TABLE OF CONTENTS

TOP TEN

DonChristian

DonChristian is a New York-based artist, musician, and teacher. He creates videos, public murals, and time- and music-based performances. He has shown work at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, MoMA PS1, and the New Museum. He is also touring his debut album, Where There’s Smoke (2018), throughout Europe and North America.

  1. EIKO OTAKE

    I first encountered dancer and choreographer Eiko Otake’s work in her Delicious Movement class at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. It completely altered my relationship to the world. For decades, Eiko—often along with her longtime collaborator Takashi Koma Otake—has confronted human trauma as experienced through collective memory, and how it affects every fiber of our being, right down to our DNA. The artist uses her body fearlessly to address global misery and to honor the dead.

    *Eiko Otake teaching a Delicious Movement workshop, Danspace Project, New York, 2016.* Photo: Lily Cohen. Eiko Otake teaching a Delicious Movement workshop, Danspace Project, New York, 2016. Photo: Lily Cohen.
  2. LARRY MITCHELL AND NED ASTA’S THE FAGGOTS & THEIR FRIENDS BETWEEN REVOLUTIONS (1977)

    This crucial text—part antiestablishment collection of proverbs, part radical queer fable—is loosely based on Mitchell and Asta’s time living in Lavender Hill, a queer commune in Ithaca, New York. The book—written by Mitchell and illustrated by Asta—is a quick read, but it’s rich with healing prose, timeless advice, and prophetic visions. Simply put, The Faggots & Their Friends is a source of great hope in dark times. Oh yeah—it’s been out of print for ages. A physical copy isn’t cheap, but it’s priceless.

  3. NAOKO TAKEUCHI’S SAILOR MOON (1992–97)

    One of the biggest manga hits of the 1990s and early 2000s was Naoko Takeuchi’s Sailor Moon (not to be confused with the anime serial that followed). While adhering to much of the traditional thinking and framework used to appeal to the shōjo (young woman) demographic, Sailor Moon took a slightly bolder stance on the feminist ideals permeating the genre. In the series, Sailor Moon and her team of planetary guardians work together to battle intergalactic villains and preserve peace in the solar system. The embrace of female camaraderie—combined with Takeuchi’s Mannerist illustration style—made these books unforgettable. Sailor Jupiter is my personal favorite, as she’s against bullies and not afraid of being a little less polished than her friends.

  4. OUTKAST’S SPEAKERBOXXX/THE LOVE BELOW (2003)

    André 3000’s half of OutKast’s fifth studio album, The Love Below, changed hip-hop forever. I first heard it when I was thirteen years old and thought, What the hell is this? It was like a transmission from outer space. André’s unexpected and unprecedented eclecticism and lush orchestral arrangements set the stage for Kanye, Lil Wayne, Kid Cudi, Drake, and countless others.

  5. ESPERANZA SPALDING

    Esperanza is a musical savant. Her ability to create new sonic languages across a range of instruments, including her voice, is simply remarkable. Her artistic and scholarly trajectory over the years has been incredible to witness. She’s teaching at Harvard now—not a surprise. Though classically trained at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, she takes great pleasure in destroying what she’s learned.

  6. LEILAH WEINRAUB’S SHAKEDOWN (2018)

    Filmmaker and fashion virtuoso Leilah Weinraub’s debut documentary feature, Shakedown, named after the legendary black lesbian strip club in Los Angeles, is a portal into black gender fluidity and a queer underground. Many scenes—so startlingly familiar and yet so strangely taboo—caused me to weep when I saw the film screened across the dome at MoMA PS1. I even cried watching a rough cut of it on a tiny laptop. The guts it takes to build a community—one of love, kinship, and unrepentant desire—are deeply moving.

    *Leilah Weinraub, _Shakedown_, 2018,* video, color, sound, 75 minutes. Leilah Weinraub, Shakedown, 2018, video, color, sound, 75 minutes.
  7. BBYMUTHA

    This rap phenom, born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee, calls herself the “Hoodrat Aphrodite.” I believe her. BbyMutha’s music calls to mind early-’90s Memphis hip-hop and horrorcore. With noted inspirations like La Chat and Gangsta Boo, it’s clear BbyMutha is carving out an exhilarating new lane, commanding ownership of her voice and intersectional identity as both a mom and a star.

  8. FAKA (DESIRE MAREA AND FELA GUCCI)

    I first met the members of this art duo independently from each other on Facebook in 2013. It was there that we exchanged positive affirmations and words of encouragement as we navigated the beginnings of our own art practices. Online, I watched them cultivate communal spaces for queer black art in Johannesburg, South Africa, as they pioneered new avenues in music and fashion. Fast-forward to five years later, they’re touring the world, working with Versace and Telfar, among other collaborators. FAKA struck a match and started a fire.

    *FAKA with Donatella Versace backstage at the Versace Spring/Summer 2019 menswear show, Milan, June 16, 2018.* FAKA with Donatella Versace backstage at the Versace Spring/Summer 2019 menswear show, Milan, June 16, 2018.
  9. JUST DOSHA

    Overall mother of the art collective House of Ladosha, Just Dosha (formerly known as La’fem) is the blueprint for everything beautiful, radiating authenticity in every aesthetic pursuit. From my favorite track, “Burning Like Paris”—made in conjunction with House of Ladosha and available on YouTube—to the scathing club anthem “This Is Ur Brain,” Just Dosha lays the foundations for New Age femme queen rap.

  10. MARTINE GUTIERREZ’S INDIGENOUS WOMAN (2018)

    Indigenous Woman, a singular magazine by multimedia art and pop star Martine Gutierrez, is my new prized possession. This high-gloss publication is the love child of Vogue and the newly undead Interview, and was designed, shot, styled, and edited, from cover to cover, by the artist. In the ads, articles, portfolios, and letter from the editor, Gutierrez does more than challenge the ways in which the mainstream misrepresents and colonizes the brown femme body—she charts a whole new way forward. Gutierrez is also the only model featured throughout the entire mag, aside from a handful of carefully cast mannequins.

    *Page from Martine Gutierrez’s _Indigenous Woman_* (Ryan Lee Gallery and Martine Gutierrez, 2018). Martine Gutierrez. Page from Martine Gutierrez’s Indigenous Woman (Ryan Lee Gallery and Martine Gutierrez, 2018). Martine Gutierrez.