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Episode #108: PROTESTS & POETRY

Updated: Oct 13, 2020

Editor's Disclaimer (hey, it's just me, Lc.Huep).

I've really tried to keep this introduction brief, but I'm in this new highlyemotional longwriting phase and it completely got away from me. I would not be offended if you preferred to click to the PLAYLIST OF PROTEST MUSIC here, or feel free to scroll down for snippets of incredible poems.


Consider for a moment:

What would music sound like, movies feel like, food taste like today without the work of black creators?

Scouring my most imaginative brain-files and still, coming up painfully short.

No matter how one <<personally> feels regarding violence, or peace, or police, or protest, I hope every human would share my belief that it is crucial to absorb black art to begin to understand how we as a globe, and individual hearts possibly got ourselves to this humbling point in history; or at the very least, in meager efforts to deepen our perspective on our entire nation's painful history, and inspirations, experiences, and beliefs. These past few months of consistent pain have just made us further appreciate just how dominant the white narrative is toward United States history and aesthetics, and how far our white insecurity and egotism has smothered the painful and stunning stories and creations of our black neighbors and communities.

Truth be told, I'm not sure what my role is here. Yet, I am kept up through nights considering how much I want and need to do more, and what gets me out of the hole and into action is some brilliant music and prose from artists I wish parented me. These songs and poems taught me more than I ever could've imagined in this tiny unimagined currently-barren brain.


Yesterday, September 23rd 2020, one of Breonna Taylor's killers received a freedom sentence reserved for innocent saints, klutzy toddlers, or untrained house cats. Brett Hankinson - that guy who fired 10 rounds alone? Right, yeah. The one who sent bullets through a pregnant neighbor's wall. - celebrates his relief and comfort, while millions of marchers and supporters stand shellshocked, devastated, silenced.

Three officers killed a barely sleeping woman in her home.

Many, many more nurtured their behavior.

These three white men did not knock, nor announce themselves for shame of their abhorrent actions.

So - today, more than ever, I believe I must take the time to look within and question my own connection with the black community, as a young white woman. My dating habits. My spending habits. My educational biases. The privileges I enjoy every time I go outside in my studded skinny jeans, in my blonde braided hair, to buy a twelve-dollar matcha-coconut-extravaganza-juice.

I find I can do this best with music blaring out, reddening my eyes to refrains and anthems.

The pain in the air is undeniable.

At the same time, I believe in the gift of art, and plain ordinary lovingkindness. Louisville, my hometown of Minneapolis, and beyond, let's continue to recover together.


Despite everything, I believe much of our American nation (especially the white beneficiaries of it) has opened itself up to honest introspection. And we will continue to, even in the face of the embarrassing daytime news straining itself to try to out-frighten its viewers with grimy photos of prepubescent crew-cuts wielding machines they cannot possibly understand.

With this post, I hope to instill a tiny speck of inspiration among our mourning. This moment is not mine, yet this project is built for the purpose of sharing work.

Below is a playlist of protest music and black-perspective poetry that has informed my own perspective by taking my breath away.

Mix of old and new.


Gratitudes: DUDLEY RANDALL, The Black Poets, 1972. DANAZ SMITH, Don't Call Us Dead, 2017. RITA DOVE, Collected Poems, 1980-2016.

As always: this is a living, breathing post. Feel free to add or suggest any materials as I continue to build out this page!

- Laura Huepenbecker


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