paper trail

Remembering political commentator Michael Brooks; Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor on the Combahee River Collective

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. Photo: © Don Usner

Political commentator Michael Brooks has died at the age of thirty-seven. As the host of The Michael Brooks Show on YouTube, he was known for his comedy, empathy, and sharp political analysis. On Twitter, the tributes have been pouring in. At Jacobin, Bhaskar Sunkara remembers his colleague and friend: “[A] dream of a vibrant community nurturing left media was fundamental to Michael’s work. Not because he aspired to be an ‘influencer’ with a large individual platform, but because he knew how important it was to build the kind of bonds that you can’t have political action without.”

In the New Yorker, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor writes about Barbara Smith and the Black feminist group Combahee River Collective. Taylor recalls encountering a CRC statement for the first time: “Theoretically rich and strategically nimble, it imagined a course of politics that could take Black women from the margins of society to the center of a revolution.”

Also at the New Yorker, as part of their archival issue, “Voices of American Dissent,” Hilton Als’s 2003 profile of Toni Morrison.

Writer and professor Simon Balto has signed a contract with Haymarket Books for his biography of Fred Hampton.

Bluestockings Bookstore in New York City is closing and searching for a new location. The store is accepting donations to help fund their relocation and keep their virtual programming going.

Emily Powell, owner of Portland’s Powell’s City of Books, talks with Oregon Public Broadcasting about the uncertainties and possibilities of reopening to the public: “Of course, when people think about our store, they don’t think about it empty. They think about it full, and they think about busy…. That is, of course, impossible in our current reality and likely will be for some time. I think there’s a way to keep people safe. It would be a different shopping experience. It might look like the Powell’s Books of, say, 1985, maybe as opposed to 2020.”

Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington are attached to star in the Netflix feature adaptation of Rumaan Alam’s forthcoming novel Leave the World Behind, which will be published by Ecco this fall.