Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His first collection of poems, The Crown Ain't Worth Much was released in 2016 and was nominated for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. His first collection of essays, They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us, was released in fall 2017 by Two Dollar Radio.
Can a Tribute Album to a Fallen Artist Help Us Heal?
Reflections on suicide, survival, and the new tribute album to Scott Hutchison.
Jamila Woods' New Album Brings Iconic Black Artists Back to Life
"Legacy! Legacy!" is a revelatory concept album that puts Jamila Woods' voice in conversation with black creators from the past.
The Resurrection of Aretha Franklin in 'Amazing Grace'
The newly released concert film is a joyous celebration of faith—and of how Aretha moved even secular audiences toward the holy.
Honoring Hal Blaine—and the Other Unseen Laborers in the Music Industry
Often relegated to the small print, session musicians helped create the most iconic songs of the last century. Hal Blaine was one of the greatest, and quietest, among them.
Has the Trump Administration Changed the Way My Brain Works?
If I spend enough of my lived experience fighting my way out of lies, I might find myself too exhausted to receive the truth when I'm done.
A Politics That Requires Taylor Swift Is Not Healthy or Durable
The singer made news with the first real political statement of her career. It was overdue—and oddly depressing.
Too Much and Still Not Enough: Mourning Aretha Franklin
The funerals of my Muslim childhood were quick and modest. But I've learned to love the extended gospel funeral. Aretha's homegoing reminded me why.
What the Terrorist Steals When He Takes His Own Life
What happens when suicide forestalls any possibility of justice?
A Guide to the Hidden Political Poetry of the American Midwest
Celebrating three poets whose work is as trenchantly political as anything on an op-ed page: a poetry of labor, of representation, of hope.
'Proud Mary' and the Pressure on Black Audiences to Support Black Movies
Analyzing the persistent pressure on black audiences to root for products that aren't always very good.
'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' Is Hopelessly Bad on Race
Many critics have praised Martin McDonagh's nuanced portrayal of bigotry. But his black characters are mere devices—and the bigot's redemption never really feels earned.
Christmas Carols Are the Purest Expression of Christmas. Why Save Them for December?
For me, Christmas Carols evoke hope in a way that Christmas itself never can.
How 'Girls Trip' Helped Me Escape the Madness of Trump's America
I have seen the movie seven times, and it helped me survive the summer.
Black People Didn't Die So You Could Learn a Lesson
Detroit is yet another example of America's need to exculpate itself by watching black people die.
My Demons and My Dog and This Anxiety and That Noise
Anxiety is clearest when it’s loud—and most dangerous when it’s quiet.