I am from the islands, croons Camille Safiya on Island Gyal. I can’t tell you how much I love this song. There is some music that you just instantly connect with. Lyrics that you feel on a deeper level. Island Gyal reminds me of the Fiji Islands; of my heritage. It makes me want to groove, but also makes me intensely proud of that Fijian heritage and culture. I long to be back on that island with my family when I hear it.
Representation is so important and to have a song like this with lyrics like I am from the island… she fancy/around the street everybody knows… she fancy, she classic. It represents all those little girls from the islands. Hold your head high Island Gyals, you are magnificent.
“And when we look in through the windows, all we see are shadows. And when we try and listen, all we hear is a whispering. And we cannot understand the whispering, because our minds have been invaded by a war. A war that we have both won and lost. The very worst sort of war. A war that captures dreams and re-dreams them. A war that has made us adore our conquerors and despise ourselves.”
― Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
Almost 50 years after his death, Ernesto “Che” Guevara is still one of the most controversial figures in politics and popular culture. I can attest to this as someone I was on my recent trip to Cuba displayed disgust and hatred for him, while others expressed admiration. I’ve read a few of Guevara’s books in the past, so when I saw this one in Cuba by his wife Aleida March, I had to pick it up.
This book is touted as being a personal look at the man behind the legend. Aleida shares details of their personal life together. Moments of humor, intimacy, and the depth of their love for one another and their four children. It was a touching look at the man that Aleida loved so passionately, along with the revolutionary figure that is so well known around the world. It’s also full of personal photos – the cover being my favorite of them all.
It’s not without it’s faults as she clearly, with good reason I’m sure, holds back much of their personal anecdotes. What I truly wish was that the reader would get a chance to know more about Aleida herself and all the sacrifices she made as a woman to help her husband focus on his goals.
50 years later, Che’s image is still plastered all throughout Cuba and he continues to be a symbol of revolution. Remembering Che: My Life with Che Guevara, was a nice read to try and understand the man behind the symbol.
We don’t need anymore writers as solitary heroes. We need a heroic writers’ movement: assertive, militant, pugnacious.
– Toni Morrison
“Prisons do not disappear social problems, they disappear human beings. Homelessness, unemployment, drug addiction, mental illness, and illiteracy are only a few of the problems that disappear from public view when the human beings contending with them are relegated to cages.”
― Angela Davis
With so much music around, it’s so easy to forget how much you love a song until you hear it again on a whim. Sitting in a restaurant in Miami a couple weeks ago, Luis Enrique’s Yo No Se Mañana came wafting through the speakers and I was immediately reminded of how much I love it.
It’s a tropical salsa track, but it has such a romantic alluring quality. It begs you to glide across the dance floor with the one you love. I also love the lyrics, like: esta vida es igual que un libro/cada pagina es un dia vivido (this life is the same as a book/each page is a day lived). Yo No Se Mañana – what a good reminder to live life in the moment because you never know what will happen tomorrow.
I’ve been to Cuba. Hard to wrap my mind around it. If you’ve read this blog before, you know that I’ve read so much about the history, culture and people of a place so misunderstood to the U.S. So to actually experience it was surreal. Cuba is not “stuck in time.” It and it’s people are ever-evolving; adapting to their circumstances. The art, music, culture and warmth of the people of Cuba are unmatched. It is not an untouched “utopia.” It’s complicated as hell and challenges everything you may have thought you believed or didn’t. Any photos I post here pale in comparison to that magical place, but I thought I would share a slice of what I was able to capture. I hope to return someday to this island that is constantly changing and will no doubt continue to – although I just hope and pray that tourism doesn’t completely obliterate it.
Click for more photos!