Reviews in Retrospect: Wales Bonner Spring 2021 Collection

British fashion designer, Grace Wales Bonner’s Spring 2021 Menswear collection is a beautifully retro, jewel-toned tribute to her Jamaican heritage. The Central Saint Martin’s graduate regularly explores black culture through her designs, and her most recent collection takes inspiration from early-1980s Jamaica, and dancehall and reggae culture. Wanting to put her own spin on this, she looks to her upbringing in London and adds a British twist to her Jamaican roots. Continue reading Reviews in Retrospect: Wales Bonner Spring 2021 Collection

Reviews in Retrospect: All About Love by bell hooks

“Without justice there can be no love.” There’s something incredibly special about a book that is both politically powerful yet therapeutic, both critical and healing. bell hooks’ 1999 book All About Love: New Visions is one of these. Exploring the psychological and social complexities of love in the modern world, bell hooks offers “a hopeful, joyous vision of love’s transformative power.” She shares incredible critical insight about a wide range of topics: the patriarchal values that shape relationships, the harmful connotations of the ideal family, and how male-written self-help books often feed into women’s insecurities, rather than boosting their confidence. All About Love is a genuinely helpful read — one that can revolutionise your thinking about the wider world and give realistic advice about caring for yourself and others in everyday life. Continue reading Reviews in Retrospect: All About Love by bell hooks

Reviews in Retrospect: If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin

None of James Baldwin’s books express passion, tenderness and grief as well as If Beale Street Could Talk (1974). After I read Baldwin’s Another Country (1962) during lockdown, I made it my mission to read every one of his novels, his writing completely struck me. Of-course his novels remain extremely relevant to the present day, they focus on questions surrounding sexuality, race, and religion which art and literature continues to confront. However, it was the soul and passion in his writing which had me consuming one book after another. Continue reading Reviews in Retrospect: If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin

Reviews in Retrospect: Outlaw Culture by bell hooks

I first heard about intersectional feminist writer bell hooks in a Media Studies classroom during sixth form. We were taught that bell hooks challenges the “ideology of domination” that perpetuates misogyny, racism and classism. Our teacher also told us that hooks deliberately refused to punctuate her name with capital letters, to symbolically shed the tools of power that regulate personal identity. Before I ever read bell hooks, the idea of a writer powerful enough to escape the confines of language fascinated me. The first of hooks’ writing I read, her 1994 collection of essays and interviews Outlaw Culture, asserts that popular culture is never “apolitical”, and representation always matters. Unpretentious, piercingly insightful, and funny, Outlaw Culture is as fascinating as hooks herself. Continue reading Reviews in Retrospect: Outlaw Culture by bell hooks

Reviews in Retrospect: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

When I first began writing this review of Zora Neale Hurston’s 1937 masterpiece, Their Eyes Were Watching God, it was an understatement to say that I felt daunted. Many have said that the novel defined the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, and prolific writers such as Alice Walker (author of The Colour Purple) have said that, “There is no book more important […] than this one”. Nevertheless, the reason why I jumped at the opportunity to write about it, is that when I read the book, on a rainy-day during quarantine, the sense of wonder I felt for the novel’s protagonist made me want to share it with everyone. Continue reading Reviews in Retrospect: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston