Will Shortz has been at the helm of the New York Times Crossword for nearly as long as I’ve been alive. Since 1993, the world’s most famous word nerd has meticulously turned his love for crosswords into an empire — the Times’ standalone crossword subscription, which he edits, crossed 600,000 paid subscribers in 2019. There is nothing else like the Times Crossword, but besides its monopolizing influence, the most enduring narrative about the daily puzzle, and Shortz’s editorship, is its long history of missteps on matters of race, gender, and sexuality.
STUDY HALL / 2021
THE FACE / 2020
THE FACE VOL 4 ISSUE 04 / 2020
For The Face's Vol 4 Issue 04 print issue, I talked to political organizers, voters, and activists in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Wisconsin about the most important election in US history.
Trump’s corrosive influence on the US has felt like watching the fall of a modern Roman Empire, felled by a pathologically-lying, television-obsessed, burger-eating-only maybe-billionaire. Now, the 2020 election may be America’s final chance to reverse its catastrophic course and salvage what shred of democracy – and dignity – still remains. And, just like in 2016, it looks like it may come down to a handful of swing states yet again. In a year in which anything can and has happened, there’s no way to know what will take place between now and election day, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
GOAT / 2020
I talked to members of the LGBTQI+ DJ collective No Shade and drag legends like GodXXX Noirphiles to better understand their fight for equality.
As the effects of the pandemic rip through the publishing industry, it’s fitting that the biggest story in queer media in 2020 was that the newest outlet that prominent LGBTQIA+ writers were flocking to wasn't a publication, but a social media channel by the world’s largest subscription streaming service. The “trendiness” of the community is clearly still enticing, but sustainability isn’t built off trends. If queer media is going to survive, the only way forward is to take note of what went right, sift through what went wrong, and learn from our mistakes so we can ensure a sustainable future for the queer media we deserve.
THE FACE / 2019
STUDY HALL / 2020
THE FACE / 2020
THE FACE VOL 04 ISSUE 03 / 2020
For The Face's Vol 04 Issue 03 print issue, the actress discusses “perfect preparation” and landing the titular role in Janicza Bravo and Jeremy O. Harris’ stripper movie.
For those who don’t know the backstory of Zola, the movie emerged from the 2015 Twitter-storm story of Hooters waitress Aziah “Zola” Wells, who posted about how she was convinced to embark on a two-day stripping trip from Detroit to Tampa by “this white bitch” named Jessica. Over 148 tweets, Zola recounted what felt like Homer’s The Odyssey (if The Odyssey was about a stripper caught in a seedy underworld of sex-trafficking, hotel-room murder, unstable boyfriends, and violent pimps).