Welcome to my Browser History. No, not all of it. I’d have to explain a lot of things if that were the case. Instead, Browser History will be a monthly recap of the best things I’ve read or watched the previous 4-5 weeks. Something important I wanted to do this year was to soak up as much content from my favorite creators, writers, activists, filmmakers, etc. There’s so much out there, and I’d love to share pieces that leave me inspired and may inspire you. This week is a mix of personal essays, thoughts on Hollywood and its race issue, and some funny articles that guarantee to make you laugh.
by Rowan Blanchard
“My codependent relationship with self-blame and self-deprecation as a means of self-defense has held me tightly since I can remember. It has felt safer and less terrifying to silence myself to a degree than to actually engage with people, and make them take responsibility for their own actions. I have treated, specifically, male feelings and ego as superior to and more fragile than my own. This practice dates back to elementary school, where it was first embedded in me and my female classmates, that our feelings, bodies, and minds would be used as weapons against us—mostly, but not exclusively—by our male peers.”
Rowan Blanchard, star of my favorite spinoff ever, Girl Meets World is 14 years old. Read the above quote from her most recent essay for Rookie Mag and then let that sink in. At 14, I was angry journaling about boys and marching band. What I love about this young woman is that she seems so self-aware at a young age. In this very well-written piece, she talks of her history for apologizing for simply existing–which is something a lot of women do. She also shares three things that help her remember she doesn’t need to continuously say sorry.
interview by Solange Knowles
“I think that as a black girl you grow up internalizing all these messages that say you shouldn’t accept your hair or your skin tone or your natural features, or that you shouldn’t have a voice, or that you aren’t smart,” she says. “I feel like the only way to fight that is to just be yourself on the most genuine level and to connect with other black girls who are awakening and realizing that they’ve been trying to conform.”
I was just as geeked as Solange was that she was interviewing the Amandla Stenberg. I first came upon Amandla, as much as the world did, back in 2011 during the premiere of The Hunger Games. “Who is this adorably talented girl?” I thought to myself. From The Hunger Games on, Amandla continued with school and it was a school project that projected her into the limelight again. Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows was initially a class project that has now been seen on YouTube over 1 million times. The video, which is described as a “crash course in Black culture” calls out cultural appropriation. Specifically, the appropriation of Black culture by White Americans. In this completely captivating interview, Amandla talks about how she handles being a role model, how she has come to love her Blackness, her notorious group of friends, and so much more. This interview is online, but I’d highly recommend picking up the copy of Teen Vogue, who put together an issue that I only wish I had growing up.
by Roxane Gay
by Candace Simpson
by Jenny Slate
“This is what I was thinking as I drove myself to get my very first-ever, and probably only-ever ‘Vajacial.’ The Vajacial is billed as a facial, but for your pussy. I wasn’t sure how major it was going to be. I enjoy getting my face cleaned, and I like the idea of deep, weird dirts getting taken out of my face skin so that I can have a clean face to show everyone.”
I don’t even want to spoil that much of this. I just need for you to read about the hilarious Jenny Slate’s first and only Vajacial. Also subscribe to Lenny Letter.
by Marti Schodt
“Being the funny one means you’re not really allowed to be stressed or sad or frustrated. Everyone needs you to tell them it’ll be okay and ease the tension and lick the wounds; you’re not allowed to cry or yell or scream into your pillow, and if you do, it can only be in the funny way, the FML way that makes everyone feel better about their own lives.”
by Johnetta Elzie
“So imagine the hot, burning pain I felt when the TSA agent tugged and pulled at my scalp, yanking at my actual twists. It caused me so much pain that I yelled at her — partially because it was a knee-jerk reaction to being hurt, but also because of her disregard for me as a person. I had to react. She looked at me with such confusion, almost as if she could not believe I felt any pain whatsoever. Her puzzled expression startled me. In that moment she did not comprehend that I am a person who feels, and I couldn’t understand why that would be such a hard concept to grasp.”
Johnetta “Netta” Elzie is a well known civil rights activist, with Ferguson and the death of Mike Brown being her introduction to the frontline. Her most recent travel experience turned sour when a TSA employee yanked on her braids, violating her personal space. Black hair is often scrutinized but also a topic of wonder. Black hair is simultaneously met with awe and envy, but also disgust. Black hair can be viewed as a weapon and something to fear. In Netta’s piece, she writes of that discrimination and why it’s important to speak up about it.
What were your favorite things on the Internet in January? Off the internet?