Originally published in our Tennessee Music Issue  There is a remarkable story tucked halfway through Bessie, Chris Albertson’s biography of the blues singer Bessie Smith, in which Smith approaches a circle of robed North Carolina Klansmen, places one hand on her hip,… by Amanda Petrusich | Nov, 2020

Playlists curated by your favorite musicians and writers. by Brittany Howard, Kiese Laymon, Rosanne Cash, Kelsey Waldon, & others | Nov, 2020

An introduction to the Music Issue’s Icons Section Beyond my eye, beyond the death and decay of matters left behind and unsettled, the music ringing up above my head told a thousand stories of bounty and belonging, and it glimmered… by Danielle A. Jackson | Nov, 2020

Originally published in our 2007 Music Issue  In a remarkable 1963 appearance with Juilliard professor and friend, Hall Overton, at the New School in New York, Monk demonstrated his technique of “bending” or “curving” notes on the piano, the most… by Sam Stephenson | Nov, 2020

Originally published in our North Carolina Music Issue.  I wanted to start with the wild weeds and the creaking wood on the front porch, walking up to Nina Simone’s childhood home in Tryon, North Carolina. I wanted to start where… by Tiana Clark | Nov, 2020

An essay from the Greatest Hits Music Issue The first songs that I listened to by Talibah Safiya had this soft, sweet, plaintive quality. There is something else underneath if you listen a bit closer: a little loneliness. The knowledge… by Jamey Hatley | Nov, 2020

An introduction to the Greatest Hits Music Issue How does the South inform my music? How do I describe the sound that your bare feet make when they pat the cool, packed red dust under them? How do I describe… by Brittany Howard | Oct, 2020

 A Letter from the Editor, Food Issue. Quiet as it is kept, and widely as it has become forgotten, those who do the cooking and the farming know that those who only eat what is cooked for them and served… by Alice Randall | Mar, 2021

Web feature

I have enough tear gas in my blood to know what doomsday tastes like. I know theft because it’s in my lineage and know how to find reclamation in the wreckage. Could mold myself a reenactment of the moment a man with the same last name as me was murdered for having the gall/spite/righteous insolence to fight death.

An installment in our weekly photography series, Eyes on the South

In a series of photographs documenting George Floyd’s memorial service in Raeford, North Carolina, Will Warasila interrogates the relationship between photographer and subject and the privilege inherent in the act of creating photographs.

An installment in our weekly photography series, Eyes on the South

In his series Exodus Home, photographer Jay Simple explores ideas surrounding migration and the definition of home through self-portraiture, archival photographs, and sculptural installations.

A video conclusion to Osayi Endolyn’s column “Counter Service”

In 2019, Osayi Endolyn wrote “Counter Service,” a column examining how American dining culture is shaped by historic social practices that have often left out, or outright excluded, groups of people including women and African Americans. To conclude her series, she visits Willa Jean, Kelly Fields’s restaurant in New Orleans, to discuss the elements that make a dining experience successful.

Oxford American writers have long chronicled police brutality, racial injustice, and inequality. They have also centered Black excellence and joy. This week, we share a few masterworks that feel resonant in this moment, along with suggestions for further reading from these exceptional writers. 

A feature essay from the North Carolina Music Issue. 

I wanted to start with the wild weeds and the creaking wood on the front porch, walking up to Nina Simone’s childhood home in Tryon, North Carolina. I wanted to start where she started, imagining her daddy playing jazz standards on the piano, her mama cooking something good and greasy in the cramped kitchen with siblings zooming around. I envisioned myself, like Alice Walker looking for Zora Neale Hurston’s unmarked grave, shouting Nina in the derelict home, hoping somehow she would appear, gloriously phantasmagoric, and answer all of my incessant probing questions.

The slow dance of the Civil War and the enslavement of Black people in America are my working metaphors for the poem known as The Battle of and for the Black Face Boy.

An installment in John T. Edge’s column, Local Fare.

She was a genius, I’ve come to recognize, at recasting defeats as glorious spectacles. Faced with small-town ignorance, fearful of what small-town boredom might wrest from her, she did her best to divert and subvert. Looking back, I see my best self in her flagrancy. And I glimpse what my worst self might have nurtured, had the darker times in Clinton defined my life.

A feature essay from the Spring 2020 issue.

I wasn’t sure how to explain to a rising high-school junior why I’d followed her and her classmates to Belize. I’d met Pierre-Floyd a few months before during a tour of Frederick A. Douglass High School, the Ninth Ward charter school where she works, and she’d told me, in passing, that she planned to take twenty-five kids to Belize. Pierre-Floyd said she’d been the first in her family to graduate from college and she thought a high school trip she’d taken to Ghana had helped her earn a degree. She wanted to give her students the same experience. 

A short story from the Spring 2020 issue

I tell him goodbye and go wander around the beauty section in Dillard’s. I find the perfume like what I’m wearing on display and I spray some more on. I find a new color of Estée Lauder lipstick that I like and put that on too. It’s called “Bold Innocent.” A woman behind the counter with shiny skin tells me how pretty my complexion is. She wants to give me a free beauty consultation, but I tell her I’m shy and walk away. I don’t like strangers to touch me.

Little Richard, now eighty-two years old, has reportedly been living the last several years in a penthouse suite at the Hilton hotel in downtown Nashville (the Hilton will neither confirm nor deny that they have a guest named Mr. Penniman). I knew someone who knew someone who had his cell phone number, and in June, I cold-called him.

A feature essay from the Spring 2020 issue.

History is, in part, the memories we choose to protect and reinforce, to ensure their longevity and influence. In Thibodaux’s protected memory, sugarcane has endured, plantations have endured, Confederate heroes have endured—but not the massacre.