Answering the question ‘Where do you come from?’ isn’t easy. It’s so loaded with implications about identity, home and culture that even asking the question feels straight-up rude, and when we do start unpacking our origins we often end up in limbo, feeling like ‘not a girl, not yet a woman’–era Britney pondering life on a cliff edge. If anyone’s familiar with navigating these spaces it’s Kelela, an artist, a woman and a second-generation Ethiopian raised in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Growing up between worlds left her with a natural inclination for connecting people, and it’s these in-betweens that define her music: vulnerable R&B inflections and heartfelt lyrics hang above tricky production and screwy beats. In this composite space Kelela once again acts as a careful liaison, helping us to understand the different parts of her musical and personal identity.
Muslim-Australian writer Fariha Róisín will probably inspire you to be a better person. Now living in New York, Róisín spends her time writing — she’s currently working on her first poetry book — and standing up for the causes she believes in: race, islamophobia and transgender rights to name a few. Róisín describes her work as “thoughtful” but says she’d rather not be defined by what she “does”, preferring instead to declare that she’s alive and living. Ditto! Her life motto? “Fight the power!” Also ditto.
Róisín co-hosts the excellent podcast Two Brown Girls and writes for places like Teen Vogue and Broadly. Inspired yet? We hung out with her in New York recently to take some photos and talk about surviving in the creative industry and Trump’s America. Get some important advice below.
Mick Jenkins wants to change the way you think about things, whether that be through his music or simply running into him on the street. He’s one of the most lyrical rappers coming up in the Chicago scene, putting himself way ahead of the game with mixtapes made to inspire conversations about truth and love.
Paloma Elsesser is living her best life, modelling, writing and sharing ideas out of New York City. Sister to skater Sage Elsesser, she grew up in a spiritual and staunchly anti-Republican family and has taken all of the good values/ideas into her adult life. When she’s not promoting body-positivity for brands like Lonely and Nike, she’s acting as a relatable voice for women’s rights and being a legend on the internet. See evidence of the latter below.
Following in the footsteps of such classic shows as Freaks and Geeks and Tracey McBean, Stranger Things reminds us that nerds are actually the coolest. The modern-day masterpiece, which turned our world upside down when it aired on Netflix earlier this year, is also responsible for unearthing a group of kids who are restoring our faith in humanity by proving the future is in very good hands — including 13-year-old Finn Wolfhard, who plays the relatably awkward Mike Wheeler. Talking on the phone from Los Angeles, Wolfhard weighs in on the likelihood of flying cars (low) and his decidedly weird generation.