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Thandiwe Newton Feeds Her Soul With Critical Race Theory and Cleo Sol | tnewst.com Press "Enter" to skip to content

Thandiwe Newton Feeds Her Soul With Critical Race Theory and Cleo Sol


4. Music as Protest I’m discovering myself through music at the moment in a really interesting way, and it’s kind of mirroring my experience as a woman, as a mother. I’m loving Cleo Sol right now. I love music as protest. I think songwriters, singers, are shamans. They are touching a divine — certainly not all — but they open up the landscape of their spirit, their soul. I think of people like Tommy Yorke, Billie Eilish — performers, creatives, artists who touch a nerve, almost like an acupuncture when you hit that meridian and it just taps into something.

I’m fascinated by Kanye West — Ye, as he now is. I’m interested in the art, commerce, media, religion, protest, personal trauma, how that’s all playing out in his work. I don’t think it’s healthy for one person to be so obsessed to have the spotlight on them. One of the sad things about our time is that we’re all gazing at the moon, or gazing at these people who are gazing at the moon, when we shouldn’t be so distracted. It’s like James Baldwin said: Entertainment is a narcotic. I feel like the entertainment business is like getting your vaccination. Some of it is really good for you; too much of it going to kill you.

5. WTF With Marc Maron I wanted to be on for years and years, and he never invited me. My poor little ego got slapped about because I thought he was so wonderful. [But eventually] I had the enormous honor of having him encounter me. We spoke about really painful, tough things, and he was a lovely, grumpy teddy bear.

6. Contemporary Dance I was a dancer, and I did a TEDGlobal talk called “Embracing Otherness.” [I said that] I grew up on the coast of England in the ’70s. My dad is white from Cornwall, and my mom is Black from Zimbabwe. From about the age of 5, I was aware that I didn’t fit. My skin color wasn’t right. My hair wasn’t right. My history wasn’t right. My self became defined by otherness. [But when I was dancing] I’d literally lose myself. And I was a really good dancer. I would put all my emotional expression into my dancing. I could be in the movement in a way that I wasn’t able to be in my life, in myself.

7. V-Day I love the podcast “Intersectionality Matters!” with Kimberlé Crenshaw, who is one of the creators of critical race theory. She’s also a dear friend and was a fellow board member of the organization V-Day — brainchild of Eve Ensler, its goal is to end violence against women and girls worldwide — where we met a decade ago. She’s devoted literally her life and her relationships to law and to human rights, and to empowering women of color and attempting to ensure their protection and justice for the crimes against them. I’m collaborating with Kimberlé and the African American Policy Forum on a project dealing with police brutality against women of color. Kimberlé coined the hashtag #SayHerName, which was inspiration for the song by Janelle Monáe, Beyoncé, Alicia Keys and others.

8. James Baldwin James Baldwin is to be read by everyone, everything, all of it. Just the genius of him — his sexuality, how he thought about religion, race. My husband spent years trying to find, because it’s out of print, “A Rap on Race” by Margaret Mead and James Baldwin. I should put every page on Instagram, just to share with people.


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