Through Chaos, We Create

"The most dangerous phrase in the language is: ‘we’ve always done it this way'.”

Through Chaos, We Create
Photo by Hans-Peter Gauster on Unsplash

What a week it's been. Between election anxiety, the unnecessary presidential drama, and another spike in Covid-19 cases, it's been hard to focus on anything else, but we managed to round up yet another awesome collection of stories to share with you today.

These five stories are so different, yet collectively, they somehow fit together. Perhaps, in these directionless times, the creative process is key to finding our way. When we create, we take a journey into ourselves, and along that journey we find authenticity, we find courage, and sometimes, we find peace. Vocal lets you share that journey with a community of fellow creators, many of whom will be inspired by your words.

Through the chaos, we continue to create.

Here at Vocal, we are inspired by each and every one of you. As always, if you're not already a creator, you can sign up here and start sharing your stories today.

Living Space

Each and everyday / We stand with our black faces / Asking for a place / In your white spaces.

But, now. / I wonder. / Why do we need your permission?

Grace Sunday Unah's articulation of what it's like to be judged by the color of her skin had us nodding in solidarity and quietly reminding ourselves where we can do better. This powerful poem makes one thing very clear: In an increasingly tumultuous world, listening to the experiences of others with empathy may be the only way forward.

The Stigma Surrounding Men’s Mental Health.

In the media, inside homes, and even by teachers, it’s likely that every boy – at some point in their lives – has heard a variation of the phrase, “Boys don’t cry.”

The taboo nature of openly discussing mental health has decreased in recent years. However, as Vocal creator Smiley Face Emoji explains, the social constructs that define masculinity can still prevent men from discussing the subject, or seeking help, for fear of being labeled weak, or worse, "feminine." We were shocked to learn how little research there is that deals specifically with men's mental health, and how common self-harm is amongst men.

Smiley Face Emoji concludes their story with a reminder to check in on our seemingly strong male friends, and we certainly plan on taking his advice this week.

The Best (and Worst) Celebrity Halloween Costumes of 2020

This year’s Halloween may have been the scariest of them all because of the craziness the world is experiencing currently.

Our lives are filled with so many existential abnormalities these days, we almost forgot it was Halloween! We are incredibly grateful to creator Michala for reminding us. Through her story outlining the best and worst of celebrity Halloween costumes, we briefly felt like it was just another year.

Since we are not Kendall Jenner (whom Michala pointedly calls out for her recent mask-free Halloween birthday party), Halloween festivities were largely canceled for us this year. However, reading Michala's hot takes on various celebrity costumes allowed us to still celebrate the holiday, in a small way, and we were so excited to see a diverse group of celebrities and some truly outrageous costumes. Our personal favorite? Lil Nas x as Nicki Minaj.

Thanks for making this year feel a bit more normal, Michala. We certainly needed it.

Contemporising A Classic

Pavlova was a white, Russian, female ballerina, heralded as the mother of the contemporary pointe shoe – dressed in a white tutu, she premiered this work. Now, 115 years later I dance it as a black, male immigrant, dressed in a tutu and skin-coloured pointe shoes.

We are always inspired by the brilliant artistry of Vocal creators. Kadeem Hosien's interpretation of the famous solo ballet "The Dying Swan" is one such piece of brilliance.

As part of his "En Pointe In Public" series, Kadeem interpreted and performed The Dying Swan against a backdrop of London landmarks, which made for a visually stunning watch. Even more moving was his dedication to earnestly interpret the ballet, which was created for legendary prima ballerina Anna Pavlova in 1905, through the lens of the contemporary international movement to end systemic racism. In his story, Kadeem shares a quote from pioneering computer scientist Grace Hopper that inspired his version of the ballet:

"The most dangerous phrase in the language is: ‘we’ve always done it this way'.”

You have certainly flipped that phrase on its head, Kadeem. Please keep decolonizing en pointe.

A Filmmaker's Guide to: Absurdism

In film, there are many examples of the absurd, with many following the folly of politics upon the human condition and how humanity is changed by politics, but not always for the better.

But if you really want to look into the absurd, you need to get the material and see how the film/book is portraying the human condition, turning it on its head and making light of how we are basically just all dying. It's like existentialism, but it's trying to make you laugh through its approach to darkness.

There are still two months left, but we feel fairly confident in saying that 2020 was strange, and more than a little upsetting. We welcome any and all opportunities to laugh right now, and long-time Vocal creator Annie Kapur certainly provided that for us with a guide to Absurdism in film. Through her incisive and educational story, she breaks down the philosophy of Absurdism, its origins in literature, and how it manifests in film, particularly in Kubrick's masterpiece of absurdist cinema: "Dr. Strangelove." The crux of absurdism being the ability to laugh at the underlying bleakness of the human condition is absurdly appropriate this year, and we cannot wait to dive into Annie's list of recommended movies.

Many of us are struggling to cope, but to all our friends in this Vocal community who continued writing and creating this week: Thank you. We're proud of you for not being silenced. From decolonizing ballet to celebrating gender-bending halloween costumes to calling out toxic masculinity, you never stop sharing your stories, and we are so inspired.

Take care of yourself this weekend, and we'll see you again soon.

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Vocal Curation Team
Vocal Curation Team
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Vocal Curation Team

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