Why Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” is as Country as Country Gets

As I write this Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" continues to sit atop the Billboard Hot 100. Its removal from the top of Billboard's country chart well over a month ago sparked a fierce debate about who has the power to define genre and, inevitably, how genre definitions are inextricably linked with race. The …

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The world doesn’t need any more John Coltrane reissues. There, I said it. Here’s why.

A couple of weeks ago an email appeared in my inbox from the good folks at Universal Music Group, inviting me to download a sampler from a new 5 CD/8 LP box set that contains all the recordings John Coltrane made for Prestige in 1958. Here's a screen shot of part of that email: Minutes …

Continue reading The world doesn’t need any more John Coltrane reissues. There, I said it. Here’s why.

10 Lessons from Seeing Samuel Delany this Week

This week I had the pleasure of seeing Samuel Delany give the annual Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick lecture at Duke University. Every year the lecture is given by someone who has made important contributions to queer studies/theory. Instead of a lecture, he was interviewed by Duke professor Pete Sigal. In his opening questions, Sigal emphasized Delany's …

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A Brief History of the Origins of Jazz’s Sexism

"Still, the male jazz musician accepts and takes for granted that at every step he'll be dealing with other men—from club owners to booking agents to bandleaders, fellow players, reviewers and writers in the press: a male-dominated profession.  The language that describes jazz, and jazz musicians, reflects this reality. . . . The actor in …

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The Importance of Speculative Fiction and How It Implores Us to Create a Leftist, Anti-Capitalist Future

Over the last 18 months or so I've been reading a ton of near-future dystopian speculative fiction. This week I finished Paolo Bacigalupi's excellent The Water Knife (I hope there's a movie adaptation of it coming soon) and I am itching to read the second installment of Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam Trilogy. I've also recently read …

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Give the Drummer Some: How the Right’s Fixation on Nathan Phillips’s Drum Reflects White America’s Fear of the Drum

Ever since the video of the group of Covington High School boys surrounding Native American activist Nathan Phillips and---depending on your interpretation---either harassed him or defended themselves (count me among those who understand it to be the former), there has been a massive national conversation addressing numerous issues that speak to our cultural and political …

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