Tag Archives: Black Women

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 »

Blackgirl Blue(s)

The first time I decided I wanted to die it was because I felt the weight of so much sadness blues as deep as navy mixed with black I was too black to be happy Too black to be pretty Too black to be worth anything I convinced myself no one would care if I was gone   The second time I collected prescription pills in a cloth pocketbook I hid underneath the bathroom sink behind Mama’s sponge rollers and fingernail polish   The third time I pulled grandma’s gun from under her mattress and stared at it for hours …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 »

Happy Birthday Marsha “Pay It No Mind” Johnson!

Guest Post by Reina Gossett A few months ago I took the PATH train to Hoboken with my artistic collaborator Sasha Wortzel to interview Randy Wicker for a film we are making about Sylvia Rivera.  Randy is one of the few surviving members of Mattachine Society, an early queer radical organizing group in the US. Randy’s apartment is an archival space containing vital history, some shared visually through the photographs on Randy’s refrigerator door, other pieces held in the clothes adorning the wall, but most of it Randy passes to you through stories.  Randy befriended both Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia …Read more »

The Summer We Got Free: A Book Talk with Mia McKenzie

The Summer We Got Free is Mia McKenzie‘s first novel and I was honored to be asked to write a blurb for the back. I wrote: Mia McKenzie’s The Summer We Got Free answers Toni Cade Bambara’s question “do you want to be well?” with it’s own. Do you remember what I was like when I was? The novel won’t let you go as it surges forward with truth only fiction can tell. I was eager for answers as I followed a trail of not bread crumbs but whole pieces of toast slathered in butter that makes you moan or …Read more »

Armed and… Ambivalent?

Let’s begin with a confession: I was born and raised in the great state of Texas and prior to two weeks ago, I had never fired a gun.  That will certainly be surprising to some folks as Texas often invokes images of shotguns, six shooters and gun-toting cowboys.  For me, however, Texas is about home, family, the State Fair and where my own brand of quirky country makes perfect sense.  While, like the rest of the country, I grew up in a pervasive gun culture, there was not one in my immediate family.  I didn’t grow up around hunting trips, …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 »

Tu(r)ning to Black Love

This past week, I found myself swept in an emotional whirlwind witnessing Whitney’s homegoing while remembering that she was not even in the ground before the Fox-affiliated shock jocks called her a babbling idiot, bag lady, and a crack ho that should have died years ago. From AM talk radio to morning cable television, a Fox News anchor “jokingly” told Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) to “step away from the crack pipe” to squash her criticism of a racist conservative right.  And right as I prepared myself for the first Valentine’s Day unhitched in years, I heard more misogynoir (i.e., hatred …Read more »

Somewhere Between Black Power and White Rage

There have been several public “events” privileging race, gender, and class during the past weeks in New York City that featured prominent Black feminists.  After the film screening of The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975, the conference about Anita Hill 20 Years Later: Sex, Power and Speaking the Truth, and the Occupy Wall Street  movement based in Zucotti Park/Liberty Square, I  wanted to mark how Black womanhood and Black feminist thought are positioned. The Black Power Mixtape, 1967-1975 The Swedish film is an incredible compilation or mixtape that chronicles the US Black freedom movement by arranging interviews, speeches, and snapshots of …Read more »

Did you say lesbians? I love lesbians!

me'shell2

So I’m sitting in a coffee shop talking with a brother about a trip he took to Africa to work in a village. I was a little annoyed by his comments that more black kids should be taken to Africa so they can see how good they have it in America, but I decided not to intervene on that point. (Good is a relative term and entitled US urban/suburban black youth can go to plenty urban and rural places in the US and see that they have greater access to basic needs. No global gawking is necessary). Then he proceeds …Read more »

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