“I don’t wanna hear about The Apprentice. I don’t wanna hear about your new cologne. I don’t wanna hear about the new tower you’re building in whatever fuckin’ town. That cologne smells of racism. That tower is built on the blood of disrespected slaves and freedom fighters, and that show is merely a showcase for the dishonor you have brought among anyone who would call themselves an American.”—Baratunde Thurston on Trump, Birth Certificates and Black Presidents.
“At one point he puts his pen down and takes his hot and aching hand out into ten-degree December cold where it nearly smokes from the temperature change. He walks around, green cut-off boots squeaking in the snow like tiny shutter-hinges which need oil, and head seems to bulge with the story; it is a little scary, the way it needs to get out. He feels that if it cannot escape by way of his racing hand that it will pop his eyes out in its urgency to escape and be concrete. “Going to knock the shit out of it,” he confides ot the blowing winter dark, and laughs a little—a shaky laugh.”—Bill Denbrough, in Stephen King’s It (1986)
“No perspective critical of imperialism can turn the Other into a self, because the project of imperialism has always already historically refracted what might have been the absolutely Other into a domesticated Other that consolidates the imperialist self.”—Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. “Three Women’s Texts and a Critique of Imperialism.” Critical Inquiry 12, no. 1 (October 1, 1985): 243-261. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1343469.
“Black artists and theorists frequently refer to African Americans as "the first postmoderns." They have in mind a now agreed understanding that our inheritance from the motherland of pragmatic, "both:and" philosophic systems, combined with the historic discontinuities of our experience as black slaves in a white world, have caused us to construct subjectivities able to negotiate between "centers" that, at the least, are double.”—O’Grady, Lorraine. “Olympia’s Maid: Reclaiming Black Female Subjectivity.” In New Feminist Criticism: Art, Identity, Action, edited by Joanna Frueh, Cassandra L. Langer, and Arlene Raven. New York, NY: Icon , 1994.
“Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, these ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”—Robert F. Kennedy (via mohandasgandhi)
April 4, 1968 - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.
- As news of King’s assassination spread, riots broke out nationwide in cities such as Washington DC, Louisville, Chicago, and Baltimore. One place that didn’t experience any riots was Indianapolis and that was attributed to the speech Senator Robert F. Kennedy gave at a campaign rally to a crowd who hadn’t yet heard the news. On a personal note, I think this is one of the finest speeches ever given. It’s hard not to feel something when you hear this one.
“Ladies and Gentlemen,
I’m only going to talk to you just for a minute or so this evening, because I have some — some very sad news for all of you — Could you lower those signs, please? — I have some very sad news for all of you, and, I think, sad news for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world; and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight in Memphis, Tennessee.
Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings. He died in the cause of that effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it’s perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black — considering the evidence evidently is that there were white people who were responsible — you can be filled with bitterness, and with hatred, and a desire for revenge.
We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization — black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand, and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion, and love.
For those of you who are black and are tempted to fill with — be filled with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man.
But we have to make an effort in the United States. We have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond, or go beyond these rather difficult times.
My favorite poem, my — my favorite poet was Aeschylus. And he once wrote:
Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.
What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.
So I ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King — yeah, it’s true — but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love — a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke.
We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times. We’ve had difficult times in the past, but we — and we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; and it’s not the end of disorder.
But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings that abide in our land.
And let’s dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.
“Some will read “queer” as synonymous with “gay and lesbian” or “LGBT.” This reading falls short. While those who would fit within the constructions of “L”, “G”, “B”, or “T” could fall within the discursive limits of queer, queer is not a stable area to inhabit. Queer is not merely another identity that can be tacked onto a list of neat social categories, nor the quantitative sum of our identities. Rather, it is the qualitative position of opposition to presentations of stability—an identity that problematizes the manageable limits of identity. Queer is a territory of tension, defined against the dominant narrative of white-hetero-monogamous-patriarchy, but also by an affinity with all who are marginalized, otherized, and oppressed. Queer is the abnormal, the strange, the dangerous. Queer involves our sexuality and our gender, but so much more. It is our desire and fantasies and more still. Queer is the cohesion of everything in conflict with the heterosexual capitalist world. Queer is a total rejection of the regime of the Normal.”—
Queer is also about having the right to embrace identities as our own even if its standard practices, expressions, and implementations have been shown to be ineffective. Don’t forget that part. The last thing we need is for queer individuals who have found comfort in what we define as the opposition to be ostracized and made less than.
“Unless the way that [black female] body is constructed in history and the continued pain of the construction are confronted, analyzed and challenged, it is almost impossible to construct an alternative that seeks to claim the erotic and its potential for resistance.”
—Farah Jasmine Griffin, “Textual Healing: Claiming Black Women’s Bodies,
the Erotic and Resistance in Contemporary Novels of Slavery” (1996)1
“How, then, do we begin to understand Erzulie, her rites of love and abandon, when we remember the determinant and constraining conditions, the “facts” of the history that undergird her ritual emanations?”
—Joan Dayan, “Erzulie: A Women’s History of Haiti” (1994)1
My people died a painful and shameful death, and here am I living in plenty and in peace. This is deep tragedy ever enacted upon the stage of my heart; few would care to witness this drama, for my people are as birds with broken wings, left behind the flock.
If I were hungry and living amid my famished people, and persecuted among my oppressed countrymen, the burden of the black days would be lighter upon my restless dreams, and the obscurity of the night would be less dark before my hollow eyes and my crying heart and my wounded soul. For he who shares with his people their sorrow and agony will feel a supreme comfort created only by suffering in sacrifice. And he will be at peace with himself when he dies innocent with his fellow innocents.
But I am not living with my hungry and persecuted people who are walking in the procession of death toward martyrdom. I am here beyond the broad seas living in the shadow of tranquillity, and in the sunshine of peace. I am afar from the pitiful arena and the distressed, and cannot be proud of ought, not even of my own tears.
“You must not give up, of course, but you may have to go belowground. It takes a strong and flexible will to work both with the script and against it at the same time.”—O’Grady, Lorraine. “Olympia’s Maid: Reclaiming Black Female Subjectivity.” In New Feminist Criticism: Art, Identity, Action, edited by Joanna Frueh, Cassandra L. Langer, and Arlene Raven. New York, NY: Icon , 1994.
“The one piece in the show with explicitly represented sexuality, The Clearing (1991), a diptych in which a black female engaged with a white male, was to me less about sex than it was about culture. It was not possible to remain innocent for long, however. I soon encountered an encyclopedia of problematics concerning the black body: age, weight, condition, not to mention hair texture, features, and skin tone. Especially skin tone. Any male and female side by side on the wall are technically married. How to arrange a quadriptych such as Gaze (1991), composed of head-and-shoulder shots of differently hued black men and women? Should I marry the fair woman to the dark man? The dark woman to the fair man? What statements will I be making about difference if I give them mates matching in shade? What will I be saying about the history of class?”—O’Grady, Lorraine. “Olympia’s Maid: Reclaiming Black Female Subjectivity.” In New Feminist Criticism: Art, Identity, Action, edited by Joanna Frueh, Cassandra L. Langer, and Arlene Raven. New York, NY: Icon , 1994.
I said to Poetry: “I’m finished with you.” Having to almost die before some weird light comes creeping through is no fun. “No thank you, Creation, no muse need apply. I’m out for good times— at the very least, some painless convention.”
Poetry laid back and played dead until this morning. I wasn’t sad or anything, only restless.
Poetry said: “You remember the desert, and how glad you were that you have an eye to see it with? You remember that, if ever so slightly?” I said: “I didn’t hear that. Besides, it’s five o’clock in the a.m. I’m not getting up in the dark to talk to you.”
Poetry said: “But think about the time you saw the moon over that small canyon that you liked so much better than the grand one—and how surprised you were that the moonlight was green and you still had one good eye to see it with.
Think of that!”
“I’ll join the church!” I said, huffily, turning my face to the wall. “I’ll learn how to pray again!”
“Let me ask you,” said Poetry. “When you pray, what do you think you’ll see?”
Poetry had me.
“There’s no paper in this room,” I said. “And that new pen I bought makes a funny noise.”
“They (the white/dominate society) don’t want you to create political art for the same reason they don’t want you to move into their neighborhoods, you’ll be able to see what hey have stolen.”—Alice Walker (via fuckyeahradicalquotes)
I was born in the congo
I walked to the fertile crescent and built
I designed a pyramid so tough that a star
that only glows every one hundred years falls
into the center giving divine perfect light
I am bad
I sat on the throne
drinking nectar with allah
I got hot and sent an ice age to europe
to cool my thirst
My oldest daughter is nefertiti
the tears from my birth pains
created the nile
I am a beautiful woman
I gazed on the forest and burned
out the sahara desert
with a packet of goat’s meat
and a change of clothes
I crossed it in two hours
I am a gazelle so swift
so swift you can’t catch me
For a birthday present when he was three
I gave my son hannibal an elephant
He gave me rome for mother’s day
My strength flows ever on
My son noah built new/ark and
I stood proudly at the helm
as we sailed on a soft summer day
I turned myself into myself and was
men intone my loving name
All praises All praises
I am the one who would save
I sowed diamonds in my back yard
My bowels deliver uranium
the filings from my fingernails are
On a trip north
I caught a cold and blew
My nose giving oil to the arab world
I am so hip even my errors are correct
I sailed west to reach east and had to round off
the earth as I went
The hair from my head thinned and gold was laid
across three continents
I am so perfect so divine so ethereal so surreal
I cannot be comprehended except by my permission
I mean…I…can fly
like a bird in the sky…
”—Nikki Giovanni, “Ego Tripping (there may be a reason why)”
“so-treu: tabularasae: Safe spaces give minorities a much-needed escape from white and hetero-normativity, which is epitomized by non-minorities’ undue exercise of privilege in minority conversations. Take the following example: In the midst of a conversation about the racialization of poverty, a white person asserts that white people are poor, too. While the statement in and of itself is correct, it is irrelevant to the topic and effectively shuts down the conversation. Moreover, while this kind of defensive response can be made in good faith, it is too often accompanied by truly racist or otherwise discriminatory allegations: for example, that race has nothing to do with poverty, and that colored people have nothing to complain about.
Safe spaces counteract this problem—they provide sanctuary from these typical privileged/minority interactions, in which privileged people silence minority conversations through the conscious or unconscious exertion of privilege. Moreover, they allow minorities to freely discuss discrimination, identity, and other topics with people who truly do check their privilege at the door. No longer obliged to justify, cater, or defend their discussions to privileged people, minorities can focus on their own matters.
—Jennifer Alzate, a Columbia College sophomore majoring in English.
(http://www.columbiaspectator.com/2011/04/03/safe-spaces-dont-want-your-privilege) i defeintely wouldn’t have made it through my undergrad in one piece if it hadn’t been for Common Ground.”—
“Women of color. Who are we now, twenty years later? Have we lived differently? Loved differently? What has become of the thinking that linked the internal colonization of women of color born here with women of color who had experienced colonization elsewhere? What has become of the women who have stayed in their countries of origin? Where are the refugees? Where does one come to consciousness as a woman of color and live it, at this moment? Have we developed a new metaphysics of political struggle? Did Bridge get us there, as Toni Cade Bambara believed? Did it coax us into the habit of listening to each other and learning each other’s ways of seeing and being? Have we made the crossing? In what shape have we reached shore? In whose company? With what in hand? Do we remember why we made the Crossing back then? Other crossings before, or since? Or had a desire to do so? Who are we now, twenty years later? Why do we need to remember?”—M. Jacqui Alexander, Pedagogies of Crossing: Meditations on Feminism, Sexual Politics, Memory, and the Sacred (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005), 275
My Body is not your battleground My breasts are neither wells nor mountians, neither Badr nor Uhud
My breasts do not want to lead revolutions nor to become prisoners of war My breasts seek amnesty: release them so I can glory in their milktipped fullness, so I can offer them to my sweet love without your flags and banners on them
My body is not your battleground My hair is neither sacred nor cheap, neither the cause of your disarray nor the path to your liberation My hair will not bring progress and clean water if it flies unbraided in the breeze It will not save us from our attackers if it is wrapped and shielded from the sun Untangle your hands from my hair so I can comb and delight in it, so I can honor and annoint it, so I can spill it over the chest of my sweet love
My body is not your battleground My private garden is not your tillage My thighs are not highway lanes to your Golden City My belly is not the store of your bushels of wheat My womb is not the cradle of your soldiers, not the ship of your journey to the homeland Leave me to discover the lakes that glisten in my green forests and to understand the power of their waters Leave me to fill or not fill my chalice with the wine or honey of my sweet love
Is it your skin that will tear when the head of the new world emerges?
My body is not your battleground How dare you put your hand where I have not given permission Has God, then, given you permission to put your hand there?
My body is not your battle ground Withdraw from the eastern fronts and the western Withdraw these armaments and this siege so that I may prepare the earth for the new age of lilac and clover, so that I may celebrate this spring the pageant of beauty with my sweet love. - Mohja Kahf, 1998
and about all i can really say right now—this is the case of a 17year old who was gang raped at a frat party—three girls broke into the room where she was being assaulted to help her. and the civil trail just finished up with not one person being held accountable.
a whole buttload of really fucked up shit has been said about this woman—almost every single solitary bit of it saying she either deserved it or was asking for it.
and i just wanted to point out that this is a case about a white woman who (it appears) was raped by mostly white men. And from what I can see, the jury had two people of color on it, one of which was a man of color who vehemently stood against his fellow jurors—even hugging the sobbing plaintiff after everything was wrapped up and she was leaving the courtroom.
and in that context—this case has barely registered on the national news media. the only reason I know about it is because of cara.
but almost every single thing said about this woman—it was all *also* said about the 11 year old girl in texas. that she was asking for it.
but the case in texas—the verbally violent reaction to the rape was international outrage—but now…when it is the (largely) white community doing it to one of their own—almost all the articles I have found through google about the case have been local reporting.
it is not indicative of whiteness that nobody supports, believes or expects justice for rape victims. But it *is* indicative of blackness. At least as the media reporting would have us believe.
I do not believe the answer is every person accused of rape should be treated like the accused in texas. And i don’t believe the answer is they should be treated the way they were in the de anza case.
and honestly—I seriously wonder if both the victim and the accused’s names should be withheld from the press until the verdict is read. or something. without directly confronting the blatant white supremacy mainstream media is built on (i.e. creating community controlled types of media), i’m really just not sure how to confront this.
but anyway…the other thing: i’ve never once *ever* heard of any sports figure—collegiate or pro actually getting sentenced on a rape case. god knows they’ve been charged with everything else and found guilty to. but rape? somewhere out there there *has* to be a sports figure that has been found guilty…I’ve just never heard of it.
and i think that’s something that needs to be examined.
A few months ago, I picked up a copy of African-American Humanism: An Anthology (1991) edited by Norm R. Allen Jr. It is a fascinating collection of essays and works written by some famous (and some lesser-known) Black humanists, rationalists and free-thinkers such as Langston Hughes, W.E.B. DuBois, Frederick Douglas, Melvin Tolson, Hubert Harrison, Joel Augustus Rogers, Richard Wright and Emmanuel Kofi Mensah.
In this anthology, renowned humanist Norm Allen Jr. hoped to counter the popular modern perception of the Black religious community being the primary proponent of significant social change from the turn of the century until the Civil Rights Era by showcasing the significant contributions of Black free-thinkers and humanists (who are often overshadowed by their Caucasian contemporaries).
“She was stretched on her back beneath the pear tree soaking in the alto chant of the visiting bees, the gold of the sun and the panting breath of the breeze when the inaudible voice of it all came to her. She saw a dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; the thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love embrace and the ecstatic shiver of the tree from root to tiniest branch creaming in every blossom and frothing with delight. So this was a marriage! She had been summoned to behold a revelation. Then Janie felt a pain remorseless sweet that left her limp and languid.”—( Zora Neale Hurston) Their Eyes Were Watching God (via nuetmai)
As the ladies of Mambu Badu are working away on the inaugural magazine and logistics for the summer exhibit, the first cohort of selected artist have steadily been working on some great projects. See what these photographers have been up to and do not hesitate to shoot us an email with questions.
SHOW ME YOUR TAX BRACKET // A mixed media, invitational group exhibit featuring over 40 artists from St. Louis, across the United States and Canada. (Curated by Bryan Walsh and Danielle Spradley @ Aisle 1 Gallery) The exhibit will open March 18, 2011 and continue through April 16, 2011. Gallery Hours: Saturdays Noon-4pm or by appointment
Tonika recently returned from Paris, France photodocumenting the concert of Chicago’s local rapper, Rita J, at La Bellevilloise.
Currently working as a producer on a documentary focused on the creation of “Rational House,” a low cost, sustainable urban housing development in London. The project will be launched at the prototypes unveiling this summer.
The LADIES OF MAMBU BADU are up to a few projects as well:
Ms. Alice Wonder AKA Allison McDaniel just posted a series of photographs entitled, “It’s Warm Somewhere.” While the east coast has been battling through it’s share of frigid weather, Allison’s warm and inviting photographs are a reminder sun, shorts, and picnics are not to far away.
“Writing down your thoughts is both necessary and harmful. It leads to eccentricity, narcissism, preserves what should be let go. On the other hand, these notes intensify the inner life, which, left unexpressed, slips through your fingers. If only I could find a better kind of journal, humbler, one that would preserve the same thoughts, the same flesh of life, which is worth saving.”—Anna Kamienska, excerpts from “In That Great River: A Notebook” (via rajy)
““If we were to return prison populations to 1970 levels, before the War on Drugs began,” she said. “More than a million people working in the system would see their jobs disappear.”
So it’s like America’s current war addiction. We have built a massive war machine — one bigger than all the other countries in the world combined — with millions of well-paid defense industry and billions of dollars at stake. With a hammer that big, every foreign policy issue looks like a nail — another bomb to drop, another country to invade, another massive weapons development project to build.
Similarly, with such a well-entrenched prison-industrial complex in place — also with a million jobs and billions of dollars at stake — every criminal justice issue also looks like a nail — another prison sentence to pass down, another third strike to enforce, another prison to build in some job-starved small town, another chance at a better life to deny.”—The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration of African American Men | LA Progressive (via bunnehears)