Category Archives: In the News

The Forgotten Ones (For Those Who Survive Black Death)

The past three days have felt like the end times.  The sting and stench of death hanging heavily in the humidity of the third summer in a row that will be remembered for murder.  Like others, I have been restless, sleepless, and hopeless—speechless.  First, because of the unnecessary death of Alton Sterling by Baton Rouge police officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake, caught on tape from multiple angles, reminiscent of Eric Garner’s body being wrestled to the ground, held down until breathless.  The gun shots startled me, coming from nowhere and for no reason, even after I watched the video …Read more »

Are You Family?

I don’t write much. In fact, I only write when I feel things deeply. These past two days, I have been in my feelings. The pain cuts so deep that I think my tears are now crying. I cried in shock when I saw the news about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. I sat in disbelief and cried again when I saw the news about the AME Church shooting. Now, I just can’t stop crying after hearing about the recent shooting in Orlando. As a gay Latina, this news cuts even deeper than all of the previous tragedies. None …Read more »

Facing “White Rage”

At the end of Jewelle Gomez’s seminal feminist novel, The Gilda Stories, Gilda and her crew of badass queer vampires (because, of course) are faced with a dying planet Earth. Centuries of white supremacy and unbridled capitalism have wreaked havoc on human society. The wealthy have escaped off planet to colonize other worlds (because, of course) and Gilda’s squad, along those who are too poor to escape, are left behind to pick up the wreckage. Sound familiar? Maybe it’s just me, but the times we are living in make me want to scramble and, as my granny would say, “get …Read more »

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 »

Serial and the Power of Storytelling

Like so many others, I spent the last few months of 2014 listening – first avidly, then with trepidation and ultimately with disdain – to the hit podcast Serial. The podcast follows a single story, week by week. The story centers on Adnan Syed, a Pakistani  American high school student who was accused and convicted of murdering his girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in 1999 when they were both students at Baltimore’s Woodlawn High School. The journalist Sarah Koenig is the investigator and narrator of each episode, unraveling clues in each episode to one end: Did Adnan really do it? This …Read more »

The Blame Game: Black Women, Shame, and Victim Blaming

(Trigger Warning) I will never forget listening to the raging voice of a man I didn’t know on the other end of a phone line alongside my homegirl in Florida.  We sat in a room with the door closed while she told me what had happened the night before to preface the voice mail I was about to hear.  The man behind the voice was someone her sister had recently started dating.  He left the message on her voicemail several hours after beating and berating her in front of her child and leaving her bloody and unconscious on the concrete …Read more »

Higher Learning: Black Men, Basketball, and the Politics of Education

I grew up in a small town in North Carolina where my sister had a basketball goal connected to a tree and learned how to strategically run around the stumps to avoid falling.  She also learned to perfect her jump shot through a conspicuous tree limb and branches that blocked her view like the outstretched arm of an opponent.  She got pretty good and in middle school when there weren’t enough girls to form a girls’ basketball team, she was one of two girls who played on the boys’ team (as a starter).  She got that from our mother.  Her …Read more »

What Does Black Masculinity Look Like?

Over the past few weeks, in the midst of teaching a pre-summer class on black masculinity in which we have discussed, debated and dreamed about the possibility for fluidity in raced gender performance, I have listened to a black man weep and express his love for his teammates and his appreciation for the sacrifices of his mother (see Kevin Durant’s NBA MVP acceptance speech); watched a black man kiss a man, full lips, on live television in celebration of an unprecedented accomplishment (see Michael Sam draft coverage on ESPN); and relished in the Pepto-Bismol-pink-colored-Cadillac a black man gave to his …Read more »

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