The Baldwin
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The Baldwin

This is an email from The Beale Street Papers, a newsletter by The Baldwin.

The Beale Street Papers Vol. 3

Conscious rage and a responsibility to our people brought you here. Welcome to the Beale Street Papers, a Friday paper from BALDWIN. If the streets is talkin’ every now and then, it pays to listen.

What a historical, yet controversial week it’s been for the culture!

From one minute to the next, I’m filled with rage and then pride. Sadly, I’m conflicted about both feelings. As a child, I was clear on who my heroes were. It was much easier to see things in Black and white (we capitalize Black and lowercase white at BALDWIN, by the way), when others were making my decisions for me. But as an adult with a mouth and mind of my own… it’s deep chile!

So Joe Biden chose Kamala Harris as his choice for Vice President. It became clear for the last few months that Biden was going to choose a Black woman as his running mate. Our Brooklyn-based reporter DeSean reported on Biden’s initial short list including Stacy Abrams who was a personal favorite. Harris’ convictions of Black men and women and harsh stance on petty crime as attorney general wasn’t favorable to our community — and was a major issue when she tried to leverage her Blackness during the democratic primaries (which she ultimately conceded to Biden). Now as his running mate, I’m sure her color will become a major player in his rhetoric to “Save the Black People” and I still find myself unsatisfied — but conflicted because one thing is for sure — Trump. Must. Go.


This week, we closed one of our beloved columns, Grace Under Fire, as the series finale of “Greenleaf” aired on OWN. The show ran successfully for five seasons and ended on top as one of the best dramas for the network.

In other news, Culture Editor Bianca Gregg continues with her weekly recaps of Showtime’s stellar drama, “The Chi” As the season reveals new revelations about our favorite characters, Gregg brings us her signature wit and sassy style each Sunday, so be sure to follow us on Instagram to be abreast of when her recaps drop.


This week is all about the fabulous Race essayist Dr. Cynthia Alease — congratulations are in order to the sister with the prolific pen who was selected by the editors at Medium to have her essay on Social Security selected as a curated piece. That story, along with her OpEd on who is really in charge in America, are both getting major traction on our site, and on social media. Mama is trending!

BALDWIN’S ALBUM OF THE WEEK: Chosen by Paige Wilson, Video Editor @themilffiles

“BUBBA” by Kaytranada.

If you like 90’s house music then you are going to love Kaytranada. As a Haitian-Canadian DJ, he has remixed some of our favorite songs including Jill Scott‘s “Golden,” Sade’s “KISS of Life,” and one of my personal favorite Teedra Moses “Be Your Girl.” His music lives in the genre of electronic/dance, but it has heavy hip hop and R&B influences.

“BUBBA” has collaborations with Pharrell, Estelle, Kali Uchis, Teedra Moses, SiR, Tinashe, and many more great artists. This upbeat electronic/dance album is great for working out. It’s great driving music, and even great for dancing around in your living room. It’s not your traditional hip hop and/or R&B, but if you’re looking to switch it up Kaytranada’s “BUBBA” is a good one to listen to.

📘BALDWIN’S BOOK OF THE WEEK: Chosen by James R. Sanders, Senior Editor @JamesRSandersBlacklisted: 12 Men Facing Stigma and Success” by Elishia N.E. Peterson

Blacklisted,” is like soul food because it feeds you spiritually and leaves you feeling full and satisfied. The project is a collection of poetry inspired by conversations and interviews the author had with 12 different Black men each at different points in their lives. Peterson brilliantly weaves together their narratives with poetic verbiage to pay tribute to the plight of the Black man as only as Black woman could.


In these uncertain times it’s easy to shift priorities. This pandemic is showing everyone in their truest and most naked light. Is that fair, not necessarily. But is it happening, just the same — yes. The people on your inspiration board before Covid and BLM, might be on your cancelled list after the fact. That’s fine. But remember something beloved; despite all of that, you still are who you are. Never lose sight of that. And if you are unhappy with who you are, you can always pivot. As long as you are breathing, you can always change, or stay the same. Bobby Brown said it best — “it’s my prerogative.”



BALDWIN pushes the idea of defiant criticism. Written and produced by Black people, BALDWIN is literary reparations for society and culture. We challenge the idea that an educated opinion looks and sounds one way. Visit our homepage at:

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James R. Sanders

James R. Sanders

Culture + Fashion Journalist. Author of forthcoming, Reparations for Style & Soul. Twitter @JamesRSanders