Author: Kia Speaks

Book Review: The Hate U Give

In the midst of an overwhelming newscycle, I decided to escape in a book. Most of what I read is nonfiction and requires way too much brain power, so I grabbed a fiction book, The Hate U Give. It was the previous month’s selection in the Reading While Black Book Club. I’m always behind and knew nothing about the book, but Jason had told me it was a good, so I started reading…excited to escape into world different and less stressful than my own. By chapter two, Khalil, an unarmed, black teenager, had been murdered by a white police...

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Dear White People…Get Your Cousins

A few years ago one of my middle school classmate’s mother befriended me on Facebook. Her daughter and I cheered together, and her and my mom used to chat when we were at practice, games and camps. They were both doctor’s wives, so I guessed they talked about doctor’s wives stuff. Not long after befriending her, I noticed her posts were filled with anti-black code words and Fox “News” propaganda. I wasn’t shocked. I’m from Gadsden, Alabama. My middle school was named after Confederate General Nathaniel Bedford Forrest. Rebels was written across her daughter and my cheerleading uniforms. Interacting...

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“In Defense of R. Kelly…”

While driving back from the beach Sunday afternoon, R. Kelly’s “Bump n’ Grind” came on a 90’s playlist. Carpool karaoke ended. An awkward silence fell throughout the car. And frowns appeared on our faces. “I just can’t listen to his music anymore.” “Because he’s an unapologetic sexual predator who sings about his sins,” I responded. Everyone has problematic favorites. Let me rephrase that. Everyone has favorites who have done problematic things or made problematic statements. Not everyone has favorites who are continually and unapologetically abusive and violent towards other people. R. Kelly is the later. R. Kelly is a...

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Outgrowing Homophobia: Hip Hop’s Long Journey Home

Historically, hip hop has been unapologetically homophobic. From the genre’s inception, rap lyrics have used slurs to emasculate and feminization to belittle foes and rivals while threatening and celebrating violence against LGBTQ people. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five mention an incarcerated man who became an “undercover fag” in “The Message.” Will Smith, who became popularly due to his squeaky-clean image, rapped, “All the homeboys that got AIDS be quiet. All the girls out there that don’t like guys be quiet” in “Live from Union Square.” Ice Cube labeled a woman who turned down his advances a “dyke” on...

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