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According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, the word lucubrate means “to write or study, especially by night.” It comes from the latin root lucubrare which means to work by lamplight. There’s a pejorative tone to how the word is used in present-day English as the New Oxford notes that lucubrations, usually plural, describe “a piece of writing, typically a pedantic or overelaborate one.”

Maybe it’s because lucubrating is what I do, but I’ve always thought of the word as being closer to its original meaning. Even better, embedded inside, like a filament, is lux, lucis — the latin word for light.

The image of someone contemplating a thing past the time when others might have stopped – often in dim light – is a wonderful thing to encapsulate within a word.


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Waking up to news of the police killing of Daunte Wright, 20, in a town near Minneapolis sent my emotions through the spin cycle. These events are both regular and unpredictable. As a rapid response, I created a jersey design within Instagram’s stories feature.

Later in the day I learned that the artist Karine Varga, who often uses the New York Times as fodder, created a Daunte Wright jersey out of my recent Times cover, mashing up the one from the story with a physical copy of the Times.

One of the most difficult parts of working on Unarmed is that the jersey designs themselves are reactive. As someone who prefers to be proactive, who prefers action over inaction, this lack of control is the worst part. Still, several people wrote to me and one called yesterday, each echoing a phrase I’ve heard many, many times, “keep going.”


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Well, I probably won’t get to write a headline like that again. Journalist Ben Osborne made me comfortable enough to speak in my own language, to cry, and to wax on the talismanic quality of jerseys in my life, and then set it all up with a feathery sentence like this:

Sports also carry the nostalgic symbolism of youthful innocence. “One of the best moments was always when you got your jersey, your number. I’d just want to wear it all the time,”

Over the years I’ve done press for a number of projects. Some interviews leave me feeling that the person missed the point of even talking to me. Not this time. Check out the lede:

And it looks great in print.

Read the full story here.


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Here’s a short documentary about the Fall Tour I did with Unarmed. It streamed as part of the YouTube Originals special Black Renaissance, alongside segments by Barack and Michelle Obama, Anderson.Paak, Killer Mike, Stacey Abrams, and other luminaries – a great honor. The segment played at the 55-minute mark, directly after a meditation on protest in sports voiced by Jemele Hill. Black Renaissance has now topped 3-million views.

Read the rest of this entry →


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I shot these during a series of afternoon walks I took while living in Ensenada, Mexico for a couple months. The pandemic was still raging south of the border, too, but at least the sunsets were decent. I’ve placed these and other shots from the American southwest in a new photo set documenting some of my recent travels.


© 2006 – 2024 Raafi Rivero.