On our Lists this week: Reni Eddo-Lodge, Blood Orange

What We’re Listening To

Put a Spell on You by Alice Smith: Call it an audio craving from the moon. I found myself sitting with my thoughts under the stars and full moon a few nights ago, listening to Smith’s rendition of the heart-filling classic. Having first fallen in love with the song because of Nina Simone, Smith’s cover continues to draw me in. She has me spellbound. Perhaps speaking to the baby witch in me. (TS)

Negro Swan by Blood Orange: This album tapped on my door and snuck into my life at the perfect time. It’s the fourth studio album from British musician Dev Hynes, under an alias, and it’s a seamless blend of new-soul, 1980s synth and tender storytelling. The way the album mixes the wisdom of elders and the anxious energy of youth is so brilliant. My favourite track, Runnin’, featuring Georgia Anne Mulrow, is on loop while I write. (MM)

What We’re Reading

When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities by Chen Chen: Poetry, especially by writers who live on the margins, tends to be serious and fuelled by trauma or questions about identity. Although this is undeniably powerful, it makes for heavy reading. In this anthology, though, which won the A Poulin Jnr Poetry Prize, which honours a poet’s first book, Chen Chen stubbornly commits to joy. Every poem, even the ­difficult ones, thrums with light and a sneaky sense of humour. (MM)

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge: Anyone with a critical mind will affirm why a book with a title like this would catch their attention. As soon as I saw it, I thought about Toni Morrison’s comment that the serious function of racism is distraction. Though a heavy read confronting the functions of racism in Britain, Eddo-Lodge finds an intricate balance between not being distracted and being firm about how much she’s willing to give to the greater conversation. (TS)

What We’re Watching

Fresh Off the Boat: This light viewing is one I always return to. Following a Chinese-American family, the sitcom is based on the memoir of chef Eddie Huang and offers me laughs in a time of sombre news cycles. (When will those end?) Fresh Of f the Boat also offers a fun look into the lives of the kind of family that we’re rarely given access to. My highlight will always be Jessica Huang (played by Constance Wu), a “tiger mom” with some of the best quotes in a sitcom that I’ve seen. (TS)

Tshegofatso Senne (TS)
Maneo Mohale (MM)

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Arts Desk
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