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Bassey Ikpi’s Literary Debut on Her Mental Health Journey Is a Call for People To See Themselves, and Others, With Genuine Empathy

We speak with the Nigerian-American writer and ex-poet about her book that challenges us to rethink mental health challenges.

Bassey Ikpi is the Nigerian-American writer whose debut book of essays is the epitome of vulnerability and honesty around the mental health conversation.

In I'm Telling The Truth, But I'm Lying, which has already landed a spot on The New York Times' Best Sellers list, we follow Ikpi as she takes readers on an exploration of her life from her formative years in Nigeria, moving to Oklahoma as a pre-teen, being a black woman, a poet, a mother and her multitude of identities through the lens of one living with the eventual diagnosis of bipolar II and anxiety.

Her name may ring a bell for those familiar with HBO's Def Poetry Jam—Ikpi made her mark with several appearances on the show and her way with prose and words still hold true with this book of essays. Pulling the reader into a gentle tide of her consciousness, truths and lies, Ikpi shakes our preconceived notions of how the mind works and what "normal" even means.

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Photo by Jon Pack, courtesy of NEON.

In Conversation: The Makers of ‘LUCE’ Use the Film To Turn America’s Ideas of Race & Identity on Its Head

We speak with playwright JC Lee and director Julius Onah on how this psychological thriller is unlike any other as it addresses social issues in an uncommon way.

LUCE is not your typical psychological thriller. There's no predictable storyline, no sweaty close-ups of despair, no screams that echo. The eeriness that sticks with you in this film comes from the realism of how the mind games are presented.

Set in a well-to-do suburb in Northern Virginia, the film follows Luce (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), an all-star high school athlete and lauded debater whose white parents (Naomi Watts and Tim Roth) adopted him as a child from war-torn Eritrea. Raising him to succeed, his community ultimately considers him to be the poster child of the American Dream. His teacher, Ms. Wilson, (Octavia Spencer) then makes a shocking discovery in his locker, where Luce's reputation gets called into question and where the mind games begin. By the end, it's left up to the viewer to determine whether he's truly at fault or if his teacher is preying on dangerous stereotypes.

LUCE was initially a stage play written by JC Lee and made its debut at the Lincoln Center back in 2013, when he was fresh out of graduate school. Taking on the challenge from his professor to write a "grown-up play," a departure from his quirky, sci-fi works, he revisited a scene he wrote while working in public schools in San Francisco.

"I had met a lot of very well-meaning white parents whose politics and what they actually did in their behavior were sometimes not always the same thing," Lee explains. "And I found that the distance between those two things were very interesting."

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Blood Orange's Performance on A COLORS SHOW Is Dripping in Melancholy and Purple Flowers

Watch Dev Hynes give a somber rendition of "Dark & Handsome" from his latest project, "Angel's Pulse."

Dev Hynes of Blood Orange is the latest African artist to give a smashing performance on COLORS.

The Sierra Leonean-British artist gives a somber rendition of "Dark & Handsome"—a track from his latest album Angel's Pulse—with a bouquet of purple flowers in hand, says The FADER.

Watch below.

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Photo still via YouTube.

Watch Uzo Aduba Shine In the New Trailer for 'Miss Virginia'

Based on a true story, Uzo Aduba portrays a mother who leads the fight for education reform in Washington, D.C.

2019 is Uzo Aduba's year.

As we wait to see what she makes of her role playing Civil Rights maven Shirley Chisholm, the new trailer for Miss Virginia shows that she needs all the lead roles.

This being her first starring role, Aduba plays Walden Ford—a single mother who eventually leads the fight for education reform in Washington, D.C. after struggling to provide her at-risk son a private school education in a safer neighborhood, Konbini reports.

Based on a true story, Ford then starts the Opportunity Scholarship Program geared towards low-income students to have a fair shot at improving her son's future and that of the children in her community.

Watch Aduba shine in the trailer below.

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