Anyone who knows me knows how much I love this book. I even have a blue star tattoo on my ankle because of Patti Smith’s magical, inspirational, phenomenal memoir about her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe in the late 60s/early 70s in New York City. This was before either of them were the legendary artists people know them as now. They were young, creative, passionate, explorative, sweet, understanding, and just kids. The love and compassion they shared for one another never faded, even after Mapplethorpe’s passing with AIDS in 1989. Smith writes about her early days in New York City with Mapplethorpe as creative, fulfilling, and hungry. Smith knew she meant to be an artist, she just didn’t know how. Meeting Mapplethorpe began the trajectory of Smith’s creative life. I recommend this book to everyone, especially to inspiring writers and creators, because it’s always inspired me to write something even when I had no subject in mind. I probably wouldn’t be a writer if it wasn’t for this book and the blue star on my ankle reminds me to embody Smith and Mapplethorpe’s creative spirit when I feel like I have nothing left to say.
Purchase a copy of Just Kids.
Barnes & Noble
If you haven’t heard of Pose, you obviously haven’t been on Twitter all summer. Ryan Murphy created Pose and it’s a groundbreaking show for many reasons. For one, the story is set in 1988 New York City ballroom scene and follows trans and queer people of color as they navigate their way through life during the height of the HIV/Aids epidemic. The ballroom scene for those who don’t know is a gathering of lgbtq+ people that dress up in all sorts of costumes in hopes of winning a trophy. The people competing are separated by houses which are lgbtq+ people who have been displaced by the people in their lives and have formed families with people in the community. Balls are safe spaces, where these people who are often looked down upon by other members of society, are free to be themselves. Another reason why this show is groundbreaking is that this is the first show that dived deep into the lives of trans women of color played by actresses who are trans women of color. There are also over 150 actors who are trans on the show. The crew and writers are all made up of trans and queer people. The show also made history by having the first trans woman of color direct episode six of the first season. This show is breaking down barriers and will continue to tell empowering and inspiring stories.
Watch Pose on FX.
Thursday is my favorite day of the week because there’s a new episode of Still Processing waiting for me when I wake up. Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris are the hosts of Still Processing and each week they have a conversation about culture. Queerness, music, racism, film, self-care, television shows, acceptance, technology, and Beyoncé are just some of the topics they discuss in-depth in each episode. What makes this podcast so enjoyable is the intelligent conversations Wortham and Morris have. They break down subjects and handle difficult topics with such care. After each episode, I feel as though I have learned something new because I have. Both Wortham and Morris’ perspectives are insightful and refreshingly honest. They don’t hold back as they continue to process any given subject through the conversations they share. This podcast, if you have not listened to it, tackles societies difficult questions without giving direct answers because life is complex and nothing is certain. I would recommend Still Processing to you because it helps me better understand the society we live in as well as cultures I do not experience first hand. I always feel better about what we’re going through as a country after listening to what they have to share. Wortham and Morris are the calm within the storm for me every week and I’m so grateful I found their podcast.
Click here for more information and episodes of Still Processing.