7 Essays To Read: Gray Hair, Disaster Tourism, And On-Camera Deaths

This week, Isabelle Cossart writes about giving tours of neighborhoods in New Orleans that were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Read that and others from Broadly, The Toast, Ebony, and more.

1. "I Was the Face of Disaster Tourism in Post-Katrina New Orleans" — BuzzFeed Ideas

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Isabelle Cossart runs Tours by Isabelle, the oldest locally owned tour company in New Orleans. Part of her job description includes giving tours of neighborhoods that have been destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. In the past, people have accused her of cashing in on others' misery, but what some don't realize is that it is a misery she has to bear too. Read an essay from Cossart at BuzzFeed Ideas.

2. "Booking for Mr. Right: Is This Korean Dating Method Patriarchal or Practical?" — Broadly

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Aside from Tinder and the plethora of dating apps out there, you can also try booking for the man or woman of your dreams. Phoenix Tso visited a popular booking club in Los Angeles' Koreatown, where waiters dragged her to the tables of different men. A seemingly sexist and torturous experience, it actually wasn't as uncomfortable as Tso had imagined. Read about her experience at Broadly.

3. "Swimming Lessons for Black Girls" — The Toast


There's truth behind the stereotype that black people can't swim. But at age five, Christienna Fryar learned how to swim through lessons at local recreation centers and then swam competitively until she graduated high school. For The Toast, she reflects on her past, how swimming pools are a place of hostility for black people, and police brutality — specifically the way officers treated Dajerria Becton in McKinney, Texas. Read her essay at The Toast.

4. "Taylor Swift’s Evolution, As Seen Through Her Live Show" — BuzzFeed Music

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Taylor Swift is hardly "the girl on the bleachers" that she still purports to be. After seeing the singer in concert, Doree Shafrir wrote about Swift's evolution from pop princess to It Girl. "The biggest difference between 2011 and 2015 Taylor seems like it’s in who she’s telling us she wants to be, what the fantasy is that she’s selling not just to her audience, but more crucially, to herself," she writes for BuzzFeed Music. Read the essay here.

5. "For My Father, Resurrecting the Ancient Rituals" — The New York Times

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"I rested my head against my father’s chest, solid beneath me, rising and falling with each machine breath, the sound of chimney bellows...I hoped for a miracle at his bedside," Vanessa Hua writes, recounting one of the last moments she shared with her father. In a moving piece for The New York Times, she recalls resurrecting old traditions and arranging a cross-cultural funeral to honor her father. Read it at The New York Times.

6. "Is There Any Good Way to Go Gray in Your 20s?" — The Cut

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For years, Marin Cogan has been spending lots of money and time at salons trying to cover up her gray roots; she's also in her 20s. For The Cut, she writes about the frustrations of going gray at such a young age, and how there's really no cheap or easy way to cover up her aging hair. "It’s like a secondary adolescence, awkward and uncertain, empowering and also kind of crazy-making," she explains. "There is just one thing that gives me small comfort: Just as everyone eventually goes through adolescence, so too do they go gray." Read the entire essay at The Cut.

7. "Death Videos, Grief, and Complicated Emotions" — Ebony


In the aftermath of the Virginia TV shooting yesterday, journalists slammed New York Daily News for publishing a cover of reporter Alison Parker just moments before her death. Shocking as the footage of the shooting is, it isn't the first time the world has witnessed a death on camera. For Ebony, Jamilah Lemieux writes about grieving a senseless tragedy while recovering from the trauma of consistent senseless tragedies. Read it at Ebony.

Want to read more?

Matt Debenham explains why he lets his kids watch "inappropriate" television shows. Shannon Keating writes about finding her lesbian friend group — and how it was harder than she thought it would be. Steve Silberman pays tribute to Oliver Sacks, the renowned neurologist and writer who introduced the world to autism. Meredith Talusan points out the failed logic of the "trans panic" defense. Bim Adewunmi interviews esteemed writer Claudia Rankine, discussing her new book Citizen: An American lyric. And finally, Bryan Hood asks whether all these lukewarm superhero films of late will ever end.



A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.