Author Tommy Pico’s Debut Work ‘IRL’ Will Have You Like OMG

Image courtesy of Birds, LLC

The writer tells us all about his book

The following feature appears in the September 2016 issue of NYLON.

Ever get a text in the middle of the night from a hookup and only consider going if they have air conditioning? Brooklyn-based writer Tommy Pico can relate. Pico, originally from the Viejas Indian reservation of the Kumeyaay nation, is the founder and editor-in-chief of the antiracist/queer-positive collective birdsong. His debut book, IRL, a poem structured like a long-form text message, comes out this month. IRL chronicles the journey of Teebs, who is simultaneously trying to reconcile his past while attempting to enjoy the present. I sat down with Pico to discuss the making of a contemporary long-form poem.

Teebs, IRL’s protagonist, shares a name with your personal Tumblr page (Hey, Teebs!). Where does Tommy end and Teebs begin? 
I don’t think if I wrote as myself I would get very much done. The persona of Teebs allows me to be who I am, but at a multiple of 10. Teebs is me but 10 times sadder, 10 times happier, 10 times messier, hungrier, and more fucked up. 

How else would you characterize Teebs? 
He’s a person who is trying to reclaim his indigenous spirituality, and though it’s been taken from him he doesn’t know how to get it back, so he finds himself indulging in [the poem’s refrain of] “boys, burgers, booze,” which are very superficial ways of finding emotional satisfaction. 

What is your writing process like?
Monday through Thursday it’s sitting down and writing, and my rule is that I can’t stop. Friday is the day I go back and look at everything, type things up, cut things out, and put things together. 

How did you decide where line breaks and scene breaks would occur? 
I made the line breaks somewhat unexpected, as I want the person who is submitting themselves to the world of the poem to feel like anything can happen. As an indigenous person living in modern, occupied America, sometimes things do feel arbitrary, and I wanted the text to reflect that. I showed scene breaks using three dots, thinking of texting, when someone’s typing and the dots appear because the message hasn’t sent yet. 

There seems to be an important connection between past and present in the book.
Everything in the book is in present tense. There’s no past tense because the English language is a colonial legacy in the way in which it has absorbed the languages of the people that it’s conquered. English itself is like a living history of colonialism, so when we’re using these words we are living with the past as well. 

Order IRL here.

Screenshot via Youtube

While the song should serve as a reminder to your exes

Just a day after dropping new single "Nunya," featuring Dom Kennedy, Kehlani has released the winter-wonderland visuals to go along with. The singer, NYLON November cover star, and mother-to-be rocks some of the best winter 'fits I've seen in a while, including a glorious puffer jacket that could double as a down comforter that I absolutely need in my life right now.

Kehlani is clearly living her best life up in some snow-filled forest hideaway, vibing on the beach at sunset and sipping on something bubbly as she coolly reminds nosy exes that who she's with is "nunya business." There's not much of a story line (unlike her recent "Nights Like This" video); the main takeaway is that Kehlani is busy dancing through a forest, missing no one and chilling amongst people who are clearly not the subjects of the song.

Kehlani is only two short months away from bringing baby Adeya into the world, who she thanked for helping her get through the video process. "Shot that 7 months pregnant in da snow..." Kehlani wrote on Twitter, adding, "thank u baby for da motivation, mommy was FROZE."

Even from the womb, Adeya has been hustling hard alongside her momma. Twitter user @ODtheMC pointed out that this is already her second music video appearance, and she's not even been born.

Get some mulled wine ready and escape into Kehlani's winter getaway, below. Stay tuned for her forthcoming mixtape, While We Wait, out on February 22.

Kehlani - Nunya (feat. Dom Kennedy) [Official Music Video]



Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images.

As in Black Panther Political Party leader

It's been a running joke that the Black parents/grandparents of millennials were really confused about all of the Black Panther hoopla ahead of its 2018 release. Many of them were anticipating a movie about members of the Black Panther Political Party and didn't know who the hell T'Challa was. Well, those people are about to have their moment, and we're about to have another one.

Variety is reporting that Fred Hampton, the Black Panther leader at the center of the upcoming biopic Jesus Was My Homeboy, could be played by none other than Daniel Kaluuya. Apparently, he is in negotiations for the role. And he's not the only Black Panther alum in the mix. The Warner Bros. project is being produced by Black Panther director, Ryan Coogler. The same article reports that the forever swoon-worthy Lakeith Stanfield—who appeared with Kaluuya in Jordan Peele's Get Out—is also in negotiations, to play William O'Neal, an FBI informant who infiltrated the Black Panther Party.

Coogler and Charles King are putting together a dream cast to tell a difficult story. Hampton was killed by the Chicago Police Department, while his pregnant girlfriend lay next to him, thanks in part to information they received from O'Neal. Whenever it's out, I strongly recommend having Black Panther queued up as a palate cleanser.