The earliest memory I have of celebrating Black History Month was in the fourth grade. I attended a predominantly white school in Middleton, Wisconsin. One day, my mom noticed my backpack was much heavier than usual. She asked why I was taking so many books to school. I told her about the lesson from the day before where my teacher summed up Black history with one specific story, the trans-Atlantic slave trade. This was long before Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s excellent Ted Talk about the dangers of a single story, long before I’d taken any social justice classes or learned any language to label that moment for the reductive, misguided, oppressive experience it was.
The Emerald blows loudly as the royal trumpet, signaling that there is indeed life abundant. It’s the sound of information, the sound of challenge, the sound of change and — maybe most importantly — the sound of hope. Join me in supporting the Emerald as a recurring donor during their 8th anniversary campaign, Ripples & Sparks at Home, April 20–28. Become a Rainmaker now by choosing the “recurring donor” option on the donation page!
—Marcus Harden, Educator, Author, & Rainmaker
Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, rapper, flutist, and all-around icon Melissa Jefferson, aka Lizzo, just released a reality TV series called Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls that is 100% bingeworthy. Talented, ratchet, authentic, hilarious, and strong, when Lizzo brings her outlandish outfits and bigger-than-life personality to the screen, you cannot look away. The show begins with 13 dancers invited to do a private audition for Lizzo to perform onstage with her at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival.
In celebration of the South Seattle Emerald’s 8th Anniversary, we asked community members to share moments in our publication’s history that remain special to them.
by Reagan Jackson
The Emerald community has been creating ripples with its creativity and genius for 8 magnificent years! Those ripples are felt far beyond South Seattle — community, after all, is not a place but its people. And home can be a place, people, or both. The energy our people generate at home and beyond ignites sparks that prove perennially that even the tiniest of sparks illuminates dark places in all directions and can guide us to wherever we need to go.
Please help us continue to serve our community by becoming a recurring donor during our 8th anniversary campaign, Ripples & Sparks at Home, April 20–28. Become a Rainmaker today by choosing the “recurring donor” option on our donation page! —The Emerald Team
Marcus Harrison Green and I met shortly before the birth of the South Seattle Emerald. What started out as my giving him writing lessons turned into a lot of laughter, knocking back rum and cokes at Jude’s, talking shit about local politics, and reading each other’s writing. Inevitably, our conversations would return to the big gaping hole in Seattle’s media scene and Marcus would wax poetic about the need for a news outlet where the South End could curate its own story rather than being continuously villainized in news told by strangers from outside the community.
It’s been two years since most of us have had movie theater popcorn. That fact, in and of itself, is enough to explain why The Batman made $254 million on its opening weekend. Also — given that we are on the verge of war and in year two of a global pandemic — it’s a great time to watch a superhero movie. However, this was not exactly the movie I think anyone hoped it would be.
Spoiler alert: This review is for people who have already seen the movie, will never see it, or generally don’t mind knowing what happens. I can’t exactly spoil this movie, because there have been so many versions of Batman — from the comic to the cartoon to the TV show to movie after movie (Lego and live-action) — that you probably know the plot from the trailers. From Adam West to Christian Bale, this is a story that has been retold every few years for decades.
This fall marked my 10th anniversary of owning a house in Rainier Beach, making this the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere. This year, instead of hosting a celebratory gathering or painting another wall, I stood sobbing in my living room, trapped in a nightmare while my neighbor boarded up my window and hung a sheet of canvas to keep the glass from further falling into the house.
When I arrived home on the evening of Oct. 26, 2021, I knew something was wrong.
The epigraph of Reagan Jackson’s new book, Still Here: A South End Mixtape From an Unexpected Journalist, comes from the great Audre Lorde: “If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” It’s an auspicious opening to an impressive collection of some of Jackson’s most important journalism over the past 10 years; writing for which she has won multiple awards and distinctions, including the 2016 Seattle Globalist Globie Award Journalist of the Year and a 2020 Distinguished Visiting Writer at Seattle University. It’s an ethos that the writing consistently embodies.
It wasn’t unusual to awaken to a misty morning. After the ash of fire season and the yellow acid skies you had seen enough unprecedented celestial events that had made you wonder if you would live through the day. The gray rolled in, viscous and deep, but somehow also unnotable, even comforting in the way it clung tight and close, blanketing the house in wool socks-weather. This was a thing that happened most winter mornings and when the dawn broke it would burn off and dissipate into a slightly less oppressive gray. Except this time it didn’t.
(Black History Today is published in collaboration with Rise Up For Students)
Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete? Proving nature’s law is wrong it learned to walk with out having feet. Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams, it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else ever cared.
-Tupac Shakur, “The Rose That Grew from Concrete”
That’s the way Reagan Jackson described the craft of writing to me the first time we met. It was during a one-on-one writing session at Hillman City’s Tin Umbrella (now Onda Origins Cafe & Roastery).
I almost trembled with intimidation that first meeting. I was mere months removed from blogging in my pajamas in the basement of my parents, house after I forewent the lucrative and luxurious world of high finance to eke out a “living” as a journalist.
It was a rare sunny day in January and the curtains in my dining room were drawn open to let the light in. I sat fidgeting with my sewing while on a Zoom meeting for work. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man come into my yard.
by Enrique Cerna, Jini Palmer, and Marcus Harrison Green
We look at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the racial justice movement on artists and performers in communities of color. We talk with writer and author Reagan Jackson, Washington State Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna plus singer and “The Voice” alum Stephanie Anne Johnson. Each brings a unique perspective on how this year of pandemic and social change has affected them personally and professionally. Continue reading Life on the Margins Special Episode: Pandemic, Racial Justice and the Arts→
Amplifying the Authentic Narratives of South Seattle