Julian Kimble

Writer. Editor. Producer. Strategist. "Ideas guy." Whatever.

The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Undefeated, The Ringer, GQ, Billboard, Pitchfork,The FADER, Vox, SB Nation, etc.

Washington Post
Why more publications should prioritize diverse perspectives

Even as hip-hop has become the dominant style of popular music in America, it is still unmistakably an art form deeply rooted in African American culture. And that has created something of an issue in how the music is covered, especially now that it is written about in every publication that deems itself at all culturally relevant.

The Ringer
The Undeniable Joy of Alfonso Ribeiro

For years, Alfonso Ribeiro couldn’t escape the shadow of his most iconic character, Carlton Banks. But pure, unfettered joy like his can be restrained for only so long.

The Ringer
Carlton Banks Was More Than Just a Dance

Will Smith's TV cousin is best remembered for his bowtie and love of Tom Jones, but the character was much more complex than that. On the 30th anniversary of the debut of 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,' we look back at Carlton's creation and legacy.

The Undefeated
A look back at Latrell Sprewell's very angry 'Sports Illustrated' cover

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name Latrell Sprewell? His 35-point performance at Madison Square Garden with the New York Knicks facing elimination in the 1999 NBA Finals? Him dunking on Jaren Jackson in the third quarter of that game?

J. Cole and "Good-Guy" Misogyny

The hip-hop traditionalist’s “big bro” act, Julian Kimble writes, doesn’t hold up on his latest single.

The Ringer
The Ridiculous Fear of 'Boyz n the Hood,' Revisited

On this weekend in 1991, John Singleton’s debut film became a box-office hit. It also became a lightning rod for people looking to write off Black movies as violence-inducing. But that narrative was always more fairy tale than reality.

Not Every Black Public Figure Can Be an Activist

Whether Jordan’s infamous political silence to Jay-Z’s social-justice missteps, we expect Black celebrities to be both endlessly knowledgeable and tirelessly dedicated — but that’s simply not realistic.

The Ringer
John Singleton Was a Beacon of Authenticity

From ‘Boyz n the Hood,’ which he wrote and directed at age 22, through ‘Poetic Justice’ and ‘Higher Learning’ and beyond, the late filmmaker infused his stories with the richness and depth of black America

The Ringer
John Witherspoon Was the Ultimate Father Figure-On and Off the Screen

You probably noticed his outfits first (how could you not?), but John Witherspoon made his presence felt in everything he appeared in. To simply call Witherspoon, who died at the age of 77 Tuesday, a legend undersells his legacy. The actor connected generations of black comedy and black Hollywood, from The Richard Pryor Show to Black Jesus.

Washington Post
'Menace II Society' and the price of respect

"It set the table for the whole movie, because the whole movie felt like that scene," Allen Hughes says of the harrowing opening to "Menace II Society," the 1993 film he co-directed with his twin brother, Albert.

The Ringer
Mac Miller's 'Circles' Is a Portrait of Growth—and a Life Unfinished

"Nine times out of 10 I get it wrong / That's why I wrote this song, told myself to hold on / I can feel my fingers slippin' in a motherfuckin' instant I'll be gone." That's how Mac Miller began the somber final verse of "Small Worlds," the first single from his fifth album, 2018's Swimming.

The Defiance of Spike Lee and Prince

The Prince spiritual that closes BlacKkKlansman is the culmination of a long friendship and a shared commitment to defiance.

'Reasonable Doubt': Jay Z's Quarter-Life Crisis

Success is rarely achieved without the grace of an epiphany. One of the earliest is the light at the end of the quarter-life-crisis tunnel. Even the most immensely successful people endure this transformative process, emerging with a clearer vision of who they are, what they want, and how they're going to get it.

Washington Post
Philly's place in the pop culture zeitgeist of 2018

Rocky Balboa has long been canonized in popular culture as the physical embodiment of Philadelphia, a city known for blue-collar underdogs with chips on their shoulders. The "Creed" spinoffs bestowed Philly's underdog crown upon a new name: Adonis Creed.

Kanye Fans Debate What to Do with All that Yeezy Merch

Sure, the tees and hoodies and sneakers are great. But what happens when your favorite designer goes MAGA? Kanye West's path to merch dominance started with his Yeezus tour: back in 2013, he traveled to city after city with truckloads of covetable, resellable concert tees and more. Some showed off benign logos.

The Undefeated
The viral, meme-inspiring #InsecureHBO hashtag is as much a smash hit as 'Insecure' itself

Don't underestimate Issa Rae because of her awkward manner - she knows exactly what she's doing. Last month, an hour after the second season premiere of HBO's Insecure, the star, writer, and executive producer of the Golden Globe-nominated show tweeted a picture of herself studying the episode's abundance of Twitter interactions.

Washington Post
How Schoolboy Q took it slow and had one of the best years in rap

It was a mostly quiet conversation with Schoolboy Q until the national anthem protest of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was introduced. That point of contention snared the Los Angeles rapper's attention. "I never stood for the national anthem," Schoolboy Q offered. "That's how I was raised."

Jay Rock isn't a superstar, and that's perfectly OK

Top Dawg Entertainment's recently concluded Championship Tour was a victory lap for the consortium. Each of the label's key artists played distinct roles, as they have in its sustained mega-success: Kendrick Lamar flies high as the "artiste"; SZA, who had to drop out following a vocal cord injury, is the mellow, yet expressive songwriter; ScHoolboy Q the menacing jester; Ab-Soul the radical experimentalist.

Not Another Teen Movie: The Harsh Reality of 'Boyz n the Hood'

Films are portals into worlds; hood movies are no different. The crème de la crème are layered scans of life in the ghetto. In many cases, they're also the necessary reminders that your remote control isn't "ghetto" when it doesn't work.

How Meek Mill's 'Dreams & Nightmares' Became Philly's Ultimate Underdog Anthem

It's uncommon -- and, typically, unfortunate -- for an intro to be celebrated as an album's defining moment. What's perhaps even more rare, however, is for an intro to become arguably that artist's signature record. But for Meek Mill, the opening statement of his 2012 debut album, Dreams and Nightmares, will forever be regarded as his manifesto.

The Undefeated
The poster for the 1995 film 'Dead Presidents'

"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." Former President John F. Kennedy's one-liner, from his 1961 inaugural address, was an armed forces recruiter's dream. But for many of the young men who enlisted and ended up serving during the Vietnam War's escalation years, they were simply cannon fodder.

Random Nerds
What it means to be "Alright"

Our feet are parallel. Our eyes are locked in a confrontational stare. We're close enough to swing, to connect, to black each other's eyes. The late Sergio Leone, master of the Spaghetti Western duel, would appreciate this face-off's unease. As the tension mounts and our heartbeats accelerate, my nemesis speaks first.

The Undefeated
The album cover of Nas' 2012 'Life Is Good'

Love is the most lethal drug available. Although technically free, indulging is a high-risk, high-reward gamble. It propels you to a euphoric peak, then pushes you from the top of that mountain when it's over. But the fall doesn't kill you. You survive to endure the pain.

Washington Post
Farewell, Yasiin Bey

Bey - the artist formerly known as Mos Def - has spent over two decades juggling his many talents, oscillating between music and acting, his evolution marked by several defining turns.

The Undefeated
Iverson's spirit, brashness - and his crossover - made him my role model

"You are not Allen Iverson." Fifteen years have passed, but an otherwise forgettable summer league coach's words still linger in my mind. In the moment - a time when Iverson was leading the Philadelphia 76ers, my hometown team, to their 2001 NBA Finals run - he meant that, despite what I thought, I couldn't pick every defender apart off the dribble.

Washington Post
Drake, the politician

Entertainment is politics. Look no further than this election cycle's dozens of presidential debates for evidence. Our entertainers and politicians possess the same traits and while Donald Trump is a glaring example, Drake is perhaps the superlative embodiment of this phenomenon.

Washington Post
In a time of political uncertainty, Broccoli City Festival is needed more than ever

As the ruins of Fyre Festival burn, it's imperative to remember that music festivals work best when they, A., have some purpose, because they're, B., actually tangible. Broccoli City Festival celebrated its fifth anniversary Saturday - a crucial benchmark for such affairs, as they either prove stale or blossom moving forward.

MTV News
Dave Chappelle's 'Block Party' Charted Hip-Hop's Evolution

When Dave Chappelle's Block Party arrived in theaters 10 years ago, it marked a moment of significance. Aside from being part of Chappelle's reemergence after Chappelle's Show, as the world knew it, ended, the film captured a moment of accidental genius from a man famous for his deliberate manifestations of it.

'Caine & Abel: 'House of Balloons' Was the Weeknd at His Purest

The pained register of his falsetto. The hair that does as it will. The sex, the drugs, the corresponding agony and allure of the hedonism he wades in. These elements have made the Weeknd a luminary-one who performs cocaine dependency ballads at the Grammys and orchestral anthems from mainstream BDSM films at the Oscars.

Washington Post
At Trillectro, youth is not wasted

Youth is an essence as much as it is a phase of life. That's definitely so for Trillectro, which wrapped up its second stint at Merriweather Post Pavilion skewing younger than previous outings - a new wrinkle in the D.C.-born affair's five-year history.

Remembering Janet Jackson's 'Control' 30 Years Later

Be it a regrettable tattoo or choosing a college, your first "adult" decision is momentous. It's a declaration of independence; a here-and-now expression of your identity, but more importantly, an assertion of who you want to be moving forward. For Janet Jackson, this moment came 30 years ago with the release of her third album, Control.

MTV News
How T.I. Became a King

T.I. wears many crowns in 2016: He's the wise patriarch seen on T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle, the head of Grand Hustle Records, and a well-respected rap OG. In 2006, though, the Atlanta MC was still an ascendant artist who had yet to access the crossover appeal that lay beneath his cocksure street anthems. Ten years ago this week, the release of his fourth album, King, changed that for good.

Relationship Goals or Nah: Reexamining 'Baby Boy' and Love 15 Years Later

Fire and desire. Love and pain. Explosive arguments and inevitable make-up sex at obnoxious volumes. These are vignettes of a bipolar relationship: the turbulent cycle we've all at least heard about. Relationships are work, but healthy ones shouldn't be draining. Love shouldn't be governed by chaos.

Washington Post
Trillectro seeks to keep its ultra-cool vibe in a new venue

Since its 2012 inception, the Trillectro music festival has been defined by an ambition to make the District a city that unites the worlds of hip-hop and electronic dance music. This year, it will be defined by change, as the event moves from RFK Stadium's festival grounds to Saturday's edition at Columbia's Merriweather Post Pavilion, which features headliners including Chance the Rapper and breakout electronic music producer/DJ RL Grime.

The 1990s Orlando Magic: The Imaginary Dynasty

Orlando, like the rest of the state of Florida, is an alternate reality. The city's largest attractions-Walt Disney World; SeaWorld; Universal Orlando, namely-add to the illusion as much as the palm trees do. For outsiders, it's very easy to forget that people actually live there.

For Black Americans, Not Even Houses of God Are Safe

Churches represent many things, the most important being safe havens. The church has long been a pillar of the black community, serving as an insulated safe house protecting its inhabitants from hate. People turned to God for support and guidance in dire times, as his home-the church-became their own.

I Remember You Was Conflicted: The Curious Case of Rachel Dolezal

Nella Larsen's Passing zeroes in on a woman whose ethnic makeup is so ambiguous, she can covertly maneuver the white community. Similarly, Philip Roth's appearance as a blip on the bullshit radar inspired plenty of. The Human Stain chronicles a black man so fair-skinned that he also passes.

That's Racist: Athletes Against Police Brutality, and Blacks Who Blindly Support Bill Cosby

This is a recurring feature about race. The opinions expressed during this conversation [Since grand jury decisions not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. and Officer Daniel Pantaleo for killing Eric Garner in Staten Island, several professional athletes have show support for Brown, Garner and other unarmed blacks killed by police.

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