It's hard to be a consumer of media these days and not encounter the work of author and multi-media journalist Farai Chideya. She founded the online journal Pop + Politics in 1995 (practically a lifetime ago in online years); authored three nonfiction books that chronicle some of the most pressing social justice issues of our time; appeared as a political analyst on CNN and other media outlets; and hosted NPR's "News and Notes," a daily program about African-American issues that ended too soon in a rash of budget cuts by the organization.
Now Chideya has published her first novel, Kiss the Sky, which is the story of Sophie Maria Clara Lee, a "book-smart black girl from blue-collar Baltimore" who graduates Harvard, achieves rock stardom, and then struggles with love, the music business, family, alcohol, and her own stubborn melancholy.
Page Turner talked with Chideya about her journey to publishing a novel, the autobiographical connections between herself and Sophie, feminism and personal accountability, her decision to talk more openly about her depression, and a crucial question for the next generation of feminists.
Hi there, sports fans. My name is Jonanna Widner, and for the next couple months I'm going to be doing the guest-blogging about the nexus of sports and feminism. Said guest blog will fall under the name "Jock Bitch."
To start, I thought I'd just sort of spell out my relationship to/with sports, which hopefully will explain why I think sports are a feminist subject, and serve as an introduction to the philosophy behind this Jock Bitch.
First off, I am a huge sports fan. I do not qualify as a sports nut, mind you, as that would entail endless hours of trolling web sites for obscure statistics about how many strikes C.C. Sabathia throws per inning when pitching at dusk when the wind is coming from the south, but let's just say ESPN is often the first TV station I turn to when the TV comes on. Let's also say I've been known to Tivo basketball games to save for later, and that I cry regularly due to some sports-related catharsis or other. Last minute heroics are always good: Show me a walk-off home run and say good-bye to the Kleenex. And that's only during the regular season.....