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Adrienne Gibbs
Director, Multicultural @Medium. Editor. Writer. Shouted out by Beyoncé. Judge: James Beard Media Awards, Scripps Howard Awards.

When the towers fell I was a cub reporter at The Miami Herald. I was two years into the job and had a slick little silver Nissan Altima with a black nose guard. I was running late for work, so I didn’t cut on my television set before I left the house on 9/11. I grabbed my flip phone and jetted down to I-95 and then 595 and then I-75 to get to the Broward headquarters.

I realized something was wrong when I looked left and looked right and was one of two cars on the freeway. I called my…

The ZORA Interview

Jennifer Hudson stars in “Respect,” a biopic about Aretha Franklin. Photo: Bethany Mollenkof/The New York Times/Redux

For Jennifer Hudson, Respect is not just another movie where she stars as a famous person who sings. For this biopic, she embodies her idol, Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul. The film swings through Franklin’s Detroit church roots, her relationship with her father, and, of course, Franklin’s massive song catalog, much of which provided a backing track to the civil rights movement.

It’s the kind of film with impossible expectations that might make anyone else quiver in their boots. After all, what if you get it wrong? What if the family doesn’t like it? Or the fans? What about…

West Virginia in April 2021. Image: Getty

We took a road trip. A real road trip. Not a quick, five hour jaunt from Chicago to Michigan, but an actual two-day drive through the Midwest, into the Appalachian mountains and finally ending on a small, blue-green island in North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

To be clear, it has never been my dream to take a long road trip with my two children, five- and eight-years-old — especially during a pandemic. Prior to this moment, we flew! Still, as I prepped for this drive, I remembered my own childhood road trips with my dad in his burgundy Cadillac back in…

Kehinde Wiley. “Barack Obama, 2018.” Oil on canvas. Image: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

The Obama portraits are home in Chicago, as they should be. Don’t get me wrong. I fully understand that the Smithsonian National Gallery of Art serves as caretaker for the life-size presidential portraits by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, but there is something truly special about going to the Art Institute of Chicago to see a well-designed, spacious, brightly lit exhibition of the Black-artist-created imagery of former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama in the city that made them.

I remember when these portraits were revealed and placed on display in February 2018 in Washington, D.C. Everyone I…

It’s our anniversary *somebody play Tony! Toni! Tone!*

This week we celebrated ZORA’s 2nd birthday and we salute all of you — the readers and the creators — who believe in and support ZORA every step of the way. To borrow a phrase from Senior Editor Jolie Doggett: We wouldn’t be two without you. And that’s the unfettered truth.

It’s our birthday, y’all!

Our long distance friendship deepened in the last year as Covid-19 took over the world, and we all gathered online to read, share and affirm our individual yet collective experiences. …

Worth The Watch

It’s Black Birding Week and boy do we have a film for you. Rodney Stotts, above, is one of a handful of Black falconers in the nation and he is on a mission to save the birds and probably us too in the process. He is all about second chances: for raptors, for abandoned land, for abandoned high school drop outs.

The Falconer is an appropriate film to watch any time, but especially during the Black Birding Week, which runs until June 5. This week is the birding community’s response to Central Park Karen, who made headlines for calling the…

GIF animation: Save As/Medium; Source: Getty Images; Photo: Oklahoma Historical Society

They dropped a bomb on us. They literally dropped a bomb on us. Racist, White Oklahomans used airplanes, guns, rope, and fire to eliminate a wealthy Black neighborhood and its families — Black Wall Street — in Tulsa, Oklahoma. That’s how survivors described it. That’s how their grandchildren described it, and their great-grandchildren. And what’s remarkable is that despite the hell that hundreds of racists put Black (and Native American) families through between May 31 and June 1, 1921, some people made it out. They told the story; now we can share.

There are people alive today whose families know…

Flowers adorn a site dedicated to the life of George Floyd. Photo: Getty Images

When George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis, Minnesota, police officer Derek Chauvin, the world watched. Over and over and over, we watched. Some watched in glee. They enjoyed it. Others watched in horror. They hated it.

Floyd’s killing was captured on camera a year ago this week. And once again, the casual, callous nature of a White man taking a Black man’s life shook the country to its core. Medium’s writers were front and center after this murder, documenting the ensuing moral and spiritual backlash, the protests, the legal issues, and the police. You all analyzed the situation and exchanged…

Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Akamara Tarot, Getty Images

Dear Zora Reader,

Have we got a Spring surprise for you. Starting this Sunday, none other than mystic podcaster and all-around spiritual savant Amber the Alchemist will pen the new Spirit Medicine column. Amber will pull a card or two — some Oracle and some Tarot — and will break down what the Collective needs to know. This Sunday spiritual tip will both affirm and protect us as we go about our days. And because she is using the Akamara Tarot deck and The Awakened Soul oracle deck by Ethony, you can follow along weekly to learn more about the…


Photo by Mohit Sharma on Unsplash

Whatever you do, wait until after the New Moon — or the Dark Moon — to set your next intentions. And know that endings always mean beginnings. This is all written in the sky, according to resident ZORA astrologer Ashleigh D. Jay in the April monthly ZORAscope. The New Moon happens when the light of the moon is nearly completely hidden from view for a day or two. After that? It begins to slowly gain a growing sliver of light.

Once you’ve gathered yourself a bit, the Aries new moon on April 11 will help you take the necessary steps…

Adrienne Gibbs

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