#issue 87 - the one where Amanda Gorman blew us away
This week's newsletter is written by Hiwote
This week, I watched the inauguration between spurts of unfocused work. I felt unsettled all morning. I wasn’t fully with my work or with the People. But when the youngest poet to ever perform at a presidential inauguration, Amanda Gorman, stepped to the podium adorned in Prada wearing her braids like a crown, I was mesmerized. Weren't we all?
I noticed that she was wearing a big ass ring. Something that looked like a bird. Turns out Oprah gifted her the jewelry for the big day. And it wasn't just a big ass ring, it was a caged bird - a nod to Maya Angelou - the only other Black woman (and only one of six poets) to deliver an inaugural poem.
So I looked up Maya Angelou’s On the Pulse of Morning from 1993.
"You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.
Your mouths spilling words
Armed for slaughter."
Maya Angelou called out the darkness the nation was choosing to stay in.
And Amanda responds:
‘For there is always light if only we’re brave enough to see it,
If only we’re brave enough to be it.’ - Amanda Gorman.
The last four years, (and especially 2020) screwed us over in many ways, but everything that was exposed forced us to face ourselves. We showed up in droves to election sites to drive out the darkness, but are we going to be brave enough to be the light once we acclimate to a new kind of normalcy?
Later that evening, someone sent me one of Amanda’s Instagram stories. She was dressed down at this point, trying to take in the fact that her book was #1 and she suddenly had the attention of over 1 million people on social media.
Maya Angelou walked so Amanda Gorman could fly. Here we are witnessing yet another generation of Black women rise up to remind us that we are responsible for the light that exists within each and every one of us.
You can subscribe to Amanda’s newsletter or buy her books here.
I’d love to hear how you’re processing the week. DM me on Instagram @depthandcandor so we can chat :)
That’s it from me!
Take care of yourselves and each other,
What we read this week
Big Friendship by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman - I just finished Big Friendship and I’m a little (aka VERY) shook. I told two of my friends to read it because I’m in this for the long haul with them and I want us to remember that at some point, our friendship will require us to stretch. And I want us to remember this book when it does.
Ikigai by Héctor García and Francesc Miralles - I’m currently reading (and loving) Ikigai, which explores how to live a joyful life and contribute to society with purpose. The word Ikigai is Japanese and roughly translates to “the happiness of always being busy”.
Always & Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han- the third & final book in the "To All The Boys" series by Jenny Han. Netflix recently released the trailer and I had to give this a reread. It was still perfect, sweet and fun and just the escape we need.
Just Us by Claudia Rankine - This is a profound, gripping, and vulnerable meditation on Whiteness in America.
The Top 5
Your 2021 Shine Guide (Essence)
The Errand Friend (Culture Study)
What If You Could Do It All Over? (New Yorker)
8 Habits That Helped Me Reclaim My Lunch Break From Unhealthy WFH Boundaries (Apartment Therapy)
The Catch Up
A Bitter Pill (Marie Claire)
The Return Of The Homemaker (Refinery 21)
What If You Could Do It All Over? (New Yorker)
Manifestation Is Political (Zora)
Why I Bought A Bookstore At 29 (Literary Hub)
Things we love this week
My sister’s Christmas present to me was this stunning pouch from Bole Road Textiles, a Brooklyn-based, Black and woman owned company. At the moment, mine is stocked with pens, highlights, a small bottle of perfume and chapstick. It’s permanently stationed at my desk.
I have my eye on this Printed Pattern People kaftan jumpsuit for the spring. It screams rich auntie and that’s all I aspire to be. Printed Pattern People is also another Black and woman-owned biz.
Warning: These under eye needle patches are uncomfortable. They also gave me, a skin care junkie/ beauty editor at heart, the best looking under eye area since I was 15. They literally mimic fillers and I don't say that lightly. If you're like me, up late doomscrolling or tossing and turning because of the possible impending civil war, you need these.
I'm doing Dry January with Hitha, so Poland Springs Ruby Red Grapefruit seltzer is really scratching an itch (although, some nice scotch would scratch that itch a lot more).
I just came across this artist and absolutely love his art and his cool 'fresh paintings' cart! Definitely treating myself to a piece of art.
Take care of yourself, and please share #5SmartReads if you’re enjoying them!