM)

Deities by Solo and the BETR Gang: This song is from their latest EP, Des Dates de Tournee. I enjoy it because it talks about conflict in relationships in such a clever way. There are solo raps about the fault lying with both parties. Sonically nothing much is happening but it still manages to sound so full. I’m a sucker for simplicity. (SM)

KTSE (Keep the Same Energy) by Teyana Taylor: Since Taylor signed to Kanye West’s record label, G.O.O.D Music, in 2012, we have been expecting an album. We waited and waited and waited. Six years later, she decided to release KTSE. In seven tracks, with topics ranging from her daughter to her sexual agency, Taylor reminds us not only how broad her range is but also that no one makes R&B like that anymore. I missed it and so I like KTSE. (ZH)

What We’re Reading

Just Add Rice by Ming-Cheau Lin (Quivertree Publications): One of my favourite things in the world is to cook for the people I love. My father knows this and so he gave me with this fantastic South African cookbook for my new home. It features stories and recipes by a Taiwanese South African. I go weak at the knees for heartfelt stories of migration and family that centre on food, so Lin’s anecdotes about growing up in a new South Africa in the 1990s, while preserving her culture, are intimate and touching. (MM)

You Have to Be Gay to Know God by Siya Khumalo (Kwela Books) : Khumalo is an incredible storyteller. He has a way of seamlessly weaving narratives into the memoir that make structural points about the nature of oppression. I think we always have ideas that homosexuality and Christianity are pitted against one another and it’s so refreshing to read a book that has those aspects integrated in a genuine way. (DAB)

The Lists were compiled by Maneo Mohale, Sabelo Mkhabela, Danielle Alyssa Bowler and Zaza Hlalethwa 

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