So: a train races beneath the city, having been made into a vehicle of war, covered with signatures and symbols, it goes crosstown, downtown, taking with it the story of dystopia and crack cocaine, “armamentation,” and innovation as it travels. This is what myths do: they tell us how things came to be. And all too often the myth-making process is the only way people on the margins can “speak themselves” into existence.
Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah has a masterfully articulated essay up in The Los Angeles Review of Books right now. It strings together the plights of Rachel Jeantel (Trayvon Martin’s witness), and graffiti artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Michael Stewart within the same tireless, political and morphing web of African-American arts and culture. It’s both a gorgeous and heartbreaking read.