Day: November 11, 2017

Normalize This

By Ananya

It is a hot day. Days are hot. This is normal. Kareem’s shorts stick to his skinny legs as he stumbles out of bed, tiptoes around his 3 sleeping siblings, and runs out of the door. His father is already at work and he knows his mother needs the sleep. His friends are waiting under the fig tree with bright backpacks and tattered sandals.  The figs are green and soft and gentle. The insides are cool and help tame Kareem’s anger. Childhood is anger. This is normal. There is a funeral on the next block. The mother is wailing, but the brother smiles at the boys. Tears sputter to an abrupt stop and smiles are never seen enough around here. Death is as frequent as the sunset. This is normal. Kareem remembers the piece of chocolate in his backpack. He eats it with a grin without the others noticing. You save what you can. This is normal. The school is in sight after 45 minutes. The teacher didn’t show today. The boys are now bursting with youthful excitement. Soccer instead of class. This is normal. Kareem scores a goal even though he’s wearing his younger brother’s sandals. Today he is happy. Today he is capable. He sees a soldier closeby right after the game ends. The soldier’s gun makes his goal insignificant. Kareem eats a fig.

On the way back home, spirits are full and stomachs are empty. One of the boys starts imitating the American popstar he saw on television. He stands up straight, sticks his skinny hip out to one side, and pouts. The others join in. Their bodies generate heat and noise and laughter, as bodies should. The boys are children until they realize this isn’t the place. They are all now coughing. The air is a chemical breeze. For them, tear gas is always in air particles. This is normal. Just continue walking.

Kareem’s mother is waiting on the small porch. She has picked more figs for Kareem. She doesn’t know what he’s seen today, but she knows he’ll eat the figs. She hugs him until he laughs and tells her to stop. She never wants to.. The bullet holes on their main door remind Kareem of the bubbles he was able to blow when his uncle brought the toy back from his trips. His uncle doesn’t do that anymore. The six holes are perfectly rounded black holes. Kareem runs his fingers over them out of habit. This is normal.

Kareem’s siblings are back again and the day is no longer hot. Kareem winks at them and they know what this means. They head to the back of the house, turn on the rusty tap and splash each other with water. Their father’s face is red and his mouth is a thin line. There will be no water tomorrow, he screams. They just want it today. Their mother smiles and leads their father back into the house. Let them have it today. Temporary is a way of life. This is normal.

On television, a mother is wailing again. Someone is gone again. The family eats around the television with the cries as background noise. This is normal. Kareem sees nothing except the dessert waiting to be served. The phone rings and Kareem’s mother answers. She is wailing. Her sister just had a baby boy. The family is ready to celebrate. This is also normal.

Rose Water

Inspired by Princess Nokia

Why rose water?

Rose water is used as a toner, controlling excess oils and aiding in cleaning out pores with its antibacterial properties. It helps to control fine lines and has a relaxing aroma. It great to wake up and spritz some on your face.

Princess Nokia, a rapper from Harlem, a feminist, and all around beautiful person, includes making rose water into her weekly routine as a spiritual task. She does it because peeling the flower makes her feel like a beautiful woman because the flower carries the essence of life and can help make you feel beautiful in your natural state. The biggest thing is the intention behind the creation of rose water. Yeah, you can buy it in the store, but you can never find rose water with the intention of care and beauty behind it in the store.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 or 2 roses
  • Boiling water
  • Heat proof bowl
  • Two tablespoons of vodka
  • Spray bottle


To make rose water, you peel a flower into a heat proof bowl, tear up the petals, and steep them (covered) in about 1-1.5 cups of hot water for at least 15 minutes. After this, you can add a capful of plain vodka to help it last longer and store it in a spray bottle.



By Ariya Sonethavy

I’ve always romanticized the idea of space, and the escapism that tends to come with depression. I remember reading an article a while ago about a new planet in our solar system. Quite possibly, my own lack of stability with stress from my first semester of college is the result of some astral changes happening right now in this galaxy, and I’m not just talking about the usual Mercury retrograde. There are infinite ways to measure the ambiguity of growing up and constantly feeling like you’re floating in a liminal space, and for me, collaging was the perfect medium.


Chickpea Cookie Dough

Recipe by Sandra

I have such a sweet tooth and I love eating cookie dough! This recipe is healthier than eating regular cookie dough which contains butter and uncooked eggs. It can also work if you want to bake it, which sometimes I do. The chickpeas add a good source of protein that you cannot even taste. The ingredients are vegan unless you use cow milk like I do. It is very filling and delicious, let me know if you like it.


  • Coconut Oil – ½ cup
  • Brown Sugar – 1 cup
  • Chickpeas – 1 cup (more or less!)
  • Any milk – ¼ cup
  • Vanilla extract – 1 tablespoon
  • All purpose flour – 2 cups
  • Baking soda – 1 teaspoon (only if you bake)
  • Baking powder – 1 teaspoon (only if you bake)
  • Salt – ½ teaspoon
  • Chocolate chips – 1 cup (more or less!)


First, drain and wash the beans from the can until there is no more foam. If you do not get yours from a can make sure you cook them. Then put the chickpeas in a food processor until it reaches a nice consistency.  Mix the wet ingredients together (coconut oil, brown sugar, milk, vanilla extract, chickpeas), then the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda and powder) and finally combine the two together. Do not forget the chocolate chips!

Instagram Activist: @TheUnapologeticallyBrownSeries


I got a chance to talk to @refinery29 about this series & it’s intention – – this work is an act of healing for me and I hope for you too. I want the streets to truly represent us and for that we gotta reclaim them. I believe in this work and its importance – I make posters available for free on my website under community posters and there are shirts for sale in the online store- Were trying to bring this work to LA and host a social like we do in the east coast, but we need your help! Check out out the Kickstarter on the link in bio & watch the short film we made and check out the incentives. Thank you so so so much for the support. 😩💕🤜🏽🤛🏽🦇 for us by us. Always.

A post shared by Unapologetically Brown Series (@theunapologeticallybrownseries) on

This is a visual and audio series created by Johanna Toruño, a writer/creator originally from El Salvador, with a goal to empower POC communities. All of the posters are her poems (unless she’s quoting another artist) and she posts them up around New York City wherever she can. She says that the posters are a way to “combat the whiteness of the streets, the lack of representations on the street”. She does this by creating posters with images of people of color, her poetry, and other artists who wouldn’t usually be heard.

Her posters are available to purchase for yourself or to post up around your communities on her website. We hope to see these posters spread around all communities!


Where to find her:

How to glue up posters:

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of wheat flour
  • 4 cups of water
  • a couple tablespoons of sugar


Once the water boils, add in the wheat flour and stir thoroughly to make sure there are no lumps. Turn off the heat and add a little bit of sugar for stickiness, and use the mixture ASAP (within 2-3 days). Use a paint roller to post up your poster!

Disclaimer: pasting posters on other peoples property can lead to arrest, paste at your own risk if you’re not pasting on your own property!