On Unlocked, Denzel Curry conjures the greats. Fresh ears, no context, I could be convinced that this album is the product of 90s New York. The presence of DOOM is so palpable throughout — the cartoon, movie, and tv snippets throughout; the eclectic beat selection; the clever word play — that my first listen through both gave me goosebumps and choked me up. The raps are infused with an erratic and roaring style reminiscent of ODB and Busta Rhymes. There is a tone and an aggression that mirrors DMX. …


Jan on her right, slurring her way through an explanation or an admonition — Deborah could not tell which. Nancy on her left, face reddened; whether from the embarrassment or the liquor unclear. And Deb, wrenching her feet from the floor to which they’d become epoxied; double-checking that she had her phone, keys, wallet; standing to leave, and admonishing herself that she’d known this was a bad idea from the start.

Deborah was many things. An introvert one of them. But every so often, succumbing to a strange mix of peer pressure and self-induced amnesia (the sort where one forgets…


The image is this:

A slender white man stands atop the Bull in Bowling Green. He is clad in red, white, and blue. But he is mostly red; drenched in it. It runs over his palms and spills through the slits separating his fingers. It has turned the blue streaks of his outfit purple, the white streaks of his outfit pink. It pools under his feet on the back of the Bull and runs down those bronze haunches, cascades to the floor, and finally congeals among the entrails that surround the two.

The stench is unbearable and so the men…


Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Following the Civil Rights Movement, the outcry of Black Americans has largely fallen on deaf ears. White people have ignored our voices, preferring to believe that the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act somehow catapulted this nation into post-racialism (there is no such thing). They are, of course, wrong. And as they have turned a blind eye (“I’m color blind; I don’t see race”), the police have consolidated power; terrorized, raped, and murdered Black folks; and become a militia, waging war, using…


I last published a Medium article on October 9th, 2019. I last submitted to a publication on January 9th, 2019. My Medium article has received the most views and reads of anything I’ve ever published here. Those submissions were all rejected. The peaks and valleys of trying to become a good writer are sometimes draining.

But there is a theme here (which I did not notice until I began writing this piece). I make significant, if spontaneous, writing decisions on the 9th. It is fitting, then, that this publication would get its introduction on May 9th.

The Grindstone is, first…


Edited by Joelle Robinson

Some days ago, Ben Shapiro said that rap is not music. I was going to begin by enumerating the ways that Shapiro is wrong. I was going to introduce him to the wonderful art of sampling; to acts like the Roots, who’ve placed live instrumentation at the heart of their hip hop; to hip hop artists like Erykah Badu, Tyler the Creator, J. Cole, Drake, Beyoncé and countless others who broaden the genre with every album they make. But after watching the full, seven-minute clip of his conversation with the rapper Zuby, I see that my…


Pixabay

Terrariums are little self-contained biomes. A DIY terrarium offers it’s creator the opportunity to play God. I learned both of these facts on a Saturday when my partner and I found ourselves — after hours of meandering — in Pretty Green Terrariums, a small DIY terrarium shop that had been open for just 2 weeks. It was run by a man in his mid to late twenties, and his partner, who’d formerly been sustaining the business by doing presentations at schools and hosting pop-ups. He was ambivalent about having opened a physical location: happy, but daunted by the reality of…


https://tinyurl.com/yysag8ec

There’s a scene in The Last Black Man in San Francisco (TLBMS) that shows Jimmie, one of the film’s two main characters, sitting at a bus stop, lamenting. As he stares at the ground, over strides an older white man, stark naked. At this point, we are over halfway through the film and its discussion of gentrification has been clearly established. The crowd I happen to be a part of, seated in the Angelika theater in New York City, is given to believe that this man is everything wrong with the “new San Francisco”: a white man with the hubris…


Profiling a Disruptor in the Water and Sanitation Sector

In 2012, when Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, I was a high school student. My family was without water for a few days, buoyed only by stockpiles that my father had collected in advance of the storm. Those days were some of the roughest I had lived in my young life, the difficulty exacerbated by the power outages that plagued the East Coast. Thus, when I imagine the situation that so many humans globally face — when I consider the infrastructural inadequacies that exist — it is hard for me to sit idly by. What, for me, constituted a…


Photo credit: Daily Nation

Kenya is experiencing rapid urbanization. This has been a boon for those fortunate enough to be counted in the ranks of the country’s wealthy elite. Among other benefits of wealth, they enjoy all of the sanitation luxuries that one can imagine: they drink water from the tap that is supplied by pipes; they use toilets that flush in the comfort of their own homes.

The same cannot be said of many of the country’s poorest residents. In Garissa County for example, a cholera outbreak tore through a number of refugee camps: 1,216 cholera cases were reported and 14 lives were…

Reggie Gilliard

Writer and M.S. Ed. student in education policy at the University of Pennsylvania

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