For this edition of weekend reading we’re focusing on Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, an American writer who has written some of our favourite articles of the past couple of years. Her reflections on pop and modern culture are always insightful and stay with us for days after we’ve put the article down. Here are a few of our favourites to take you through the weekend. We’re also quietly super jealous of anyone who took her class at Columbia.
If He Hollers Let Him Go
This piece for The Believer was what sparked our interest in Rachel in the first place. It’s a longform study of Dave Chappelle penned ten years after his dramatic exit from his own show. Tracking his early life, rise to fame, and spectacular rejection of (huge) money is as magnetic as the man himself.
How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You: The BeyHive
As we’ve discussed several times, the cult around Beyonce sometimes makes it feel impossible to discuss her objectively without being torn apart by her swarms of fans. In this article for NPR we’re introduced to the BeyHive, Beyonce ultra fans, and explore the strange world of falling in love with a stranger.
When the Lights Shut Off: Kendrick Lamar and the Decline of the Black Blues Narrative
Like Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar is an artist whose name sometimes feels larger than the person. Although he’s yet to reach Bey’s mythical level it is easy to forget that the biggest breakthrough act of 2012 is also just a nice young guy Compton trying to straddle the line between hip hop culture and eloquent, modern social commentary. It wasn’t until we read this article that we realised how elusive he felt, although that is remedied in Rachel’s sensitive presentation.
Stakes Is High—and Black Lives Are Worthy of Elaboration
To finish up we’ll leave you with Gawker’s True Stories conversation between Kameelah Janan Rasheed and Rachel. What better to get to know a writer than to switch roles and view them as an interviewee.
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