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"Confrontation on the Bridge," 1975. Painting by Jacob Lawrence.

Kelundra Recommends 07.27.2020

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts on social media with the sentiment, “This is the ghetto and I hate it here.” It’s often referring to the current state of affairs with the COVID-19 pandemic, Black Lives Matter Movement, uncertainty about school starting, the upcoming election– you get the point. There is a lot to be angsty about, but there is always more to be grateful for. Isn’t this the world? The place that we call home. Just because my prize is in heaven doesn’t mean I walk around hating it here. What good does that do?

I for one couldn’t possibly hate it here, because I’ve prayed to God so many times for a fresh start, for time to think and breathe and relax. And here it is, all this time, and I’m going to use it. If you can create right now, do so. Are the circumstances ideal? No. But if you have the space and ability to push through, do so. And if you don’t, that’s okay too.

I for one am grateful for right now. Has it been difficult to be flooded with so much loss? Yes. Have I been found somewhere in it? Also, yes. I once heard this saying, “One person’s flood is another person’s baptism.” If this time baptizes you, don’t feel ashamed. Pull someone else up out of the flood. Here we go!

  1. TO WATCH: Add to your essential viewing list, “Good Trouble,” the documentary about Congressman John Robert Lewis. Lewis, or “the boy from Troy,” as many Civil Rights Movement leaders called him, dedicated himself to public service at the age of 19. This documentary takes us through his journey from preaching to his chickens in Troy, Ala., to serving as the “conscience of Congress” for more than 30 years. Testimonials from his family and staff as well as a view of his extensive art collection will leave you feeling inspired and hopeful.
  2. TO EAT: One of my new favorite Instagram accounts to follow is Black Girls in Trader Joe’s. The account shares easy recipes and Black-owned products sold in the hipster’s favorite grocery store. I remember the first time I went to TJ’s, I was on vacation with my mom and brother in Carlsbad, Calif. They loved it and I, who have always loathed going to the grocery store, was completely unimpressed. Now, a decade later, I must live within 20 minutes of one or I might melt. Speaking of melting, I highly recommend this grilled cheese recipe with gooey mozzarella on focaccia bread from #BGITJ.
  3. TO DRINK: I believe that St. Germaine makes everything better. Get into this Elderflower Margarita, which is sweet and satisfying in the dog days of summer. To be clear, these are the dog days of summer. When did it get so hot? I’ll definitely have a sip!
  4. TO PLAY: Melody Gardot has been one of my favorite jazz artists for as long as I can remember. The musician/songstress can write a love song like no one in else in her generation. Her star really shined on her second studio album My One and Only Thrill, which was released in 2009. This year, she’s serenading us for a cause. In May, she put out a call to musicians around the world to contribute to a new song to benefit healthcare workers as well as out-of-work musicians. She then introduced the musicians she selected to be apart of this global orchestra on her Instagram account and they are all super impressive. Listen to her latest release “From Paris with Love.” All royalties benefit COVID-19 healthcare workers.
  5. TO READ: I’m an adult who loves YA literature; I make no apologies about it. So, imagine having to go through highs school as someone else every year. That’s exactly what happens to Ethan, a suburban white boy, who discovers that spreading empathy is his true calling. In four years, he lives life as a white girl who feels invisible, a Black foster kid and an Asian girl who struggles with coming out. The Changers series, by T Cooper and Allison Glock-Cooper, is one of my favorites of the last five years and I highly recommend devouring all four of these compelling books.

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