Monthly Archives: May 2012

The Evolution of a Down Ass Chick

Down Ass Chick:  a woman who is a lady but she can hang with thugs. She will lie for you but still love you. She will die for you but cry for you. Most importantly she will kill for you like she’ll comfort you. She is a ride or die bitch who will do whatever it takes to be by your side. She’ll be your Bonnie if you are her Clyde. Thugs love these bitches and they show this by showering them with stacks of cash, flashy jewels and rides. (Urban Dictionary) I taught a class on black masculinity during …Read more »

Agents of Violence: What the violations against sex workers in Latin America reveal about U.S. presence in the region

Guest post by Ashwini Hardikar Original posted on her personal blog In much of Latin America, collective memory of terror is often tied up with U.S. presence and intervention. For over a century, the U.S. government and military has occupied nations,trained soldiers on how to be better murderers and torturers, and helped to squash democratic popular movements in favor of genocidal fascist dictators in Latin America and the Caribbean. This may sound hyperbolic, but the facts show that if anything, the previous sentence is understated. So it’s with good reason that the presence of agents of the United States can signify at …Read more »

The Wait of the Nation

So everyone has been talking about the childhood obesity epidemic, particularly since the four part HBO documentary series The Weight of the Nation aired.  Having recently completed my dissertation on the framing of the childhood obesity epidemic on television, I wanted to take a break but after watching Part Three, “Children in Crisis,” I feel the need to respond.  In many ways the one-hour program provide precisely the type of argument and evidence lacking in typical mainstream narratives.  Focusing attention on the difficulties parents have to contend with such as the barrage of food marketing on multiple media platforms and …Read more »

Skinny, Ashy Ankles: The New Black Woman Pathology

Ashy Ankles

This just in: black women have skinny, ashy ankles. Black women have skinny, ashy ankles and the world needs to know. They are disproportionately represented in sales for Nivea, the thick cream marketed purposely toward black women’s bodies. They supply the band-aid brand with most of its sales, as they are the frequent victims of blisters. And they are dying. Read it: DYING from skinny, ashy ankles. GIFSoup This is why it is a national crisis. Black women with skinny, ashy ankles are frequently the victims of career-ending injuries. Since black women are fat, their skinny ankles don’t hold all …Read more »

Taking It All Off: Black Women, Nudity, and the Politics of Touch

Everyone who knows me even remotely well knows I don’t do hugs. Get too close physically and I am quick to let you know that you’re invading my personal space! So of course, hilarity regularly ensues since it seems I’ve managed to attract a significant number of friends whose primary love language is physical touch. And frankly, sometimes I think these friends just like to lay hands on me for the hell of it. You can imagine, then, my skepticism when my crew of sista prof friends planned a spa day at one of those places that boasts not only …Read more »

Interrupted Attachments: On Rights, Equality and Blackness

Remaining attached to certain ideals even when – and sometimes, most especially after – privileges that accrue to such concepts have been pointed out and problematized, should force us to ask some serious questions about the relation of citizenship and subjectivity, the relation of citizenship as subjectivity, to ongoing processes of exclusion and violence. The questions would be something like: Who am I? Who do I want to be? Attachments to certain concepts rehearse, reiterate and revise – through an uninterrogated longing and desire to be an individual, a self-determined thing that seeks the power of the state for validation …Read more »

On the Queerness of Self Love

While conducting a seminar with college students about self-esteem, Yolo Akili heard a young person say something that remains an important touchstone for those of us trying to do liberatory work in our communities. When talking about loving oneself, a Black woman said, “Self love? That shit’s gay!” I’ve turned this statement over in my head a million times as it so accurately and unintentionally reveals so much about the constructions of sexuality in our culture. “Gay” has become an all purpose insult that means something is not cool, wack, aberrant, and not worth your time. How deep is it …Read more »

a praise song for mamas: a mother’s day mix

I am invested in sepia mamas. My mother lines my eyelids and floats my dreams. She sits on the right hand of the throne she abdicated to all I might become. “Mama gonna work it out,” Martin versioned at his best. Her frame, I shouldn’t calcify. And I’ll leave her flesh be. I know they all can’t be spirit walkers, miracle workers, love lighters but my life tells me so. And just surviving the ‘buking and scorning is worth sainthood. Much more is our mothers’ legacy though, my life, but one humble example. As these years have gone by, I …Read more »

Beauty Parlor Politics

The first time I “got my hair done” beyond school nights sitting between my mother’s cocoa butter legs while she combed through my hair with grease soaked fingertips, or  Saturday morning hot comb rituals in front of the stove, was in the house kitchen of a church lady who did hair on the side.  She was not professionally trained or licensed but her clientele graced her threshold every other Saturday and she worked from sun up ‘til sundown, frying, dying, twisting and curling our hair into beautiful masterpieces on our head.  I felt grown up and welcome when I “got …Read more »

This is How it Works

You’ve probably already heard about Brian McKnight’s desire to release an “adult” mixtape. Now, brother McKnight has recently claimed that this shamtastery was a parody of the hypersexualized R&B songs that are par for the course. Okay, boo.  You might need to start back at one.  Something tells me that Forever Knight was not lampooning the sexism and misogyny of much contemporary music, but instead trying to titillate desensitized listeners who find Trey Songz’ lyricism subtle. Look, if I’m going to take instructions from 90s R&B stars I’d rather listen to TLC. So, I had a couple of lolz at Brian’s …Read more »

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