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On white disbelief and precarity post-election / by Lena Afridi

When I was three, my uncle asked, “Lena, do you want to go to America?” After a moment of consideration, I replied “Let me go put on my shoes.” We came here when I was four. We came because the country I was born in was unraveling. We came because my father’s brothers were here. We came because my parents feared for our futures. We came because it was dangerous there. We came because my parents thought our lives would be bigger and fuller in America. We came because everyone else was coming. We came because, in many ways, we felt like there was no other choice. We came for the same reasons everyone comes.

We settled in Queens, New York City, the best and brightest city in the world, second only to Karachi in our opinion. We learned English. The younger ones of us shamed and threatened into erasing any trace of accent, any hint of colonial legacy beaten into our parents’ tongues. We went to public school. We spent time with our neighbors, our white and brown neighbors who were hustling just like we were. And yes, we hustled, hard. We worked wherever and whenever we could. We studied. We were told that if we tried, really tried, the bold futures we had imagined would be in our reach. We did what everyone does. . . .


If it is within your means, please donate here to this Immediate Oakland Fire Relief fund, to support the community affected by the Oakland Ghostship Fire

by Joshua Hoey
An annotated Reflective Tapes primer

This Friday: our annual year-end meeting

Part two / Interviews by Bean Tupou

Ed. note-- This is the second installment of a two-part interview series by Bean Tupou on mental health and touring. In the introduction to the first installment, Bean reflected on a May 2016 tour where they began vulnerable and homesick, questioning their sense of purpose with regards to music and touring. They wrote: "The idea occurred that I didn’t have to just wonder to myself. I could ask other queer, black, brown, nonbinary, and female performers about their own experiences with touring. Why not seek advice and wisdom from my contemporaries? Why not reaffirm my motivations behind why I choose to tour?" In the first part of the series, which you can read here, Bean spoke with Abdu Ali, Kristina Esfandiari, Ashe Kilbourne, and Maria Stoke. Here, they interview Tierney Carter, Shawna Scroggins, Roxy Brennan and Maryn Jones.


Tierney is the mastermind behind the musical project Wizard Apprentice and strives to document her community through a video web-series called U.R.L. G.U.R.L. One of her latest live efforts is an art performance collaboration entitled “Blank Map” with Bay Area artists Tasha Cyan, Keyon Gaskin, Adee Roberson of Black Salt Collective and Brontez Purnell of the Younger Lovers in Summer 2016. She’s also toured with Bestfriend Grrlfriend, the band that Shawna Scroggins (who is interviewed in this series) is in.

Are there things you do or have thought about doing to prepare yourself mentally for a tour? I try to have my live show planned out. I like for my live performance to involve elements other than
. . .

With Chinwe Okona / by Rich Guttierez

Photo by Oriana Koren.

As a teenager I searched for heroes in places where mostly power and ego lied. In order to find my power I had to bend beneath another's. It wasn't a balanced trade of ideas; it was a one way street of admiration. It took me years to discover the transformational influence found in creating something on my own. When I discovered zines and a D.I.Y community, I found the most courage. There is nothing quite like liberating yourself from, well, yourself. Telling those voices in your head that the world is indeed at your feet, you need to just take the step toward it. Nowadays, I don't look for heroes. I look to people like Chinwe Okona, peers who are taking risks in vulnerability and creating in the face of discomfort and hissing ego.. . .

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