There’s a lot of talk these days about defunding the police. But what’s being done to reform criminal justice in the stages of the incarceration process after arrest and prosecution? One organization trying to answer that question is the Parole Preparation Project (paroleprepny.org). Parole Prep provides advocacy and volunteer support to currently and formerly incarcerated people serving life sentences in New York State, while seeking to transform the parole release process. As attorney Michelle Lewin, 33, the group’s… Read more
The songs on Kevin Morby’s latest album, Sundowner, are informed by the isolated surroundings in which they were recorded—a backyard Kansas City shed, or a rural West Texas studio surrounded by pecan trees—in what Morby describes as his “attempt to put the Middle American twilight...into sound.” The album sounds like hanging out with your buds under a blanket of stars, cozying up by the campfire. (“Campfire,” in fact, is a particularly stand-out song, featuring Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee.) Sundowner is richly… Read more
For their fifth album, avant-pop band Micachu and the Shapes have changed their name to Good Sad Happy Bad and shuffled the lineup with keyboardist Raisa Khan stepping into the lead vocalist/songwriter role, composer Mica Levi handling guitar and electronics, Mark Pell on percussion, and multi-instrumentalist CJ Calderwood joining the group as a new addition. There is familiarity in the charming experimentation the group has mastered over the years, with Calderwood’s sax accentuating the dissonance and wooziness that… Read more

"Assassins" Is A Conspiracy-Filled Nail Biter

By BUST Magazine  In Movies  On Jan 11, 2021

Politically speaking, so much has changed recently that events from three years ago might feel like they happened in another lifetime. Or maybe, while preoccupied with Trump and Brexit, you missed the wild story behind the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the onetime heir apparent to former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. In February 2017, Kim Jong-nam was assassinated in a crowded airport terminal by two young women who snuck up behind him and rubbed the lethal VX nerve agent into his eyes. Many believed they were… Read more
People who get periods have a lot to deal with. Beyond the physical discomfort and inconvenience of menstruation, the social stigma and inability to access menstrual health products is so profound that the United Nations declared it a public health, gender inequality, and human rights issue. Emmy Hancock, the founder of apparel company Oluna, wants to change that. Before 2016, Hancock “had never really looked at menstrual items as an obstacle.” It wasn’t until she saw the award-winning film I, Daniel Blake that her… Read more
Back before COVID-19 hit, we never could have imagined that masks would become a must, but here we are. And while we’re grateful for this protective accessory, it’s got an unwelcome side effect: maskne. As if pandemic stress wasn’t triggering enough, the mask-induced sweat, bacteria, and humidity of your breath can provoke breakouts. We asked Jennifer Black, an L.A.-based licensed acupuncturist and board-certified herbalist who specializes in dermatology, how to deal. Here are her tips plus some of her favorite prods.… Read more
It’s safe to say that Shamir made the most out of quarantine. In March, he released his Cataclysm project, but his second 2020 offering provides a whole other glimpse into his world. The eponymously titled project is equal parts personal and poignant. The vulnerable “On My Own” delves into the complexity of emotions, while “Running” travels further into the human psyche, with a deep dive into struggles with gender identity. If there’s one important aspect to glean from Shamir, it’s that his superpower is making music… Read more
After the longest and shortest year of our lives, we’ve made it to 2021—and with a new year comes a new lineup of books, music, TV, and more. Here are just some of our first pop culture picks of the year. MOVIES/TV Dickinson Apple TV+ has had some hits and some misses, but one of the streamer’s best standouts was Dickinson. Now, the quirky comedy-drama – based on the life of poet Emily Dickinson (Hailee Steinfeld) – is returning for a second season on January 8. (The show has also already been renewed for a third… Read more

Jane Fonda: A Rebel With a Cause. Exclusive BUST Interview

By BUST Magazine  In Feminism  On Jan 07, 2021

Not only a Hollywood legend, Jane Fonda is also an icon of activism who has been risking her career, her reputation, and even her life in support of worthy causes for over 50 years. Here, the inspiring octogenarian opens up about maintaining her resistance endurance, finding feminism, and passing the baton to the next generation of leaders It’s 11 a.m. on a Wednesday in early fall and the sun is a fiery red ball, obscured by a thick layer of smoke pluming into the air from raging wildfires. California is burning. And… Read more
As we finally change the channel on the past twelve months of nonstop drama, one thing's for certain: we've all got our eyes set on sunny skies ahead. Well, no matter what frigid weather (or post-2020 existential hangover) you're currently trudging through, there is, indeed, a bright spot on the horizon. Spring break has arrived early, and you can thank The Sorels for this miracle of bubble gum-rock-n-roll-pedal-to-the-metal-fun. Naturally, the animated music video—lovingly created by animator Nick Friesen—is one part… Read more
Happy New Year, Busties! If one of your resolutions were to become more fashion savvy, what better way to jumpstart your goal than to support a Black-owned label? These eight brands have gained major traction in 2020, so why not bring you Busties up to fashion speed? You absolutely need these necessities in your home, closet and lifestyle! Brandon Blackwood brandonblackwood.com | ESR Tote Brandon Blackwood’s designs are the epitome of a true classic handbag: style, quality and luxury. Although any Blackwood bag serves… Read more

Thank you, Stacey Abrams

By Sylvie Baggett  In Feminism  On Jan 06, 2021

Back in our fall 2020 issue, Stacey Abrams said that everything would be ok. “Things are changing,” she said. “Trust me.” Now, with Rev. Raphael Warnock—Georgia’s first Black senator—declared the winner over Kelly Loeffler, while Jon Ossof maintains a slim lead over David Perdue, Americans can rest assured that Abrams has made good on her promise. After her gubernatorial loss in 2018 to Brian Kemp, Abrams made it her mission to mobilize Georgia voters of color and fight voter suppression through her various… Read more
Winter weather and a lack of outdoor space don't have to dash your gardening dreams. It turns out, you can harvest kale right in your living room, or carrots in your kitchen. Indoor gardening is a fun, cost-effective, and eco-friendly way to grow your own food. According to Jasmine Jefferson, the founder of Black Girls With Gardens (blackgirlswithgardens.com)—a collective that provides education, support, inspiration, and representation to Black women and women of color through gardening—there are other benefits, too.… Read more
While social media is primarily used as a tool for keeping updated on the lives of friends, acquaintances, and your favorite celebrities, it can also be an impressive device for keeping yourself updated on social issues. Platforms like Instagram offer the opportunity of an intersection of art and activism. Check out these pages which use the power of representation to advance compelling advocacy. C.hromaSalomée, who runs the C.hroma account, describes herself on her Patreon as “creating murals and art for the… Read more

Tarotscopes: Your Winter Horoscope Inspired By The Tarot

By BUST Magazine  In Living  On Jan 05, 2021

We are pleased to introduce our new columnist Sarah Potter, a professional witch, tarot reader, and practitioner of color magic. Sarah will be providing her Tarotscopes for the season in each issue of BUST. Here are her pulls for December, January, and February 2021. Sagittarius:Page of Swords(Nov. 22 to Dec. 21)Stand up for what you believe in and speak up, Sagittarius! You have an abundance of energy and a desire to channel it towards the greater good of humanity. Put your confidence and enthusiasm for justice to… Read more

10 Tips for Boosting Your Body Confidence

By BUST Magazine  In Living  On Jan 04, 2021

Learning to feel at home in your body is a lot of work. I’m a body confidence advocate now, and still on a recovery journey after struggling with body image issues and bulimia for nearly a decade. I didn’t think I was good enough to show up as I was. But I am, and so are you. Here are my tips for how to ditch shame. 1. No more diets. Diets take away your freedom and make enjoying food feel like rebellion instead of pleasure. 2. Unfollow #bodygoals. Genetics play a huge role in our body size and the way we gain muscle.… Read more
Michelle Gomez is a riveting Scottish actor who first started turning heads for her comedy roles in series including “The Book Group,” “Green Wing,” and “Bad Education,” before her international breakout moment in 2014 when she started playing Missy on the landmark British sci-fi series “Doctor Who.” Many Americans discovered her when she started playing Madame Satan on the Netflix series “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” which premiered in 2018 and which just kicked off its fourth and final season. She also plays a… Read more
Aaaaaaaannnndd in the blink of an eye, 2020 is coming to a close. Thank god. This year has been a bit of a rollercoaster, to say the least. If your resolution from this past year never came to fruition, you're not to blame. Still, when considering potential methods of self-improvement to tackle in 2021, it’s crucial to be kind to yourself. A New Year’s resolution is supposed to be a goal that can be worked towards throughout the incoming year for the sake of putting yourself on a more fulfilling, happier path in life.… Read more
Crepes are the world-class cousin of the basic breakfast pancake; drench them in warm boozy caramel sauce and hearty, flame-kissed seasonal fruit, and suddenly you have an elegant (and dramatic!), easy-to-customize dessert that will be the epic finale to any fancy meal or romantic dinner. Dessert Crepes with Flaming Fruit(Makes 4 generous servings, at 2 crepes & fruit each) What You'll Need : Vegan Crepes 1 3/4 cups plain soy, oat, or almond milk 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 Tbsp. cornstarch 1 Tbsp. sugar ¼ tsp. salt… Read more

Rapper Jesswar Celebrates Female Empowerment With New Music Video

By Sylvie Baggett  In Music  On Dec 23, 2020

Jesswar says it best herself: “Got venom in my lyrics/Bodies drop when I spit it.” In her latest music video release for “Venom”, the Fijian rapper cycles through intense, neon-lit scenes with the self-assurance and expansive energy of 90s New York City emcees. Surrounded by a cohort of powerful women dressed in black, Jessswar oozes confidence as she is escorted to her throne where she studies an underground M.M.A. fight between two women with the nonchalance of a Roman emperor. There is a fervor unfolding as… Read more
Merry Christmas Eve Eve Busties! As we gear up for the last two days before the joyful holiday, you might find yourselves wrapping presents, setting up those Zoom links or finalizing those delicious holiday dinner meals. No matter what you’ll be busy with for the next few days, what better way to enjoy your festivity prep than with a classic Christmas movie. Here are some must-sees of the season. How The Grinch Stole ChristmasNetflix is home to the infamous Dr. Seuss original brought to life. However, the real story is… Read more
Due to environmental concerns, I’ve been a vegetarian for the past decade. Now that I’m responsible for my own food shopping and meal preparation at school, I’ve been taking steps towards going completely plant-based. Or, at least, consuming more plant-based foods. Fortunately, one of my roommates this year is already vegan, so I was in an environment conducive torward this kind of dietary shift. Here are some tips I’ve learned for going vegan without too much stress or breaking the bank. Don’t worry -- this isn’t an… Read more

11 Winter Cottagecore Must-Haves That Are a Breath of Fresh Air

By BUST Magazine  In Style  On Dec 22, 2020

We have the lesbian community to thank for the proliferation of this pastoral aesthetic, which invokes cozy cottage life—getting back to nature, comfy sweaters, and cuddling up in front of a fire. Cozy up with these cottagecore pieces that will have you pining for your own cabin in the woods. 1. Ivy Leaf Necklace, $35.19, botaniajewelry.etsy.com 2. Mushroom Face Mask, $15.99, handmadebyksmom.etsy.com 3. Meditative Mind Rosebud & Jasmine Tea, $3, theteaspot.com4. Floral Embroidery Knit Sweater, $49, zara.com5. Apronneck… Read more
During our Zoom interview, actor Jessica Marie Garcia tells me she wants to read me something from comedian Nicole Byer’s book, but she can’t stand up to get it because she’s not wearing pants. When she admits this, I laugh, not only because it’s funny, but also because she sounds just like her character Jasmine Flores on the hit Netflix show On My Block, who once famously declared she doesn’t show her “chonies” (Spanish for underwear) “to no phonies.” On the show, Garcia personifies teen angst, awkwardness, and… Read more

Calling All Lady Stoners: On Shame, Gender, and Weed

By Jordan Freeman  In Living  On Dec 18, 2020

“So you lied to me,” my partner said with an uncommon tinge of anger. The ride to the grocery store seemed as good a time as any to admit I’d been secretly smoking, despite my out-loud resolve five days prior to stop: I was sick, and I needed to prove to myself I could do it. I needed to go thirty days without weed. We didn’t speak for the rest of the car ride, and parted ways under the fluorescent lights of the produce section. Twenty minutes later, he found me in the dried goods aisle to kiss my forehead and envelop… Read more
Electronica musician, artist, and activist Kiran Gandhi, better known by her stage name Madame Gandhi, got her start in music performing as the drummer for M.I.A and Thievery Corporation. She got her Bachelor’s in Mathematics and Gender Studies from Georgetown and an MBA from Harvard before deciding to become a full-time rock star in 2016 with her breakout EP Voices. In 2019 she released the EP Visions and during quarantine, she took on a special new project. Gandhi launched a contest to see who could create the best… Read more
During my early school years, my lack of focus was often attributed by teachers as a lack of discipline. If I just worked, studied, or tried harder, I would be “on track.” If I could just do this one thing that was seemingly within my control, I would be on the deceptively linear path to success. I would be excellent. Oddly, the truth of the matter was that I was working hard. I would take notes and stay after school for extra help and then come to school early for some more help. I bought any folder and planner that… Read more

Lend A Socially Distanced Hand To These Worthy Causes

By BUST Magazine  In Living  On Dec 18, 2020

Don't let the pandemic (or your tight budget) dampen your giving spirit. By pairing up with any of these five organizations looking for remote volunteers, you can pay it forward without actually paying a thing or even leaving the house—except, perhaps, a trip to the post office. Make a Mark Based in Chicago, Liberation Library (liberationlib.com) sends free books to teens in Illinois detention centers. Recipients choose from a diverse library of literature, and get a personalized note and handmade bookmark, too. Pop… Read more

How To Navigate The Holiday Season While Chronically Ill

By Ly H Kerr  In Living  On Dec 18, 2020

Christmas is joyous and lovely and incredibly hard for the chronically ill. On top of keeping up with everyday life, there are a million other tasks to contend with—not only is there shopping, wrapping, and cooking, but there are a multitude of festive social events. Oh, and we’re all expected to stay merry and bright. When you’re chronically ill, you don’t get time off for Christmas. Keeping up with seasonal demands when you are in pain and exhausted can be impossible. Here is my spoonie guide to surviving Christmas.… Read more
With the internet being such a prevalent part of our lives, it’s opened the gates of the true meaning behind freedom of speech. Unfortunately for superstar Lizzo being a major celebrity, and plus size woman, it may seem as though the floods are never ending. Earlier this week, the “Truth Hurts'' singer shared on social media that she had just completed Nutritionist JJ Smith’s 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse. According to Scrib’d, the 10-day regimen is designed to "jumpstart your weight loss, gain more energy, and clear… Read more
In the year of the pivot, comedians have had to get creative with their venues. At least for now, the days of packed, basement-dark comedy clubs and soaring, Liberace-esque amphitheaters are gone. Instead, many are turning to the expanse (and the safety) of the great outdoors for their performances. Lizz Winstead’s new special, “Corona Borealis: A Night of Comedy Under the Stars,” invited attendees in her home state of Minnesota to laugh through the pain of 2020 with her—on a lake. Proceeds from the special, which is… Read more
In 2011 PJ Harvey began a unique project with photojournalist Seamus Murphy in which she accompanied him on trips over the span of five years to Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Washington D.C. where she penned poetry and found musical inspiration. This project culminated into three creations: a book of photos and poetry, a musical album of songs inspired by the experience entitled The Hope Six Demolition Project, and a documentary which Murphy directed that pairs his footage with Harvey’s resulting music. The film’s title, A… Read more
As Santa gears up to prepare his Christmas Eve rounds, the interns here at Bust are giving readers a peek at what we’d like under our Christmas trees this year. Santa baby, could you take a peep at this piece for me and my fellow interns? We’ve been angels all year. 1. A Sewing Sarah Magic Embroidery Pen for Vanessa - $12.95 I’m really interested in embroidery and often experiment on my own clothes, especially with lettering. So I’ve asked for an embroidery pen, too. An embroidery pen does half of the needlework for… Read more

Ani DiFranco's New Single Is A Protest Song: BUST Interview

By Sylvie Baggett  In Music  On Dec 16, 2020

If there’s a silver lining to 2020, it’s that the year is rife with subject matter for protest art. Whether it’s a confederate monument coated in anti-racism manifestos or a mural honoring those lost to COVID-19, creators around the globe have put their stamp on the world’s worst year, memorializing it through art. Musician Ani DiFranco is no different. Her forthcoming album Revolutionary Love, to be released on Righteous Babe Records, distills political and emotional fallout from 2020. Her latest single, “Contagious”,… Read more

Photographer Michelle Norris On Her Bright, Bold Style

By BUST Magazine  In Style  On Dec 15, 2020

In BUST's Fashion Nation series, we talk to people about their personal style. Michelle Norris Photographer, Tropico Photo Atlanta, GA Tell me about this outfit. The earrings are by Wasted Effort. Both necklaces were made for me by my mother-in-law—the T stands for Taco, my dog, and the other one says Forrest, my husband! I wear them almost every day. The pink jacket is a vintage find from I Am That Shop online. The purple vintage sleep top is from...I can’t even remember where! The trousers are vintage from a shop in… Read more

Lavender Diamond's Latest Album Hits That Soft Rock Spot

By BUST Magazine  In Music  On Dec 14, 2020

Becky Stark, Steve Gregoropoulos, and Ron Regé, Jr.—aka Lavender Diamond—return after eight years with an album that weaves acoustic rock, electronic, and orchestral pop seamlessly into their own unique sound. This is amply displayed on haunting tracks like “Look Through the Window,” “Ocean and Ground,” and “Please Plant the Seeds.” Things pick up on “In the Garden,” “Flashback,” and “New Religion” with a crunchy guitar groove. Stark’s ethereal voice is reminiscent of proto freak-folk goddesses Sandy Denny, Joni… Read more
Unfortunately, the lawsuit that musician FKA twigs (legally known as Tahliah Debrett Barnett) filed against actor Shia LaBeouf last week is not the first accusation of abuse made about him. In her Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, Barnett alleges that LaBeouf committed sexual battery, assault, and infliction of emotional distress, and also accused him of knowingly giving her an STD. One of the events that Barnett recounts is an incident that took place in 2019 where LaBeouf purportedly sped down a highway without a… Read more
The feature debut of Tanzanian American writer/director Ekwa Msangi, Farewell Amor, follows an immigrant family from Angola that reunites 17 years after husband and father Walter (Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine) left for New York to work as a cab driver and establish a home for those he left behind. When he is finally able to bring over his wife Esther (Zainab Jah) and daughter Sylvia (Jayme Lawson) to share his small Brooklyn apartment, expectations shatter as he realizes he is as alien to them as they are to their new… Read more
You don’t need holiday magic to turn your paper recycling—cardboard, newspaper, and brown packing paper—into bright, happy ornaments. Just some paint and a few household supplies. These fruit and fungi are a feast for the eyes, but once you get the hang of papier-mâché (essentially using tape, glue, and water to create long-lasting paper sculptures), you can customize any ornament you want, taking “reduce and reuse” to a whole new level. What You'll Need Stiff cardboard Pen Scissors Newspaper Masking tape Lids or bowls… Read more
Writer/director Ekwa Msangi’s feature film debut, Farewell Amor, follows an Angolan family as they attempt to reconnect after almost two decades living on different continents. Walter (Ntare Mwine) and Esther (Zainab Jah) met and fell in love in Angola during the Civil War. While Esther and their daughter, Sylvia (Jayme Lawson), stayed as refugees in Tanzania, Walter immigrated to New York City alone to create a home for the family. When the audience meets this family, Walter is picking up Esther and Sylvia from the… Read more
Singer-songwriter Jessica Vaughn has spent the majority of her life entertaining. Whether she’s writing songs for commercials and cartoons or performing as LACES, the multi-hyphenate artist knows what it means to persist. At 18, she signed her first major record deal under the stage moniker Charlotte Sometimes. Afterwards, Vaughn’s career took off, complete with chart-topping records and a stint on Warped Tour. However, behind the scenes of her rising stardom, Vaughn experienced what one publication called “the holy… Read more
I often share tips to help chronically ill people—or spoonies—manage different aspects of their lives. However, sometimes the trickiest part of the spoonie life is dealing with how those around us react to our illness. This time, as we approach the holiday season during a global pandemic, I thought I’d offer some advice to those who know and love a spoonie. Please don’t give us a hard time when we cancel. This applies all the time, but especially during the festive season when there are so many events. We know we… Read more

La Chica's "La Loba" is An Anthem for She-Wolves

By Ramona Salt  In Music  On Dec 10, 2020

What do you think of when you see the color red? Sophie Fustec is a pianist and musician who grew up between Venezuela and the French neighborhood of Belleville. She created the moniker La Chica to fulfill her cravings for artistic freedom and expression, while reflecting upon the current political climate and serving as a voice for women in the music industry. Building onto powerful synth melodies, Fustec heavily incorporates her Franco-Venezuelan roots and Latin American heritage into her lyrics. La Chica lives and… Read more
The holiday season is here, and we’re celebrating with a lot of new movies, shows, and Christmas music by our favorite artists. Read on for everything on our radar this week. MOVIES/TV Assassins Ryan White’s documentary tells the shocking true story of how two women got roped into murdering Kim Jong-nam in 2017. Out December 11, and find our review in BUST’s Winter issue, on newsstands now. I’m Your Woman Rachel Brosnahan stars in this thriller about a woman who ends up on the run after one of her criminal husband’s… Read more
When Shannon Maldonado left the N.Y.C. fashion industry to return to Philadelphia in 2016, she was ready to push her hometown out of its comfort zone. “It’s traditionally a pretty bluecollar city and I was like, ‘I want to open this really weird art store in a place that maybe isn’t quite ready for it, but I want them to get ready,’” she says. That dream became a reality in Yowie, her Queen Village shop that sells apparel collaborations with brands like Lisa Says Gah alongside dreamy home decor, glassware, foodie… Read more
Months after Vanessa Guillén's remains were found on June 30, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy announced that 14 leaders at Fort Hood are to be dismissed from the Army for her murder, reported CBS News. The 20 year-old Army soldier went missing on April 20, and was declared murdered on April 22 in Fort Hood, Texas following the discovery of her remains a week later along the Leon River. Before her disappearance, Guillén told her family that she and other women in the Army were being sexually harassed by an unnamed… Read more

Cults Going Corporate: Why The NXIVM Story Feels So Familiar

By Alison Lanier  In TV  On Dec 10, 2020

“No one thinks they’re signing up for a cult,” says Mark Vicente in the final episode of HBO’s The Vow. It’s an interesting statement, seeing as Vicente just spent the better part of a decade essentially acting as a propagandist for a cult leader. No one thinks they’re signing up for a cult is the echoing refrain throughout The Vow, the HBO documentary series chronicling the rise and fall of the sex trafficking cult NXIVM through the eyes of former members who then became dedicated to dismantling the organization.… Read more

Katie Porter Is Sick of Mitch McConnell's BS

By Sylvie Baggett  In Feminism  On Dec 09, 2020

It’s been 257 days since Americans received their $1,200 COVID relief checks, which breaks down to about an additional $4.67 a day. For most of us, that isn’t’ enough to get a decent cup of coffee, much less survive this economic downturn. Though talks of a second relief measurement have been happening on and off since the summer, none have been successful. And U.S. Representative Katie Porter wants the American people to know who to blame. In a tweet, she thoroughly scorched Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell:… Read more
Girl, gurl, grrrl. Three words that represent, according to Kenya Hunt, the “unique love language between Black women, regardless of age.” These terms of endearment acknowledge the shared experiences of Black women, and Hunt’s first essay collection does the same, zig-zagging between merry dispatches from the U.K. premiere of Black Panther to the frustrating realities of renting an Airbnb while Black to the surprising religious alienation of Aretha Franklin’s funeral. The book’s epilogue leaves the American journalist… Read more
Jordan Firstman’s character sketches are funny because, while absurd, they also ring true. Last April, shortly after the COVID shutdown began, the L.A.-based writer/actor/comedian started posting hilarious little vignettes on Instagram @jtfirstman (alongside the occasional extremely gay, extremely sexy thirst trap), and a follower base 690K-strong-and-growing sprang up in response. His brief, low-key “impressions” range from timely (banana bread’s publicist) to timeless (his “straight man” impression is just a supercut… Read more