#Adulting: Where Will We Be?

There are two types of people in the world right now–Those who couldn’t care less about Avengers: Infinity War and those who feel personally attacked by Infinity War.

(Photo Credit; Yes This is Actually From the Directors of Infinity War)

Fortunately, no matter which camp you fall in, this post will not have spoilers (Thanos did demand silence, remember?). Instead, I use this movie analogy as a way to work through how I interpret the world. As the end of my fellowship draws closer, I’m thinking a lot more about how I see the world and what paths would help me see the world even clearer whilst maintaining some semblance of peace.  But, of course, to figure out an ending, we’ve got to go back to the beginning.

 

It’s no secret that I’m drawn to superheroes in all forms of media (movie, television, web comics, paper comics, pulp, cartoons, etc.) because the stories and characters are the ways we keep history alive by applying the same myths and figures in new bodies and names, by coping with disastrous events (ex. mutants after the nuclear war, the numerous Godzilla works after the massive atom bombs in Japan, etc.), and prediction of events if we continue on the paths we’re currently on. The superhero genre has a way of meeting their audience where they are, in terms of comprehension. And although there are points where can do better and seem to be taking steps in that direction (“see” audio documentary here), we’re getting there.

The same can be said for audio. Radio journalism is not what initially drew me to audio. It was podcasts, i.e. the flexibility to listen whenever, the freedom from the broadcast clock, the wide range of topics, but most importantly, the conversational style. The most successful podcasts are NOT monotone; they are NOT full of elevated, superfluous language; they are NOT high-brow. Why? Because they meet people where are, in terms of their understanding, and therefore, can convey how these complex topics–about the environment, about the economy, about education–aren’t actually complex if someone explains them and iterates that it affects everyone, no matter you’re socioeconomic status, racial or ethnic identity, gender identity and sexual orientation. Like the superhero genre, there are strides the audio industry can take to reach more people  and include more people who are constantly left behind.

Being intentional (which takes massive preparation and extensive input outside of your immediate knowledge) about how to use the medium to reach the audience is only part of the game; being successful in execution is equally important. You probably think I’m gonna list some canonical literary examples or Academy Award-winning movies? Nope.

Animation,

(My film professors would’ve loved the subtle commentary on movie theaters in the age of technology in We Bare Bears “Shush Ninjas”)

by far,

(The Amazing World of Gumball does a ton of economical commentary and engages in media theory through the different materials they use for minor characters)

is best example of representation and

Steven Universe is but one example of how animation explains a concept that adults struggle to explain)

and understanding,

(The original Teen Titans  animation series (not to be confused with Teen Titans Go!) tackled complex topics that kids and adults are even afraid to admit to themselves, let alone talk about, like manipulation and self-esteem)

I’ve ever seen.

To be fair, not all animation does this, nor should it. Like all media, some sources should be purely to educate, some purely to escape, but the most memorable do a little of both. And it was this balance and utilization of how medium affects a narrative that pulled me to study English (this was my concentration BTW). One source I go back to frequently is Avatar: The Last Airbender.

How can one show successfully explain a military coup,  explore the dynamics of war invasions, retreats, and strategy, introduce and maintain a blind character as part of the ensemble, gently handle the implications of child abuse and necessity of forgiveness, and still have all the makings of a kid’s show, including but not limited to: bathroom jokes, the (multiple) picking of boogers, sibling antics, unrequited crushes, and an eccentric uncle?

For these reasons (and more), I watch ATLA when I need to escape but always understand more about my life once I finish my binging.

So now, as I consider more about what paths I want to take and how to reconcile who I want to be into the view of the world I have now, I think about to this scene from Book 2:

This is a process, but my favorite part of ATLA is that it’s okay not to know. It’s okay to say “I don’t know.” And maybe right now, that’s my answer. I don’t know…yet.

 

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(Photo Credit: Gimlet Media)

What I’m Listening To: Gimlet’s The Habitat.  The true story of when six volunteers agreed to live in a mock-Mars environment, for scientific purposes. I’m really excited about this series because I remember when the experiment was first being reported, which wasn’t that long ago. (I just started so don’t @ me)

What I’m Reading: Getting caught up on my comics! G. Willow Wilson’s Ms. Marvel (If you enjoy the MCU and looking to get into the comics, I highly recommend the new Hawkeye (trust me), Ms. Marvel, or the most recent Captain Marvel comics; the more serious types? See Captain America, Civil War, or Jessica Jones; also, you can’t go wrong with any of the iterations of Spider-Man, whether that means high-school Peter Parker, adult Peter Parker, or even Miles Morales because, of course, they crossover from time to time)

What I’m Watching: Isn’t it obvious? Avengers: Infinity War (2018) (yes, more than once) and that’s all I’ll say about that. Also, I’m finally caught up on the Blackish-spinoff, Freeform show Grownish  and consider this quite a feat since Yara Shahidi is fantastic and literally #hairgoals.

(Photo Credit: Freeform Grownish)

 

 

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#Adulting: Women and Their Stories

Happy Women’s History Month!

It was a smooth transition from Black History Month (2018 Black Panther) to Women’s History Month (2018 A Wrinkle in Time), in terms of American cinema, so be sure to check out both films that incorporate women of a variety of ages, occupations, and, yes, nationalities.

The first day of the month also featured a pretty powerful crossover between Shonda Rhimes’s created shows, Scandal  and How To Get Away With Murder. The first half (the Scandal hour) is where Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) butt heads and acknowledge the levels of privilege (and even colorism) that exist within the black community, especially among black women. (The setting of a hair salon is important, trust me.)

 

The second half of the special (How To Get Away with Murder) shows Viola Davis orating one of the best monologues of her career as her character, Annalise Keating, presents to the Supreme Court about the disproportionately high rates of incarceration of people of color in America, as a “by-product” of the systemic and institutional racism that never went away with the passing of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the United States Constitution.

 

What a way to start Women’s History Month (which, yes, does include black women)!

On March 9, A Wrinkle in Time (2018) released into American theaters. Directed by the Queen Sugar-genius, Ava Duvernay, the movie is adapted from the 1962 book by Madeleine L’Engle, and stars women such as Oprah Winfrey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon, and newcomer, Storm Reid. I won’t review this book-to-movie adaptation (which I finished re-reading the morning I saw the movie) because I’m sure there is no shortage of reviews of this blockbuster film.

I will note how much I appreciated Reid’s portrayal of Meg Murray. In these first few months of 2018, we’ve been blessed with creations that show what it’s like to be a black child who has lost a parent through maybe losing their way (*Black Panther spoiler* Erik Killmonger), to an institutional system that was always against them (How To Get Away with Murder, Nate Lahey), or to progress but forgetting the effects on the family left behind (A Wrinkle in Time, Meg Murray).  In A Wrinkle in Time, there were two moments that particularly struck me (spoilers ahead):

Storm Reid plays Meg Murry in ‘A Wrinkle In Time.’ Photo Credit

 

When asked by her principal what would happen if her father did come back, Meg said quietly, “Everything would make sense again,” which shows how big an effect the presence of one person has on our lives, especially when their absence is clearly noted by all members of the community and the media that depict families that are whole, that convey See? This is what a family looks like. This is what happiness looks like.

The second moment is towards the end of the movie when Meg admits in a loud and clear voice, “You know, most days I hate myself.” But then goes on to say she can get past it because she knows that her family, especially her brother, Charles Wallace, loves her in spite of (and sometimes because of) her faults.

It was a jarring yet cathartic moment to see someone admit that their faults, especially in a time (and culture) where women are supposed to love everything about themselves and radiate this positive self-esteem every hour of everyday. And the moment debunked the popular notion that you can’t love anyone else unless you love yourself wholly first. What nonsense! Sometimes the path to loving yourself is reinforced by someone else showing their unconditional love for you by example.

A common theme among these stories of women is the combination of strength and love, something the world often forgets can exist (and should exist) in tandem.

(Also, what would Women’s History Month be if I didn’t thank my mother for displaying both those qualities seemingly effortlessly? So thanks, Mom!)

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What I’m Listening To: Black Panther: The Music from and Inspired By curated by Kendrick Lamar. I’m the first to admit that I’m not terribly well-versed in hip-hop. That said, you can definitely find something to love on this album (if not every track) because Lamar does a fantastic job with the collaborations, connecting the music and even the lyrics with the sound design and plot and characters from the movie. (My favorite tracks are “Bloody Waters,” “Opps,” “Redemption,” and of course,” and “All the Stars” (because I’m just a little bit basic and the lyric “Corrupt a man’s heart with a gift/ That’s how you find who you dealing with” just hits too hard).

What I’m Reading: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (see post above) and the second novel by The Martian-author Andy Weir, Artemis.

Artemis is fitting for Women’s History Month since the protagonist is a Saudi Arabian-national woman by the name of Jazz Bashara. Like Mark Watney, Jazz is quick-witted, brilliant in STEM brainstorming, and sarcastic. Unlike Mark, Jazz lives on a society on the moon called Artemis and she is slightly problematic. (I have to admit though, The Martian is funnier, and Weir’s shot at writing a woman seems, at times, misinformed.)

 

What I’m Watching: A Wrinkle in Time (2018),  Marvel’s Black Panther (2018) (yes, more than once, can you blame me?), and Netflix’s Jessica Jones Season Two.

#Adulting: Black History Month

February’s been a whirlwind of activities for me (including the second episode of my podcast miniseries–Killing the Industry: Dinner Dates). The most important? Celebrating Black History.

I’ve been a bit passive in the past when celebrating Black History Month, because school has always been a great reminder of projects and events. This year, however, I’ve had to be more proactive about enriching my melanin education. Here’s how I’ve attempted to do so:

  1. Checking Out Social Media Posts- ex. Naturally Political on Facebook. For those who know me, I’m not a huge fan of Facebook, but the Naturally Political Page has been posting a new site of African American history everyday this month, including but not limited to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History to smaller-known (but still as important) sites in Arkansas. (Full disclosure: I know one of the moderators and therefore, privy to amount of careful research she puts into each posting.)
  2. 2. Checking Out Events IRL- ex. An Evening with Ruth E. Carter. This outing was like killing two birds with one stone since a) the event was a Q&A with Marvel’s Black Panther (2018) costume designer Ruth E. Carter, and b) the event was held in the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. In addition to pumping me up for such a highly-anticipated superhero movie by hearing of Carter’s creative influences (from specific Ethiopian tribes to Japanese designers such as Issey Miyake to afro-futurism and royalty elements transmuted through the uses of black and purple), I also had the chance to view parts of museum’s artwork at night.

 

3.Checking Out Interests with a Twist- ex. Marvel’s Black Panther opening-day screening. During Carter’s talk (and perhaps you already knew this), she mentioned that Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther had been added to Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War (2016) sort of last minute, but the character made a big impact.When tickets first went on sale for Black Panther, they nearly sold out. Prior to the screening, I’d felt mildly prepared–I’d attended the talk with the Carter, read a few of the recent Black Panther comics, etc. But after the movie…

 

(If you haven’t seen it yet, you really, really should.)

Even though February is winding down, I appreciate its placement as the second month of the year. Because it feels like it’s not the only month to celebrate Black History, but more like a great introduction to celebrate it the rest of year.

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What I’m Listening To: “Finesse Remix” Featuring Cardi B. by Bruno Mars. In addition to Cardi B’s spin on the song, I’m in love with this music video. It’s a tribute to the 90’s comedy-sketch show, In Living Color, where comedic greats like Tommy Davidson, David Alan Grier, T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh (remember her? she played Raven’s mom on That’s So Raven), and Jim Carrey got started. Also, the song is just catchy, right?

What I’m Reading: Marvel’s Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Books Two and Three by Ta-nehisi Coates.

What I’m Watching: Marvel’s Black Panther (2018) (of course), but PBS has some spectacular documentaries playing this month, like Stanley Nelson’s documentary on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tell Them We Are Rising.

Also, I know I’m super late, but I finally saw Jordan Peele’s Get Out (2017). Those Oscar and Golden Globe nominations are well-deserved.

 

 

#Adulting: Killing the Industry (A New Podcast Miniseries)

If you read any millennial’s blog, most of our activities and/or preoccupations fall in the realm of:

a) finding or keeping a well-paying job

b) spending quality time with friends/family

c) finding new movies/foods/books/music/shows to enjoy

d) finishing school or paying off  student loan debt

e) becoming healthier (or at least, staying healthy-ish)

Ruining the department store industry and chain restaurants like Applebee’s and Buffalo Wild Wings, or even killing the housing market, is not on most (if any) millennials’ to-do list and yet…

During the later half of 2017, I researched a select few industries millennials are accused of killing or ruining, interviewed actual millennials and other individuals in different age groups affected by the shift in that particular industry, and, finally, along with a co-host, put together a podcast miniseries to answer the question of a) if this industry is actually dead and b) if it is dead, who killed it?

The podcast miniseries is titled, “Killing the Industry.” The trailer actually airs today (which you can listen to here or on the podcast’s blog), but the first episode premieres Friday, February 2nd. I hope you’ll give it a listen, especially if you’re dying to know if millennials are actually to blame for killing, well, everything.

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What I’m Listening To: (See below)

What I’m Reading: Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham on audiobook; even though she’s technically not a comedian, I’m still lumping Graham into the category because she’s a funny person who doesn’t take herself too seriously, and so far the book does not disappoint.

What I’m Watching: Netflix’s remake of One Day At a Time is back! Out of all the original series Netflix pushes on its customers, I actually don’t mind this one because this beautiful, hilarious Cuban-American family still faces real issues affecting veterans with PTS, LGBT teens, non-traditional matriculation, Latinx culture, and so much more without being corny. So excited for season two!

 

#Adulting: Take a Breath

If you’ve seen Parks and Rec, you may remember a scene from Season 3 called “Soulmates.” Ann (Rashida Jones) helps Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) set up an online dating profile by asking about her hobbies, how she would describe herself, and finally, “Favorite Place?”

Leslie: Upstairs there’s this mural of wildflowers, and I like to sit on a bench in front of it.

Ann: Really? It could be anywhere in the world: Paris, Hawaii, the Grand Canyon…

Leslie: Nope. Just the bench in front of the mural.

Ann: What about an actual meadow, where wildflowers are?

Leslie: Eww, Ann, I’m scared of bees. Mural!

 

Although Ann thinks Leslie’s ideal destination is kinda lame, Leslie doesn’t budge; she likes what she likes. And it turns out, the spot is also liked by Leslie’s (future) favorite person as well, Ben (Adam Scott).

(Credit: Tumblr User nowayandy)

A favorite place doesn’t have to be lofty and expensive (or it can, whatever floats your boat), but it should be somewhere you enjoy going, solo or not. It just needs to be a place where you can pause, step back from the day-to-day tension, and just take a breath.

Regardless of the ending of the episode (or the numerous other times Ben and Leslie chat by the mural), I love that ambitious, compassionate, imaginative Leslie chose somewhere so seemingly mundane as her favorite place.

Along with our love of breakfast food, Leslie and I have that in common.

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#Adulting: A Glimpse of the Possible

In my last post, I paid homage to Millennialthe Radiotopia/PRX podcast that gave me the post-grad motivation to intern, work part-time, but mostly, figure out what I really wanted to do and make no apologies for it.

Well, update: I met the creator of Millennial. (!)

But first, let me back up a bit.

For the past few months, I’ve been learning more and more about the public radio landscape. Since the Corporation for Public Broadcasting helps fund America’s public radio stations, it’s important to know how they work, right?

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For Millennial (A Year Post Bachelor)

In August, the Radiotopia/PRX podcast series “Millennial” aired its ­final episode.

For three seasons, host and creator Megan Tan, captured the journey of millennials figuring out their lives after a defining moment, including her own.

The following stand-alone audio piece is inspired by “Millennial.” I began gathering tape after listening to the podcast last Fall, knowing there was someone else, who felt the same way I did.

So thank you, Megan. And thank you, for listening.

 

 

Here are some of the clips in the piece:

News

Georgia Public Broadcasting Radio

Georgia Students Reach for the Stars, But They’ll Start with Mars

Channel Thirteen/WNET in New York

Trump to Cut PBS Funding

Music

All of the music is by Lee Rosevere on FreeMusicArchive.org, under a Creative Commons Attribution license

“The Secret to Growing Up”

“And So Then”

“Ingenuity”

“As I Was Saying”

 

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What I’m Listening To: The last episode of Millennial and a recent episode of Planet Money called “The Starbury” (trust me, the latter’s title is not what you think)

(Photo Property of NPR Planet Money)

What I’m Reading: (Fiction) Water for Elephants  by Sara Gruen (B/N: Yes, I’ve seen the movie but now, at the behest of a friend, taking a stab at the book too).

(Fiction) The Lost Coast (novella) by Eli Horowitz and Josh Brandon (B/N: A companion to the Homecoming podcast serial and so far, pretty good)

What I’m Watching: (DVD) Creed (2015), dir. by Ryan Coogler is the latest in the Rocky movie series, but focuses on the son of Apollo Creed, Adonis “Donnie” Creed (Michael B. Jordan).  Considering the attention last week’s fight received, I figured now was a time to see a more cinematic version of the boxing world. As a big fan of the Rocky movies (my favorites are Rocky I and Rocky II), I loved this shift of focus onto a character who, like Rocky and Apollo, is proud of his identity even if he’s still figuring out who that person is.

 

Book Review: Teach Me How To Laugh

A fun fact about yours truly is that one of my favorite genres is Comedian Autobiography. If I’m going to read about someone’s life, where there are probably going to be some sad parts (as is true in many lives), I want to at least laugh a little.

Born a Crime is no exception in this regard, but it does change the rules I’d come to expect in the Comedian Autobiography genre.

(Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah (2016) Photo Credit: Google Books)

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Sunday Night Motivation

How do you do a job application?

One step at a time.

At this moment, it’s Sunday night and I’m staring at the computer screen, desperately trying to motivate myself to start the fellowship application I’ve put off for weeks.

It’s due tomorrow.

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