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.