Afrocentric splendor, mandatory chicken, "affluenza", and more.
Beyoncé's Black is King, released Friday on Disney+, is a revelation. The visual accompaniment to The Lion King: The Gift, the film features several Nigerian artists I absolutely adore, like Tiwa Savage, Burna Boy, Wizkid and Mr Eazi. As expected, every costume choice, movement, and setting is intentional and layered with meaning. The music of The Lion King: The Gift was criticized for being heavily (almost exclusively) West African. Beyoncé has listened and paid tribute to a much wider range of African cultures visually, from the Mursi women of Ethiopia to the Himba people of Namibia. This thread by Zikhona Valela on Twitter is a great summary. This Diet Prada post also features some of the best looks. My only criticism of this film is that we never get to enjoy any individual shot for too long. We see incredibly complex and beautiful scenes that are gone as quickly as they arrived. If you've seen Beyoncé's other visual albums (Lemonade or the eponymous Beyoncé), you'll know exactly what I mean. If you're outside of the US and you can't access Disney+: I'm sorry. But when this film inevitably becomes available to you on another platform in the future, you have this absolute audiovisual splendor to look forward to.
A screenshot showing costuming from one of my favorite shots. The white- and black-clad adults and children play a human game of chess on a board in a garden, it's stunning.
If you're a chicken-eater, you have to make these roasted chicken thighs with peaches, basil and ginger. It doesn't matter how skilled (or unskilled) you are as a home chef, you can nail this. I am confident that it's so wildly easy to make that I would genuinely like to hear if it's even possible mess it up. It doesn't make complete sense on paper, but you're just going to have to trust me. The flavors are out of this world. It's fresh, seasonal (if you're in the Northern hemisphere, at least) and amazing. That's it, end of conversation. Just go make it!
Photo from Jessica at How Sweet Eats. Pictured with the thighs intact, which is how I prefer to make it. Y'all should know by now that I'm rarely a recipe puritan. This is no exception.
Today I learned about the disturbing concept of affluenza. Have you heard of it before? It's a conflation of the terms affluent and influenza (i.e. the flu) and is lauded as an affliction uniquely experienced by rich kids. The term rose to modern popularity when a Texan teenager named Ethan Couch stole two cases of beer from a Walmart store and drove his father's car with 7 people in it, speeding at 70 miles an hour (110 km/h) in a 40 (64 km/h) zone. He hit and killed Brenna Mitchell, whose car had stalled at the side of the road, and three people who came to her aid: Holly and Shelby Boyles, and Brian Jennings. Couch's blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit, and he tested positive for Valium and marijuana. Despite all of this, he was given a sentence of just 10-years probation and mandated therapy after his lawyers argued he had affluenza; that he was too rich to know better and had been raised without boundaries. Classism is obvious here, but can you even imagine the treatment of a Black, or Latinx teen if they committed just a single one of the crimes of the above? Even if they were equally rich, this defense would never have worked on anyone but a white boy. I may not be entitled enough to have affluenza, but I sure feel sick hearing about it.
The four people Ethan Couch killed. Image from WFAA-TV.
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The Seven is a weekly digest sharing a collection of seven carefully curated stories, articles, images, movies, recipes, books, songs and other content. Thoughtfully contextualized and passed along with consideration, for your mental nourishment.