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Former Vice President Joe Biden giving a speech in Henderson, Nevada (Gage Skidmore / Flickr)

Around 10:45PM on the closing night of the Democratic National Convention, hopeful candidate Joe Biden began his speech with a quote from an unlikely source: socialist Black feminist activist and educator Ella Baker. The quote Biden parroted went as follows: “Give people light and they will find the way.” Biden called upon the legacy of Baker and the movements attached to her as he accepted his nomination for Democratic presidential candidate: “I will draw on the best of us… I will be an ally of the light, not the darkness.”

Endearing as it was to hear the departed Baker’s words…


Vinyl imprint of the original 1998 single “It Feels So Good” by Sonique (Image: Discogs)
Vinyl imprint of the original 1998 single “It Feels So Good” by Sonique (Image: Discogs)
Vinyl imprint of the original 1998 single “It Feels So Good” by Sonique (Image: Discogs)

Note: This piece was originally written in 2018, to commemorate the 20th year anniversary of the original release. Now with the 20th anniversary of the re-release of the hit single (May 2020), this piece never found a home in a proper music publication, so I’m publishing it here. Enjoy!

You’ve probably heard UK musician Sonique’s calling card, “It Feels So Good”, even if you don’t know from where. I recently played the song for my friend, a gay Mennonite boy from a small town in rural Indiana, and even he recognized it. It was a flash in the pan, hitting…


From rap makeovers to movies, pimps are everywhere. What’s missing are the people their business is built on.

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Photo: Andre D. Wagner/Universal Pictures

In 2019, the pimp is back. Just ask Doja Cat.

On her recently released sophomore album, Hot Pink, the 24-year-old artist leaves her psychedelic R&B behind for a steadfastly trap sound and a familiar persona. “Ooh, that’s my trick / I’m her pimp / She my flip,” she leads on “Bottom Bitch,” continuing: “She don’t create no problems / That’s why the bitch my bottom.” The album’s accompanying videos embrace the iconography as well: In “Rules,” Doja Cat romps through the desert in a purple outfit clutching a briefcase full of cash; in “Cyber Sex,” she plays a camgirl and…


Community meal prep with the Boston chapter of Food Not Bombs

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A popular piece of pro-vegan paraphernalia reads “the revolution starts in the kitchen.” For one group of activists in Boston, this mantra does not just extend to moratoria on animal products and skillful meal prep, but a broader vision of liberation for all oppressed living things. Every Saturday morning, a collective of young adults gather in a community kitchen to cook bulk community meals, all made with vegan ingredients sourced from donations and scavenging. This is a savory precursor to revolution: this is the Boston chapter of Food Not Bombs.

“We’re a group that’s against oppression of any kind, especially…


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Photo by Morgan Basham on Unsplash

HASSAN GHANNY is a novelist, essayist, and mental health advocate who resides in Boston, MA. His writing has been featured in The Caribbean Writer, Cuepoint, Scroll.in, Burnt Roti, and The West Indian Critic. His first novel, NMQP, is completed and seeking a publisher if you happen to know anyone.

I hate the word ‘psychotic’. Not because it’s a bad word, or even a useless or meaningless one, but because it’s a word that tells me almost nothing about the experience behind it. I say this as a peer support worker in a mental health program who interacts with persons with…


CJG GHANNY is a novelist, essayist, and mental health advocate who resides in Boston, MA. His writing has been featured in Cuepoint, The Caribbean Writer, Scroll.in, Burnt Roti, and The West Indian Critic. He is the editor-in-chief of Lesser and Leeward, a digital press dedicated to emerging Caribbean diaspora voices. His first novel, NMQP, is completed and seeking a publisher if you happen to know anyone. He can be found on Twitter @cjg_ghanny.

Clean Bandit has an impeccability that isn’t easily explainable. For a few of their latest single releases — “I Miss You” and “Rockabye” — I heard…


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A close reading of the producer’s autobiography reveals surprising sources for his talent and his sound

The next time you think about how your boss is unqualified to do his job, remember this: Timbaland, superstar producer and former architect-in-chief of American pop and R&B, can’t read sheet music.

That may sound like a potshot, but it’s actually praise. It’s clear at this point that Timbaland, aka Timothy “Tim” Mosley, has a grasp of not simply music, but raw wavelengths and peaks and trebles, that most non-canine listeners do not possess. Over the years his many unconventional choices in samples — birds chirping, babies cooing, and beatboxed imitations of turntable scratches, all chopped and looped so as…


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It’s time for sonic reparations

“Let me tell you something about house music. It’s not just a groove; house is a feeling…”

So goes “The Word” — a classic a cappella by Chicago producer Aaron-Carl Ragland, since sampled on countless white label records played in club basements from the East Village to Edinburgh. It’s a short piece, but one with a universal message. In a proud and defiant timbre Ragland continues: “It doesn’t matter where you come from… For in my house, we are all free. One nation. God’s children coming together in the spirit of house.”

It’s a tempting telling; that on the club…

Hassan Ghanny

Novelist, essayist, measurer of distances. My music journalism lives here. Find me on Twitter @hassan_ghanny and Instagram @diaspora.gothic for more content.

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