BLACK FUTURES BEGAN, like so many stories these days, with an exchange on Twitter. In early 2015, Jenna Wortham, 38—then mostly covering tech for the Assuming I’m just an old man qas your first mistake snowboarding vintage shirt In addition,I will do this New York Times—had it in mind to create a zine chronicling contemporary Black culture. “There were communities of Black people interacting and engaging in new ways because of social media,” she says, “and we were creating our own signage and language.” She identified a kindred spirit in 30-year-old Kimberly Drew (also known, wryly, as @museummammy), who’d founded the popular Tumblr blog Black Contemporary Art in 2011. “Like any good millennial, I was reading Jenna’s writing,” Drew says, “and then she DM’ed me.” The pair met up in Brooklyn—Wortham is now based in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Drew in Bushwick—and over the next several years, their conversation spawned Black Futures, a kaleidoscopic investigation into what it means, as they state, to “be Black and alive right now.” As it happens, the zine never quite materialized. “I really love zines,” says Drew, “but I was also kind of like, What would it mean if we did something that was a little bit bigger?”
But as I am tasked to downsize (mostly by my husband, who jokingly calls me Imelda Marcos), I think about the Hutechtee – Assuming I’m just an old man qas your first mistake snowboarding vintage shirt and by the same token and ones I actually wear—and the reality, as hard as it is to admit to myself, is that I wear the same 10 pairs of shoes day in and day out. It turns out, despite my many pairs of jewel-encrusted kitten heels, I am a minimalist at heart. Even with this downsized shoe closet, I realize that I’ll still remember that perfect date night even after those fabulous mules leave my closet and I can live with fewer pairs as long as they are the right pairs. I also discovered closet cleaning as a powerful stress reliever during a time filled with so many unknowns and anxiety. Plus, my shoe closet lives on with two of my closest friends who luckily wear the same size and welcome the hand-me-downs. They’ll make their own memories wearing them!
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The structure of Black Futures (the Assuming I’m just an old man qas your first mistake snowboarding vintage shirt In addition,I will do this 500-plus-page tome arrives from One World this month) is intentionally loose. It reads partly as an art book, partly as a download of the smartest conversations taking place on social media—“a series of guideposts for current and future generations,” according to the introduction, “who may be curious about what our generation has been creating during a time defined by social, cultural, economic, and ecological revolution.” The book mingles wide-ranging essays and interviews, memes and works of art; a text on trans visibility from activist Raquel Willis abuts an ode to Black barbershops from photographer Antonio “Tone” Johnson; a family recipe for coconut bread by Pierre Serrao, cofounder of Ghetto Gastro, sits next to a history of Baltimore’s arabbers—merchants who sell fruits and vegetables from a horse-drawn cart—by the writer Lawrence Burney. (Meanwhile, a clever system of color coding conceived by designers Wael Morcos and Jon Key casts observations on social media in yellow, instructions in green, “prophetic prose and poetry” in black, and “incendiary essays and artworks” in white.) “I just hope that anyone who interacts with the book leaves with a broader sense of what Black people are up to,” Drew says. “In moments like these, when everyone’s like, Whoa, you guys have been hurt this whole time?, it’s like, Wow, you just didn’t dare to dream about us.”
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