What Do We Really Know About Hae Min Lee, ‘Serial’s’ “Beautiful” Dead Korean Girl?

Like countless other obsessed fans of Serial, the addictive true-crime podcast where This American Life host/producer Sarah Koenig investigates a murder, I was first drawn in by the dramatic possibility Koenig presented: Adnan Syed had been wrongfully accused and imprisoned for killing his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. With each episode, Koenig circles around the case. She paints a vivid portrait of Adnan’s life, presents conflicting reports of the events of the day Hae was killed, the strange turns of police investigation, missteps made by Adnan’s defense lawyer, and an entire episode devoted to Jay, the former friend whose testimony cemented Adnan’s fate. … Read More

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Let’s Be Real: The Grammys Have Always Relegated Beyoncé to the R&B Category

If you’re searching for proof of the Beygency’s hold over pop culture, look no further than the outrage that emerged Friday over Beyoncé’s six Grammy nominations this year. She was nominated for Album of the Year, Best R&B Performance, Best Urban Contemporary Album, Best R&B Song, Best Music Film and, um, Best Surround Sound Album, ending up tied with Sam Smith and Pharrell for the most nominations. It wasn’t enough. Maybe people have short attention spans, or perhaps it’s that Bey has reached new levels of cultural dominance in this last year, but the conversation surrounding Beyoncé’s perceived lack nominations hinted at a racial bias on the part of the Academy. … Read More

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Indispensable Quotes From James Baldwin on Race in America

This week marks the anniversary of James Baldwin’s death, which occurred twenty-seven years ago in Paris. This week, James Baldwin: The Last Interview and Other Conversations (Melville House) appeared on my desk, a feat of timing that felt resonant during a week where the concept of justice, the idea that Black lives matter, felt very far away as protests broke out — “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” — in New York and across the country after another miscarriage of justice; when a grand jury failed to indict the Staten Island police officer whose chokehold led to Eric Garner’s death, a case that is just one in a tragic line of unarmed black men unfairly targeted by the police force. … Read More

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“White People Were Crazy. Now They’re Not As Crazy”: Chris Rock Has a Valuable Perspective on Race in America

Chris Rock’s new movie, Top Five, premiered at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival to utterly charmed reviews (The Guardian called it “winning”) and the promo that comes with winning the festival buzz by landing the splashiest distribution deal. A meta-comedy about a very famous comedian (Rock) who spends the day giving an interview to a New York Times reporter (Rosario Dawson), the film is small, indie, and Woody Allen-ish, according to Rock. … Read More

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An Outsider Abroad: On John Safran’s Mississippi True Crime Story ‘God’ll Cut You Down’

When very white, very Jewish and very Australian documentarian and comedian John Safran went down to Mississippi to film segments for his 2009 show John Safran’s Race Relations, he pulled off a prank where he managed to convince a white supremacist that he actually had African ancestry (and did so in front of a ballroom’s worth of people gathered for a “Spirit of America Day” banquet.) It was quite the trick and it never aired on television, as the white supremacist in question, one Richard Barrett, brought a case against the production. … Read More

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You Guys, We Just Weren’t Smart Enough to “Get” Alessandra Stanley’s Shonda Rhimes Piece!

“When Shonda Rhimes writes her autobiography, it should be called How to Get Away with Being an Angry Black Woman.” I must have read that sentence five times, unable to believe that multiple editors would OK it as a lede in The New York Fucking Times. But what followed wasn’t much better: unsupported judgments and inaccuracies about one of America’s most powerful television voices, particularly when it comes to portrayals of racial diversity in the workplace. … Read More

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Longform You Have to Read: Race in America

In a world where you have more options for satisfying longform reading than ever, your friends here at Flavorwire are taking the time once a week to highlight some of the best that journalism and longform has to offer. Whether they’re unified by topic, publication, writer, being classic pieces of work, or just by a general feeling, these articles all have one thing in common: they’re essential reading. This week, we’re looking at writers wrestling with the topic of race in America. … Read More

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bell hooks Called Beyoncé an Anti-Feminist Terrorist

Beyoncé has not always identified publicly as a feminist. But somewhere between the release of “Run the World (Girls)” in 2011 and the birth of Blue Ivy the following January, she started opening up in the press regarding her belief in feminism — still, sadly, a term her pop star peers mostly try to circumvent. But as celebrated as Beyoncé’s light-touch, low-pressure brand of female empowerment has been by some high-profile feminists like Sheryl Sandberg, Ms. Knowles apparently does not pass bell hooks’ high feminist bar — this week, hooks shocked just about everyone by branding her an “anti-feminist terrorist.” Welp. And there ain’t shit the Beygency can do about it — bell hooks remains a leading voice on intersectional feminism. … Read More

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Sky Ferreira’s “I Blame Myself” Video Subverts the Gender Dynamics of Gang Culture

Look at the image above. One of these things is not like the other. Some may say it’s another example of a pop star “accessorizing with black people,” but hold on a second, there’s something redeeming here. In her new video for “I Blame Myself,” Sky Ferreira plays with gender dynamics in gang culture, a context in which her punky pop has likely never been considered. The juxtaposition, as it turns out, speaks to a larger message about power and vulnerability. … Read More

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