A song I've been playing on a loop lately is 'Hope The High Road,' by country-rocker Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit—it's encouraging and very much what I need to hear right now. Thanks to Isbell's open-and-honest recovered addict cogency, he admits his flaws ("I used to want to be a real man/ I don't know what that even means") and launches a gutsy send-off to 2016: "Last year was a son of a bitch/ For nearly everyone we know/ But I ain't fighting with you down in a ditch/ I'll meet you up here on the road." He offers solutions while gently confiding (and mocking) his flaws and then he rails against the myth that Trump's success is populism, declaring, "there can't be more of them than us, there can't be more." With the hempen chug of the 400 Unit behind his words, this tragic optimism is infectious—and healing. A raucous self care anthem for right now.
That's what this issue celebrates and encourages.
On our cover, you'll see a wonderful illustration by Jordan Mayasuki Riggins of a scene resplendent in self care: candles burning, a soak in the tub, and hey, that looks like a vibrator in the corner. That said, there are surely degrees of "self care" and some threaten to indulge escapism, so let's focus the term as it has been closely tied to the protest movement (recommended online reading: "Self Care: 'Not optional for Black Millennials'" by City Paper contributor Tariq Touré), where self care is vital for keeping one's sanity and maintaining one's safety if you're on the frontlines or freedom fighting in whatever way you can.
In the issue you'll find a piece by Travis Kitchens on the healing qualities of psilocybin—and if you're interested in trying out a JHU shroom study, we regularly run their ads asking for subjects, so dig through the issue and check the back—and a touching profile by poet Kondwani Fidel of Tiarnee Yates, an inspiration and model of perseverance as she continues struggling with the cancer she was diagnosed with at 13, almost a decade ago.
Two pieces in this issue, both by Associate Editor and Eats and Drinks Editor Lisa Snowden-McCray, detail those who try and strike a balance between being well and being involved in change: Lisa spent some time over at Oyin Handmade with owners Jamyla and Pierre Bennu and spoke to musician, writer, and self-described "food thot" Abdu Ali about his favorite places to eat. Remember, readers: Eating well and, sometimes, inhaling a big plate of a fatty favorite is self care, too. (Brandon Soderberg)
It's a Saturday morning, and at Oyin Handmade's storefront in Old Goucher, 13 women are sitting, watching intently as Akos "Sunday" Regal demonstrates how to wear headwraps. She grabs one woman after another, showing them different ways to wrap different lengths of brightly colored cloth to make...
Nearly four decades after research into psychedelics was suppressed by the government, a new wave of scientists is restoring legitimacy to a misunderstood and promising area of research. Baltimore is home to arguably the most prestigious psychedelic research program in the world. The studies conducted...
Black Superwoman: Tiarnee Yates has been fighting cancer for nearly a decade and inspiring others along the way
"One of the most awkward conversations is when I tell people I have cancer," says Tiarnee Yates. Tiarnee calls it "the three reactions": 1. He or she has an awkward, silent stare. 2. He or she asks billions of questions. And 3. He or she says, "You don't look like you have cancer." For Tiarnee,...
Musician Abdu Ali didn't come to this interview to play. On his phone, he's made a list of eateries he loves and wants to shout out. He pulls it up at the start of our meeting at Dukem Ethiopian Restaurant in Mount Vernon because he didn't want to forget anything. "I'm a food thot," he tells me....