Blog Archives

Lemonade, Sweet Tea, and Dirty Laundry on the Clothesline

Homemade lemonade was relief from the humid heat of North Carolina summers.  Sweet and sour lemon water always tasted better after it had been sitting for a few days, bathed in the sun so the sugar syrup could fully absorb the lemon pieces floating at the top of a see through pitcher, like a see through picture.  Similarly, I’ve been sitting with Beyoncé’s visual album since Saturday night, absorbing the pieces of myself and my life sticky sweet on the edges of the glass, transparent and raw.  You can see right through me. i’ve always been misrecognized by every man …Read more »

No (dis)Grace: Cam Newton and the Emotional Labor of Blackness

The Panthers lost the Super Bowl.  Peyton Manning won his second ring on the backs of a Denver Defense that ain’t nothing nice.  Cam Newton didn’t shine, didn’t get to dab, didn’t ever seem to fall into the rhythm fans have become accustomed to this season.  He wasn’t playing with the joy and jubilant energy we were used to seeing.  He didn’t bless us with that all-star smile from the sidelines.  Instead he was all business from the start, serious, undoubtedly putting the responsibility of saving the season for his team on his shoulders.  But like only one other time …Read more »

Newtonism: Notes on Cool Masculinity and the Fear of Black Genius

“I do not expect the white media to create positive black male images.” –Huey Newton   It is the Friday before the Super Bowl and for the last two weeks there has been much ado about the anticipated performance of frontrunner for the league MVP, and star quarterback of the Carolina Panthers, Cam Newton.  And by performance I don’t only mean whether or not he will rely on his arm or his feet to put points on the board, or whether or not it will be a stat staggering game like many others this season, or whether or not he …Read more »

(Y)our N-Word

Nobody called me a nigga to my face But behind backs and closed doors I am sure I have been called every kind of n-word Especially when I excelled in systems designed for me to fail nigga Or called out bigotry and privilege in classrooms nigga Or won awards white folk swore were theirs and I musta stole over some affirmative action shit nigga Or Spoken (back) at me because I have the audacity To listen to and memorize hip hop histories where nigga Was somewhat of an anthem Like, Jig-ga My Nig-ga Or 2pac’s 4 My Niggas Or DMX …Read more »

Love, Hip Hop, and Ratchet Respectability (Something Like A Review)

  In a recently published book chapter called, “Brains, Booty, and All Bizness”:  Identity Politics, Ratchet Respectability, and The Real Housewives of Atlanta, I define ratchet respectability as “a hybrid characterization of hegemonic, racist, sexist, and classist notions of black womanhood,” which allows black women to combine ratchet behaviors (generally linked to race) to the politics of respectability (generally linked to class).  I suggest that black women (particularly those represented on reality TV) are uniquely positioned to enact ratchet respectability through their negotiation of supposed authentic race and class behaviors. Because class based performances (from bourgeois to basic) do not …Read more »

Misogyny and Infamy: On the Erasure of Dark Skinned Black Women As Love Interests in Straight Outta Compton

Straight Outta Compton is clearly doing the damn thing at the box office.  Since its debut about a month ago, the film has become the highest grossing music biopic in history.  And no shade, but shade…given the music biopics of late…that Whitney biopic that should have been called the Whitney and Bobby Show, that Aaliyah biopic that was a hot damn mess, and that TLC biopic that was ehhhhhhh, folk have clearly been checking for some 90’s nostalgia.  And while some may believe it is unfair to compare made for TV movies with a heavily anticipated film with a $28 …Read more »

On Faith, Forgiveness and Flags

I grew up in rural North Carolina, lived in Florida for six years, and have spent the last six years residing in sweet home Alabama.  My relationship to the south, particularly the deep south (though North Carolina would be considered upper south), as a blackgirl is complicated.  Despite my penchant for visits to large cities, cultural enclaves and urban landscapes, I have a thing for backyards, cookouts, porches under shade trees and sweet tea (real sweet tea).  While I could do without the heavy humid heat, mosquito bites in summer, and those damn carpenter bees, the made from scratch biscuits, …Read more »

What If We Were Free?: Riley Curry and Blackgirl Freedom

Unlike many of my homegirls, my love with basketball goes far beyond the 2000 film featuring Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps. While I have never been able to play worth a damn (I’m an artist, not an athlete), my mama and older sister were basketball stars in our small town (my sister famously played on the boy’s team when we were in middle school, and gave them all they could handle). Work, life, bills and responsibilities (and the fact that I have not been fully wed to a professional team since the 90’s Bulls), I am generally disconnected from the …Read more »

A Black Mother’s Love (or What Love Looks Like in Public)

I planned to write a blog about the unconscionable inconsolable injustice that is plaguing the black community right now.  I was going to write about how black lives matter (always have, always will), how condemning black folk for hurting, and calling them animals and savages for being treated like animals and savages, is just that bullshit disguised as being deep, and how the protests in Baltimore following Freddie Gray’s death and funeral, while still waiting for explicit details on why the hell he died, is just and justified–but as I search for words they feel overly familiar.  Like so many …Read more »

The Bold and Beautiful Possibilities of a Transgender Storyline on Daytime

Soap operas have been an on-again-off-again part of my every (week) day life since I was a little blackgirl trying to keep up with conversations in my mama’s living room.  All the grown women in my family watched “the stories,” whether it meant having them on while they cooked and got ready for a second shift job, recorded them on recycled VHS tapes to watch every night or on the weekends, or taking their lunch hour right around 1 o’clock so they could watch, uninterrupted, at work.  We watched the scandalous and fantastical lifestyles of oblivious whitefolks and invited them …Read more »

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