Author Archives: Kiese

About Kiese

Kiese Laymon is a fiction writer and essayist who writes frequently on pop culture, hip hop and politics. He is currently teaches English, Africana Studies and Creative Writing at Vassar College.

White People Are Cowards — written by Bethania Palma Markus

The following was, in part, inspired by Homeboy Sandman’s piece, Black People Are Cowards. In light of the recent revelations that Donald Sterling, an obnoxiously rich white man who owns real estate property and the Clippers NBA team, has been known … Continue reading

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A Letter of Love From Kleaver Cruz

February 10, 2014 12:45AM Dear Janet, Thank you. Thank you for committing to becoming you. Struggles and all. I spent the better part of the last 48 hours reading your story at any moment I could, even if that meant re-reading … Continue reading

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The Amiri Baraka I Knew — by Darnell Moore

The following is Darnell Moore’s response to the passing of Amiri Baraka. Darnell L. Moore interviewed poets Amiri Baraka and Cheryl Clarke at Baraka’s home in 2010. He was inspired to engage the two luminaries in dialogue after reading Clarke’s … Continue reading

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Mud Men: Our Story (Part 1) — by Tolu Olorunda

“We had to sound civilized in public, he told us; we had to speak English.” -Adichie, Purple Hibiscus I was the third seed planted that sprouted one February Sunday evening in a giant hospital at the heart of Ibadan, the … Continue reading

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Teaching Black, Living Gay … by Jarrett Neal

For the last six years I have been employed at Aurora University, a small private institution nestled among mid-century homes in Aurora, Illinois, a middle class suburb west of Chicago.  I am the Assistant Director of the Center for Teaching … Continue reading

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Rachel Jeantel’s Short Blue Dream

The yellows and greens and browns and blues still ooze, but Rachel Jeantel and Trayvon Martin are getting closer to the edge of that Samford subdivision. Even though they’re walking side by side, they’re texting each other. And dying laughing. … Continue reading

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Song and Video of 2013

American Secrets: Stopped and Frisked and Gentrifed …

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The Fake Male Feminist Chicanery by Minh Nguyen

Some personal thoughts on this wily breed … This last summer, a straight male friend and I cozied up on his sofa with his laptop and, to sate my nosiness, perused his OkCupid account.  My friend received a graduate degree … Continue reading

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Bloodletting Season — by Vanessa Willoughby

In order to survive adolescence, you must force yourself to sell-out. Bite down on your tongue, harden your jaw, clench your teeth, and learn to join the league of the invisible minority. Trick your white classmates; they must not realize … Continue reading

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George Zimmerman, White Supremacy and Black and Brown Criminality: It’s Much More than Racism — by Gyasi Ross

I wish George Zimmerman was simply a racist.  I wish I could say that he was a white redneck that hated brown-skinned people.  If he were, then the shooting of Trayvon Martin would be explainable.  It would still be tragic … Continue reading

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