Elevate Difference

Reviews by Olupero R. Aiyenimelo

Olupero R. Aiyenimelo

Olupero R. Aiyenimelo has been writing since the age of fifteen. When not getting caught writing at work, she can be seen doing clinical research in pediatric oncology. She holds degrees in psychology and biomedical science. She currently lives in San Antonio, TX and is active in all right-brained activities. Olu is also an avid bicyclist, runner, and chocolate eater. She has been published in AIM magazine and is an aspiring writer and poet.

Experiments In A Jazz Aesthetic: Art, Activism, Academia, and the Austin Project

In June 2009, I participated in a writing workshop with Sharon Bridgforth, not knowing what to expect and not knowing what I was expected to give. I only knew that I loved music, having already pledged my undying love for jazz at a young age, and that I loved writing; but I never intended to leave with a blueprint for the foundation of how I would put pen to paper from that point on.

The Great Silence: Britain from the Shadow of the First World War to the Dawn of the Jazz Age

The Great Silence starts out with a story that is never fun to tell—the story of a war—the First World War. Nicolson writes of a part of life that divides humans like no other, but also remedies that story with one that is incomparable in drawing us together—that of music.

Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future (10th Anniversary Edition)

Ten years ago, my concept of feminism consisted of white lesbians with unshaven legs and armpits who hated men. Fast forward ten years later–past many existential crises, a couple of college degrees, and a hard drop from blissful ignorance–and my feminist tendencies have even leaked into my chivalrous desire to open the door for men.

Princess Noire: The Tumultuous Reign of Nina Simone

Lately, I’ve been reading about artists, creativity, and the psychological eccentricities that draw the two together and force them into a lifelong bond. It is typical for artistic greats to be different from the mainstream, for they tend to be blessed with innovation, perseverance, and, well, a great deal of futuristic talent. If it were to have been different with Nina Simone, I would have been immensely disappointed.

Post Black: How a New Generation Is Redefining African American Identity

Post Black reads like a young, or relatively young, African American’s manifesto. Specifically speaking, it brings home points of declaration from the Generation X and Y African American crowd. Ytasha Womack thoroughly, interestingly, and comprehensibly covers the various aspects that make up the Black population in America.

Homophobias: Lust and Loathing Across Time and Space

Homosexuality seems to always be a topic of interest for researchers, at least in this day and age. Perhaps it is most interesting because sexuality is one of the most private aspects of a person’s life, and nothing seems to generate interest in quite the way that something so mysterious and private can. Homophobia, like homosexuality, varies in degrees of presence, and is often intertwined with the complexities of the cultural, economic, and political workings of the environment it finds itself situated.

Shakti Pendant

The K Robins Designs is located on four acres near Wintergreen Mountain Resort in Nellysford, Virginia. It is not surprising that K Robins learned how to carve her designs in wax and cast them in silver from famous flute maker Patrick Olwell, because her jewelry has a very melodious fluidity to its composure. Robins’ original designs come in sterling silver and fourteen carat gold.

East African Hip Hop: Youth Culture and Globalization

Ntarangwi’s book on hip hop culture in East Africa could be used as an academic treatise for music and cultural classes in any university in America. Generally speaking, when we create something, very rarely are we aware of the far-reaching implications that creation may have outside of our immediate scope. Hip hop has been one such creation. Similar to jazz, hip hop was, in part, created out of the need to communicate what did not want to be heard, at first.

The Best Of The Black President (Deluxe Edition)

Are you kidding me? What Fela fan does not want a two-disc music compilation along with a bonus DVD of interviews and concert footage? That aforementioned statement wasn’t a question, but I don’t like seeing the green underlining that Microsoft Word displays when it doesn’t agree with what you’ve written, so I oblige. My only complaint is that it doesn’t have more songs, more footage, and more shiny pictures. Those of you who are fans of the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti probably already have these songs in your collection. However, with the recent Broadway show of _Fela!

The Black Body

Danquah’s literary libation to the Black body consists of a collaboration of folks—Black, White, and both—all of whom seek to convey what it’s like to live in one, be a part of one, and be affected by one. Before opening The Black Body, I already had preconceived notions of how I thought it would read, considering the fact that I have a Black body, myself. I should have known better.


I just completed a music review about how important I thought it was for the fans to evolve with the artist. Perhaps I put my foot in my mouth. I guess I should preface this review by saying that I am a huge fan of Queen Latifah. I am not, however, a huge fan of Persona. I like to break music up into layers of how I enjoy it; those layers consist of lyrics, vocals, music, and production.

Devil’s Halo

I have always admired the artist who is not afraid to spotlight the daily catharsis we call life, and put it into an artistic pill that the masses will not sicken themselves on if left to process with their own devices. Some examples of this type of artist are Marvin Gaye, James Baldwin, and Stevie Wonder. I am not comparing or contrasting; I am simply stating personal observations and opinions. People generally do not get criticized by those closest to them for their growth—be it emotionally, spiritually, or even physically.

Golondrina, Why Did You Leave Me?

Golondrina is the Spanish word for a (female) swallow, a noun. But to accept that in such strict terms would be an injustice to this literary artwork laid out by Bárbara Renaud González in Golondrina, Why Did You Leave Me?. To swallow—the verb—would be to envelope or take in and also to accept or believe without question, anger, or protest.

Black Feminist Politics from Kennedy to Clinton

There has to be something said for being able to succeed in concisely communicating the issue of Black feminism and politics, but I think Duchess Harris has done just that.

Hiding in Hip Hop: On The Down Low in the Entertainment Industry—From Music to Hollywood

Terrance Dean opens his book, Hiding in Hip Hop, with two quotes, one from Ellen Degeneres, in which she states, “If it weren’t for blacks, Jews, and gays, there would be no Oscars.” The other was from The Bhagavad Gita: “It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with p

The Passing Game: Queering Jewish American Culture

Once homosexuality has been fully incorporated and accepted into “mainstream” society, I wonder what group will be placed at the bottom of the totem pole. I use the word incorporated because it symbolizes a capitalistic tolerance without a desire or need to understand a person's totality.

She Likes Girls 4

She Likes Girls 4 is a hilarious compilation of eight short films on various ways in which girls like girls. Topics center around gender, childhood innocence, homophobia, and presumptions. _Babysitting Andy _directed by Pat Mills is a humorous short about a nine-year-old brat who tortures her wheelchair-bound uncle and his partner into schooling her on the definition of fellatio.

The House of Secrets: The Hidden World of the Mikveh

I felt very divided when reading The House of Secrets. On one end of my ever-teetering religious spectrum, I find joy in the empowerment a woman gains while embracing her belief system. On the other end, even though I am a non-Jewish woman, I found the commonalities in my childhood religion and the mikveh to be somewhat disheartening.

The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability

When I initially saw the title of this book, my inner scale wanted to weigh its contents against my fifteen year decision to exclude eating anything that had parents. I also presumed the author was one of those pork slinging individuals who just couldn’t cut it as a vegetarian. The good thing about getting older, though, is the wisdom I have acquired in remaining open. Lierre Keith discusses three reasons—moral, political, and nutritional—why most vegetarians choose to adopt a meatless diet, and the misconceived notions that often accompany those reasons.

Ex Nihilo Magazine

Ex Nihilo Magazine is an online magazine that was started in December 2006 as a bilingual online publication in English and Bengali for college students. Under the initial chief editorship of Sourya Deb, the small online magazine ran its first issue in January 2007 regrouping and resurfacing the following year. This online publication serves the student population of South Asia and the diaspora with its main focus on art, poetry, photography, and short stories.

The Woman In The Zoot Suit: Gender, Nationalism, and the Cultural Politics of Memory

I have always associated the zoot suit with Cab Calloway and the big band, jazz, and swing era. Never did it occur to me that this type of suit would be the focal point of a movement or two, faceously put. I also thought the trend of wearing loose clothing, as an act of rebellion, was taken from the prison population in which the usage of belts was not allowed. Little did I know how central it was to the Mexican American identity, from the 1930s leading up to the Chicano movement. Catherine S.

The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything

I am not the biggest fan of self-help books. I began reading this book to validate the quarter-life crisis I have been having for quite some time. My definition of a quarter-life crisis is a person who, in his or her twenties, realizes they have been sleeping through their lives while fulfilling the dreams of their parents, culture, or class. Consequently, they awake into a reality that has nothing to do with what they really want, creating a critical turning point brought on at the speed of warp. I am in my thirties and what can I say, I’m a late bloomer.

Hazel Scott: The Pioneering Journey of a Jazz Pianist from Café Society to Hollywood to HUAC

Sometimes when I read autobiographies and biographies of revered artists, pioneers, and notables, I often become absorbed in their beginnings as if they were happening in the present moment and their endings as if they had just passed. This is done easily when the writer blends eloquence with knowledge as is the case with Karen Chilton.

Art + Revolution: The Life and Death of Thami Mnyele, South African Artist

It should be of no surprise that some of the most peaceful and timid visionaries have met violent deaths. It seems that the power with which they create, forge, or even love is equal to that which opposes their very existence.

AsiaPacifiQueer: Rethinking Genders and Sexualities

Aside from a women’s studies class I took as an undergraduate, of which I remember very little, thoughts on gender and sexuality typically have not taken up much of my time. AsiaPacifiQueer: Rethinking Genders and Sexualities totally changed my perception on these subjects. As a self-proclaimed tomboy, who happens not to be a lesbian, society is much more accepting of my “ways” than they would be if I were an effeminate man.