Category Archives: LBGT*QIQTSAA

Reflections on Respectability

New York Daily News

Trigger Warning: Discussions of violence Whitepeople believed that whatever the manners, under every dark skin was a jungle. Swift unnavigable waters, swinging screaming baboons, sleeping snakes, red gums ready for their sweet white blood. In a way, he thought, they were right. The more coloredpeople spent their strength trying to convince them how gentle they were, how clever and loving, how human, the more they used themselves up to persuade whites of something Negroes believed could not be questioned, the deeper and more tangled the jungle grew inside. But it wasn’t the jungle blacks brought with them to this place …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 »

Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing: A Review of Janet Mock’s Redefining Realness

Anyone who knows me knows that I stan for Janet Mock. So, I couldn’t wait to get my hot little hands on her book, Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love and So Much More. What took a minute was finding the time to read it—and I’m so glad I finally did! Talk about keeping it real. Redefining Realness is a memoir where Mock lays bare the intimate details about her childhood and journey to being true to herself. She talks about it all—sharing stories of growing up in Hawaii and on the mainland, her parents’ battles with drug …Read more »

When You’re “the One”

It was the summer of 2004. I was a grad student with experience in resident life and I had taken on a job as co-director of a summer program hosted at my university. The pay was good and it gave me time to read and prep for my first go at teaching that fall. At first, the job was cool. I was co-directing with one of my best friends and the high school kids I worked with were sweet. That is until my boss, a surly, hapless white man who spent most of his time avoiding work, decided to show …Read more »

Black Queer Trouble in Literature, Life, and the Age of OBama: Part II

Originally Delivered by Cheryl Clarke as the Kessler Lecture on Dec. 6, 2013 at the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center   Scenes of black queer and feminist resistance; or “forced confinement and forced mobility” Recently I said the following at a “Symposium: Black Women’s Studies and the Transformation of the Academy” in 2010.  I shared the panel is Nikol Alexander-Floyd, Paula Giddings, and Cheryl Wall.  I think it is applicable to black queer trouble-making: “I remain convinced that there is no transformation in the academy unless black feminists engage in a kind of itinerant …Read more »

Black Queer Trouble in Literature, Life, and the Age of OBama: Part I

Originally Delivered by Cheryl Clarke as the Kessler Lecture on Dec. 6, 2013 at the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center  Note:  Elizabeth Lorde Rollins, my friend and sister, introduced me at the event.   Thank you, Beth.  Wonderful to see you again.  We miss your Mother.  In case I run out of time at the end, I want to make sure I read this for you, ‘Echoes’ from Lorde’s last collection, The Marvelous Arithmetics of Distance, 1993. I want to thank Jim Wilson and the CLAGS Board.  I am deeply honored and surprised to …Read more »

(Black First) Ladies First

I’ve been reflecting, this week, on black first ladies.  FLOTUS Michelle Obama seems like an anomaly but black first ladies are commonplace in black communities.  While Obama is the first black lady of the White House there have always been black first ladies of black churches.  The wives of preachers, these big hat wearing, first pew sitting, handkerchief holding, Bible toting holy women of God are heralded for their relationship to powerful men.  The prefix attached to their name is “Lady” or “First Lady,” instead of Mrs., and many a single woman believer vies for the coveted role of being …Read more »

Somebody, Anybody? It’s Hard Out Here for a Sista

  Trigger warning: Violent language   “Somebody, anybody sing a Black girl song”  Ntozake Shange, For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow was Enuf                             Being a Black woman or girl in the United States has never been easy. That much seems clear.     We are Black, so we’re not Latina enough.  And we are certainly not beauty queens.   We are not perfect victims.  We get what we deserve.     We are trans* so we’re not “woman enough.” Violence and imprisonment are par …Read more »

Best of Summer 2013

Now that our days of wearing linen pants and rocking open-toed shoes are drawing to a close, we at the CFC have been thinking about the stuff we most enjoyed about this wild, wonderful, and weird summer. What follows is a short list of some of our CFs’ favorite things from this summer—from films, to music, web series, and more—that you can find on the web and in the world. Check it out!  From Crunkadelic: Music I’ve been loving Alice Smith since her 2006 debut album, For Lovers, Dreamers, and Me.  Alice released her sophomore album She earlier this year …Read more »

(Why) Does It Matter?: Raven Symoné’s Quiet Coming Out

As a close-enough-to 80’s baby I knew Raven Symoné  as adorable Olivia on The Cosby Show.  She was like the new Rudy, a yellow skinned toddler beauty to share banter and cute humor with Cliff once his fictional offspring were too old to pull it off.  By the time Symoné emerged the star of her own show on Disney Channel, I was too old to pay attention and too distracted to be a fan.  Truth be told Raven Symoné has not been on my radar for years, despite her occasional appearance in media for critiques on everything from her weight …Read more »

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