Friday, December 14, 2012

Long Distance Love for Indigo Journeys: Support 7th Graders in their Black Feminist Brilliance!!!!

Greetings loved ones,
The Indigo Afterschool Program for brilliant black feminists in middle school (inspired by Ntozake Shanges Sassafrass, Cypress and Indigo) here in Durham is evolving into the Indigo Journeys program, a curriculum of visionary black feminist fieldtrips and monument making!!!!    The Indigo Geniuses have grown and shown the divine skill of creating sacred space through developing and sharing their own Sisterhood Museum* with our local community and now we will be growing and showing the skill of creating sacred space and being sacred space WHEREVER WE GO!!!  Behold the power and creativity of black girls!!!
This weekend the Geniuses and their mamas are hosting an Indigo Tea Dance Support Raiser here in Durham to invite our community to support the resources, financial and logistical that will support the Indigo Journeys.   Since the groove transcends space and time you will all be dancing with us in spirit! I want to personally invite all of you who believe that the brilliance of black girls demands our collective resourcefulness and creativity to send support for this life giving project!
Here is the invitation to support from the Indigo Mamas:
Last year, Alexis Pauline Gumbs and our daughters created Indigo Afterschool, a creative superspace for the young geniuses to learn, create, and love with the guidance of sista docta Alexis. Their weeks together culminated in the creation of a beautiful museum full of stories and art. This spring, Alexis and the girls will venture on Indigo Journeys in the form of Mother-Daughter Art Outings and Indigo Legacy Field Trips to learn about important black feminist sites in North Carolina.
Contributions of any amount are appreciated, as well as gas cards, and gift cards for an oil change, a car wash, a Frankie's outing, or groceries. 
You can donate through Alexis' Donation Station:
Email to get the address to send gift cards (Kroger, Food Lion or Harris Teeter cards will work locally)
*The Sisterhood Museum was adapted from the Brotherhood/Sistersol Curriculum in Harlem with much love and appreciation!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Imprisoned by Our Literature: Black Women and Incarceration

In 2010, I became a collective member of a non-profit prison book program. For the last twenty-two years, the program has been sending literature/books to people incarcerated. One of my responsibilities at this program is to work directly with the women’s book request from a Pennsylvanian Woman's state prison. I immediately noticed the difference in the book requests from the women at this prison versus the men, who make up the bulk of our overall letters. The men would request materials on everything from black radicalism, vocational studies, and for GED prep books. The ones, who were not as literate, requested dictionaries, so they could teach themselves how to read (mainly inspired by Malcolm Little [X] and his quest for knowledge).

And the Women? With the occasional gardening and self-help book, they were mainly requesting Urban Fiction. Letter after letter, Black Women were making requests for “hood books”; with titles such as ‘Gangster Wife” and “Thongs on Fire”. Why weren't they requesting protest literature too? Where were their dictionaries or Kaplan book requests? It did not take long, to see that Triple Crown Publishing replaced the Blackness of Third World Publishing and the writings by women of color of the Kitchen Table Press.

I conveyed my feelings to another collective member at the organization, who shrugged and replied, “Maybe that is their reality?” I refused to believe that one type of book made up anyone's reality; especially Black Women. Perhaps a very small slice, but definitely not a whole. As I would process these letters, and send these packages off, I knew in the pit of my Black Women soul that these Women were being sold cheap with these books. Urban fiction is cool, but what else? With the support of the organization (and financial backing), I created “Everyday Use: A Woman's Literary Insurgency”. It was a collection of writings put together of Black Women Writers. From Sister Souljah to Toni Morrison. Audre Lorde to bell hooks; this 235-page booklet dripped with the Black Gospel of Black Women Writers. Sistas were getting the prophecy of love, self-esteem, motherhood and the erotica. With every request for a “hood book”, “Everyday Use” was sent alongside their request. Black Women were writing back, stating that they were being introduced to these writers for the first time. They were passing it on to their cell mates and even one woman wrote me and told me that she had sent her booklet home to her daughter, because “she needs it, she needs to read what these Sistas are saying...”.

We were creating a literary community behind those walls.

 As soon as we started, it ended. Booklets were being returned. I called the mailroom at the prison. No response. Everyday for about two weeks, I called that prison, and after much harassing on my part, a letter was sent to me, stating that the prison decided that photocopies were not being allowed in the prison. Just like that, they issued a new rule, and blocked our booklet from going through. I wanted to fight this decision on a bigger level, but I knew that this would put all requests in jeopardy from sending future book requests to that prison (a couple of years ago, they rejected our books, because there was too much tape on the packages!). Once again, these prisons win (although in my heart, the forty or so booklets that made it in have lit some Black Woman's fire!). I write this essay, so the world can understand that these prisons are not in the interest of the people receiving information for self/communal reliance. They will always prefer a book called “G-Spot” as opposed to “Sisters of the Yams: Black Women and Self-Recovery”. A: “Lick Me All Over” as oppose to a “Use of the Erotica”. Malcolm X once said, “The ability to read awoke inside of me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive.” If we leave it up to the prisons, they would prefer that we keep the minds of our women in death.

Iresha Picot, M.Ed, is a Prison Abolished currently living in Philly. You can reach her

Monday, August 27, 2012

QBG Lex wants to be your Black Feminist Birth Doula!

from Lex and her mom's new project:  Dynamic Dou: A Mother/Daughter Doula Team
"54. everyone is waiting
to see what great thing
you'll do next." -from Wishful Thinking by Alexis Pauline Gumbs
Following in her mom Pauline's footsteps, Alexis will be participating in the International Center for Traditional Childbirth's Full Circle Doula training Nov 1-4th in Dallas, TX.  Yay!!!!

From Lex:
When I was born my mother, like many young mothers of color, was forced to have an unnecessary c-section.  This was an act of disrespect by doctors who put their convenience over my family's wishes and it did not honor the way my mother and I wanted to come into each others lives.  What would have been different if there had been a black feminist doula (or two) at the scene of my birth affirming my mother's power?   My journey to become a doula and especially to do doula work together with my mother is a major act of healing.  It is my intention that every child will one day be born into a world where the magic and power of black women is revered and respected at every moment!  It is also a necessary act of revisiting my own birth that I see as a crucial part of my journey to become a mother someday soon! :)

Becoming a community supported doula is a dream coming true and a wish about to be fulfilled.  DO you believe that the world will be better with our mother/daughter doula project?  Do you believe in the power of a black feminist love evangelist poet facilitator in the birthing room?  Then YOU are part of the community that I am accountable to!
I am looking for 57 people to donate any amount that feels right to them as an affirmation of the necessity and power of this work we are doing together to rebirth the world!  Each donor will receive an original collage based around the 57 wish poem  Wishful Thinking.   I appreciate your support and your love!  Spread the word!  And donate here:

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Daily Bread: Sustainable Nourishing Practices for Community Accountable Scholars

(images by Mekhi Baldwin)

Audre Lorde’s contemporary and interlocuter James Baldwin talked about the passion of making love and breaking bread as equal versions of presence and purpose.  Last night during the LAST (sniffle) session of the first every Brilliance Remastered Webinar on a Sustainable Erotics of Community Accountable Scholarship we talked about how to make passionate and connected work our everyday practice and how to put spaces, places, times and reminders in our lives to bring us back to passionate purpose whenever we feel disconnected from the source of our transformative brilliance.
This may look like a group poem, but it is really a spell, blessing everyday forward and binding our love-filled Brilliance Remastered crew together forever!!!!!!!

Daily Bread
By the Sustainable Erotics Crew

connected to purpose like daily bread
giving thanks like daily bread
poetry like daily bread.
forgiveness like daily bread.
laughter like daily bread.
creating is my daily bread

loving like daily bread
making love like daily bread
loving my muscles like daily bread
(especially especially my heart)
smiling from the inside out like dailybread
celebrating me like daily bread
celebrating us like daily bread

embracing the now like daily bread
moving the body like daily bread, making new shapes
living in my body like daily bread

claiming my breathing like daily bread
shining my light like daily bread
affirming my being like daily bread

dancing like daily bread
sitting in silence like daily bread
listening like daily bread
listening to hear like daily bread
profound connection like daily bread.
sharing truth like daily bread

drinking water like daily bread
eating fruit like daily bread
good food like daily bread
deep breaths like daily bread
bubble baths and candles like daily bread

books on the bedside like daily bread.
feet on the ground like daily bread
walking with loved ones like bread (daily)
thanking my ancestors like daily bread

reaching out with love like daily bread.
showing affection like daily bread
touching things lightly like daily bread
being accountable like daily bread
being aware of surroundings like daily bread
immersing in the process like daily bread

questions rising like the bubbles of yeast in daily bread
speaking my mind even when my voice shakes like daily bread

thankful for another day’s daily bread

Video Recap of the Broken Beautiful Conference

Check out this recap video of the inspiring amazing Broken Beautiful Conference. I'm so affirmed and honored that the legacy of BrokenBeautiful Press is growing in such healing ways and led by brilliant young women of color!!!!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

This is What it Feels Like: Cultivating Our Measure of Passionate Purpose

Last night was the third session of Beyond the Feel-Good, our Brilliance Remastered webinar on cultivating a sustainable erotics of community accountable scholarship.  We are right in the midst of it, using Lorde's definition of the erotic to create new standards of brilliance for our work as love-fueled intellectuals.   Helped along by Lorde and also by Aretha Franklin's Dr. Feelgood we created this group poem to affirm that we KNOW what it feels like when it is right and we do not need to "sit and chit chat and smile" i.e. waste our time with anything less than profound, passionate, purposeful, presence in our work!  Feel free to feel it!!!!

This is What it Feels Like

“It is an internal sense of satisfaction to which, once we have experienced it, we know we can aspire.  For having experienced the fullness of this depth of feeling and recognizing its power, in honor and self-respect we can require no less of ourselves. “
-Audre Lorde  Uses of the Erotic

When it’s right it feels like a note Aretha just sang.
When it’s right it feels like dancing in warm rain.
When it’s right it feels like the ocean, ever deep, ever lifting me up.
When it’s right it feels like still waters rushing nowhere, knowing its source is the same place it must return.
When it’s right it feels like a “first” experience.
When it’s right it feels like a longing for something true, true feeling.
When it’s right it feels like a yearning, like intimacy without physical contact, a yearning of the spirit.
When it’s right it feels soft.
When it’s right it feels like fresh air.
When it’s right it feels like air gently bristling in the hairs on the back of my neck.
When it’s right it feels complicated sweet, freshing sweet, like lemonade.
When it’s right it feels abundant and free.
When it’s right it feels limitless.
When it’s right it feels timeless.
When it’s right it feels deep and endless.
When it’s right it feels like a way out of no way.
When it’s right it feels like something out of anything.
When it’s right it feels like gospel choirs singing!
When it’s right it feels like Nina and Jill and E. Badu and Ella getting together for a jam session.
When it’s right it feels like the music of the heart.
When  it’s right it feels like lovers.
When it’s right it feels like a mother’s hug.
When it’s right it feels like everyone is there, ancestors, future beings, everyone I love.
When it’s right it feels like a prepared-perfected-my-craft-ready-to-serve orgasm!
When it’s right it feels like the word “YES!” bursting in my chest.
When it’s right it feels unstoppable.
When it’s right it feels like I was meant to be no other place in the universe.
When it’s right it feels like Audre whispered this to June once, full of hope.
When it’s right it feels like a dream I had that must have never ended.
When it’s right it feels.
This is what it feels like!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Here: Remastering Our Presence in Academic Spaces-from the Brilliance Remastered Webinar Participants

Audre Lorde and students at Hunter College
Last night was the second session of our Brilliance Remastered Webinar Beyond the Feel-Good: A Sustainable Erotics of Community Accountable Scholarship.   Amazingness.  Last night we worked with Audre Lorde's clarity that "the erotic offers a well of replenishing and provocative force to the [person] who does not fear its revelation, nor succumb to the belief that sensation is enough."  And for those of us remastering our presence in academic spaces it is important for us to clarify that within an economy that wants to tokenize our brilliance, BEING a sensation, a shining exception, a validated symbol is not enough.  We are doing the intellectual work we are doing for much bigger reasons.  Betta recognize!   


I am not just a sensation
I am inspiration
I am here to ignite a flame
I am here to change the world

I am not just a sensation
I am inspiration
I am here to sow seeds of magic
I am here to love
I am not here to settle
I am here to set the tone

I am not just a sensation
I am inspiration
I am knowing as an act
I am here to expand the limits
of what counts
as knowledge

I am not just a sensation
I am inspiration
I am here to unshackle brilliance
wherever it grows
I am here to make manifest
the dreams of my ancestors

I am not just a sensation
I am inspiration
I am here to imagine
I am here to create
I am here to dance
I am here to laugh to sing to share

I am not just a sensation
I am inspiration
I am here to be myself
I am here to be connected
I am here to engender vulnerability
and to make it possible
for those in the room to do the same

I am not just a sensation
I am inspiration
I am here to find a path to reconciliation

I am not just a sensation
I am inspiration
I am here to be accountable
I am here to hold others accountable

I am not just a sensation
I am inspiration
I am here to humanize
I am here to become more human
I am here to make meaning
I am here to be love

I am not just a sensation
I am inspiration
I am here to glow
I am here to know and to share
that to be young gifted and black AND queer
is a MARVELOUS thing to be

I am here to steal back the goodies

I am not just a sensation
I am inspiration
I am here to interrupt injustice
Yes I’m here to demand answers
and to ask more questions
and to ask and ask and ask and ask

I am inspiration
I am here to be like water
nourishing, remembering what you chose to forget
reflecting back to you your own image

I am inspiration
I am here to be a question mark
I am here to be an x that marks a spot
where love will outlive everything
I am here to make fertile the soil of our dreams
planting for a harvest I won’t ever reap in my lifetime

I am inspiration
I am not just a sensation, a temptation a distraction
I am unstoppable love in action.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Reclaiming YES!: Opening Affirmations from the Brilliance Remastered Crew!

Last night was the first session of the Beyond the Feel-Good Webinar on Sustainable Erotics of Community Accountable Scholarship.  And oh my goodness did we go beyond!  The Brilliance Remastered process never ceases to amaze and reawaken me!
As Audre Lorde says in her essay Uses of the Erotic: Power of the Erotic, "We have been raised to fear the yes within ourselves..."  Not at all coincidentally when we are out of touch with that YES within ourselves we are also more easily manipulated, bamboozled and led astray by the external maybes of capitalism, especially within the academic marketplace.   Our first step as a community in touch with our collective erotic power, our passionate purposefulness and our deep love for our communities is to reclaim YES and affirm YES in each other.  Here is our group poem. Feel free to read along (best articulated through grunts and screams).
Reclaiming Yes
YES!!! to acting on the impulse inside
YES!!! to defining the erotic as strength
YES!!! to claiming what we know deepest inside us as KNOWLEDGE
YES!!! brilliance remastered means brilliance unchained visible everywhere NOW!

YES!!! to our deepest desires
YES!!! to our power
YES!!! to being love
YES!!! to being me and not caring
YES!!! to being embodied in our classrooms and not being ashamed of that eros
YES!!! i tell my story. a black girl story without apology
YES!!! YESSSS to not apologizing!
YES!!! to facing fears
YES!!! to living in the moment and embracing all it brings
YES!!! to feeling even if it hurts
YESSS!!! to feeling
YES!!! i will create
YES!!! i will write. i am an author.
YES!!! my body knows and share its magic in my dance
YES!!! music and poetry, I will write and sing, play and work and dream a new world with you
YES!!! i will find the language to write within my community and not simply at my community
YES!!! to flying free and teaching others to soar
YES!!! to knowing that i don't know if ya'll don't know
YES!!! to creating together!
YES!!! to blurring and even better erasing boundaries
YES!!! to you in me and me in you and US!
YES!!! to learning and teaching!
YES!!!! i don't know if y’all dont know!!!
YES!!! to the communities to which we are called!
YES!!! to creating community wherever we are
YES!!! to love that circulates!

YES!!! to risking to love without guarantee or compromise
YES!!! i will love me even when I am pushed not to
YES!!! i love her even when its dangerous
YES!!! i will love the work even when it is difficult!
YES!!! i will embody my faith, even in the face of institutional judgment
YES!!! to knowing we were never meant to survive BUT thrive we must!
YES!!! love is lifeforce and I am meant to LIVE!
YES!!! to growing
YES!!! to conflict
and YES!!! to being angry
YES!!! to kicking ass :)
YES!!! to entering the room as a full being and when the door is too small for that, to break it down

YES!!! to bleeding....a cleanse
and bless the blood that has already been shed! YES!!!
YES!!! to new soil not stained in blood

YES!!! to imagining
YES!!! to exploding the closed circulation of capitalism with love that circulates
YES!!! to open not closed economies, yes to there being ENOUGH for everyone
YES!!! To knowing that there is NO ZERO SUM GAME, you are not required to die so I might live
YES!!! to loving and being loved :)

YES!! to FAITH in YES!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

3 Big Decades-->3 Tiny Books of Poetry by Alexis Pauline Gumbs

I've decided to celebrate 30 years of being a teeny tiny poet by amplifying my poetic work in a big grown up way.

You now (only until the end of June) have the opportunity to buy one, or two or three or several tiny origami folded poetry books by yours truly as part of my fundraiser to publish my chapbook Such Rainbows a series of love poems to my inspired community edited by Mai'a Williams!  Poetry for poetry's sake indeed!
These teeny tiny books of poetry that has never been published anywhere before are perfect for your pocket, for a gift or for a fabulous fan during this hot hot summer!

Donate $5 for one little book, $10 for 2 little books and $14 to take three little books all the way home.  Be sure to specify which books you want and your current address!!!
Black Poetry
A big claim for a tiny book right?

Enjoy some strong impact small poems inspired by Phillis Wheatley, Kanye West, Saidiya Hartman, Countee Cullen, Margaret Danner and the blackest things you know, like the ocean at night and wrought iron.


After Dark: Remix Haikus for June
This series of remix haikus based on June Jordan's Things That I Do in the Dark is a deep breath.  A to do list. A prayer in a darkroom, a black feminist afterglow.   The perfect thing to read this June.


 Harlem Sidewalk Monument
to Straight Hair Gone Forever
This experiment is a memorial to the over-rated straightness of a girl born crooked.   A series of intentional square poems engage the anthropology of Zora Neale Hurston, steam of a Dominican hair salon, breakdancing, cardboard and the undead Aaliyah.  Yes.

Eternal Summer Potluck Series Continues with Samiya Bashir's GOSPEL

By popular demand we bring you back the series that started it all…the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind Potluck series!

Sunday June 17th
at Inspiration Station 2 (email for directions)

Continuing our 2012 focus on contemporary poetry we will be focusing on Samiya Bashir's GOSPEL:

Brilliant poet, educator and smiling visitation of sunshine Samiya Bashir's poetry rocks in your heart whether you read it with your eyes or your mouth.  There is something so Sunday-perfect and sanctuary ironic about these poems that you will not want to miss this session!  Read Lex's overjoyed review of Bashir's Gospel here:

The Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind Potluck Series is a never-ending series of delicious gatherings celebrating, lifting up, studying and utilizing the legacy of Black feminist thought to save our lives and transform our communities in Durham, NC (and in your community if you choose to read along!)   All people who are excited to be transformed by the brilliance of Black feminists are welcome to this child-inclusive space!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

#pridepassionjune: Mobile Homecoming Celebrates June Jordan this Pride Month!

june passion cover photoIt is June!!! My (Lex's) birthday month and pride month and the official launch of the Mobile Homecoming social media presence so how do we want to celebrate?  With the words of our beloved chosen ancestor June Jordan of course!   This month as we remind you to help us get 30 new Monthly Sustainers  we will be signal boosting the brilliance of June Jordan especially her passionate words about what it means to love ourselves with full PRIDE!    We invite you to check it out by:
following us on Twitter  @mobilehomecomin or tumblr (
liking us on Facebook
AND feel free to submit your own favorite June Jordan quotes to be included here:
Best. June. Ever.  Happy Pride y'all!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Making Something Out of Anything: Insight from the Eye to Eye Collaborators

Lorde Deliberate T-ShirtLast night was the last session of  the Brilliance Remastered Webinar Eye to Eye: Radical Collaboration for Community Accountable Scholars!    I know that I'll be missing the weekly webinar wavelength sharing love exchange until the next unit of the webinar (Beyond the Feel Good based on Lorde's Uses of the Erotic) starts in July.   But I also know that we created something powerful and I have a whole new clarity about the collaborations in my life and some exciting new collaborations that pranced right into my life from my dreams this month!

Using the Mothering Ourselves Manifesta we acknowledged the fact that collaborating allows us to evolve out of the language of struggle into the language of creativity we are not making "something out of nothing" we are honoring what is present in our lives and our communities and mobilizing our creativity to make something out of ANYTHING!  This week's group poem celebrates that clarity. Enjoy!

by the participants in the Eye to Eye Webinar on Collaboration for Community Accountable Scholars

“We can make something out of anything.”  From the Mothering Ourselves Manifesta distilled from Audre Lorde’s Eye to Eye: Black Women Hatred and Anger

We can make something out of anything.
We can make home out of movement
We can make a movement out of feet stuck in the same mud.

We can make reality out of dreams
We can make family out of distances
We can make eternity out of the shortest stolen moments

We can make mothers out of brothers
We can make mothered mothers mothering abundant out of would-be martyrs suffering  in silence (ourselves)
We can make love out of heartbreaking laws.
We can make delicious banana fritters out of overipe fruit we forgot.
We can make ourselves anew in order to recognize & show up for our brillance...
We can make  difference be the springboard for greatness...
We can make our own cool, cultured collabos!
We can make it ALLL. Right!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Just Saying/ See You There: Love Languages for Collaboration

Yesterday was our third Eye to Eye Webinar session on love, faith, difference and communication entitled "The Only Language I Know."  We shared our poetic clarity about how we communicate differently based on our experiences, our approaches, our fears and our longings and how sometimes words seem to fail us all together.  Our group poem represents our visioning process of creating a space where there is room for everyone we are, and who we are not, and who we might become together.

Just Saying/See You There

By the Brilliance Remastered Eye to Eye Participants
After Audre Lorde’s “At First I Thought You Were Talking About…”
I speak the language of roots up, all the way everything must be changed.
She speaks the language of measurable deliverables.
I speak the language of rainwater-clarification-process-matters.
They speak jampack big words together like a train

I speak the language of here right here at home.
He speaks the language of inevitable uprise class struggle like science.

I speak in things felt a knowing of my bones
He through well thought out equations elaborate logic models
I speak in hope
Him pragmatism

I speak "like me"
She speaks I like you, but not always
She speaks me first. She speaks my kids first. She speaks secrets

I speak 69 years. He speaks FaceBook

I speak plan with flexibility.
They speak plan and stick to it.
I speak student wants and needs
They speak stick to what we need to see only

I speak possible risky let's do it
they speak practical hedged bet sacrifice
I speak concepts & ideas are real, they are tangible, touchable.
They speak “huh, what you what you talking bout sistah?”

I speak seek the relationship
They speak: seek the product(s)

I speak the language of the academy sometimes
he speaks shyness, grammar of booze and sex
sometimes I speak no grammar language

But I know that:
“Black girls are from the future”[1]  and that
“Everything we do is insignificant. Yet it is incredibly
important that we do it.” [2] And that
Children are full people who have something to say
And that trusting is like tree roots and we reach down, tangled up
And that everything we need is already within us
And that I am who I am doing what I came to do
And that our silence will NOT save us.

SO I am seeking the place where the language of risky radicalism
meets the pragmatism of those who have seen the consequences
the place where afrofuturefearlessness meets blackbloodsoilhistory
the place where we feel whole meets
the place where we are allowed to be prisms of light

the place where faith meets shaking legs

the place where level headed realists can meet starry eyed dreamers
the place where good intentions meet critical implementation
the place where longing meets listening
the place where yes meets i know
the place where why meets when

the place where--as white people--we remember without expectation of forgiveness
we account for what has been lost and stolen
the place where but i have _______ friends, so I couldn't be __________
meets self introspection

the place where bourgie balancing meets grace
where press and curl meets this is my natural curl

the place where longing children meet absent parents
the place where wholeness meets brokenness
where miracles equal a mere embrace

the place where courage (like jumping into a cold river)
meets self-determination (where are the rocks at the bottom)
the place where the long night meets the pale kiss of morning
the place where water and sky are indistinguishable

the place how i was raised meets raise UP!
the place where can't get right GETS RIGHT

the place where hope meets salvation
where the souls of the living dance hot and fast in love, light
and treating each other right

the place where the love you always wanted meets the love you always had

See you there.

[1] Renina Weems
[2] Ghandi

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Starting THIS SUNDAY the Eternal Summer Potluck Series is BACK!!!!

By popular demand we bring you back the series that started it all...the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind Potluck series!

The Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind Potluck Series is a never-ending series of delicious gatherings celebrating, lifting up, studying and utilizing the legacy of Black feminist thought to save our lives and transform our communities in Durham, NC (and in your community if you choose to read along!)   All people who are excited to be transformed by the brilliance of Black feminists are welcome to this child-inclusive space!

This summer we will be gathering on 3 Sunday evenings to eat together and nourish our community and our movement with the brilliance of 3 of Lex's favorite contemporary poets, Mendi Obadike, Samiya Bashir and Evie Schockley.   Bring food, receive photocopies of a selection of the featured poets poems and we'll have a conversation that will change our lives!

2012: Focus on Contemporary Black Feminist Poets

This Sunday May 27th 5pm

Mendi Lewis Obadike

Former Durham resident, friend and inspiration to Lex and many others,  Mendi Obadike is a deep experimental tribute to reflection, manifestation and love.  A student of Lucille Clifton and a everyday example of how to bring poetry to life, her work makes space for conversations we need to have!   Join us for a discussion of a sampling of Mendi's poems from Armor and Flesh and get ready to experience an open heart and a tingling of skin!  Check out Lex's review of Mendi's recent opera masquerade collaboration with her partner Keith Obadike in  4 Electric Ghosts  here to get a sense:

And save the dates for the other two sessions!
Sunday June 17th 5pm
Samiya Bashir

Brilliant poet, educator and smiling visitation of sunshine Samiya Bashir's poetry rocks in your heart whether you read it with your eyes or your mouth.  There is something so Sunday-perfect and sanctuary ironic about these poems that you will not want to miss this session!  Read Lex's overjoyed review of Bashir's Gospel here:

Sunday July 22nd
Evie Shockley

Evie Shockley, also a former Durham resident and student of Lucille Clifton offers urgent experimental resources for Black feminist time travelers and our cluttered pockets.   As a scholar and artist her work allows us to speak with historical figures, re-meet ancestors we thought we knew and challenge the ways we internalize space.  Half-Red Sea is featured in the Mobile Homecoming web series The Real Reading Rainbow's Kwanzaa poetry recommendations video (actually along with the books by the other poets featured in this series!   Check it out here:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Be Like: A Poetic Vision of Collaboration

like water, like sunlight, like stone
Yesterday was the second session of the Brilliance Remastered Eye to Eye Webinar on Radical Collaboration for Community Accountable Scholars.
We talked about what is at stake our collaborations, nothing less than the world we want to live in and create together.   We supported each other in holding ourselves to a standard where our collaborations themselves embody the values we have for our future, and where the impact of that collaborative work on US is not sacrificial, but also consistent with the nourishing vision we have for our species on the planet.
We made ourselves poets with this similie standard for what our collaborations can feel like, what our futures can feel like, what our days right now can feel like.

Be Like: A Poetic Vision for Collaboration 

by the participants of the Eye to Eye Webinar on Radical Collaboration for Community Accountable Scholars

like breathing, like recognition, like gratitude
like manna from heaven, free and plentiful for all
like eye contact, like risky breath, like skin
like ease, like willingness, like welcoming
like food on the table, like real justice for all, like freedom
like deep earthy soul bearing funky togetherness
like sisters I never had, like a family we are making everyday
like the joy of decoding a secret language
like celebration, like faces touching, like cherished communion and congratulation
like everyday cheer for your graduation from another insight-filled day of being you
like a shower, refreshed remembrance that I don’t have to be everyone
like a rub on the back looking at me eye to eye
like face to face, foreheads pressed in affirmation
like life sustained, like clean water, like no more premature deaths
like being excited and grateful you exist
like love, like love, like loving
like coming home at last

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Black Feminist Film School (The Website) Is Born!

light meter in front of suzanne, mother billie in background
Spring is thoroughly SPRUNG and collaborators Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Ph.D. and Julia Roxanne Wallace, M.Div. are proud to present their newest dream come true: Black Feminist Film School!!!
Read our founding document Create Anew: Black Feminist Filmmaking as Spiritual Leadership by Julia Roxanne Wallace!
Read about our first superstar public event on Black Feminist Filmmaking featuring the early works of Cheryl Dunye and the brilliance of Yvonne Welbon, Katina Parker and Julia Roxanne Wallace here:
Check out our first Black Feminist Film forum on Camille Billops and Suzanne Suzanne with reflections by Kai Green, Julia Wallace and Alexis Pauline Gumbs here:


How can you get involved?

1. Email to get on our Black Feminist Film School update list so you can get notices about our screenings and workshops!
2. Save the date August 15-22 to come to Durham, North Carolina for our first experimental, healing, ancestor accountable exercise in performance and documentation as part of Queer Black August in Durham! (email to get updates about Queer Black August specifically)
3. Contribute!  Do you have a rare Black feminist film to send to our library? Are you a Black feminist filmmaker that wants to donate a film or speak at a screening?  Do you just love the project and want to donate money towards this crucial and long overdue manifestation of brilliance?  Email us at or donate here:


About Black Feminist Film School

Born out of our frustration with the glaring exclusion of films and discourse by, about or for Black women in Julia's film school experience and our deep love for the possibility of Black feminism in all forms,  Black Feminist Film School is a collaboration between Black feminist scholar/filmmaker Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Ph.D and Black feminist filmmaker/scholar Julia Roxanne Wallace, M.Div.


Our project has 2 key components:

Jessie Maple - First black woman to create feature film
1. Is there Black feminist tradition in film? Make space for a discourse about Black feminism in film and a conceptual framework in which contemporary filmmakers and theorists of film can participate in, measure, look out for and/or critique the presence or possibility of Black feminism specifically in the medium of film/video by
  • screenings and discussions of rare/underdistributed films by Black women directors/writer/producers in our hometown of Durham, North Carolina and around the country.
  • online forums on this site by Black feminist scholars about the possibility of Black feminism in important films by Black women
  • sharing information about the locations of rare/hard to see films by Black feminist filmmakers
  • developing a curriculum on Black feminist film, piloted in a community setting
Julia in Green Screen Studio
2. Where my Black feminist filmmakers at?  Infuse Black feminist community, and in particular under-represent Black women and genderqueer filmmakers and future filmmakers with the skills to use film to express their visions and transform our society by:
  • hosting a series of accessible community workshops that share the skills of script-writing, producing, shooting, lighting, editing, sound and all the other skills crucial to making high quality films
  • creating partnerships between existing institutions/equipment sources and potential Black feminist filmmakers
  • building community between existing Black feminist filmmakers, with an emphasis on queer and genderqueer Black filmmakers
  • creating an all queer of color and allied cast and crew for Julia's upcoming film!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Brilliance Remastered Presents...The Summer of Sustainable Brilliance!

Hey there Bright Thunder!
      You already know!  THIS is the summer to get your mind and your spirit aligned in a transformative process of community accountable brilliance.  You are making major decisions this summer, preparing for incredible shifts, actually doing things you've been dreaming about for years.  This is a summer that the historians will talk about when they are explaining how you were able to be part of such miracles in your lifetime.  Act like you know!
       Brilliance Remastered is happy to support you in this process and is now accepting a limited number of new applicants for one-on-one coaching for the Summer!  Check out our one-on-one coaching options below or at and set up a phone consultation to make a match!

 sista docta lex

P.S.  Also save the dates August 15-22 for Brilliance Remastered's first intensive gathering Guardian Dead: Ancestrally Accountable Intellectual Practice in Durham, North Carolina.  Details to come!

One on One

Coaching for Community Accountable Scholars!
I believe that working with a select set of visionary underrepresented graduate students and scholars will have a game changing impact on the way knowledge circulates and intellectual work transforms community in our lifetime.   Through my one-on-one coaching and feedback modules I provide:
  • crucial training in purpose, community building and sustainability for community accountable scholars
  • accountability coaching and feedback to get important dissertations into the world, and more importantly crucial visionary scholars successfully OUT of graduate school and into the world!
See if the coaching modules below are aligned with where you are in your process!
*I will only be doing inspiring one-on-one work with a very select number of aligned visionaries.  Any one-on-one engagement requires half hour assessment call (cost $20) through which I determine whether or not I will partner with a client one-on-one.
Semester that Changed Your Life Coaching Modules:

1. “Doing What I Came to Do”: Activating Your Purpose
“I am who I am doing what I came to do.”-Audre Lorde
This is the first and most crucial coaching module in the Brilliance Remastered curriculum.  In this coaching process also known as the “purpose-keeper,” I will facilitate and support you in remembering/crafting and supporting an intentional, generative, empowering and energizing greater purpose for your degree work.   This process will give you a touchstone for every step of your degree work giving you consistent access to the superpower of PURPOSE which will provide energy and perspective when the going gets tough.  More info here.
2. Community is Not a Luxury: Necessary Praxis for Degree Survival
“Look how you print yourself on my heart.” -Audre Lorde
This intermediate stage of the coaching curriculum trains you to implement and build a community of accountability outside of the limits of your university setting.  Community accountability is what distinguishes meaningful intellectual labor from elitist word games.  This coaching module is for scholars who are committed to making a difference in the lives of the communities that inspire them and also activates community as a superpower to sustain your wholeness and to support and celebrate you in your degree process.  More info here.
3. “My Words Will Be There”:  Eternal Strategies for Sustainable Community Accountable Scholarship
This advanced stage of the coaching curriculum is exclusively for graduates of the Doing What I Came to Do and Community is Not a Luxury coaching curricula or scholars who have defended their dissertations or already have PhD’s and are at a transition point in their careers.  This coaching process will provide you with the tools to build a sustainable ecology for your own scholarship that does not depend on the economy of the university.  This is a crucial tool-set for scholars who want their work to live in community organizing, to be interdependent with educational institutions, or to create their own educational/activist institutions.  More info here.
PhDoula:  Push Out that Dissertation with my Love and Support

A doula is a person who assists and supports someone while they are giving birth so that they can have their ideal birth experience and focus on creating a beautiful relationship with that which they have brought to life!  Wouldn’t it be great to have someone on your team accountable SPECIFICALLY TO YOU (not caught up in the desires of the department etc) to have your back as you push out this piece of original knowledge and move on into the world that your ideas will make possible!?  That’s me!
Here are the elements of the PhDoula program:
*The Belly Blessing: Specialized Dissertation/Thesis Feedback
If your dissertation or thesis research is related to Black women, motherhood, Caribbean women’s literature, diaspora, activist publishing, print culture, activism, queer theory or any related topic, I would love to read your dissertation proposal, a chapter of the dissertation or (in some cases) the whole dissertation to give specialized feedback. More info here.
*Dissertation Doula- Push it Out! (Accountability Coaching)
It’s that time!  Get your dissertation out of your brain and into the world where it belongs with one on one coaching calls, staying on task check-ins and a plan for your FINISHED dissertation to impact your community and your career! More info here.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Today in Post-Race History: Brainstorming


Sent to you by moya via Google Reader:


via Black Youth Project by Summer M. on 5/7/12

Although I was rather unceremoniously catapulted from it, I occasionally hear stirrings in the Ivory Tower. And sometimes those goings-on warrant a drivel-laced comment from me. Late last week, Brainstorm, one of the blogs on The Chronicle of Higher Education website, ran a response to the its own feature on some members of Northwestern University's first class of [...]


Things you can do from here:


Not Meant to Be Alone: Towards Collaboration

from Brilliance Remastered
Yesterday was the first session of the webinar Eye to Eye: Radical Collaboration for Community Accountable Scholars!  We gathered to talk about my VERY favorite essay by Audre Lorde and how we can create the collaborations we dream of beyond the individualism, tokenization and internalized oppression that often gets in the way of the collaborations we most urgently need and deeply want!  Our first group poem comes from a line from Carson McCuller's The Heart is a Lonely Hunter  appropriated by Barbara and Beverly Smith as the title of their collection of letters between Black Feminists in Conditions 4 and then again by Audre Lorde in Eye to Eye:  "I am not meant to be alone and without you who understand."   This longing to end isolation, to build community and to be seen and understood in the context of our vision is the grounding desire (aka LOVE) that inspires our collaborations.  Name your longing!  Who and what are you meant to be with in this life?

Not Meant to Be Alone (A Poem for you Who May Understand)

created by the participants in the Eye to Eye Webinar on Radical Collaboration for Community Accountable Scholars 

I am not meant to be alone and without the love of black women bourgie, broke, booklearned, backbreaking or otherwise.
I am not meant to be alone and without black men at the age the prison eats up in my life, at my table and on my team
I am not meant to be alone without those who try to answer my intellectual and spiritual questions
I am not meant to be alone and without someone to call to say silly black feminist nonsense to
I am not meant to be alone and without my reflection: black women educators...
I am not meant to be alone and without my family created & given
I am not meant to be alone and without the listening of my family even when my ideas are radical and dangerous
I am not meant to be alone and without my mama
I am not meant to be alone and without inspiration
I am not meant to be alone and without warmth, roots, the world
I am not meant to be alone and without purpose
I am not meant to be alone and without books
I am not meant to be alone and without good poetry
I am not meant to be alone and without a good party
I am meant to be here
I am meant to be with of each of you
I am meant to be with more rad women of color
I am meant to be with my ancestors and yours!
I am meant to be with the love, support & freedom of my beloved communities despite our differences
I am meant to be at home, but able to have conversations with the rest of the world too
I am meant to be in different forms of schooling/learning spaces other than the academy
I am meant to be a supporter of friends and family
I meant to do work that is community accountable
I am meant to be with my closeted cousins in the Caribbean who are scared because I am loud
I am meant to be with those hurt by organized religion learning again their undeniable worth
I am meant to be with those who choose stability, without judgment but with open quit-your-job-invitation arms
I am meant to be with people of color who have been battered by the academy but who can learn to love themselves and each other again
I am meant to be with those seeking to practice freedom
I am meant to be with clean water and good food
I am meant to be with peace of mind
I am meant to be with deep loving conversations with strangers
I am meant to nurture and be nurtured by people who carry similar visions
I am meant to be with my own superpowers, awake and necessary
I am meant to be with you.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Queer Black Facilitators of the Future: Press Release

Queer Black Facilitators of the Future
Mobile Homecoming Co-creators recognized in The Advocate “top 40 under 40”
March 30, 2012                                    
Alexis Pauline Gumbs, 919-827-2702
Mobile Homecoming

Durham, NC - Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Ph.D and Julia Wallace, M.Div. will be recognized in the May issue of the The Advocate  - the leading gay magazine in America - on the “top 40 under 40” list for their creation of the nationally known Mobile Homecoming project. Mobile Homecoming is an intergenerational experiential archive project that amplifies generations of Black LGBTQ brilliance.

The Advocate says of it’s honorees, “these budding powerhouses, leaders in media, politics... are facilitating our future.” Alexis and Julia are two of only 4 honorees from the Southeast on the list.

As a self-identified “queer black feminist troublemaker,” Alexis also travels the country facilitating workshops, seminars and lecturing on the legacy of Black feminism. Julia, a self-identified black queer theologian, multimedia artist and consultant, says, “Alexis makes trouble that looks like love and IS love.”

Alexis and Julia travel the country in a 1988 RV they call Sojourner, interviewing Black Lesbian elders and Trans Men, facilitating intergenerational community conversations and hosting replay events. Julia explains, “the replay event is a technology where we not only learn about the history of these visionaries but experience the practices that has sustained them.”

Alexis is not new to this sort of national recognition. She was one of Utne Reader’s “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing the World” in 2009; a Black Women Rising Nominee and a Reproductive Reality Check Shero in 2010; and a recipient of the Too Sexy for 501C-3 trophy in 2011. Alexis has been featured on North Carolina public radio and UNC-TV. She and Julia were also featured on the cover of Durham Magazine - that celebrates the city’s style and creativity - for a feature story suggesting that Durham, NC is the lesbian haven of the south.

Alexis and Julia drove their RV across the country in 2011 taking detours and making stops along the way to honor and listen to elders. They say, “it was like a tour of super heroes... our elders had to develop super powers to survive as black people, as women, let alone as LGBTQ people, 20, 30 plus years ago.” So far, they have been to over 50 cities in over 11 states and interviewed over 50 black queer visionaries. They take a “by every means possible” approach to getting the word out about this history and their intergenerational imperative via tumblr, short Facebook videos, an upcoming documentary film, a web series on, and T-shirts, to name a few.

Next up for Mobile Homecoming is learning about sustainable building and living practices that will allow LGBT communities to take care of their elders as they age. They will also be launching a fundraising campaign to resurrect Sojourner or refit another vehicle with a veggie fuel engine to model their vision of sustainable mobile media making.

These “architects of the next decade,” as The Advocate describes them, both have advanced degrees and are founders of many organizations. The Mobile Homecoming project is affiliated with Southerners on New Ground (SONG), supported by Kitchen Table Giving Circle and has collaborated on events with many groups across the country including AARP, The DC Center in Washington D.C., Audre Lorde Project in NY, and Allied Media Projects (AMP) in Detroit. Alexis and Julia believe that “connecting community across generations is what will give us all access to the future we deserve.”

More information can be found at and videos can be found at

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Fwd: Save the Date! 2nd Annual National Black Women's Life Balance and Wellness Conference

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Shanesha Brooks-Tatum <>
Date: Wed, Apr 25, 2012 at 11:30 AM
Subject: Save the Date! 2nd Annual National Black Women's Life Balance and Wellness Conference

Save the Date ~ Registration Opens Monday, April 30th!

QBGs Lex and Julia honored in the Advocate's 40 under 40 list

 These budding powerhouses, leaders in media, politics, sports, and science, are facilitating our future. Meet the architects of the next decade.

Alexis Pauline Gumbs & Julia Wallace  • 29 & 32
Durham, N.C.
Historians, Mobile Homecoming

In 2009, Alexis Pauline Gumbs and Julia Wallace were at a conference in North Carolina, attended primarily by black lesbians, and realized they were the youngest people there. Listening to the older women, “it became very obvious that the choices they had made and the things they had done had made things better for us,” Gumbs says. Adds Wallace: “We became very excited about the experiences they had.” That led the partners in life and work to get on the road and seek out African-American LGBT elders (basically, anyone older than they are) around the nation for a project called Mobile Homecoming. Gumbs and Wallace are documenting their subjects’ lives through video and audio interviews that they plan to assemble into a documentary film by the end of next year, and they are also holding intergenerational events and collecting photos, manuscripts, and other artifacts for an archive of black LGBT life.

The effort “has been affirming and sometimes overwhelming,” Gumbs says. In some cases,  “people have been waiting all their life for someone to listen to them.” Wallace says the project made her realize “we have a responsibility to our elders and our ancestors to take care of each other.” In addition to Mobile Homecoming, Gumbs’s projects include BrokenBeautiful Press, a website where activists can share resources, and Brilliance Remastered, which offers online seminars, individual coaching, and other assistance for scholars. Wallace is founder of Queer Renaissance, which uses the Internet and other media to connect artists, activists, entrepreneurs, and others. Soon the busy duo will be collaborating on a children’s book as well.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I Would Transform: Anger, Hatred and Magic

This Sunday in the Angry Intellectuals: Channeling Rage for Transformation Webinar we honored the fact that our anger is sparked by deep love and a profound desire for transformation.  We realize that our anger requires transformation from each of us and from the world around us.   At the end of our session, as we practiced recognizing the distinction between hate (the impulse to impulse we reserve for the interlocking forms of oppression we indeed wish to destroy) and anger (the creative energetic impulse for transformation that we are bringing into our communities with intention), we created this group poem about what we would transform.  And how!

I Would Transform
A group poem by the Angry Intellectuals

i would transform the need to be right into a desire to be in community
i would transform fear of honesty into courage to be held accountable.
i would transform punishment into healing.
i would transform color-blindness into full color.
i would transform ownership into profound communalism
i would transform whiteness into the presence of unconditional love and accountability.
i would transform supremacy into relationship/community.
i would transform self-righteous white women into anti-racist warriors
i would transform individual solutions into collective power, into unstoppable contagious collective power

i would transform SCAF (Egyptian Military Leadership) into sons and fathers in their homes, taking care of their own families and communities

i would transform those who are now police into profound listeners in the face of violence

i would transform schools into places of critical consciousness and liberation

i would transform the academies tendency to overwork, underpay, and devalue revolutionary scholarship into valuing these ways of knowing and these people.
And that doesn't seem like a radical enough transformation!

i would transform hierarchical organization structures to co-created spaces of accountability.
i would transform exclusion to equity
i would transform isolation and borders into abundance of love

i would transform ICE and immigration policies into organizers rooted in care- using all their radical energies to reunite families.

i would transform racist teachers who seem to hate kids into hologram designers for spaceship child safety seats

i would transform bullies into bootdancers

i would transform the public school system to satellites of black feminist schools across the country.

i would transform homophobic church leaders into humble hip hop hooray cheerleaders for love in all forms

i would transform rent into the most alive soil ever

i would transform my landlord into a rose garden curator

i would transform the property manager into  a beloved son embraced in the middle of the dig deep get it done committee

i would transform legal recourse into delving deep for life-giving resources

i would transform street harassers into corner poets singing love to mother earth

i would transform scarcity into abundance and communities to hold us.

i would transform fast breathe speech and thinking into patient grounded inclusivewisdom.

i would transform the instinct to devalue in the face of anxiety to the impulse courageously honor

i would transform the feelings of betrayal into the gratitude for new knowledge

i would transform defensiveness into deep breaths of listening

I would transform self pity into confidence

i would transform doubt to determination

i would transform fear into freedom

i would transform guilt into action and growth

i would transform forced silence into song.

i would transform myself

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sign Up by April 30th! Eye to Eye: Radical Collaboration for Community Accountable Scholars

Greetings Bright Thunder!
Applications are now open for May's Webinar Eye to Eye: Radical Collaboration for Community Accountable Scholars!  Sign up by April 30th!
Eye to Eye will meet on four Tuesdays in May (8, 15, 22, 29)
Eye to Eye is an opportunity to get real about how individualism, internalized oppression and a capitalism-produced need to seem smart can get in the way of creating meaningful collaborations and useful intellectual partnerships with the communities that we love the most.  It is also an opportunity to find partners to collaborate with and to create plans for becoming the unstoppable, interconnected, community accountable scholars we want to be!
Required reading: Audre Lorde's Eye to Eye: Black Women Hatred and Anger
The Eye to Eye Webinar Includes:
  • a workbook based on Audre Lorde's Eye to Eye
  • 4 live webinar discussion sessions facilitated by Alexis Pauline Gumbs and attended by aligned visionary underrepresented scholars
  • inclusion in an ongoing networking google-group for webinar graduates
  • theme songs to release internalized oppression as we reach out into collaboration!
Rate:  $25-50 per participant per session ($100-200 for the whole course) or FREE for one-on-one coaching clients.
To apply for the Eye to Eye Webinar email with your responses to the following questions:
Contact information: (phone, email)
Who are you and what are you up to?
Why do you want to take this webinar?
What times are you available on Tuesdays in May? (Include your time zone!)

 Alexis Pauline Gumbs, PhD