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Letters to My Brother (or: How to Live in a Country That Requires Your Destruction)

The following correspondence between Brian Alsup and Kiese Laymon took place during the week of August 31, 2015. As John Callahan once wrote of the decades-long exchange between Albert Murray and Ralph Ellison in Trading Twelves: The Selected Letters, it is “the bounty of a rare and spontaneous friendship in which…

Here's What's Missing From Straight Outta Compton: Me and the Other Women Dr. Dre Beat Up

On January 27, 1991, at a record-release party for the rap duo Bytches With Problems in Hollywood, producer/rapper/then-N.W.A. member Dr. Dre brutally attacked Dee Barnes, the host of a well-known Fox show about hip-hop called Pump It Up! Dre was reportedly angry about a Pump It Up! segment hosted by Barnes that aired…

To Live and Die in LA

It’s late July. There is a helicopter circling. A “ghetto bird” on this clear, dark blue night. I’m in my bed, staring at the ceiling fan, trying to sleep. It’s 1:30 a.m. It’s 2:00 a.m. I’m struggling. I’m tired. It’s hot. Someone’s dog is barking. I am now on Facebook, seeing post after post about rumors, or fact, of…

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Things Unsaid

I never have had to doubt my parents’ love, not even when I had to explain to them what I meant when I said, “I’m queer.” In my days at home, my parents were the type to be at every event; my mother was given the “Team Spirit” award on my tennis team during my senior year of high school. My first girlfriend had called…