Simone White

  • Pope.L, Choir (detail), 2019. Photo: Ron Amstutz. © Pope.L.


    POPE.L WALKS INTO A ROOM. Hair looks good. Everybody knows Pope.L’s hair be looking dry and wild but maybe Pope.L’s supposed to be unkempt. Pope.L walks right up to me, has something to say important, not conversational, not in a conversational tone he starts talking in an urgent manner. I do take note of people’s appearances, most everybody’s in the way when they come up to me to say something, I don’t pretend not to look. Pope.L starts talking to me like we’re familiar so I figured I forgot and knew Pope.L from before but I never forget a face even though since I gave birth I can’t remember

  • Zalika Azim, Until these calamities be overpast, 2018, digital C-print, 20 × 30". From “In Conversation: Visual Meditations on Black Masculinity.”

    “In Conversation: Visual Meditations on Black Masculinity”

    Recently, my five-year-old asked, “What is an ancestor?” This triggered a crisis of middle-aged forgetting. I have no memory of not knowing about slavery, so how little could I possibly have been when I learned not only that chattel slavery had once existed in the Americas, but that the cockamamie-sounding truth had to do with me? “Your ancestors were stolen from their homes, taken across the Atlantic Ocean, and sold as things,” I will tell my son soon.

    So when I climbed the ramp of the African American Museum in Philadelphia to see “In Conversation: Visual Meditations on Black Masculinity,” I

  • Simone White

    Inside the chaos of late September, when “we” received the sneering physiognomy of Brett Kavanaugh into “our” homes with varying degrees of grief and cynicism, I became even more sure that Lost Empress by Sergio de la Pava (Pantheon) (a public defender by day who became a literary legend before you could buy his work) was the best book I read this year. Here converge a superrich and unlikable woman-football-baron and her factotum-slash-mentee (both booty-trance-inducing Brown grads) between whom Joni Mitchell’s music stands in for actual tenderness; a criminal genius who may or may not lose his