"All I know to be is a solider, for my culture"

Knowledge breeds Love

The Twins - Yaba & LaShawntePhoto Credit: Ann Blake Photography


The Twins - Yaba & LaShawnte
Photo Credit: Ann Blake Photography

Tips for Flying

1. Have a black body
1a. Wear a headscarf
2. Choose a seat in an aisle with another black body in the window or aisle seat
3. Try for male black body - it will increase the chances of no one choosing the middle row
4. If the other black body is female, no worries. you will be visible and invisible as required.

I flew today. It was a full flight. So much so that at the gate, the agent was checking for third bags and making folks consolidate ANY third item into their second. And there were repeated announcements about not stowing coats in the overhead and directions for choosing the middle seats when that was all that was left. I had chosen an aisle seat with a sista in the window cause I figured no one would sit between us (see tips above) but after the umpteenth announcement I figured my tips would fail me…

There was another row with an empty middle seat right in front of the row of seats I was in. The passengers were a white skinned male and female, male in the window, female in the aisle. And there were two final passengers to board. The flight attendant passes my aisle and asks the folks in front if the sear is free and seats one passenger with them. As for the second passenger, well there was a man in an aisle two rows up from me, who got up to give her his seat. The flight attendants were bewildered “there should be a regular seat?!” One flight attendant noticed the free seat in my aisle and inquires “is someone in the bathroom?”, the sista in window responds “no” [as in the seat is free], but they don’t/won’t/can’t hear her, as the man, who was either a pilot or amarshall took a seat in the cockpit…

in the air
it must be fear
cause they don’t sit near
brown-skinned lady

they’ve scanned the plane
they spot her
and they already know her name
aunt sarah

so they pass by her
searching for some place safe

maybe on the ground
her bosom is their blankey

but up here
stakes is high?

or maybe
they simply don’t see her.

after all,
mules don’t fly.

but she don’t mind much
brown-skinned lady
notebook full of poems
pocketbook full of dreams
she ain’t mad at the extra space.

Wait, What? I'm a Little Confused: A Reading of "Beyonce"


After watching all the videos from the popup album “Beyonce,” three things can be said for sure:

1.) She’s great at keeping a secret and somehow got a bunch of other people to be just as good.

2.) She really feels the need to assert herself in a way that is contrary to the Beyonce we’ve grown to…

Let's dream a feminism bigger than capitalism

Spend enough time in this crooked room
you almost start to believe you are a crooked rib
and forget you are praying in a holding pen
or a gilded cage.

Whatever the euphemism
it’s still too small.

Listening as I mourn Madiba

Somewhere in America? Somewhere in America there is Muslim sister whose scarf is slipping slightly as she nods off on her train ride coming off the late shift. Somewhere in America a niqabi is frustrated in a Muslim clothing store because the “L” sizing on the jlbabs they sell is false marketing. Somewhere in America a Muslim mother tries to sooth a screaming baby while she debates whether the scarf on her head is large enough for an impromptu breastfeeding session. Somewhere in America a Muslim woman giggles with glee after finding the perfect shade of plum. Somewhere in America a Muslim woman is grateful that her headscarf style will cover the choke marks on her neck.  Everywhere in America, a Muslim woman’s headscarf is not only some sex, swag and consumption, it also belief and beauty, defiance and struggle, secrets and shame.

I know some people are celebrating this video and others criticizing it. I think it’s pretty clear I fall in the second camp. Yet, while it could be so much more. It actually does what it intends to do so effectively.  Nothing in this video should surprise you. After all it is being championed by a group called the mipsterz—as in Muslim Hipsters—with no sense of irony. A friend remarked to me that the video was particularly tragic because our champion Ibtihaj Muhammad is in it, and she has been lauded by folks like Hilary Clinton for being a role model. And this video and its background song, replete with profanity including the N-word, seem far from that acclaim. Yet I don’t think it’s incongrous that the same person who Clinton lauded would end up in a video with Jay-Z as a back drop, both Clinton and Jay assert and epitomize American Exceptionalist Capitalism par excellence—and by this I mean the way they would approrpirate her not necessarily how she sees herself. And lest we forget, even Obama has Jay on his Ipod. The video is full frontal consumption and thus can only offer narrow visions of who Muslim women are, even in the attempt to show diversity but again how American is that?! I must admit I may have been a tad bit surprised that they didn’t bleep out at least the N-word but maybe they were aiming for that “ironic” hispter racism. Maybe in the remix they will swap out Nigga for Abeed.

The History Of Afro Futurism and Black Science Fiction automatically begs the question: ‘Well, what isn’t futuristic about being Black in America?’ The entire history of Black America can be seen as a fundamentally futurological and science fictional enterprise, a perpetual biding on hope and struggling for change endeavor that frequently employs far flung visions of tomorrow and other more oblique speculative stratagems in pursuit of outcomes barely foreseeable in the near-present

Greg Tate’s course description for “The History of Afro Futurism and Black Science Fiction” at Brown University.  (via shadowstookshape)


(via oeblegacy)

(Source: courses.brown.edu, via oeblegacy)