What time of year is more beautiful: spring or fall? A college friend and fellow journalist posed the question on Instagram earlier this week, and I had trouble answering at first. But, after some thought, I’d say spring is the superior, more radiant season. Perhaps it’s the symbolism of life in bloom, or the fact that summer—unquestionably my favorite time of the year—comes after, and gives me something to look forward to, but spring is certainly more desirable than fall. Rejoice internet, temperatures are rising.
“PARTYNEXTDOOR Speaks About His Music For the First Time” by Felipe Delerme
At 18, Party signed a publishing deal with Warner/Chappell as a songwriter. He submitted songs to Justin Bieber and wore his hair in a perm. None of the songs were ever cut. However, a few demos from this era, alongside covers of Michael Jackson and Aaliyah, can be heard on an unauthorized internet compilation called The Jahron B. Collection. Though steeped in melody and story, most of the songs he’d written for other artists were bland, the sort of pop that anyone could sing but by which no one would feel truly represented. But one track from the collection, among the first he wrote as PARTYNEXTDOOR, provides a glimpse of the raw self-assurance he’d end up finding. Unofficially called “Daughter,” it’s a brutal letter to his unborn child, detailing a drug-fueled one-night stand that led to her conception. ‘This is a message for my daughter/ I hope you’re nothing like your mother/ This is a message from your father/ I hope you’re nothing like your mother,’ the chorus repeats. “Long story short, all those things happened,” Party says. “She just never gave birth to the child. And if she didn’t take those steps to no longer be pregnant, that’s what I would have to be saying.”
“Have You Ever Thought About Killing Someone” by Rachel Monroe
If he had known then what he knows today, thanks to more than a decade spent among the perverts and neo-Nazis and idiots and masterminds of federal prison, Mike Baker would have been able to tell exactly what Doc was the first time he set eyes on him. That’s one thing you can say about being locked up: It’s a great way to learn about human nature. But back then — San Antonio, the summer of 1997 — Baker was fresh out of Christian school, where they taught you parables and prophets — nothing actually useful, like how to spot a creep or tell when a situation was getting out of hand. If they had, maybe things would’ve turned out differently; maybe Baker wouldn’t have taken even a single step into Doc’s cluttered apartment, with its distinctive, unwashed-laundry smell. He’d have turned around and found someone else to buy him cigarettes, or just stolen the fucking cigarettes for God’s sake.
“The Man Who Broke the Music Business” by Stephen Witt
At work, Glover manufactured CDs for mass consumption. At home, he had spent more than two thousand dollars on burners and other hardware to produce them individually. His livelihood depended on continued demand for the product. But Glover had to wonder: if the MP3 could reproduce Tupac at one-eleventh the bandwidth, and if Tupac could then be distributed, free, on the Internet, what the hell was the point of a compact disk?
“How To Deal When Your Widowed Parent Starts Dating Again” by Leslie Horn
So she met someone new. A man who is very much not my father, something I both know and have been told many times in recent months. People have this pervasive need to tell you that. I don’t know why. They’re right. He’s not my father. I know that. Which doesn’t mean that I haven’t yelled, “You’re not my real dad!” into the ether—you know, just to get all the awkward jokes out of my system. Joking, sometimes without regard for taste or tact, has been an important part of how I cope. In any case, my point here is that people are going to tell you things you don’t want to hear, and eventually (though maybe after some resistance), you’ll go ahead and realize them on your own. The concept of my mom dating or another man being around never sounded so bad in vague terms, ones that I never thought would actualize. Then it became a real thing.
“Language Police” by Jamil Smith
Earlier this year, journalist Kelly Weill wondered if anyone at the New York City Police Department (NYPD) was making similar alterations. Weill searched an array of public IP address databases and located approximately 15,000 belonging to the NYPD. Weill and a partner created a computer script that allowed her to pinpoint Wikipedia edits made from computers on the NYPD network. Her investigation, which was published on the website Capital New York on March 13, revealed that significant changes to Wikipedia entries on acts of brutality by the NYPD stemmed from these addresses.
“Without Her” by Edwidge Danticat
I looked so much like my mother, who had come to New York from Haiti in her early 30s, that people often mistook pictures of her as a younger woman for pictures of me. Our bodies even moved the same, swaying a little bit from side to side, at a rhythm and pace that sometimes nearly had us colliding. I adored my mother and longed to collide with her, in lieu of a hug, which would have embarrassed her. My mother couldn’t easily say, “I love you,” but often during these walks her body said it. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see her watching out for me, for possible potholes or sudden dips in curbs. She would always take the street side so that she would be more vulnerable than I was to passing cars.
“An Intelligence Vet Explains ISIS, Yemen, and ‘the Dick Cheney of Iraq’” by William M. Arkin
Why is ISIS so successful? Simply put, they attack using simple combined arms but they hold two force multipliers: suicide bombers and a psychological force multiplier called Terror Shock Value. TSV is the projected belief (or reality) that the terror force that you are opposing will do anything to defeat you, and once defeated will do the same to your family, friends, and countrymen. TSV for ISIS is the belief that they will blow themselves up, they will capture and decapitate you and desecrate your body because they are invincible with what the Pakistanis call Jusbah E Jihad—“Blood Lust for Jihad”.
“Stephen Curry: The Full Circle” by David Fleming
This season in Golden State, the legend grows larger by the minute. Nearly every night since the All-Star Game — for which Curry was the top vote-getter and where he sank 13 straight shots to win the 3-point contest — he’s been expanding the lore of Jack’s hoop as well as the parameters by which we define point guard greatness. Yes, his stats are MVP-worthy: Through March 24, he ranked seventh in points (23.4 per game), sixth in assists (7.9) and third in steals (2.1). Yes, he has the fourth-highest 3-point percentage, 43.6 percent, in NBA history and has led the league in total 3s since 2012, if you’re counting. And yes, in six years, he has catapulted Golden State from perennial nonfactor to title favorite. But Curry’s evolution this season is about something more profound than shooting, stats or hardware. The point guard groomed by that historic hoop in Grottoes has become the game’s future.
“And You Know This Mannnnn: An Oral History of Friday” by Angel Diaz and Jason Duaine Hahn
Twenty years after its release, Friday’s impact is apparent every time the Internet generation tweets “Bye, Felicia”—a misspelling of Angela Means’ character, Felisha—or someone shouts a Smokey quote in a WorldStar video. These one-liners keep its popularity high, but it’s the film’s story about family and community, with characters who mirror people in our own lives, that has kept Friday burning on screens throughout the hood and beyond. Friday represents a coming-of-age moment for films that use life in South Central as their backdrop, and its attention to detail—the slamming of metal screen doors, the sizzle of eggs in the morning, broken-down cars with alarms—made it an authentic glimpse into family life, not just in South Central, but in neighborhoods around the country, during the ’90s.
“Can You Think About Rising?” by Politico Magazine
I have spent the past year visiting a fair number of different newsrooms, mostly new media organization newsrooms. What I feel really hopeful about isn’t necessarily that in the top leadership ranks, that those newsrooms aren’t also mainly male-dominated—because they are—but I just feel that in general, those newsrooms, which are much younger than the ones that I in general spent my career in, they are so much more diverse. There are young women who are really doing quite extraordinary work in places that I wouldn’t have expected it necessarily. My hope, I guess, is that another kind of pipeline may fill up with these singularly talented, very gutsy young women, who maybe will be running the most profitable and most important news organizations of the future. That is something that has filled me with hope.
[Image via Getty]