Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tip on it!

#therisktakers #vulnerableyfearless


Sent to you by moya via Google Reader:


via New Model Minority by admin on 3/31/10

Janelle Monae Tight Rope

For There is nothing wrong with being at check ball with your lady friend, every point is a point of motion, depending on how we look at it.

The funny thing about asking for what you want is that just might
get it.

I wrote last week about Slow Dynamite just kinda running into me, so we decided to catch a flick. Ok. Cool.

THEN. The evening arrives, I show up, Black girl fresh,
green tights, orange blazer etc. Plus I had had an awesome day.

I went to a work shop on "how to write an excellent literature review" and the professor, this inspiring woman from Michigan, kept saying
that grad school writing is hard, you rarely get compliments, you always get critiqued, that is just how it is.

She also said, as grad students we must take risks because the worst thing a professor can do is tell you to start over. That resonated with me. I don't mind taking risks, however what has been hard is controlling the outcome. Being told to start over. Lols.

Why did I feel like she was all up in >.< here.
I felt like she validated my experience and I WISH I heard from
her in September rather than March. However I am glad have heard her at all, she validated my experience with learning how to have my worked critiqued by people.

So SD and I meet up and I am on time and happy about this, #blackgirlsarefromthefuture so we MUST be on time, duh, or look tacky.

He says, movie starts in fifteen minutes, I bought tickets.  He says, "Here is my plan, my favorite restaurant is down the street. Why don't we go there after, then we can go to my house and listen to the new Erykah." Mind you the album wasn't out yet, and I am real particular about playing albums with certain people. People leave scents on albums, as far as I am concerned. Ummm hmmm.

I was silent.

We walked.

He asked me if I had a response. (Like woman please, you asked for a plan, I gave you one, wassup?)

I was just taking a moment to take it all in. And appreciate the fact
that I asked for a plan, got one, and now I need to make up my Libra Loving mind.

So I said YES! Yes, with reflection prior, instead of the instant
yes, is awesome.

I am glad I did because something shifted in me the next day. I feel less pressed and I am comfortable in that in between, liminal space. I now move with the explicit awareness that there is a project and a person there, and right now is cultivation time, so that I can get right and seize the opportunity when it arises. I have let go of the outcome. Do you know how awesome that is?

Of course given his level of consideration, I had to plan something for him so I sent a text like, um, home cooked meal my house 6? You interested? Black girls are big on reciprocity.

Annnnnnnnnnnnd. Bacon grits has made his feelings known and I am like "Word boo? You know I a handful." His response, "thats why God blessed me with my fathers hands." Word? word? So I am looking at building an itinerary for that weekend. Its kinda fun. I was an admin for several executives at one time, so its returning back to my roots to plan out, by the hour, a couple of days. Its a really good skill set to have, in fact.

You know I am good for puttering around a city with someone. #allcityneens. The goal is to read as much as possible prior so that I am not looking like stuck Black girl in class. The good news about having midterms though, is once they are over, which is today, my schedule will go back to semi normal at least for the next few weeks. Awesome!

I have figured out how to #beherenow and #inthefuture. Who knew that I would have to go through all of this to get there? Seeing the Window Seat video on Saturday has only further validated my feelings. The risk takers = #somuchwin. People who take risks influence others, and that my dear, can change the world.

No related posts.


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Do It!: Springning into Action

A message to all members of Quirky Black Girls

"The best way to do it IS TO DO IT!" Toni Cade Bambara

Greetings loved ones!!!
It's been a while....I've been walking around stunned and thrilled that my dissertation is finished and Spring has arrived. Will wonders never cease. For me this past week has been about living in the future I've been hard-core imaging and creating for myself and some thought about the shift from what has felt to me like a Black Feminist baptism in the awkward and unlikely form of the dissertation to my life which for the next couple years feels like a Black Feminist Practicum. Let's make it real.
Not coincidentally, the spirit guide mid-wife for this journey has been the Black Feminist warrior writer, editor, film-maker, educator, organizer Toni Cade Bambara. I spent last week creating a podcast to celebrate the 71st birthday of this beautiful example of passion embodied who we lost to cancer 15 years ago. You can listen to the podcast and learn more about Toni Cade Bambara here:
Reading Toni Cade Bambara's work every morning and spending time talking to folks who loved and learned from her and singing her praises at Queer Black Sunday School has left me feeling interconnected, faithful and excited about life!
Here's what I'm up to with BrokenBeautiful Press:

I strongly invite you to participate in the study that dissertating QBG Nikki Young is up to with her work on queer family creation and ethics:

Dear Atlanta Community,

My name is Thelathia “Nikki” Young, and I am a Black queer doctoral
candidate at
Emory University. I have lived in
Atlanta since 2001 and have enjoyed the energy, generosity of spirit,
of solidarity, and stands for justice that I have witnessed in this
Black queer community. Through
your work in the community and mere visibility in the city, you have
me as a scholar and activist – so much so that I have
focused my
dissertation on you! As part of my
dissertation research, I am seeking Black queer adults (18 and over) in
metro-Atlanta area to participate in interviews and possibly in focus

Research Subject

My study, titled The Black Queer Family Project, investigates the ways
in which
Atlanta Black queer people understand, value, and construct “family.”
I invite you to participate in
interviews and focus groups wherein you will be asked to share
narratives of
your own life experiences that contribute to your definition(s) and
of “family” as a queer person of color.
The purpose of this research is to contribute information to my
project, which puts Black queer experiences and narratives in
conversation with
Womanist and Feminist ethics as well as Queer Theories. My
study aims to acknowledge our voices
and experiences and make them available in community and academic
of family and familial practices.


I am asking participants to be interviewed for approximately 1.5 hours,
though the
interviews may be longer or shorter depending on your preference.
Participants in focus groups will only
be asked to attend three sessions that last approximately 1.5 hours
each. This means that the total commitment
from participants ranges from 1.5 hours to 6 hours.

Basically, I will engage subjects that include family make-up, family structure,
practices, relationship constructions, moral motivations, and ethical
in relation to familial relationships.


I am only seeking persons who are at least 18 years of age and who
self-identify as
Black queer Atlanta residents.

· “Self-identify”

individuals whose sexuality and/or relationship status is commonly
known via
statement, title, or any official public documentation, and/or through
disclosure in their homes, communities, workplaces, and social

· “Black,”

in this study, refers to anyone who self-identifies as a person of
descent. Subjects are not limited
to African-Americans and thus may include Atlanta residents whose nation
origin is outside of the United States.

  • “Queer” – in this study, is used as an umbrella term that includes individuals who are lesbian,
    bisexual, transgender, questioning, gender-queer, polyamorous, and
    sexually non-identifying.
  • Residency includes partial or full-time status in the metro-Atlanta area.

This study will not include any persons who do not meet the criteria above.
This study also excludes any persons
who meet the criteria but who are enrolled in a K-12 institution.

If you are interested, please contact me via email at
via telephone at 404-643-1339. I am looking forward to hearing you and
about your family!

With great respect for you,

Thelathia “Nikki” Young, M.Div, Th. M

Doctoral Candidate – Graduate Division of Religion, Ethics and Society

Emory University


And please holler at us with other news of the goodness that is in bloom this season!!!!

Eternal Summer for Real: The BrokenBeautiful Press Spring Update!

Greetings Brilliant Transformative Flowers in Bloom!!!!

It is SPRING at the Inspiration Station and we are discovering surprise perennials, witnessing the birth of dreams planted long ago and preparing the soil of our interconnected communities for the future. This update is to let you know how you can participate in the ecology of Broken Beautiful Press and our two major projects. The Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind Eduational Series and the Queer Black MobileHomeComing Project. Bloom baby! BLOOM! (p.s. this is a long click here to get directly to the info about self-directed artist residences @ the Inspiration Station and how to become an Eternal Summerian)

The Itinerant Professor: Sista Docta Lex

After 25 years of schooling with no breaks (whew!) Lex and her committee have affirmed her dissertation on the Queer Survival of Black Feminism (click to read the prologue)!!!! Hooray it is SUMMERTIME from now on! Lex is excited to bring her skills, knowledge, reverence, confidence and new swag to support the intellectual visions of educational institutions of all kinds, and community organizations and initiatives. Go to: to learn about the residencies, workshops and lectures Lex is available for and set up a transformative educational tryst, longer term affair, repeated divine encounter etc with Dr. Lex!

(All proceeds from paid engagements go to support Lex's work on the MobileHomeComing Project and the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind.)

Lex and the MobileHomeComing Project are grateful for the support of Queers for Economic Justice, the Disabled Young People's Collective, Public Allies of Cincinnati, the SpiritHouse Choosing Sides Program at New Horizons Academy of Excellence, the American Studies Program at University of Texas-San Antonio, the Women in Learning and Living Program at University of Richmond, the Sexual Assault Task Force at Reed College, the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media, the Women's Center and Multicultural Center at Duke University, Holton Community Center for hosting Lex as a speaker/workshop leader and for donating honoraria to the MobileHomeComing Project.

The Inspiration Station: Community Education in Action

Loving the June Jordan Saturday Survival School!

This year so far the community educational experiences at the Inspiration Station have been over the top!

Queer Families in Durham played danced, created hallway murals and their own all-ages illustrated intergenerational stories based on the unpublished speeches and out-of-print children's books by June Jordan at the June Jordan Saturday Survival School!

Devoted Durhamites gathered on Sunday mornings to sing the praises and celebrate the words of Audre Lorde, Joseph Beam and Toni Cade Bambara during Queer Black Sunday School.

School of Our Lorde Poets at the Audre Lorde B-day Celebration and Poetry Performance

And Durham's poets and educators (joined by distance learning crews from Chicago, Western Mass, Tuscaloosa, Cairo, Rio Grande Valley, and NYC) deepened the meaning of life with interactive exercises and engagement with the archival and published work of Audre Lorde in the Poetics and Pedagogy units of the School of Our Lorde!

Chicago Participants participate on the School of Our Lorde Social Network!

AND our beautiful local community gathered for potlucks to discuss the work of the Salsa Soul Sisters... Here is the audio documentary we created over brunch (Carolyn and Harriet drop knowledge!)the short non-fiction of Maia Williams on the complexity of transnational solidary (with a special guest skype appearance from the esteemed author live and direct fromCairo) and the poetry of asha bandele (deepened by our visiting guest expert on women in prison and resistance: Vikki Law!)

Actualizing Abundance!

Participants in the educational programs and readers of the RAGE Edition of the Little Black (Feminist) Book Series from as far as Berlin, raised and donated $1, 531 towards the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind Community School in just 2 months proving that our Beloved Community in Creation VALUES community accountable education.

Become a part of our community sustained educational movement in any of the following ways:

Get Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind Educational Materials!!!!

1979: Transforming the Meaning of Survival

VIIB29What does it take to survive a year like 1979?

This first podcast is about the year 1979 and how the world, and black feminism began and ended in some crucial ways that year. With the election of Ronald Reagan, the Boston Murders, the Atlanta Child Murders and the Greensboro Massacre all attacking the the lives, minds and spirits of black women 1979 was a crucial year. This podcast focuses on how Audre Lorde, Alexis DeVeaux, June Jordan and Barbara Smith reach(ed) across time and space to transform the meaning of survival. (And there is some good period appropriate and anachronistic music too!)

Be sure to put "1979 podcast and study guide" in the subject line with your donation

Meditate on the Rainbow: The Poetry of Sapphire

Filled with great music…rare and priceless poetry from Sapphire all presented in that quirky, interactive, meditative, writing workshop-esque Eternal Summer style! Based on Sapphire's out of print seven movement poem "Meditations on the Rainbow" this podcast moves us through the colors of resistance and trasnformation.

This podcast is dedicated to all of us, but especially to Tyli’a Nana Boo Mack, a black transwoman made early ancestor in a brutal act of violence in Washington DC. Get your pen and or your paintbrush and listen.

The study-guide brings Sapphire's poetic work into conversation with her book PUSH and the recent film Precious.

Be sure to write "Meditate on the Rainbow Podcast and Study Guide" in the subject line with your donation!

In Your Hands: Mothering Ourselves


Because it takes a whole month to prepare for the day of the dead. Because some of us have to create eclectic Sunday morning rituals to hear our own truth. Because I want you to have this for when you need it. This podcast is based on letters from my black feminist ancestors, and the study guide will lead you through a process of communicating with and remembering insight from your own ancestors, spirit-guides and sheroes. For more about the “In Your Hands” project check out

Be sure to put "In Your Hands Podcast and Study Guide" in the subject line with your donation!

Be Bold Be Red: Legacies of Response to Gendered Violence

In October 2007 women of color came together and transformed terror on Halloween, declaring October 31st Be Bold Be Red Day, a day for women of color and allies to speak out against violence against women. And 30 years ago women of color came together to respond to violence in the same critical and poetic spirit.

Towards the world the we all deserve, fully transformed from the misogyny and internalized racism we face in popular music to the frightening expendability of the lives and bodies of women of color this podcast places the brave voices of women telling the truth about gendered violence over the remixed sounds of Miles Davis by Apple Juice Kid. With this piece which includes critical work on the work of the Combahee River Collective, and Toni Morrison's Sula we take every sound back, starting with our own voices and the background that seeks to silence them.

Listen with your community, your class, your friends, your study group, your church, your crew, pass the link on or listen by yourself and see, hear and wear red.

Be sure to put "Be Bold Be Red" podcast in the subject line with your donation of $15 or more :)

A Revolutionary Act...: On the Legacy of Joseph Beam

In honor of this brilliant Black Gay literary genius ancestor and and the fact that both In the Life and Brother to Brother are back in print thanks to RedBone Press this podcast includes readings and reflections from Lisa Moore of RedBone Press, La Marr Jurelle, Darnell Moore, Justin Smith and a round the kitchen table conversation with some of Durham’s most inspiring Black queer visionary men: Ashon Crawley, Sendolo Diaminah, Thaddeaus Edwards and Justin Robinson. (Plus music, love and archival goodies from an ancestor obsessed devotee who you know much too well :) Informed by archival research in the Schomburg Black Gay and Lesbian Archive, this conversation will be particularly useful as you honor Black Gay History Herstory and discuss the transformative possibility of LOVE in queer community across gender.

Be sure to put "Joseph Beam Podcast and Study Guide" in the subject line of your donation of $15 or more!

Anger is Useful!: On the Poetics of Rage

Who’s afraid of the Angry Black Woman? Well BE AFRAID because Angry Black Women are speaking our minds and transforming the world in the service of our vision. Oppression beware the well-directed rage of Black feminism!

Enter the ANGRY BLACK WOMAN edition of the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Podcast Series! As always, we start with the brilliance of our ancestors…informed by Audre Lorde's essay "Uses of Anger," meditating on the poetic of rage in June Jordan’s angry letters to racist editors and including reflections from Nia Wilson, Mai’a Williams, Moya Bailey, Daria Bannerman and the young visionaries at New Horizon’s Alternative School…plus as always music that rocks (including a track from the genuis Jon Anonymous project by Durham’s own Shirlette Ammons!)

Be sure to write "Angry Black Woman Podcast and Study Guide" in the subject line with your donation of $15 or more!

"Coming Home": The Legacy of the Salsa Soul Sisters

“because they were coming home.”-Carolyn Grey

On Saturday January 30th Harriet Alston and Carolyn Grey brought decades of memories and a Linda Tillery album that Harriet had spent days digitizing through the rare (and unplowed) North Carolina Snow to have a conversation with eager listeners at the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind Potluck about their time in the Salsa Soul Sisters and the lessons they learned about building community. Use this podcast as a precedent to your own community building projects or to recontextualize the history of Black feminist, 3rd World Women's and lesbian feminist organizations in the 1970's.

Be sure to write "Salsa Soul Audio Documentary and Study Guide" in the subject line with your donation of $15 or more!

On Cancer and Survival: In Honor of June Jordan, Audre Lorde and Andria Hall

Cancer is a major factor in the lived experience of Black Feminist herstory and legacies. How do we understand survival, the body, love and relationships as we survive and lose our loved ones to cancer? This podcast includes the voices of survivors of cancer, and those who have survived their loved ones. Investigating how life continues and how we can center our wellness, this podcast is memorial and salve, and a call of communication across every boundary, even our understandings of life and death.

Be sure to write "Cancer and Survival Podcast and Study Guide" in the subject line with your donation of $15 or more.

"The Best Way to Do it is to Do it": The Legacy of Toni Cade Bambara

In honor of Toni Cade Bambara’s 71st Birthday we present a podcast full of reflections, laughter, poetry, music and LOVE for the brilliant sister warrior mother writer, dancer, filmmaker, screenplay transformer, community organizer Toni Cade Bambara!
I created this podcast with much inspiration from Cheryll Y. Greene and with the priceless collaboration and words of Aishah Shahidah Simmons, Cara Page, Linda Janet Holmes, Kai Lumumba Barrow and Nikky Finney. Contextualize your day with the brilliant insights of these women and listen to music from Sarah Vaughn, King Pleasure, Erykah Badu, Amel Laurrieux, Cassandra Wilson, Abbey Lincoln and some of my favorite producers and learn and teach about the work of this crucial Black feminist warrior!

Be sure to write "Toni Cade Bambara Podcast and Study Guide" in the subject line with your donation of 15 or more :)

The Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind DVD

For your classroom, living room, workshops etc. get your own DVD of the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind Video Series (link for previews) for a donation of 20 bucks or more to the Eternal Summer Educational program. Remember to put a note on your transaction that you want the DVD and be sure that your address is current!!!

Become an Eternal Summerian by joining the Inspiration Station EasyPass Club! Monthly sustainers will get special juicy audio/video/poetic content sent directly to your inboxes every single month for ETERNITY!!!!!!!!

SPECIAL INCENTIVE!!!! Everyone who becomes a monthly sustainer in April will get an audio experiential piece about responding to police brutality in queer communities of color written and performed by Lex and sonically designed and transformed by the dashing Julia R. Wallace that is not available on the web!

Push the button to sign up to be a monthly sustainer (the big blue number is how much you'll be donating each month automatically)!

************Durham Locals!!! You can also support by bringing food, paper (in any form from toilet paper, to butcher paper, to paper plates) and art supplies or dv tapes... to the inspiration station any time. Or rides to the airport so Dr. Lex can keep hustling to bring insight and resources back to the Bull City (you know how we do!!) Email to set it up!!!!

Rejuvenating Revolutionary Retreats at the Inspiration Station:

Living Room Ancestor entryway @ the Inspiration Station

Are you getting excited and lustful from all of this shameless bragging on the beautiful city of Durham, NC? Want to see for yourself and help support the Inspiration Station? Durham devotees...want to help with Lex's long-lived and blatant recruitment strategy to get the rest of our tribe of brilliant artists, thinkers, and organizers to move to the center of the universe? We GOT you! Introducing Artist/Intellectual/Organizer retreats @ the Inspiration Station.

This is what we call sustainable community transformation!!!! Tell your friends or avail yourself of an immersion in the magical energy of Durham, NC and the special light of the Inspiration Station...fortified by so many beautiful thoughts and brave moments. Help us create a sustainable use of the space over the summer or for the 10 days a month that Lex and Julia are off on the MobileHomeComing Tour. You'll get a set of Durham local edible goodies (from the Tierra Negra Farm and the Bread Uprising Bakery) a list of inspiring walks and journeys to take in Durham, the use of a beautiful wrap around front porch with a hammock and a table and chairs and beautiful honeysuckle and crepe myrtle trees....

AND even though you may think that the most fun thing about Durham is the chance to hang out with Lex...the truth is that Durham is full of brilliant visionary ambassadors who love to show off our cities transformative if you want you can even get assigned a buddy to show you the Durham ropes and share their lovely talents and experiences with you as part of the welcoming committee!

So email if you might want to spend a week (or the month of July) in the center of love, inspiration and transformation. We are hoping that folks can offer $100-200 a week for residencies...but everything you have to offer is valuable and the conversation is always open!

OKAY!!!! Congrats on reading this content-filled message. Take home: Summer is Eternal and Spring is NOW!

We love growing with you!!!!!

Infinite love,


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Openly Loving Women is Prolly Radical….


Sent to you by moya via Google Reader:


via New Model Minority by admin on 3/30/10

Yesterday I tweeted a thought, and apparently I touched a cord.

I was so moved by the reaction that I did a screen shot to preserve this history.

The quote is:

Openly Loving women, in a society premised on oppressing women,

is prolly one of the most radical thing you can do.



Related posts:

  1. When we start the evolution all they prolly do is squeal….
  2. Doom. Grim. Forest Whitaker and Toni Morrison, all in one God Loving Blog Post! I Love America
  3. Men and women can actually be friends.


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Monday, March 29, 2010

Necessary Fierceness


Sent to you by moya via Google Reader:


via The Crunk Feminist Collective by moyazb on 3/29/10

Its not my day to post but recent events caused me the catch the spirit and pick up the laptop.

If you haven't heard, Erykah Badu released the video to her second song  off her 6th studio Album (Release party @ the crib tomorrow, feel free to roll through) New Amerykah Part II: Return of the Ankh.

*spoiler alert*

In the video, she gets naked. Actually, its not that simple.

A more accurate statement would be that she gets real vulnerable.

We know this not just because of what we see on screen but because of what she has been tweeting about for most of the month. Erykah lets us in to the must private pieces of herself. We witness her thought process, her checking in with friends, family, babies, and their daddies about what she is about to do. She's not asking for permission but letting them know as people are bound to talk and not surprisingly, the web is already filled with people slinging hate her way.

Some folks say she copied Matt and Kim. She says that. She says that the video was inspired by what they did. And frankly what she did seems a lot more intentional and connected to what her relationship with the world is. Additionally, Erykah is reaching a completely different audience than Matt and Kim. One of her tweets led me to this response to the video by someone who is not a part of Matt and Kim's demographic and was able to garner her own meaning from the video. I love that about Erykah. She reaches people where they are while simultaneusly creating  a horizontal loving line that pushes them a bit from where they are.

This album and the one before are incantations. She is using her magic to save her people and get folks to wake up and shake that load off that is groupthink and others expectations. She is being brave even when she's petrified and creating the world she wants to see by daring her audience to push just as she has in her own town!

She's f*cking fierce!

Read other praise by M dot and Summer M!


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A Southern Gul, Southern Genius Feeding Her Own Meter


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via my best friend gayle by summer of sam on 3/29/10

Though I am ostensibly a U.S. Citizen (some days it feels tenuous as hell), I also have a Crunchy Nation green card, which means my Twitter feed was full of earth mother goddesses, headwraps, and the like drooling over Erykah Badu's new video for "Window Seat," the lead single from her album, New Amerykah Part 2: Return of the Ankh.  They think it's genius; they are probably right.  Erykah Badu makes the best music videos ever.

I had a (non-crunchy) friend tell me that if Erykah Badu started an army she'd enlist.  Erykah Badu is, it seems, magical.  How many other (black) women in the entertainment industry possess agency and respect enough to publicly disrobe in a way that we, as viewers, would find liberating--and not commodifying?  (Magic!)  Seeing Ms. Badu in full art mode, I'm inclined to abandon pacifism, and declare war on whatever enemy Ms. Badu deems worthy of some militaristic wrath.   How can I not want to be down with someone who seems to be so unequivocally herself in world that relies on stereotypes (name a rapper), caricatures (name a rapper), and recycled product (Gaga, meet Madonna) to sustain itself and titillate us? 

I'm sure the blogosphere is bursting with a myriad of responses to the video, analyses especially concerned with the symbolism of Badu removing her clothes and whatnot.  What struck me, however, was the scene Badu creates in which to disrobe: she revises the JFK assassination to do it.  Badu pulls up to the curb in a Lincoln (another assassinated President) with the suicide doors, foreshadowing her figurative death and implying that what she's about to do is the result of her own hand(s).  After walking through part of downtown Dallas, Badu is shot on the Grassy Knoll, the space where witnesses, including Abraham Zapruder, watched the assassination; it's also the foundation for one of the prevailing JFK conspiracy theories. 

What does it mean that Badu reinvigorates a popular American myth (of Camelot)--and its subsequent conspiracy-- for this individuality-saving exercise?  Especially, if I may take it there, since 2009 reminded folks that the "Age of Obama"  was not going to be Chocolate Camelot remixed 2.0.  More specifically, though, lack of understanding and group think may not be the only reasons for assassinating Badu, as she kind of suggests at the end of the video.  The JFK assassination effectively ended and jarred folks out of an idealized image of the presidency.  Camelot died right on that white X.  How often have Badu's fans not lacked understanding, but actually refused to understand the nuances of her as an artist?  So many of the folks who embraced the genius of this latest endeavor only really dig Badu when she's burning incense, and only enthusiastically await this new album because of what the subtitle promises: a (sonic) return to the ankh.    

What's so dope about Erykah's shows is the motley audience she attracts.  I've been to Badu concerts with my mama, my white homegirl, Rachel, and the homie Maegs (a crunchy role model if there ever was one).  And we're all there for different reasons.  Some are waiting for "Tyrone."  Others want Badu the revolutionary.  Many more wait for Badu to articulate their heart break with a cappella version of "Green Eyes."  Everybody, on some level, fucks with Badu, but how many of us have learned to fuck with all of Badu?   We are reluctant to accept her evolution--hence the tattoo.  Yes, we love "Window Seat," but don't we hate "Jump up in the Air" just because Weezy was on it, and not because his verse was lightweight disappointing?

Above all, the assassination at the end of "Window Seat" reminds me of Badu's generation of soul singers, their survival, and our roles in their symbolic, public deaths: Maxwell (he didn't disappear for all those years just because he wanted a vacation, I'm sure), D'Angelo, Lauryn.  Near that pantheon is Dave Chappelle, and perhaps to a lesser extent Aaron McGruder.  What Badu's video harkens, for me at least, is some of her peers' efforts to fully express their artistry, themselves as individuals.  That, of course, is an implicit suicide mission, resulting in public assassination and their subsequent disappearance.  (What happens if the puppet decides to cut its own strings?)  The public, then, is left with nothing to do but masticate on conspiracy theories.  We endlessly speculate on the how's and why's of Lauryn's mental state and D'Angelo's junkie status.  And in the process we kill them...softly.

Maybe Erykah is magical.  She survives.  She time travels.  She dies; we witness her rebirth.  She endures in ways her peers haven't without, in my understanding of her, compromising in the way that others do.  (Will the real Common please stand up?)  It's fascinating to watch an artist maintain her integrity in public.  Makes me want to jump up in the air--and stay there.


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Beyond/With Precious: Black Women, Incest and Rape


Sent to you by moya via Google Reader:


via New Model Minority by admin on 3/28/10

Last fall, in an email thread about Precious, Ma'ia stated that people were so concerned with the Precious the character, she asked, where was the conversation about the Black women who had been raped?

I responded by saying that I would conduct a conversation here on my blog, to provide a space for such a conversation, because I was one of those writers focused on "Precious" the character.

Dedication: Anita, this is for you, and your willingness to reach out earlier today and ask for help around healing from being raped. Often times the first step is the most difficult and most important one. I Love You, toes to napps.

Beyond/With Precious: Black Women, Incest and Rape, Part 1/3

An Interview with Moya Bailey

Moving beyond Precious, what does having a conversation about Black women who have been raped, look like?

It looks intentional with tissue and breaks and food and breaks and music. I think its storytelling and i think its long and doesn't happen one day it happens a lot and folks should make more time for it. It also looks like shifting the notion that rape is the worse thing that can happen to a woman. there are "worse" things, and those we survive too sometimes.
Did your momma, daddy, grand parent or aunty  talk to you about the danger of being raped?
No. my parents took the approach of monitoring me 24 hours a day 7 days a week and were successful in keeping this from happening. The screening process to be my baby sitter had multiple parts, references and college degree required. That said, I don't know how my parents would have reacted if something had happened to me with all the effort they put in to something not happening to me. I remember being on the playground when I was in kindergarten and a white male teacher talking to me and a few friends in the corner of the playground. He was standing over us and my dad had just come to pick me up. My father was livid! At the time I understood him to be angry at me. He said something to the principal of the school. I'm not sure what happened after that. It wasn't until I was grown that I understood what that was about.

Recently though my mom, in trying to understand my queer identity, wonders if something had happened to me when I was younger, if it was abuse or violation that made me this way. I assured her that was not the case but the idea that child sexual abuse results in queerness is still prevalent.

To what extent does Black women's tendency to put their families and their communities ahead themselves  play a role in their willingness to be frank about rape and incest?
Well I want to question to what extent are we frank about rape and incest? I think part of the problem of black women's tendency to put family and community ahead of themselves keeps black woman from sharing things. I know of more than one story of black women waiting until their parents die to talk about incest and abuse in their homes, black women being pressured not to out men as rapists because they "do good work" in their communities etc. I'd like to follow Alexis' lead and reference Aishah Simmon's documentary NO! which discusses very candidly the way survivors are coerced into silence to protect the image of black man in these communities.

What kind of support do we need to be honest about being raped?
One thing we need is for community members to believe survivors and stop trying to absolve their attackers. Energy should be direct to and for the survivors and towards getting the  attacker help that still hold them accountable for the violation. I do think that this is a systemic problem that also has to do with changing how we respond as a culture.
What are the ways in which our history as enslaved women, have played a role in our unwillingness to be honest about being raped?
I think we learned that our bodies aren't valuable.  We learned that our bodies are most often a means to someone else's ends. As Jacqui Alexander will say, that history lives in our cells.

What can we give the Precious's of the world?
this is a huge question. I think we have to behave in ways to help folks see humanity beyond the scope of their own experiences. We need to call out the ways in which structural violence impacts the lives of women of color. I don't know how folks can talk about incest without talking about patriarchy and how capitalism makes us see children as property. The structural piece so often gets knocked out to make individual people like Precious' Mom or Antoinette Davis monsters, grotesque others who are inherently evil as opposed to people who are produced by the society that we help to co-create every time we put money over people.
What are some organizations that may be helpful?
What is some literature that may be helpful?

Bluest Eye
Women of Brewster Place
Bailey's Cafe
Temple of My Familiar

Do you all have thoughts? Feed Back?

Brang it!

Related posts:

  1. Musing on Precious and Shaniya Davis
  2. Black Women are Stupid, White Women are Stupider.
  3. Black Women and Resistance: I was Free


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