Mourning Chadwick Boseman, blissful cucumber salad, real horror meets fantasy, and more.

Digest #12 - August 30th 2020

Mourning Chadwick Boseman, blissful cucumber salad, real horror meets fantasy, and more.
The Seven - A weekly digest by Keeya-Lee Ayre

Digest #12, August 30th 2020


One

Two days ago, the world learned of Chadwick Boseman's passing. He had been privately battling colon cancer for years while filming all of the movies we've loved. The video below, originally a segment on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon and reposted by Shaun King on Instagram, is beyond touching. It demonstrates what a warm, caring and genuine person Chadwick was, while also exemplifying how much he meant to Black people in the US and beyond. After Kobe Bryant and Naya Rivera, I'm not sure how many more young, talented Black celebrities we can handle losing. 2020 has been rough, to say the least, and it's only two thirds over. This video has helped me to celebrate all he gave us while we mourn his loss. Rest in power, Chadwick.

Chadwick hugging a fan, who he surprises in the video. This is a screenshot.

Two

My wonderful global readers; here's a dish to bid farewell to the Summer in the Northern Hemisphere, and welcome the sun's warmth back into your life in Southern Hemisphere. This blissful cucumber and lettuce salad, from Yotam Ottolenghi's SIMPLE cookbook, has a surprisingly delightful balance of flavors. The fresh ingredients are the stars: crisp lettuce and cucumber, mint, coriander (cilantro), garlic, lemon juice, yoghurt, salt and nigella seeds. It's incredibly easy and requires no fancy cooking skills. Simply chop, mix and enjoy.

A screenshot of my own Instagram story, preparing this dish with a few substitutions (black sesame instead of Nigella seeds, and different lettuce).

Three

Lovecraft Country had me madly excited from the trailers and premise: a search for a missing father, while encountering otherworldly creatures, in 1950s Jim Crow America. The show is based on a novel by Matt Ruff (added to my reading list!) and features three central characters: a Korean war vet named Atticus Freeman, his Uncle George, and his friend Letitia, played by the amazing Jurnee Smollett from Eve's Bayou and True Blood. The show interweaves horrors real and imagined in an innovative and thought-provoking story. The genius to me so far is that the realities of white supremacy are far scarier than any of the supernatural ones presented. I also loved that the series begins by referencing the Barsoom series, which I mentioned in the first ever digest of The Seven. Only two episodes are released, and I am already hooked. HBO has been annoying me with these traditional weekly episodes for years (hello years of waiting around for Game of Thrones, but let's not speak of the finale, ever). Buckle in, with Jordan Peele (behind Get Out and Us) at the helm, we know this is going to be a wild ride!

A still from the show. From left, George Freeman (Courtney B. Vance), Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors) and Letitia Lewis (Jurnee Smollett).

Four

I've wanted to learn how to roller skate ever since Roll Bounce came out 15 years ago, when I was in high school. It's a heartwarming film that stars Bow Wow—formerly of the 'lil' variety—as the leader of a roller skating crew in 1970s Chicago. The film has some great jokes and one liners, and a killer soundtrack. Jurnee Smollett (above, in number three!) is also in it. I remember being so excited that there was a Black and white biracial character like me. Reflecting on this helped me realise, in a small way, how far we've come with diversity on screen. I took the plunge towards my skating diva dreams this week and managed to buy some skates (which are in really high demand and sold out most places, COVID-19 is weird), protective gear, over ear headphones and denim shorts. You know, the essentials. Disco skating playlist is now in the works, stay tuned.

A still from the film. Bow Wow is pictured at far left.

Five

Julia Blu deserves your attention! I stumbled across this independent music duo (yes, apparently it's two people!) on Instagram, after they engaged with a couple of my posts. Whew - what talent! Not only are the vocals gorgeous, the lyrics are equally beautiful, production is totally professional and their music videos are a delight to watch. They also have a carefully crafted aesthetic that is very rare for an unsigned artist. Below, I share the music video for their track "Blue". It's a wonderful track and I actually found myself tapping my toes and dancing in my seat while listening. Their latest single "God" was also released this week and I absolutely love it. I hope you do, too.

A still from the "Blue" music video.

Six

Tate Modern is my favorite art gallery in the world. My company is headquartered in London, and when I lived there I would often take a lunchtime stroll over the Thames to the gallery, which isn't far from the office. It's free to enter, which means there's no cap on the number of times you can attend and enjoy, so I would usually spend quite a while sitting with specific pieces (like the powerful room of Rothko works). While I can't physically go to the gallery now, or back to London any time soon, we're so fortunate to live in a time with the internet so we can vicariously experience things still. Aja Barber shared this post on Instagram two days ago, from her recent visit to the gallery, and it stopped me in my tracks.

"This piece is called #DaughtersOfWaters. It’s by #KaraWalker and it’s one of the most important pieces of artwork I’ve ever seen. Black bodies drowning. Sharks. A noose hanging. A face gasping for air. At the top a women [sic] where water shoots from her breast and mouth (wet nurse). A black person who’s [sic] head pokes out of a shell that never stops crying even though their eyes are bright and wide. It’s dark.⁣" - @ajabarber

Please click through to read the entire caption. It's a powerful post.

Aja Barber, pictured in front of Kara Walker's "Daughters of Waters", from Instagram.

Seven

As usual, I'm sending you off with something sweet, light and fun. This prank video had me cackling. No description is really possible without ruining it, so click through and enjoy: only takes 40 seconds to watch!

The thumbnail from @maisvault's post on Instagram.

The Seven is a weekly digest sharing a collection of seven carefully curated stories, recipes, images, movies, essays, books, songs and other content. Thoughtfully contextualised and passed along with consideration, for your mental nourishment.

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