Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dear CNN

Dear CNN,

F*ck you!


Moya Bailey

j/k j/k! but no really. I mean seriously, what was up with Black in America?

I have to start even before the show with the months of hype, the screenings at movie theaters, the word poetry magnets with choice words like “struggle,” “pride,” and “Comcast,” the t-shirts, and then the countdown clock to airtime! CNN, don’t you think that’s all a bit absurd? So how many viewers did you get from this “unprecedented” event? How many more folks ended up watching this “CNNannigan” than would have without your hype men dispatched to the four corners of the earth?

When you begin with a black male spoken word artist to talk about “black women and the family” you are saying something about how you see “Black America.” Sunni Patterson, Staceyann Chin, Sarah Jones are all black women poets who could have offered something about black women, oh excuse me, “black women and the family” because apparently black women don’t warrant their own two hour special.

In a special called “black women and the family” I expected to see and hear from more black women. Soledad’s omniracial ass notwithstanding, the black women of “black women and the family” were in the last part of the segment. There was only one black woman was presented as an expert and that was Julianne Malveaux, who awkwardly tried to say that it’s not all bad for black women but there was no footage that was used to support her claim. What we saw, were black women failing to keep their kids motivated or in school, failing to keep a roof over their heads, failing to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS, failing to find and stay with black male husbands (because apparently there are no queer black women in America), failing at life in general.

My brilliant friend Alexis who coined the term “CNNannigan,” also watched and had this to say:

“Since this first segment seems to me to be all about the danger of the black deviant mother (from the slaveowner's mistress to the absent mother of the soon to be homeless kids, to the struggling mother (also being evicted) whose life difficulties are explained by her unfulfilled craving for a strong male figure, to the regretful woman in the interracial marriage to the woman who's nails are highlighted while her paralyzed son's words are subtitled as if they aren't English) and how to insert a patriarchal figure
(from the obnoxious Harvard guy playing test-score sugar daddy, to f*cking "marry your baby daddy day", to the generous doctor who swoops in to save young men from the mothers who have failed them) reinforced by the highlighted black male preacheresque figures stating how if you are raised by a woman you're going to have bad sex and kill everyone and die of salt saturation or whatever...”

I don’t pretend to know your intentions CNN but I’m wondering if you thought that someone (or groups of black women) would see this in the segment. Furthermore, do you care?

I’m at a loss as to how you can talk about black women and not talk about the sexism and misogyny that black women endure on a day to day basis. You’ve done stories on Sakia Gunn, not the Jersey Four but Megan Williams, not the attacks in Dunbar Village or the woman gang raped in her Philadelphia apartment, but covered the woman who died on the floor of an NYC ER while hospital staff looked on. Yet, these assaults on the humanity of black women are not part of the segment.

The systems that collude to demonize black womanhood remain obscured. Welfare reform, no living wage, the lack of affordable housing, gentrification, environmental racism (an important term you could of introduced when highlighting that a black woman can’t get a tomato in Harlem), inefficient public transportation, could all have been brought to the fore as opposed to the conclusion that black folks bring their hardships on themselves.

After watching this segment, I’m sure that this letter from a radical, single (and happy), queer, black woman may not be intelligible to you, as it was pretty clear from the segment that I don’t exist. But I’d like to send it anyway just so I know that I responded to my erasure by saying I’m (We are) still here.


Moya Bailey

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

the souls of black girls

just found this:

a documentary that questions whether or not women of color

are suffering from a self image disorder

as a result of media images...

check out the trailer and the quirky beautiful girls

Thursday, July 17, 2008

We Define It

Inspired by this,

Yesterday women of color came together to think about Audre Lorde’s words and to think about our anger.

our collective definition is here.

So, do quirky black girls get angry?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Something Else to Be Re(a)d

Reposted from Having Read the Fine Print

“having long ago realized they were neither white nor male…they went about creating something else to be.”

In this amazing course piece lex talks about Sula's role in the genesis of Black Feminist Literary Theory.

The above quote struck me hard.

I have read Sula about four times, and that quote didn't jump until I read that post by lex.

The idea of two colored girls creating something new to be, because the choices were white or female.

Which made me think heavily because historically , neither of those concepts were created without the body somewhere of a "colored girl".

If we talk about Feminism , we MUST talk about Seneca Falls which As BFP points out was based on the freedoms white women experienced and relayed back in NATIVE COMMUNITIES.

IF we talk about Victorian sexuality, hell Hottentot Venus, Arabian Odalesque, Slave girl, and mystic Asian woman.

While white women chaffe at these roles, or use them as ways to emphasize the need for their ascension into power structures etc etc


But Fuck it this is about me and Sylvia and I'm guessing most of you.

We get to be girls together.

One of the many numerous things that happens while I'm upset is I call my wife.

When I first got body rocked by this I called her.

She says when I'm sad I sound all of five years old.

I never was a little girl for long.

That's what happens when your brown, and grow boobs early , even if you don't have hips or your real ass until your 23

You see as little girls of color we don't get to be girls .

Yesterday was the first day of 16 days against sexual violence.

And while i am not physically assaulted , I know what's it's like to be grabbed , smacked , followed stalked

I knew that by 10.

Not a little girl

Sula ( and until a certain point Nel) do something amazing in the novel.

They will themselves into an entirely new existence.

While the phrase it as not being white or male , their is also this tacit unsaid rejection of we also will not be the things people expect of us for NOT being that.

To me it harkens back to Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. " A black woman is da mule oh da world"

They choose and Sula continues to choose not to be that.

Not to be the women in their community afraid of moist , to be the woman who fucks who she wants, who assumes her right to be what she wants

Sylvia and the rest of you but mostly Sylvia .

We get to be girls together.

I thik why i got real full out mad , and I claim it by the time Samhita got to Sylvia's old blog I was about to call everybody and they kinfolk some things that still curdle my OWN ears

was me and SYlvia

are a lot a like .

We're black girls, and yes I am NOW 23 so if you can do math when i was getting my ass rocked I was 22 and Sylvia was 21.

How many black girls you know graduate at 20 and write her prose, how many black girls you know get the world the way she does, lives the life she does , deals with her shit, writes amazing legal theory


How many?

You know what it's like to be a black girl genius?

You know what it's like to be a black girl in a hard family?

I do.

And on our blogs we created we got to be girls together.

And we were getting DONE IN

for daring to create a space where we could speak and be as black girls.

Something little white girls rarely think TWICE about.

We don't get books telling us t hat our foibles and mishaps won't lead to devastating consequences, we get the " SHUT YOUR DAMN LEGS".

We don't get the your life is worthy even as every single confessional in a women's studies class is honored. We get pitted against each other to prove somebody else's point with our blood.

We don't get to say I am woman hear me roar" . We say I am woman , dear god I Hope you find my sister today"

This exploration this imagination that is assured white girls DOESN'T happen for us.

But we were making it in with our fingers , our words, we had carved out little spaces to be girls.

to like boys, to wonder, to make our words matter

and now ( and agin it's being tried) people tried to RIP that from us so that we could assure someone else's girl(s) that if it was okay to them

We'd be sacrificed again and it wouldn't ride their conscious.

Not for my Sylvia.

We get to be girls together.

We get it if we have to make it.

And for those of you who don't understand.

Take two twenty year olds, pushed by police violence,sexual violence, make them smart, unbelievably so, make them honest and caring, make them beautiful.

Make them willing to try .

Make them care about the world

Make them willing to show you their growth.
Reposted from

What do you give them, how od show them the world , how do you help them grow?

What words do you give them.

How do you handle them showing preternatural intelligence.

What color were they?

DO they get to be girls?

Well then,


Monday, July 7, 2008

QBG Manifesta

Because Audre Lorde looks different in every picture ever taken of her. Because Octavia Butler didn't care. Because Erykah Badu is a patternmaster. Because Macy Gray pimped it and Janelle Monae was ready.

Resolved. Quirky black girls wake up ready to wear a tattered society new on our bodies, to hold fragments of art, culture and trend in our hands like weapons against conformity, to walk on cracks instead of breaking our backs to fit in the mold.

We're here, We're Quirky, Get used to it!

.... Quirky Black girls don't march to the beat of our own drum; we hop, skip, dance, and move to rhythms that are all our own. We make our own drums out of empty lunchboxes, full imaginations and number 3 pencils.

Quirky Black girls are not quirky because they like white shit; rather they understand that because they like it, it is not the sole province of whiteness.

Quirky black girls are the answer to the promise that black means everything, birthing and burning a new world every time.

Sound it out. Quirky, like queer and key, different and priceless, turning and open. Black, not be lack but black one word shot off the tongue like blap, bam, black. Girl, like the curl in a hand turning towards itself to snap, write, hold or emphasize. Quirky. Black. Girl. You see us. Act like you know.

We demand that our audiences say "yes-sir-eee" if they agree and we answer our own question "What good do your words do, if they don't understand you?" by speaking anyway, even if our words are "bruised and misunderstood."

Quirky black girls are hot!
Whether you're ready to see it or not.

Quirky means rejecting a particular type of "value," a certain unreadiness for consumption and subsumption in an economy of black heterocapital. This means that Quirky Black Girls act independently of dominant social norms or standards of beauty. So fierce that others may not be able to appreciate us just yet.

No matter what age we are, we hold onto that girlhood drive for adventure, love for friends, independent spirit, wacky sense of humor, and hope for the future.

Quirky Black Girls resist boxes in favor of over lapping circles with permeable membranes that allow them to ebb and flow through their multiple identities.

Quirky Black Girls- Embrace the quirky!