Christian Stephone: Emotionally-Creative Kansas City Musician

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Transplanting: A Review of Octavia E. Butler’s “Parable of the Talents”

A whole lot of things have changed. My outlook on the world had shifted along with how I perceived myself. Wandering around a what seemed to be broken country, picking up pieces of myself along the way. Decades have passed but the one thing that has always been prevalent is my heightened sensitivity and awareness of my emotions. I’ve been aware-yes, but the understanding wasn’t clear until recently. The struggle of searching for such understanding pushed me into dark places and into unforgiving friendships and relationships. I’ve lost myself many times, each time rising to a new level as I continued to learn and grow despite however low my depression managed to take me. No matter what, love came to find me one way or another, in people, places and in all the quiet moments to myself in between. I found something so empowering and self affirming in those moments these past few months, as I allowed Octavia E. Butler’s writings to imprint itself on my heart and encourage my desires to be openly outspoken. She has aided in this season of my life in many ways, giving life to my newness in the artistry while teaching me so much that which I hope to share with someone else.

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Companion Planting: A Review of Tyler, The Creator’s “IGOR” Album

Love is a whirlwind. It chases you in dances, with some songs going longer than others. You know from the first time you hear certain songs, that you love it, immediately. Pushing others to the side, wanting more time and rewinding back to it every chance you get. The magnitude of something like this crept over me over the past 4 months, as if not to frighten me too much, but it still did. Of course, it did. Being showered with romantic love began to teach me so much more about myself that I could ever imagine. It wasn’t so much of a “change” necessarily as it was as if there was a dimension of myself that was being unfolded for me to see finally. 30 years of learning to love all the small nuances about myself and then here comes this new girl, coming to shake things up for sure. This moment of realization began to show itself with intentional timing and the very first listen of Tyler the Creator’s IGOR album impacted the biggest turning point in my life.

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Organic: A Review of Megan Thee Stallion’s “Fever” Album

Authentic can sometimes be a tricky word. In a society of constant change and expected criticism, displeasing labels are placed on many of us with and without knowing. It’s taken me 30 years, but I’ve realized, thankfully, that I’ve never had all the answers on how to be my “authentic self” but I’d always see her when I was holding the right mirror. It was the reflection in people I’ve met, the relationships I fostered, the black cultural experiences I’ve taken advantage of throughout the years and the love grew with each new wave of inspiration. Sometimes you go looking for the “right” mirror and then there are times when you catch a glimpse of yourself in a store front window and must do a quick double take. Unbothered by the thought of anyone inside having a judgmental view, you admire your features and accept the reflection for what it is. Those are the mirrors that remind you of your authentic self because of its raw unexpectedness. I find pleasure in knowing that Megan Thee Stallion is an artist that held a mirror to some of my favorite attributes about myself in more ways than one.

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Cover Crop: A Review of Beyoncé’s “Homecoming” Documentary Pt. 2

So, I’m a mover. A writer to be exact. It’s taken awhile for me to claim that part of me, even though it’s been there since I could remember. Between Solange’s album and Beyoncé’s documentary, I have been able to find the words to manifest what I’ve always dreamed of; being all of myself. No more hiding behind my own doubts and negative thinking about my potential. I had arrived and there wasn’t any intention on turning back now. The questions that were yet to be answered were, what was I to do with this new energy that I had found? Where was my focus supposed to be from here? What were my words going to be responsible for and with what platform? I was ready for my voice to be heard, however the exact words needed were still being formulated. Acknowledging my starting point was by far the bravest things I’ve done for myself. I was admitting my readiness.

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