Every now and then, I come across a blog or vlog that absolutely helps me to get my life. As you know, I love reading, listening to, and engaging with others who reflect some of the reasons why I’ve chosen to blog: to offer information, ideas, & counter-cultural narratives that empower readers to thrive and to lovingly & creatively challenge secular and sacred systems toward greater levels of inclusion! So, in today’s post, I will feature three separate sites / bloggers who do this in various ways. However, I’m switching it up today and also featuring some music (aka blogs and beats) that made my ‘fave’ list, as well!
1. Verily Merrily Mary – Don’t sleep on VerilyMerrilyMary.com because Mary consistently does her GOOD writing over there! Mary identifies as a “20-something Nigerian-born, Nigerian-raised, Canadian-raised, and American-raised individual that currently lives in sunny, Southern California” who writes about life as a third culture kid, culture shock, identity and faith, and her understandings of “the people and the cultures (she’s) been exposed to”. What makes her blog special? Mary is a great writer who incorporates both storytelling and analysis in her posts. She tackles tough subjects with some signature finesse. Read her latest, ‘A Dumb Fallacy That Needs to Stop Being Popular’, and you’ll see what I mean!
Snippet: When she gave her first press conference announcing whether or not the officers would be charged, it was clear that she was passionate and fed up. There was definitely emotion in her voice. In fact, she also alluded to the emotion of the city, telling the city of Baltimore that she hears its cries for justice. And, like clockwork, there were comments all over social media calling her irrational and emotional and that we needed someone “objective.” But how convenient it is to call her irrational when she is both black and a woman and the loudest voices saying she’s irrational/emotional are the people who are neither of those things.
2. Rev. Tiffany Thomas – Rev. Tiffany Thomas is a millenial woman of color… who drops fire and causes reflection via her blog posts every time. She engages around some of these topics in a way that is truly powerful. Her tone is conversational and her penchant for nuance and critical thought is appreciated! I was introduced to Rev. Tiffany Thomas’ work through Rachel Held Evans’ site (who has also been featured in an earlier edition of Jade’s Faves). As soon as I finished her post, ‘Shouting From the Front: Reflections of a Disorderly Woman Pastor) I was astounded at the way that she told both her story and reflected some of my own experiences back to me. In her words were validation, critical thought, and deep authenticity. Check out her blog here!
Beats – Shakka
Many of you know that I started off in the creative and performing arts. So, I often keep my ear to the ground for refreshing, new, and intriguing music, aka ‘beats. Today, I’d like to introduce you to a UK artist by the name of Shakka. [First of all, let me just say… in my book, UK artist Shakka can do no wrong musically]. As evidenced on his Soundcloud page, he identifies as an alternative pop singer, but he’s an absolute beast when it comes to rapping, production, and his vocals interchange R&B and pop stylings seamlessly! His music is equal parts gritty, experimental, fun, and weighty. I was introduced to Shakka’s music while (believe it or not) watching a natural hair tutorial on a popular youtube channel, Fusion of Cultures. I will freely admit that I was having a hard time concentrating on the tutorial because the background music that vlogger, Laila, chose was / is particularly dope. Y’all… I looked through every. single. one. of those comments so I could find out WHO that artist was. And that artist was Shakka.
Thematically, Shakka often talks about living life authentically, love & relationships, and being true to your craft and your art… even if what you’re doing is different than others. I can’t pick a favorite, because his catalog is putting in serious work… but I will go back to one of the songs I heard when I was first introduced to his music to give you a good sample. (Below: Shakka, Take Our Time… yawl… he is singing over a classic J Dilla beat. And my soul is rejoicing):
Check him out on Soundcloud and buy the music on iTunes because I promise you will need this to jam to on your morning commute to work, while you’re cleaning, at the airport, going to the beach, making a smoothie… etc.