INDY Week 11.24.2021

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Raleigh | Durham | Chapel Hill November 24, 2021

by Eric Ginsburg, p. 10

Culture I N A Bottle Melanated Wine, the Triangle’s only Black-owned winery, is making waves in North Carolina’s burgeoning wine industry


Raleigh W Durham W Chapel Hill VOL. 38 NO. 45

Isabel Walsh wants to bring attention to the millions of dollars funneled to hate groups through Fidelity Charitable p. 8 PHOTO BY BRETT VILLENA

CONTENTS NEWS 4

Three hours after the Rittenhouse verdict came down, conservative pages ruled Facebook's engagement algorithms.

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While residents observed a cease-fire in the Bull City's parks and high school theatres, the bloodshed continued unabated in its streets.

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Hate groups are getting millions through Raleigh-based Fidelity Charitable's nonprofit fund.

BY JOHN BYRNE

BY THOMASI MCDONALD

BY JASMINE GALLUP

ARTS & CULTURE 9

Frank Hyman wants to make mushroom foraging accessible for everyone. BY SARAH EDWARDS

10 "We tell people our wine is 'culture' in a bottle," says Lashonda Modest, owner of Melanated Wine in South Durham. BY ERIC GINSBURG

15 A new documentary about Julia Child offers an intimate portrait of the trailblazing chef. BY LEIGH TAUSS

16 The expansive artistic legacy of Senora Lynch. BY CHRIS KAMMERER

THE REGULARS 5 Drawn Out

3 Quickbait

COVER Photo by Brett Villena / Design by Annie Maynard

WE M A DE THIS PUBLIS H ER S Wake County

MaryAnn Kearns Durham/Orange/ Chatham Counties

John Hurld EDITOR I AL Editor in Chief Jane Porter Managing Editor Geoff West

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Arts & Culture Editor Sarah Edwards

Theater+Dance Critic Byron Woods

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A D V E RTI S I N G

Senior Writer Leigh Tauss

Contributors Will Atkinson, Madeline Crone, Grant Golden, Spencer Griffith, Lucas Hubbard, Layla Khoury-Hanold, Brian Howe, Lewis Kendall, Kyesha Jennings, Glenn McDonald, Anna Mudd, Dan Ruccia, Jake Sheridan

Creative Director

Annie Maynard

Wake County MaryAnn Kearns

Staff Writers Jasmine Gallup Thomasi McDonald Editorial Assistant Lena Geller Copy Editor Iza Wojciechowska

November 24, 2021

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BACKTALK

Last week, Sarah Edwards wrote about the new Pioneers Durham, a homophobic church and a coffee shop that’s opening in the heart of the Bull City’s downtown this winter. Our readers, of course, had thoughts.

“Thank you @eddy_sarah for this thoughtful piece that explains what a space such as pioneers church means not just in terms of queer-durham, but how it fits into the larger religious context in Old North Durham as well as the ever growing class/economy divides,” wrote Twitter user KATE ROBERTS. Twitter user MAGGIE THOMAS wrote this thread: “disappointed in the leadership of this church. as a duke div alum & having been in a church planting spiritual formation w the pastor, i was excited to see where this would lead. however, i’m really sad at the harm this has already, and will continue, to cause—a damn shame. this just goes to show that flowery language of welcome and love means nothing if not followed up with right and true action. you can’t just ~say~ you’re with and for a city and it’s people without actually ~being~ with and for all of it’s people. durham is too good for this. bad theology kills. quite literally. and it breaks my heart to know that this is the theology being expressed at Pioneers in a community as lovely and queer and beautiful as Durham.” Some readers thought we should have been harder on Pioneers: “so much of this article is so unnecessarily kind to what is clearly not a good person what a bizarre choice,” wrote @LO_LIFER on Twitter. Others just wanted to vent. “And here I thought something cool was going into that space. Massive cringe,” wrote NADIA CONROY on Facebook. “Great article. That place needs a hell of a lot more salt poured around it,” wrote Facebook commenter SABRINA MIRACOLI. “I sure feel a whole lot of ‘yikes’ about this endeavor,” wrote Facebooker RACHEL MONINGER. We’ll give the last word to Twitter user @MCMANLYPANTS: “This church is running a for-profit business, taking anti-LGBTQ money, mealy-mouthing about us every time they’re asked, openly courting gentrifiers, and their pastor talks like a how-to pamphlet on manipulation while telling people she has ‘visions’ about them. Fun.” “Fun,” indeed.

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QUICKBAIT Black Friday

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BY JASMINE GALLUP jgallup@indyweek.com

mericans are ready to start spending money again, just in time for the biggest shopping event of the season. Holiday spending is expected to shatter previous records—up 8 to 10 percent over last year— according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. Here’s more data from its annual survey.

$997

Average amount people plan to spend during the holidays

$648

$349

on gifts for friends and family

on food, decor, and things for me

158 million

*

people plan to shop this weekend

60%

Thanksgiving Day: 30.6 m Black Friday: 108 m

40%

Saturday: 58.1 m

20%

0%

Sunday: 31.2 m Cyber Monday: 62.8 m

Online 2020

Top 10 Toys

Department Store 2021

* the total of the daily numbers exceeds the overall figure because some consumers will shop multiple days

Legos

Cars and trucks

Hot Wheels

PlayStation

Video games

Barbie/ L.O.L. Dolls

Legos

Smartphone

Frozen costumes

Disney products

Source: National Retail Federation’s Annual November Consumer Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics INDYweek.com

November 24, 2021

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N E WS Screencaps from various conservative Facebook pages following the Rittenhouse verdict COURTESY OF RAW STORY

Right-Wing Town Square Three hours after the Rittenhouse verdict, conservative pages ruled Facebook’s engagement algorithms by a factor of nine to one. BY JOHN BYRNE backtalk@indyweek.com

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ast Friday, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Facebook page had the most interactions in the world. “Let’s chase what we are trying to achieve this season!” he exclaimed. The Portuguese soccer star’s post, however, was an island in a partisan sea. The next six most engaged posts came from outspoken American conservatives cheering the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse for the murder of two men at a Wisconsin protest. Looking at shared links, conservatives’ Facebook dominance was even more stark—18 of the top 20 most engaged page links in the world originated from conservative Facebook pages. Facebook’s largest leak in history focused on the company’s past. Missing, however, from the coverage of a Facebook whistle-blower has been a focus on Facebook’s present. To look at Facebook’s data about user interactions— which reflects the engagement of its users with content worldwide—is to find oneself in a universe where American conservative voices dominate. While Facebook claims to host a diverse spectrum of 2 billion users, its daily engagement ranking exposes how right-wing actors eclipse all other media conversations atop its algorithm. Three hours after 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of the murder of two men at a Wisconsin protest, Facebook lit up with a panoply of conservative 4

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pages cheering the teen’s exoneration. Even a cursory glance at the scoreboard—the top 20 most engaged link shares by pages in the world—suggests that Facebook has become a town square for right-wing American voices. Ninety percent of Facebook’s most engaged pages linking out to other websites were conservative pages, with just two mainstream sources—NPR and NBC News—eking out a place on the list. Twenty-four hours after the verdict, conservative pages gave up some ground. But while link posts from Myanmar, Great Britain, and Qatar joined the list (at 17, 18, and 19), conservative American pages still held 15 of the top 20 posts, and 90 percent of the top 10—worldwide. Even though Facebook banned former president Donald Trump after the January 6 riot at the Capitol, a Donald Trump for President page beat out all mainstream news outlets, twice, in the three hours after the verdict. NPR and NBC came in at 14 and 17, behind Donald Trump for President at positions seven and eight. “Kyle should spend the next year suing the absolute pants off of every news outlet that defamed him,” one Trump for President post read. There is no indication former president Trump is involved with the page. Also trumping NPR and NBC—three different times— was Dan Bongino, a three-time failed congressional candi-

date, former police officer, and Secret Service agent, who is now a conservative radio host. Bongino had also captured five of the top ten most engaged slots the prior day. Facebook reveals daily user engagement data through CrowdTangle, a tool publishers use to get insight into what’s trending. For the past several years, New York Times reporter Kevin Roose has tweeted “Facebook’s Top 10,” a daily list of pages atop Facebook’s engagement algorithm. Roose’s list reveals how often conservative pages win in Facebook’s interaction metrics. Facebook has repeatedly said engagement data does not reflect how often content appears in users’ news feeds. In August, Facebook released a report showing that recipes and cute animals ranked among the most viewed items on the platform. The report was undermined by The New York Times, which revealed the company had shelved an earlier analysis showing the most viewed link was “a news article with a headline suggesting that the coronavirus vaccine was at fault for the death of a Florida doctor.” Facebook then released the earlier report. Facebook’s third-quarter report appeared to support the company’s claims that the most viewed content isn’t partisan. The most widely viewed domains included YouTube, GoFundMe, and Amazon, and the most popular posts were memes. Only the anti-China page, Epoch Times, which spreads right-wing conspiracy theories, stood out among the top 20 most seen U.S. pages. A former Facebook executive who spoke to Raw Story criticized the company’s transparency reports. The executive noted that Facebook had only released a tiny amount of data; the reports only show the top 20 in any category. Better reporting, the executive said, would include not simply what was popular—but where, including different geographic areas of the United States. Facebook should also reveal what content gets distributed to which demographics, the executive said, as well as more current data to allow analysis of “trends and pockets of trends” on Facebook. Facebook’s most engaged link shared by a page after Rittenhouse’s acquittal was posted by Bongino, the conservative talk show host. Bongino’s Facebook post linked to a video where a crowd outside the courthouse cheered to a chant of “Freedom wins! Freedom wins! Freedom wins!” followed by another man screaming, “Second Amendment stays!” Bongino has more monthly Facebook engagement than The New York Times, The Washington Post, and CNN combined. Asked why he’s so popular on Facebook, he said, “I think people just love the message.” Bongino has promoted conspiracy theories, including allegations that Democrats spied on former president Trump’s 2016 campaign, and falsely asserted that masks are “largely


ineffective” at preventing the spread of COVID-19. Facebook’s second- and third-most engaged post after the Rittenhouse verdict came from Ben Shapiro, founder of the conservative news site The Daily Wire. “Not guilty was the correct verdict,” Shapiro’s page wrote. “Anyone with a prefrontal cortex who had watched the trial for more than 30 seconds knew this. Anyone who says differently is a lying hack.” “Justice was served,” Shapiro’s page added in another post. “The Left accepting the verdict in a peaceable manner remains the sizable elephant in the room.” The Daily Wire article linked asserted that social media was celebrating Rittenhouse’s not-guilty verdict—which was true, at least on Facebook. “Joe Biden, CNN, MSNBC, and the Democrat establishment should apologize for lying about Rittenhouse as a ‘racist’ and ‘school shooter’ and ‘white supremacist’ for months,” the author wrote, quoting conservative radio host Buck Sexton. “But they won’t, because they have no honor and don’t care about the destruction they constantly incite.” “These jurors are patriots,” Sexton continued. “They chose honor, truth and love

“To look at Facebook’s data about user interactions is to find oneself in a universe where American conservative voices dominate.” of country over the whims of the vicious Leftist mob.” The Daily Wire’s article was the most engaged news article linked from a Facebook page in the three hours following the verdict. The Daily Wire’s success is linked to the fact that the company controls multiple Facebook pages. At least eight have more than 500,000 followers, including Daily Wire, The Angry Patriot, Fed Up Americans, The Real Patriots, Matt Walsh, and Donald Trump Is My President. It also controls pages with more than 100,000 followers: Conservative News, The Conservative, Boycott, The Right News, Restless Patriot, Pro-America News, and The United Patriots. Shapiro’s own page, with 8 million followers, is run by The Daily Wire, which describes itself as “one of America’s fast-

est-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment.” The site is owned by Shapiro, his editorial partners, and self-made fracking billionaires. The Daily Wire was forced to acknowledge ownership of its other Facebook pages after an exposé by Popular Information. Facebook acknowledged the pages engaged in deceptive coordinated sharing that violated its rules but allowed them to continue to operate. During the Trump administration, Shapiro was among a number of conservatives who had private dinners with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. While Facebook correctly notes that engagement and views are different, data CrowdTangle releases about videos reveals total views. That data shows that conservatives won that race as well.

Eight of the 10 most popular videos posted about the Rittenhouse trial in the first three hours were posted by conservative pages. Conservative pages’ videos received 87 percent of views. A liberal political page, Occupy Democrats, captured 13 percent. Occupy Democrats had the eighth- and ninth-most popular videos about the trial. Eighteen of the top 20 videos—or 90 percent—related to the trial by engagement were posted by conservative pages. Twitter’s algorithmic response to the verdict was more balanced. Five hours after the verdict, Kyle Rittenhouse and Kenosha ranked as number one and two most trending topics. “NOT GUILTY” was celebrated among some of the tweets, but Twitter’s number five topic referenced Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who said Rittenhouse’s acquittal was a “miscarriage of justice.” On Twitter, Black Lives Matter landed in eighth. On Facebook, Black Lives Matter— or any page affiliated with Black empowerment—didn’t appear anywhere in the top 100 most engaged public page posts. W This article originally appeared on Raw Story.

DR AWN OUT BY STEVE DAUGHERTY

INDYweek.com

November 24, 2021

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Durham

A Bloody Weekend As community activists and educators organized mid-November cease-fire activities in the Bull City’s parks and high school theatres, shootings—including one that took the life of a child—continued in its streets. BY THOMASI MCDONALD tmcdonald@indyweek.com

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he weekend before last, Steve Chalmers, the Bull City’s police chief from 2003 to 2007, helped organize a ceasefire, with activities taking place Saturday morning at the old Hillside Park. It was part of a community group effort in several Durham neighborhoods to kick off a day of peace at the tail end of one of the city’s deadliest years on record. Late at night the Friday before, gunfire erupted near a railroad crossing in the eastern part of town, killing a teen and wounding two other people. By early Sunday morning, police had reported another fatal shooting, of a 24-year-old man in north Durham. But in between, on a sunny late-morning Saturday, Hillside Park was buzzing with activity. A disc jockey served up old-school rhythm and blues music underneath a picnic shelter. Several food trucks in the parking lot served tacos and fish. A couple of teens tossed a Nerf football, while smaller kids jumped up and down inside a bounce house or romped in and around the playground in the middle of the park. A group of young men hung out along the park fringes. Chalmers was among a cadre of current and former elected officials, including former city council member Jackie Wagstaff, current council member DeDreana Freeman, and Durham county commission chair Brenda Howerton. The cease-fire was part of a violence prevention project that began two years ago when Chalmers, Durham County district court judge Pat Evans, and Harold Chestnut, a member of Partners Against Crime (PAC)—a city-supported, community-based volunteer organization—came together to create a new partnership, “New Durham Vision,” that’s collaborating with N.C. Central University professor Henry McKoy’s Hayti Reborn project. 6

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“The group started a dialogue with individuals who are involved in gangs and gang activity to find out what’s going on, and what we could do to reduce the activity,” Chalmers told the INDY. A series of intervention strategies, including jobs, housing, education, and health care opportunities, followed. Chalmers describes the project as a “one-stop shop,” an “ecosystem” designed to reduce violent crime. The initiative focuses on older gang members who have rank in the organizations’ hierarchies. “They came up with the name ‘New Durham Vision,’” Chalmers explains of the city’s gang-involved men and women with whom the group of community leaders are in contact. Chalmers says mayor-elect Elaine O’Neal has spoken with the group, too, and affirmed addressing gun violence as one of her top priorities when she takes office next month. “[O’Neal] contacted me after she announced she was running and said she felt good about her chances,” Chalmers said. “She said the first thing she wanted to do is address violent crime.”

I

n recent months, Durham leaders have pointed to local gun violence as part of a national trend that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated. With the rise in violent crime, calls nationally and locally for more police have nearly drowned out demands to defund the police following George Floyd’s murder last year. By this time in 2020, Durham police had reported a new dismal tally of 882 shootings, 291 people struck by gunfire, and a yearlong total of 37 homicides. But police say this year has been the worst on record for homicides in the Bull City, worse even than bloody 2016, which saw a total of 42 homicides. With a little

A Guns Down, Hearts Up rally in Durham in October 2020; 2021 has been an even deadlier year in the Bull City. PHOTO JADE WILSON over a month left in 2021, 43 people have already lost their lives to violence, including the child killed two Fridays ago in East Durham. During this month’s cease-fire, police detectives searched for evidence in the 1000 block of Drew Street. Neighbors reported hearing multiple gunshots overnight that had killed the child and wounded two others. Investigators used yellow caution tape to cordon off the shooting scene near the intersection of Drew and Granby Streets. A police patrol car was parked in front of the crime scene tape. A police mobile command center was parked just beyond the railroad tracks in the working-class neighborhood. Lt. Jackie Werner said it was about 11:18 p.m. Friday, when police arrived in response to reports of gunfire. The officers found two people, both wounded by gunshots, inside a vehicle. Paramedics rushed one of the victims to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. Paramedics pronounced the other victim, the child whose name hasn’t been released, dead at the scene. Police found another man “nearby” who had been seriously wounded, Werner said

in a press release. He, too, was rushed to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. While detectives scoured the area for clues, a young couple who had moved into the neighborhood four months earlier worked in their modest yard. She mowed the grass. He used a weed eater to clear the high weeds that encircled a tree stump. The couple, who declined to give their names, said they were in bed when they heard gunshots on Drew Street, behind their home, at “11:30-ish.” “Ten or so,” the young man answered when asked how many gunshots he heard. Other people in the neighborhood told area news outlets they heard as many as 20 to 30 gunshots and that officers put down more than 20 evidence markers along Drew Street during their investigation. “Is it unusual in this exact location? Yes. But far away? No,” the woman mowing her grass replied when asked if gunfire was a usual occurrence in the neighborhood.

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uring a Hillside High School performance run that began on Friday night and ended with a Sunday afternoon matinee. The performances featured a massive,


80-foot-long, 5-foot-wide quilt that lists the names of 910 people who have been murdered in the Bull City since 1994. The quilt was on display in the lobby of the Gattis-Tabb Theatre. Sidney Brodie, an artist, musician, and writer who grew up in Durham, created the Durham Homicide Memorial Quilt. Brodie says the fatal shooting of two-year-old Shaquana Atwater at the old Few Gardens public housing complex in 1994 inspired the quilt. Brodie was working as a 911 communications officer at the time. “The first 100 or so squares were actually sewn on in 1996,” Brodie told the INDY. “This work documents all murders in the city or county of Durham regardless of race, method, or weapon used. Occasionally it’s pointed out that I may have missed a name. Once [the name of the person killed is] confirmed, it’s added in an outof-sequence status.” On Saturday evening, Durham County sheriff Clarence Birkhead spoke before students in Hillside High School’s drama department, and theatre director Wendell Tabb staged State of Urgency, a moving, riveting play about social justice issues in Durham and across the country. Prior to Birkhead’s short speech, a group of Durham parents who have lost their children to gun violence also spoke to the audience. Tabb, a Tony Award–winning educator, told the audience that he wrote the play and then asked his students to submit topics and opinions that were important to them. “Listen to their dialogue carefully because it’s young people speaking to you,” Tabb said. “During the civil rights movement it was the voices of the young people wanting change.” More than 40 young people offered poetry, stories, monologues, songs, and dances, all augmented by music and a collage of videos to share how violence has shaped their lives and world-views. Photos of some of the city’s homicide victims appeared on the stage’s triplex of screens. The Hillside students spoke of a world unknown to them in the late 1970s, decades before they were born, when neighborhoods were truly neighborly, where their grandparents could leave their doors unlocked, and the children who became their parents could safely play outside. They recalled a music that served as the soundtrack for the period that was life-affirming and in which people cared for one another. “What happened? What happened to our village?” the performers asked, as the music grew dark, discordant, and uneven. How did the neighborhoods where their families grew up become ’hoods and urban alienation become a reality?

The answers lie with a crack cocaine epidemic, unprecedented gun violence, an AIDS crisis, and an ill-fated “tough on crime” bill that led to the mass incarceration of Black people, along with the wholesale loss of good-paying, blue-collar manufacturing jobs that went overseas. The students at the historically Black high school addressed the internal conflicts of race as a consequence of colorism and genderism, “good” hair and homelessness, racism and the racial wealth gap, along with Black Lives Matter and police brutality. “The world needs rehab!” a performer repeated several times throughout the play. “It’s normal to hear gunshots. It’s normal to not trust a system that’s supposed to protect you,” another said. “It’s normal to see a Black person get killed on TV at night.” “You won’t let us breathe!” the students shouted in unison and frustration. As the play ended, a young actor pulled a handgun out of his waistband and shot dead another young man near his home. A second young man armed with a gun chased the shooter through the audience and shot him dead in front of his front door. The slain children’s mothers came outside and sobbed over their bodies. As approaching sirens blared, the police arrived and unfurled yellow caution tape before beginning their search for evidence. The student performers were enacting what had taken place minutes away on Drew Street, the night before.

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efore the weekend ended, Durham police reported another fatal shooting in the northern part of town, where officers found a 24-year-old man, Kaleak LaShawn Sanford, lying outside an abandoned car. It was just after 1:30 a.m. in the 2300 block of Lednum Street. Sanford was mortally wounded. Paramedics rushed the Durham man to the hospital, where he later died. By the following Wednesday, police had not announced an arrest in the weekend shootings. The Durham Memorial Homicide Quilt went on display Thursday morning in the lobby of the county’s justice center at 510 South Dillard Street. Toya Chinfloo, whose daughter Daphne-Lorraine participated in the high school play, said if a white police officer kills a Black person, the community is outraged, “and well we should”—but addressing Black-on-Black violence is within reach. “We’re more empowered to correct the situation in our own community,” she said.W INDYweek.com

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Raleigh Isabel Walsh, Unmasking Fidelity protest organizer PHOTO BY BRETT VILLENA

Fidelity Uncharitable Hate groups are getting millions through Raleigh-based Fidelity’s nonprofit charity fund. BY JASMINE GALLUP jgallup@indyweek.com

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ucked at the intersection of Creedmoor Road and Glenwood Avenue sits a nondescript office building. It’s squat, tan, and easy to miss—unless you happened to be driving by two weeks ago, when a group of protesters rallied outside. Hoisting signs that read “Stop funding fascism” and “Lives are at stake,” the dozen or so protesters tried to draw attention to the national headquarters of Fidelity Charitable, the largest grant-making organization in the country. When people think of Fidelity, most think of their 401(k) or investment portfolio, not Klansmen marching through the streets of Charlottesville. But financial records show that the company and white supremacy are inextricably linked. From 2015 to 2018, $4.8 million was funneled to hate groups nationwide through Fidelity Charitable, the philanthropic arm of Fidelity Investments, according to an inves8

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tigative report by Sludge. In practice, individual donors give money to Fidelity Charitable, which then disperses that money to groups of the donors’ choice. Another $2.5 million was given to these groups in 2019 (for a total of $7.4 million), according to the most recent tax records available from the IRS. The 31 organizations to whom some donors sent their money are deemed hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks groups that “demean or debase an entire other group of people based on their inherent characteristics,” Heidi Beirich, SPLC director of the Intelligence Project, told Sludge. The list includes such infamous names as VDARE.com, a website that regularly publishes white supremacist and anti-Semitic rhetoric, and the Alliance Defending Freedom, which equates homosexuality with pedophilia and supports the criminalization of sex between LGBTQ people.

Isabel Walsh, who helped organize this month’s protest, wants to spread the word about where Fidelity Charitable’s money is going. “The idea that this could be happening fairly openly without any accountability is at the heart of this campaign,” Walsh told the INDY. “It’s sort of one of those things where you’re like, ‘Wow, I never thought about that, but now that I have, that’s startling.’” As a member of the Unmasking Fidelity movement, which originated in Boston and has now come to the Triangle, Walsh wants Fidelity Charitable to publicly disclose all past contributions to white supremacist and other hate groups. Local protesters are also demanding Fidelity Charitable redistribute the money to people who are targets of hate groups, as well as develop a screening policy that declares certain groups off-limits for donations. “There’s such a broad spectrum of places you could donate to and Fidelity’s only requirement … is that they’re a 501(c)(3), which can cover a lot of territory,” Walsh says. Historically, donor-advised funds like Fidelity Charitable are “cause-neutral,” which means they don’t advocate for a specific cause or disallow giving to specific charities. The group simply ensures money is going to legal 501(c) (3) organizations. Fidelity Charitable did not respond to INDY Week’s request for comment by the print deadline, but officials have made statements to other news organizations about this policy. “Fidelity Charitable does not make grants to groups that may be involved in illegal activities, such as terrorism, money laundering, hate crimes, or fraud,” spokesman Stephen Austin told The Chronicle of Philanthropy. The nonprofit also monitors public records to see if the money is being used for noncharitable purposes, Fidelity Investments vice president Sophie Launay said in an email to Sludge. “If there are concerning reports identified regarding a specific charity, Fidelity Charitable documents such reports, and considers the information in the event a grant is recommended to the charity involved.” But Walsh says existing policies and systems are simply not doing enough. “You can’t really remain neutral when donors are using a lack of limitations to donate certain ways,” she says. “If Fidelity Charitable establishes more stringent guidelines around what kind of places you can donate to, that can be a way to redirect funds to places that will be explicitly helpful.” W For more on donor-advised funds in North Carolina, look for this story on our website at indyweek.com.


FO O D & D R I N K

How to Forage for Mushrooms without Dying: An Absolutely Beginner’s Guide to Identifying 29 Wild, Edible Mushrooms | Storey Publishing; Oct. 5

Mushroom Stalking With his handy new guide to mushrooms, Frank Hyman wants to make foraging accessible to everyone BY SARAH EDWARDS sedwards@indyweek.com

O

n a recent foggy Friday afternoon, Frank Hyman is searching for mushrooms in Duke Park. It’s a hit-or-miss foraging day, but near the tennis courts, he squats to look at the base of a tree where a spiny cluster of orange mushrooms—they look like the Pan’s Labyrinth hand dipped in Cheeto dust—grows. To a novice, the cluster looks something like the popular edible mushroom variety chanterelles, but looks can be deceiving: these, he says, are jack-o’-lanterns. “When it’s that dark, these things will glow,” Hyman says. “And that is trippy and amazing. But they will also make you sick as a dog for a couple of days.” Hyman, age 60, is here to make sure that those hunting for mushrooms do not get sick as a dog. The title of his new mushroom manual spells this out clearly: How to Forage for Mushrooms without Dying: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Identifying 29 Wild, Edible Mushrooms. Published October 5 by Storey Publishing, the 256-page book is a colorful and accessible guide to a hobby with a barrier to entry that’s often perceived as high. This perception, in fact, is why Hyman has taken me to a downtown Durham park near his house and not a more heavily wooded location. “I wanted to bring you here and go into the park to get away from this idea that the only way to forage is to get in the car and go off to some woods,” he says. “Because mushrooms are everywhere.” This is true. Anyone who has ever had a damp square inch of front yard grass knows that mushrooms can sprout in the dark of night with astonishing speed. They also stitch the world together: fungi are the largest source of living particles in the air and produce more than 50 megatons of spores (roughly equivalent to the weight

of 500,00 blue whales), and 90 percent of plants are dependent on fungi for nutrients. Still, their dark fairy-tale associations with dirt, rot, fleshy textures, and poison have lent them an intimidating air of mystery, despite their relative low risk. This fear, according to Hyman, is mycophobia, a centuries-old carry-over from English colonialism, which, as he writes in the book, created an attitude of “disdain for potentially dangerous mushrooms” and then spread to other English-speaking countries governed by Britain, including the United States and, along the way, Durham, North Carolina. How to Forage for Mushrooms without Dying is one antidote to mycophobia: Hyman, who is also a designer, laid the pocket-sized book out with impressive visual appeal. After a few healthy introductions to mushroom parts and mushroom basics, Hyman guides readers through 29 different edible mushroom types, sprinkling digestible essays throughout. While most foraging books rely on Latin terminology and overly esoteric language, Hyman’s take on the genre is more intuitive. Each mushroom variety is paired with checklists: the “what, where & when” of mushroom types and field ID lists (every item, he emphasizes, must be correct in order for readers to forage the mushroom). Hyman’s research has paid off: the book has been picked up by national retailers ranging from Urban Outfitters to REI. It also found great timing: the pandemic saw an uptick in interest in fungi, from home fermentation to foraging, as people spent more time at home. People also began to look to foodways experts for guidance, like the Durham cultural preservationist Justin Robinson (whose Instagram handle is @countrygentlemancooks), who was recently featured in a New York Times article about Black foragers.

Frank Hyman with a Reishi Mushroom

PHOTO BY BRETT VILLENA

But, although widespread interest in mushrooms has seen a recent uptick, Hyman’s roots in the natural world go deep. He’s a charismatic, down-to-earth talker—a George Saunders of foraging—and since the late eighties has cobbled together a living through a roving interest in the natural world. This living has included accomplishments (slightly undermined by the friendly Comic Sans font they are outlined in on his website) like serving on the Durham City Council, getting arrested at Moral Monday protests, writing an erstwhile gardening column for the INDY, and leading an effort to legalize backyard hens in Durham. Hyman’s first connection with mushrooms, as he remembers it, was during his 20s in South Carolina, where he spotted an indigo milk cap mushroom, which, when broken apart, leaks chalky blue milk. “I didn’t know who would help me identify it,” he says. “I didn’t even know there were mushroom guidebooks, right? I was just like, ‘Wow, that color is amazing. I’m gonna learn about mushrooms one day.’” Now in Duke Park, as it grows dark, Hyman continues to point out the spots

where mushrooms grow during rainier periods. As we walk up the street, he spots hen of the woods—a chunky brown mushroom that ruffles out at the base of a tree—and kneels to investigate. It’s a prized foraging find. “They can be kind of gray to brown and in-between,” he says, just as a neighboring screen door opens and a man steps out and yells over, “Hey, that’s my mushroom!” The neighbor is joking, though, and knows Hyman well. “We had some big uglies in our yard a few weeks ago,” the neighbor says, referring to a patch of mushrooms. “Did you come get them?” Hyman cheerfully says that he didn’t— maybe another forager snagged them. For now, he’s just excited to share today’s prize. And with that, he gently pries the hen of the woods from the tree, brown-bags it, and gives careful instructions for how to cook it later. Securing an edible mushroom directly from a local tree does feel a bit like being in a fairy tale—but the kind with a happy ending. W INDYweek.com

November 24, 2021

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FO O D & D R I N K

MELANATED WINE 4608 Industry Lane Unit F, Durham | 919-695-3303 | melanatedwine.com

Lashonda Modest at Melanated Wine PHOTO BY BRETT VILLENA

Grapes of Craft Lashonda Modest has a mission for her new Durham winery: “Uncork the culture” BY ERIC GINSBURG food@indyweek.com

O

pening a new business is an inherently stressful pursuit, requiring a level of determination, faith, and chutzpah. Lashonda Modest is an “entrepreneur at heart” and is no stranger to that pursuit: before opening Melanated Wine in August, she’d run several businesses in the past, ranging from a commercial cleaning company to a jewelry store. But opening her new South Durham winery felt more intense than her previous efforts. “The hardest part has been the lack of financial resources for a business in this industry,” Modest told INDY Week while perched on a stool in her strip-mall storefront near the intersection of MLK Parkway and Fayetteville Street. The financial barrier for an alcohol-related business is higher and comes with its own unique hurdles, she adds. “Before you can even apply for an ABC license with the state of North Carolina, you have to have a facility, and 10

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that’s before you even know you’re getting approved to do anything in alcohol,” Modest explains. “When you’re doing commercial retail facilities, they want you to sign a two-tothree-year lease. So it’s like, I’m on the hook for something I’m not certain I’m going to get approved for.” Luckily Modest managed to find a space, a midsized spot with a compact store area at the front and a larger rectangular tasting-room area stretching back from the parking lot. The Industry Lane unit used to be occupied by former NBA All-Star Stephon Marbury’s shoe company, and it’s almost in view of Graybeard Distillery, maker of Bedlam Vodka. Once all her paperwork was in order, Modest quietly launched Melanated Wine. She already needs a bigger space. “We’re only three months in and we’ve outgrown it,” she says. “We really want a space with this ambience but three times bigger.”

Melanated Wine’s rapid success can be attributed to the company’s four quality wines and their affordability—they range from a $16 fruity white sangria made with mango to a $19 red blend made with Cabernet Franc and Syrah grapes aged in oak barrels. The fruit-forward but immanently drinkable Riesling, and floral white blend relying on unoaked Chardonnay, fall in the middle of the price range. All four wines are intentionally approachable crowd pleasers. While three have screw tops, they’re the kind of easy-riding experience where two friends will be inclined to polish off the bottle. The company’s popularity extends beyond the wine itself, though—it’s also tied to its founder and its intentional naming. “We wanted to be very explicit and have people know it was a Black-owned brand,” Modest says. “Everyone likes drinking wine, but why should you buy from me? We wanted to bring something that was by us into the industry. What we really wanted to bring to the industry was our culture. We wanted people to know we’re on an even playing field.” Modest hopes that her visibility will motivate more women of color to join the wine industry or open their own businesses, and she said several people have already reached out to her about following suit. “I do hope it sparks an interest,” she says. “People are actually seeing me and being motivated. Even if it was a seed that was planted a while ago, they see it’s attainable.” While there are several prominent national Black-owned wine businesses such as Longevity Wines and Maison Noir Wines, Black wine professionals reportedly make up just 2 percent of the industry (and ownership stats are even lower). Most Black-owned wine brands aren’t readily identifiable as such to casual consumers, save for a few possible examples like the McBride Sisters “Black Girl Magic” series. But Modest wanted consumers to know what they are buying and feel an instant connection. “We tell people our wine is ‘culture in a bottle,’” she says. “I don’t see that in a store. I don’t see anything I can directly relate to or feel a connection with.” Touted as Durham’s first and only Black-owned winery, Melanated Wine is actually one of the lone Black-owned wine businesses in the entire state. There are others, of course, such as Seven Springs Farm and Vineyard in Norlina, close to Virginia up I-85, and Davidson Wine Co., a winery outside of Charlotte. The Association of African American Vintners, of which Modest is a member, doesn’t explicitly list any other Black wine professionals in North Carolina besides Modest and Davidson Wine owner Lindsey Williams (some members don’t have a location provided). Modest’s product and branding have helped her stand out, as has the openness of North Carolina’s wine industry. Modest doesn’t have a background in wine but describes herself as a voracious learner who has always been fascinated by wine, adding that part of what attracts her to the


th

us

ke up w a W i

industry is the fact there’s always more to learn about wine. She has been planning this business for several years, and says that everyone she’s met in the state has embraced her and offered assistance navigating various challenges. “It really feels like a family and I love it,” she says. “North Carolina has just been amazing.” All of the grapes for Melanated Wine are grown in North Carolina’s famed Yadkin Valley wine region, and Modest works directly with their wine makers to bring forward the exact tastes and final products she’s looking for. For now, production and bottling are handled externally, vinted and bottled by powerhouse Childress Vineyards in Lexington, but as the business grows, Modest wants to bring the wine-making process in-house, giving Triangle residents an opportunity to witness the process without traveling out of town. Until then, she’s trying to keep up with demand, and encouraging locals to come in for a tasting—either by reserving a spot in one of Melanated Wine’s regular tastings or by reserving the intimate space for a private event. “I am so confident in the wines we have that when you come here for a tasting, you’re going to walk out buying something,” says Modest, noting that the space has already been in demand for events like bachelorette parties, birthdays, and other private events. “We really wanted to create an experience for people,” she says. This makes sense: Melanated Wine may be nondescript and unassuming from the outside, but behind a curtain separating the storefront, the tasting room is decked out with an artificial green wall flanked by a branded step-and-repeat that begs for selfies and tipsy group photos. Between tastings, Modest’s small team is constantly fulfilling online orders that have been pouring in from around the country. The crisp and semisweet Riesling and red blend—which is well-rounded, medium-bodied wine with minimal tannins—are the top sellers online, but when people try the four wines in person, the white sangria “tends to be more popular,” Modest says. For now, direct orders in store or online are the only ways to buy a bottle, and local support has been strong, which makes sense considering the Bull City has been home to Modest and her husband since they moved from Illinois a decade ago to provide a better future for their kids. “The history and the culture and the richness of Durham—we love it,” she says. “We knew Durham was the place for this.” W

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JULIA | HHH1/2

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Julia Child with a tart on Julia Child & Company PHOTO BY JIM SCHERER AND COURTESY OF SONY PICTURES CLASSICS

Latest on Bookin’ Ed Southern, Fight Songs: A Story of Love and Sports in a Complicated South

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Stirring the Pot A new documentary offers an intimate portrait of Julia Child, the trailblazing chef who elevated American cooking BY LEIGH TAUSS ltauss@indyweek.com

J

ulia Child didn’t need much to capture the appetite of audiences on television in the 1960s: just a hot plate, a frying pan, and a few eggs. The cameras rolled and she cooked. The simplicity is what made the show work. Likewise, a new documentary highlighting the life of the trailblazing chef didn’t need much to tell her story. Julia paints a warm, intimate portrait of the renowned chef using footage of Child from her decades on television, her letters, and interviews. It’s refreshing in its straightforwardness and no-frills approach, placing Child

firmly as the catalyst of a sea change in American cooking. Before Child hit the small screen, American cuisine had hit what was possibly an all-time low: microwaved meals and colorful Jell-O “salads.” It wasn’t until Child found herself living in postwar France that she was introduced to real cooking—sizzled and drizzled in butter, fat balanced with flavor and spice. It ignited her soul and became her calling. Cooking wasn’t Child’s first love. That was her husband, Paul, whom she met in 1944, during WWII. At 6 foot 2, Child had

been too tall to enlist in the army, so she hoped instead to be an intelligence officer, thinking her height would serve as a sort of disguise. While stationed at the Office of Strategic Services in Kandy, she met Paul and married him two years later. After the war, Child enrolled in the famous Le Cordon Bleu cooking school. At the time, cooking as a profession was dominated by men. It was less of a pastime than perfunctory: women did the prep work, but men ruled the kitchen. Part of Child’s charm was her air of obliviousness to such boundaries, which is why perhaps she found it so easy to overstep them. She walked into a cooking classroom full of men hungry to learn. She didn’t hold herself back, and no one else did, either. For Child, cooking was an act of selflove she could share, and television provided the perfect medium. Like female chefs, cooking shows simply didn’t exist. As if naive to this fact, when scheduled to appear on an educational program to discuss her best-selling cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Child requested a hot plate. With her style and humble narration, Child whipped up an omelet on-screen, captivating audiences and spawning a genre that would be endlessly replicated. The success of Julia is that filmmakers Julie Cohen and Betsy West, the Oscar-winning duo behind RBG and My Name Is Pauli Murray, realized Child’s story didn’t need much dressing to shine. The approach was refreshing and reminded me of the types of documentaries I grew up with: found footage and simple narration, without CGI montages and cheesy reenactments. The film is loving and kind, much like its subject, and educates as much as it endears. In cooking, as in film, sometimes less is more. W

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A RT The Gift mosaic by Senora Lynch on UNC-Chapel Hill’s campus PHOTO BY JADE WILSON

Preserving the Future Over the past two decades Senora Lynch, a member of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe, has established an expansive arts legacy across the state BY CHRIS KAMMERER arts@indyweek.com

S

enora Lynch squeezes 10 sheets of wet corn husk between her fingers, 10 strands of black yarn pressed in the middle. She ties the bundle at the top with a piece of string, spreads the husks apart one by one like wings, and folds them up and over. The yarn hangs down from the center. “Tie them tight,” she tells a group of students. “If you don’t tie them tight, it’ll all fall apart.” It’s a Tuesday night meeting of the Carolina Indian Circle, UNC’s student group for Native students and allies, and Lynch is demonstrating how to make corn shuck dolls. Once everyone has gathered their supplies, Lynch says a prayer in Siouan, the native language of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe, asking the Creator to give us everything we need— nothing extra or special. 16

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“You all are warriors,” she tells the students. “I know how hard it can be to be Native in a place like this. When I went to school, people used to pull my hair and say, ‘Oh, you think you’re Indian, huh?’” Several of the students are from the same tribe as “Ms. Senora.” And for those who aren’t, she’s still an inspiration. The walkway between the two buildings of the Frank Porter Graham Student Union is an encompassing art plaza called The Gift. It’s a central meeting place on campus. Lynch, now 58, designed the expansive mosaic back in 2004. Lynch, who now lives in Warrenton, grew up near Hollister, North Carolina. Her mother raised seven children on Mills Road—a gravel drive connecting grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who all lived and worked together.

The family fed themselves by vegetable farming and cultivating and curing tobacco. When gathering corn together, Lynch’s mother often told her daughter stories of making dolls out of corn shuck. When she was 12, Lynch asked her mother how to make them. “That was one of the first art or crafts, you could say, that I started learning with my hands,” she says. Soon after, while everyone else worked and played in the fields, Lynch began going to her grandfather James Mills’s home to help him weave baskets and chair bottoms out of split cane, white oak, and elm bark. Mills was one of the original councilmen of the Haliwa-Saponi. In the early 1950s, he held the first recorded tribal meeting on his front porch. Before that, tribal meetings were held in secret. “In North Carolina, you were not allowed to say you were Indian,” Lynch says, referring to “the Plecker Law,” officially called the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which made it illegal for anyone to identify themselves on birth or marriage certificates as anything besides “white, colored, or mixed.” “Our people would write ‘Indian’ on their documents, but they were scribbled out and erased,” Lynch says, sitting in her kitchen among tools and scraps of clay. “After the Indian Removal Act [of 1830], they didn’t want any tribes to gather together. You couldn’t socialize, you really couldn’t dance. People kind of hid away in the woods and they held on to our Native culture by knowing the land and knowing where the water sources were.” This went on for over a century. It wasn’t until 1965, two years after Lynch was born, that the Haliwa-Saponi received official tribal recognition from North Carolina. The tribe reclaimed their fishing and hunting rights. “People started dancing and dressing in our regalias again.” In the years that Lynch helped her grandfather weave, she also learned to do beadwork and make pottery. “I was one of those children that just always picked up on doing things with my hands,” she says. In high school, Lynch began to sketch and draw, and excelled in art classes. “All the Native students got picked on,” she says. “Teachers were disrespectful to our culture, our histories.” One day her history teacher told the entire class, “Any student absent tomorrow is going to get an E” (a failing grade). This was no accident: the next day was “Powwow Friday,” a ceremonial day that most Native students planned to attend. Hearing the teacher’s threat to fail students out of the class for missing one day, Senora stood up and said, “Give me an E.” Years after she graduated, Lynch started teaching fellow Natives around North Carolina, passing down the skills of


“Corn may not have ever been in your cultural diet. But when we see that it represents the seed, it symbolizes the future, it symbolizes preserving and preparing and being ready.” beadwork, basket weaving, doll making, and pottery that she learned from her family and tribe. Emily Grant was the Youth and Family Programs Coordinator for 30 years at the North Carolina Museum of History. In 1992, Grant was new to her job, looking for programming that highlighted communities specific to North Carolina. Someone told her what a marvelous beadworker Lynch was, so Grant reached out to see if Lynch would do a public demonstration and teach people about Haliwa-Saponi culture. That was Lynch’s first time teaching outside of Native circles, or being inside a museum. All weekend, Senora sat at a booth in the main hallway, her daughter Qua, then a toddler, playing at her feet. Visitors sat at her table, watched her work and asked her questions as she worked on a black velvet purse, stringing a dogwood pattern with pink, red, and white beads. The dogwood flower is iconic to the Haliwa-Saponi tribe, whose annual pow-wow is called “The Blooming of the Dogwood.” The flower is a central image in her work— along with turtles, which represent the earth. Many tribes refer to the Americas as “Turtle Island.” Shortly after the beadwork demonstration, Grant found out about her pottery and Lynch began teaching clay-working classes at the museum. More teaching gigs followed, and her reach across North Carolina grew. Nowadays, Lynch has run a circuit through schools across the state for over two decades, leaving a trail of turtles in her wake. “The images that she uses—the turtle and the dogwood and pine and all these symbols that you find in nature where her people are from in North Carolina—it’s just so familiar and recognizable,” says Grant. “And yet, you know it’s Senora’s when you see it.” By 1996, word about Senora Lynch’s pottery made it to the Smithsonian. The institute featured some of her pieces at the Olympic Games in Atlanta. Her clay piece Grandmother’s Slippers is still on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. In 2004, UNC-Chapel Hill renovated the Student Union. Administrators wanted a

part of the building to represent Indigenous people, so they brought Lynch to the construction site. Looking down at the big hole in the ground, an image flashed through her mind of a patterned walkway between the two buildings. Back home, she sketched out the design on graph paper, the same way she plans her beadwork. But instead of beads, she imagined bricks: white, red, and brown. The swirling lines of white bricks alongside the walkway represent water. Rounder, undulating lines along one of the buildings represent the hills of North Carolina: a reminder that the earth will supply you with everything you need. In the middle giant turtles swim with dogwood flowers on their backs. In the very center, the Eagle Shield grants the gift of protection to all students. Arrows shoot out from the center, signifying direction and determination to “guide you along your path through life.” At the west end of the mosaic, an ear of corn represents the gift of abundance, while at the east end, the Medicine Wheel signifies the gift of unity among all people. Though the symbols come from Haliwa-Saponi tradition, The Gift was designed to be inclusive to everyone. “If people [understand] what the designs mean, then they’ll know that they’re part of it, no matter where they come from, no matter who you are,” Lynch says. “Corn may not have ever been in your cultural diet. But when we see that it represents the seed, it symbolizes the future, it symbolizes preserving and preparing and being ready, then you can understand how that corn relates to you.” Back at the Tuesday night meeting of the Carolina Indian Circle, students have been ripping, folding, weaving, and tying the corn shucks for an hour. The bundles begin to take the shapes of people. Students slip buckeyes into the heads for good luck and fashion skirts and other clothes around the torsos. Everyone poses for a group photo with their dolls. “She walks in beauty wherever she goes,” Grant says of Lynch. “I don’t know anyone who doesn’t feel better after being in her presence.” W INDYweek.com

November 24, 2021

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