One of the first ongoing columns I wanted for my blog was a regular spotlight on some of my favorite articles, videos, and other assorted goodies. Think of it as a monthly “Treasure Box.”
The queen’s jewelry box in Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette.
For the first-ever Treasure Box, I’m highlighting a few all-time favorites, as well as some more recent discoveries, curiosities, and oddities. Enjoy!
♥ “6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person” by David Wong, executive editor of Cracked and New York Times bestselling author. Absolutely required reading. This might be my favorite Internet article ever. Cracked articles can be hit or miss, but when they hit, they hit. A lot of David Wong’s writing was fundamental in changing my worldview to be a lot more optimistic and ambitious in general.
♥ Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk, “We Should All Be Feminists“. I saw this video on an author’s Tumblr two years ago, watched it, and was like “Yeah, yeah, everything about this makes so much sense.” And that was an eye-opening moment for me: I’d been a feisty little feminist my entire childhood, but then, like many other girls, I’d distanced myself from the term in my teen years, thinking it was “uncool.” So thank you Ms. Adichie. At least one person out there changed her mind on feminism because of this video. Some of you might know this as the speech sampled by Beyonce in her song “***Flawless”, or the speech that in book form recently made headlines for being given out to every 16-year-old in Sweden (woot!) Adichie deserves a lot more recognition than that, though. She’s a wonderful novelist–PURPLE HIBISCUS is stunning, but AMERICANAH (which will soon be adapted into a film starring Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo!) is an astonishing exploration of race, immigration, and globalization, with fascinating points of discussion on everything from blogging to the racial politics of hair.
♥ Pearl Charles’ self-titled EP, available on Apple Music or for streaming on Bandcamp and Spotify. I listened to this towards the end of 2015 and Charles became one of my most to-watch artists. Her smoky, torch-singer vocals are like a hazier Zooey Deschanel.
♥ Zella Day, one of my favorite new artists of 2015 (listen to her new song “Bloodline”, written for the indie western “Diablo” starring Scott Eastwood, here) started the awesome hashtag #headstrongmama on Instagram. Share stories of strong and inspiring women over Instagram for a chance to win tickets to a concert? Hell, yes! I wanted to spotlight my own headstrong mama or grandmama, but I wasn’t sure if they’d be comfortable with me sharing their pics or life stories publicly, so I uploaded a watercolor painting of Lorde, which you can see here.
♥ I was a huge fan of Food Network Challenge in middle school, but not because of the cooking competition format–I loved looking at the pretty cakes and sugar art! One of my favorite cake artists from the show was the undefeated Alexandria Pellegrino of Cake Opera Co. Her cakes are lush, dramatic, and inspired by everything from French Rococo to 17th century Dutch still life paintings. They’re absolutely stunning.
♥ Feminist Frequency released their annual report of 2015, their first year as a 401(k) charity, as well as their plans for 2016. I really have to admire Anita Sarkeesian for still persisting in the face of never-ending online abuse. Keep fighting the good fight, Anita!
♥ Also towards the end of 2015, I stumbled upon fashion blogger Randi Butler and am absolutely in love with her style! As a fellow woman of color with a taste for vintage fashion, this adorable gal who describes herself as “Amelie Poulain with an afro” was like a girl after my own heart. Her site, Milk and Twee, just had a makeover and it’s absolutely darling, like her. And check out her accompanying Spotify playlist on the sidebar.
♥ One of my favorite websites is Jason Porath’s Rejected Princesses. A former DreamWorks animator, Porath illustrates some of the most “awesome, awful, or offbeat” women of world history and mythology, with accompanying historical text. Past “Princesses” have included Chinese pirate queen Ching Shih and Harlem crime boss Stephanie St. Clair. The illustrated entries have taken a backseat lately as Porath works on an upcoming RP book (coming this year!), but the site also features neat news stories about multicultural feminism.
♥ Pottermore recently added their Sorting Hat quiz back to the site, which is all kinds of awesome (it’s official, I’m a Ravenclaw!) A few days ago, it also added some information on international wizarding schools: Mahoutokoro (Japan), Uagadou (Africa), and Castelobruxo (Brazil). They are fascinating. The American wizarding school also was announced to be named Ilvermony, and indigenous magic played a major role in its founding. We’ll doubtless learn more when Fantastic Beasts hits theaters…
♥ I’m a fan of CutVideo’s 100 Years of Beauty series, a YouTube time-lapse series depicting changing beauty ideals in various countries over the past century. History, multiculturalism, hair, makeup–what’s not to love? They recently did the country of my own ethnic background, China (I think the 2010s look should’ve been inspired by Fan Bingbing, but it’s still very cool). Check out the “Behind the Looks” videos too!
♥ I’d like to conclude my Treasure Box by drawing attention to a more serious issue. For January: the plight of the Rohingya people in Myanmar, where my parents grew up. I hadn’t even heard of this group that Amnesty International and others have called the “most persecuted minority in the world”, but I saw this article on my Twitter feed about the mostly Buddhist Burmese people’s hatred of the Muslim ethnic group, and the silence of Myanmar’s newly elected Prime Minister, the greatly admired Nobel Peace Prize Winner Aung San Suu Kyi, on a slew of human rights abuses facing them. I know very little about this topic, but it’s unsettling and definitely worth knowing more about, especially given the hotly debated Syrian refugee crisis.
That’s it for January and the first Treasure Box. February, of course, is the month of love, and I’m already compiling assorted goodies for then. Hope you enjoy!