Ian F. Blair

...In the dead fucking center, looking around...

FKA Twigs' Pop Blows Up[REVIEW]

A few words on the excellent debut by FKA Twigs over at Ebony…

What happens after the bullets fall?

I sat down to interview Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Trymaine Lee about his recent piece, “Trauma in the Trenches of Gun-Weary Chicago.” Read the interview here and his brilliant article here.

Black America’s everyday reality: Ferguson and the world that terrorizes us

A few words on Ferguson, black humanity, and American identity at Salon…

Why soccer will never come home to the U.S.

My latest piece at Salon.com

Jason Riley's Sad Pathology

A few word’s on the Wall Street Journal’s Jason Riley over at Salon…

Yeezus, da God.

Barack Obama Ain’t Worried About Being Called A Nigger

The worst-kept secret in Washington may be how much Barack Obama’s presidency has been complicated by race and mired in racism. So it’s not surprising to read a recent report of a New Hampshire police commissioner, Robert Copeland, who use a racial slur to describe Obama. It’s been done before. Recall, former Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum’s slip of the tongue

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White privilege on the football field: Peyton Manning’s benefit of the doubt

My latest over at Salon on Peyton Manning, white privilege, and how we evaluate athlete legacies. ICYMI

The nature of racism is not simply a matter of of explicitly or implicitly expressing skepticism toward a particular group or social class. It is also an aversion to digging beneath the surface so that one can acknowledge the complex fabric that makes up the individual experience. To reject the impulse to form simple conclusions — assumptions — is to open oneself to seeing the man behind the helmet, as a whole human being. As Richard Sherman has noted, there is a time and place for everything: humility, confidence, reservation, aggression, shit talking and focus. That is who we are. “I really don’t know how to be anybody else,” Sherman said. “I can only be myself.”

My first piece at Salon.com

Yesterday, I wrote about Richard Sherman and his fans over at Salon. This first one felt amazing. Check it out here

Digging through the archives, pt. 4

I wrote a few brief thoughts on the passing of the streetball legend, Tyrone “Alimoe” a.k.a. “The Black Widow” Evans who passed earlier this year. A soldier who truly started from the bottom, in my best Drizzy voice:

I just read some very sad news from last week:
Sad news to report today in the world of basketball as streetball legend and former AND 1 mixtape star, Tyrone “Alimoe” Evans has reportedly passed away from complications following a stroke.
The Harlem, NY resident also known as “The Black Widow” rose to prominence during the street ball boom of the late 90s and early 2000s. The 6’7” player was known for his trademark ball handling skills despite his immense size, something only seen on a regular basis in the National Basketball Association.
I spent some time on the court growing up, and I remember the first time I really took to “streetball.” I saw great value in playing ball on the playground versus playing in a gym or in an organized league. Inside the gym always felt more restrictive whereas outside was liberating. In a way, the structure of playing indoors felt like shackles. 

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Digging through the archives, pt. 3

Before moving to New York, I took a trip to visit a few friends living in Seattle, Washington. I had a good time. Then I went in the lab

Beyond the jet-lag, my trip to Seattle had some amazing moments. The city really is quite beautiful. The vibe is mellow and relaxed, nonintrusive and non-threatening. The people were generally warm and enjoyed the outdoors. Considering the weather and geography, I can’t fault them. There weren’t as many hipsters, yuppies, or strollers as I had anticipated but my guess is they were tucked away in one of the many neighborhoods I was unable to visit during my short stay. Since the friend I was visiting lived in a spacious loft-like condominium downtown, much of my time was spent adventuring through the downtown scene, an environment I’m quite accustomed to (I live in midtown/downtown Sacramento).

On Sunday, we ate brunch in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood which, from what I gathered, has a densely concentrated LGBT population. The restaurant, nestled near Broadway Street — a flat in between two sharp grades — had formidable steak and eggs and even better coffee, something Seattle is known for. We ate. We conversed. We enjoyed each other’s company. We had a lot in common. We paid happy hour prices. 

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Digging through the archives, pt. 2

Here is a review I wrote last year of Kanye’s “Yeezus” album:

Kanye West is extremely self-aware and self-absorbed. He once was said to have mounted a giant poster-size photograph of himself in his own apartment that cast a shadow of ego over the rest of the dwelling. Ye’s explanation was that he had to root for himself before anyone else could. “I put me on the wall because I was the only person that had me on the wall at that time,” West said. “And now that a lot of people have me on their wall, I don’t really need to do that anymore.”

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Digging through the archives, pt. 1

Here was an essay I wrote about Kendrick Lamar a while back

Ricky Baker and Tre Styles emerged from the liquor store. Ricky carried a quarter-gallon carton of milk and a small brown paper bag of trinkets in his hands. Tre held nothing but a reflective smile on his face as he gazed at the sky. The two “brothers from another” walked down the block, passing by run down houses with downtrodden grass, noxious alley ways with transients scavenging through garbage cans, and gang bangers hovering over house stoops just ‘hangin.’ This was life in South Central, Los Angeles. 

“I don’t care about no colleges, no 700 on no SAT’s (Scholastic Aptitude Test),” Ricky confidently exclaimed, optimistic about his future which indeed looked promising. He was the star half-back on Crenshaw High’s football team who was being heavily recruited. A few days prior he had taken the SAT with Tre in hopes of getting a score of 700 to be eligible for a scholarship. He continued his thought, “Not a damn t——.” 

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