We don’t talk about money enough and I’ll start: I’m broke. Currently I have 22 voicemails about student loans and I have no plans to return the calls. Recently I learned that the olive oil I use to sauté on-sale vegetables is probably not real olive oil, and I am not going to do anything about it because real olive oil is expensive. My “savings” account is overdrawn. Negative savings! I get checks and spend them. Because I have anxiety about being broke and not doing anything about it, I am medium-to-low good at taking care of myself. I don’t want to be one of those women who’s bad with money. I don’t want to be one of those women artists who doesn’t have time to make art. I don’t want to be one of those Black women who works and works and works and dies. Like my mother. Like my grandmother. Continue reading
From the ages of 11 through 23 I was sick every year on Valentine’s Day. “Allergic to love” was a common theme in the emo anthems that hugged my cassette player on the 7-minute drive from home to school, and it is also a phrase that I believed accurately described me. I was glad to miss out on mandatory classroom Valentine’s Day cards and pink shit. I was glad to miss out on everyone else’s flower deliveries. Last week someone asked me if I had ever been in love, and I just laughed and laughed and they were quiet. “Invented by Hallmark,” “sexist capitalist bullshit,” “just another day whatever,” “I mean how are we defining love anyway.” I celebrated the last few Valentine’s Days on a “self-love” tip, which consisted of overcooking steak and watching Beyoncé videos with a whole bottle of Pinot Noir. Valentine’s Day makes me sick, and not just because I’m a feminist, and not just because I’m alone.
Bey don’t know about this life.
Drink when you check the “single” box. Drink when that makes you feel a way. Drink when Beyoncé says you and means you. Drink when you’re not the girl in the Kay Jewelers commercial. Continue reading
“African-Americans are, in a very real sense, the descendants of alien abductees…Speculative fiction that treats African-American themes and addresses African-American concerns in the context of 20th century technoculture — and, more generally, African-American signification that appropriates images of technology and a prosthetically enhanced future — might, for want of a better term, be called Afrofuturism.” – Mark Dery, “Black to the Future: Afro-Futurism 1.0”
Still from Frances Bodomo’s “Afronauts”
I’ve been thinking a lot about the future. What will I do, who will I be, how will I love, will everything be okay. I’ve been thinking about the planet and how it is not doing very well. I am thinking about marches and earthquakes and The Book of Revelation. I am thinking a lot about death. I am starting to understand I’m not welcome. In my ear I hear Sun Ra whisper “space is the place.” In my other ear I hear Kanye say “we wasn’t supposed to make it past twenty-five.” This is what Black American women are wondering: What’s up to us?
It used to be a kind of utopia. A weekly meeting of all my favorite Blackgirls, indulging and over-indulging on wine and takeout, listening to records, talking about life and love, and hollering at the TV as Kerry Washington stunted in a flawless white coat and stomped delicately on the heads of every white man in the White House.
Of course, she didn’t look like us, with her airbrushed skin and bone-straight perm. Of course, she was in love with one white man, or two, depending on the season. Of course she wasn’t an artist, or an activist, or a progressive. But she was a Black woman on prime time television, she was sexy as hell, and she was smarter than you. We were so damn hungry we forgave her. We forgave the overdone love scenes and the corny banter. We forgave the patriotism, the predictability, the strange treatment of Black men. We are so damn hungry. Continue reading
bell hooks and Laverne Cox talk at The New School
bell hooks is not a fan of Orange Is the New Black. But she, like everyone else, loves her some Laverne Cox. The two sat down for a conversation as part of hooks’ recent residency at The New School, poised on either side of a coffee table like a Black feminist yin and yang: Laverne’s long blonde weave and red-bottoms, bell’s uniquely braided short hair and flat sandals. They agreed and didn’t agree. They acknowledged their varied histories and perspectives. They talked identity and love. They talked labels and risk. They did and didn’t cater to the patriarchal gaze.
Here are some moments when I shouted YASSS and NAWW during their talk. Continue reading