Rated Reads shares our pick of the best articles from around the web. This week: an interview with Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala, Berlin's Y2K subculture, knitting in Russian fashion and more.


Read Malala’s British Vogue Cover Interview In Full: “I Know The Power A Young Girl Carries In Her Heart”

The astounding and known-worldwide campaigner Malala Yousafzai graces the cover of British Vogue at the mere age of 23. Now graduated from Oxford University, her interviewer is the Guardian’s own Sirin Kale.

“Even the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner in history is not immune to the occasional life freak out,” Sirin writes. “‘This is a question I have for myself every night,’ Malala Yousafzai says with a groan when I ask her where she sees herself in 10 years’ time. ‘Lying awake in bed for hours thinking, ‘What am I going to do next?””

Sirin and Malala talk having a voice within one’s own culture, being in the Covid class of graduates, and what’s in the works for the showstopping activist.


How the Poets Wrote of Billie Holiday

Cedar Sigo looks at the life of the late singer Billie Holiday through the lens of poetry, particularly biographies written by poets or in poetry form, odes to the icon from the likes of Frank O’Hara and Jayne Cortez. What follows is a fascinating examination of the intersection between jazz and poetry, excerpted from Sigo’s book, Guard the Mysteries.

When asked why jazz musicians die young by journalist Mike Wallace, Holiday replied: “We try to live one hundred days in one day and we try and please so many people. Like myself I want to bend this note and bend that note, sing this way and sing that way and get all the feeling and eat all the good foods and travel all around the world in one day and you can’t do it.”


Glorious bastards: A Berlin porn story

Crack Magazine’s Jake Indiana interviews the director of cult Berlin film Bastards, a feature which crystallized the city’s status as the home of club, techno culture, and sexual freedom. The interview comes ahead of the release of the film’s soundtrack twenty years on, for which ebo hill needed “musicians [who] were exactly on my wavelength. Whenever a scene was shot and edited, we met to find a song for it. Some were even made spontaneously in the rehearsal room while I was present.”

Alex from AeoX adds: “I saw that ebo was really serious with this project. It was a real statement, what the time was like in the clubs, what the music was. And of course, we wanted to nail it. We had a lot of expectations on ourselves.”

The soundtrack became an integral part of a shocking film encapsulating so much of Berlin’s 2001 subcultures, whose legacy still lasts two decades on.


Martha Nussbaum on #MeToo

The inimitable philosopher Martha Nussbaum has reeled out her latest book Citadels of Pride on gender relations and predatory behaviour across three industries, and here chats to Isaac Chotiner about the release.

On the arts, Nussbaum says: “everyone goes from short gig to short gig, and so, therefore, one person who’s very powerful in an industry—like a Harvey Weinstein or a James Levine—can have great influence, even if that person isn’t your supervisor. The other problem is there were just really no rules. The unions in the performing arts have notoriously been very weak.”

In the interview, Nussbaum goes deep into the implications of MeToo and making the language of feminism more accessible.

‘Black music is my superpower. It’s my way of showing love’: the art of Georgia Anne Muldrow

Georgia Anne Muldrow, the musician who put the word “woke” on the map, chats to Christine Ochefu about her latest release Vweto III, uplifting fans with her music, and her mission in life – on this, she says: “I’m the type of traditionalist that wants to give meaning to life. My [concept of] success is directly linked to how Black folks see themselves; it’s not enough for me to be filthy rich or something, owning an island somewhere in the midst of what we live through.”

Wokeness has recently become misappropriated, used as a word to demean arguments for equality and progression. The co-writer of Erykah Badu’s “Master Teacher”, whose most famous line is “I stay woke”, says “if somebody uses ‘woke’ in a derogative way, I don’t really care for what’s on their mind. I can’t worry about what some Republican is worried about; I don’t really care about somebody who don’t even like Black people. If people understand it, I feel blessed by that. But me having a sense of consciousness about my food, water, health and wellbeing is more important.”

Folkloric label Vereja is knitting a new narrative for Russian fashion

Channeling mythology, folklore and pagan traditions, Igor Andreev and Masha Komarova have knitted together a whole new fashion label Vereja. Defying the harsh urban brutality of post-Soviet era design, the pair are hoping to turn Russia’s fashion on its head.

While many have turned to crafts in lockdown, the designing duo took this to a whole new level. The label, for which each garment is knitted, only came into being last year. Andreev tells Anastasiia Federova, “in the Soviet times, knitting was very popular, probably because the choice of clothing was so scarce. Most women used to knit, and knitting magazines were highly sought after.”


Building a World Fit for Women

It has only recently come into the limelight that design, including that of cities, is rarely intended for women. A new Barbican exhibit looks at the lives of a league of female designers, the Matrix Feminist Design Co-Operative, who sought to override government-imposed redevelopment schemes which failed to take into account the needs of women and marginalised communities.

“The Jagonari Centre is Matrix’s best-known building, and arguably the project that most successfully embodies their objectives as a co-operative. Proposed by a group of South Asian women local to Whitechapel, the brief was to create a building that could provide space for childcare, community meetings, and adult education classes,” writes Sadie Levy Gale. A fascinating read on an issue still pervasive today.

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