Interlude: The #SableFanGyrl Dances to the Noisettes

Remember when we were talking black lady silhouettes and other sundries not too long ago?  Aker over at Futuristically Ancient posted the Noisettes video for their new single “Winner.”  Screenshot gallery below:

I love how Shingai Shoniwa is front and center against dancers who, in black from head to toe, aren’t identifiable as either male or female, black, white or green.  And I love her repeated fist pumping, probably because it brings to (my) mind a Black Power salute.

The lyrics themselves are pop-happy, Katy Perry-approved empowerment.  Peep the first verse below:

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Scrying Nicki Minaj, Stupid Hoe, and #Afrofutures

If a video drops in a forest of things that seem to matter a lot–like  fingers waving in presidential faces and self-deportation–does it make a sound?

Nicki Minaj dropped “Stupid Hoe” last week.

Maybe I’m too old to have my thumb on the relevant spaces in the interwebs, but it seems like the video barely caused a buzz.  Responses from Jezebel, Clutch, and Vibe were mainly negative, complaining about Minaj’s use of animalistic imagery, neon colors and her less than creative wordplay.  Black feminists offered mainly negative critique for obvious and perfectly legitimate reasons.  Minaj’s challenge to “stupid hoes” included a reference to “nappy-headed hoes” and images of a pale, plastic, Venus Hottentot Barbie.

Me?  Minaj hurts my head.  She perplexes me.  I think of her as Trickster, two-faced in her betrayal of global black feminist possibility and powerful in her contradictory elucidation of black woman’s power within the realms of celebrity and hip hop.  Reading her as Ellegua, that frightful guardian of the crossroads and the in-between and the everything-that-is-not-yet seems to fit an artist who switches alter egos as easily as she switches clothes.  Conjuring the ritual and physicality of possession seems to fit a celebrity who changes clothes as she changes personality, putting on her and taking off her tropes as each personality comes down.  The sometimes garish, sometimes delightful carnival of color, glitter and expression–even the repetitive dancehall/house music refrain–also fit a woman whose aesthetic choices continually find their footing in her Trinidadian roots.

In other words, I think of Nicki Minaj as diasporic black, as radical, and as speculative.

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Loving Vampire Diaries: Why History, Slavery and Race in Fandom Matters

Bonnie (Kat Graham) and Emily (Bianca Lawson) in CW's Vampire Diaries

I spent a good chunk of my Thanksgiving break falling into the CW’s Vampire Diaries (thank you @Netflix).  In the process I turned Little Sis, T the Great and Nuñez Mom into fangirls and addicts.

I didn’t mean to get sucked in.  I cut my tween Sable Fan Gyrl teeth on the original Vampire Diaries trilogy (plus one post mortem) by L. J. Smith.  And when the CW series started, I was determined not to watch because it couldn’t possibly be as amazing as the books were.  I was convinced the casting was all wrong and a little pissed the disgusting success of Meyer’s Twilight was the only reason anyone even seemed interested in L. J. Smith fandom.

I was stupid, ignorant and wrong all at once.

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Maggies and Moments

For weeks months, I’ve been trying to do a Thursday Readin’ post on Nisi Shawl’s short story “Maggies.”

“Maggies,” from speculative fiction author Nisi Shawl’s 2008 Tiptree award-winning short story collection Filter House, will make any self-respecting Sable Fan Gyrl cheer and vomit at the same time.  Set in the future-verse colony of New Bahama, the narrator is a young, gender-neutral protagonist sent to live with their father after their mother falls ill.

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Interlude: The Sable Fan Gyrl Presents….

Robots of Brixton from Kibwe Tavares on Vimeo.

ROBOTS OF BRIXTON

Brixton has degenerated into a disregarded area inhabited by London’s new robot workforce – robots built and designed to carry out all of the tasks which humans are no longer inclined to do. The mechanical population of Brixton has rocketed, resulting in unplanned, cheap and quick additions to the skyline.

The film follows the trials and tribulations of young robots surviving at the sharp end of inner city life, living the predictable existence of a populous hemmed in by poverty, disillusionment and mass unemployment.  When the Police invade the one space which the robots can call their own, the fierce and strained relationship between the two sides explodes into an outbreak of violence echoing that of 1981.

 

via Factory Fifteen.  Another interesting video features an ambiguously brown girl or young woman, riding a train through “a suggestive re-representation of the existing and possible future.”  Lots of dark and twisty metal and empty spaces in this one.  #Prophetic

And if you still haven’t checked out “White” by A. Sayeeda Clarke, also full of speculative, afro-boricua futuristic goodness, then you are missing out.

In other news, N. K. Jemisin is dropping early chapters of the third book in her mind-blowing Inheritance trilogy, “The Kingdom of the Gods.”  And while I can’t look because I know I’ll be hooked and then all I’ll be able to do is curl up in a little ball on the floor of my room and rock and moan until the entire book is available for purchase, I encourage you to check them out.

Seriously.  Check them out.  And if you haven’t bought the first two in the trilogy, make that happen too.  Especially all yall who wanna buzz about the Help and justify your $15 movie ticket purchase with some foolishness about supporting black actresses.  Want to support black women making art?  Let’s go.  Don’t read books?  Buy it for a girl of color in your life who does (and yeah, I’m looking at you non-poc folks as well.  You’ve got at least one black friend.  Buy it for them.  They’ll appreciate it.  They may even thank you).

Besides, a book is whole lot cheaper than a movie ticket these days.

 

Interlude: The Sable Fan Gyrl Survives the DC Earthquake

Image Credit: Brightest Young Things

via io9.com:

In an interview with NPR, seismologist John Vidale said that the Earth’s crust actually has ancient faults in many places, but that “most of them don’t move very much…the mystery is really what’s pushing the faults to make it move now — and there are a lot of theories.”

Vidale said one of these theories is that the plate is in the process recovering from the end of the last glacial period, relieving itself of pressure incurred while the region was still covered in ice by rising and putting stress on the Earth’s crust.

 

Chrisopher Bailey, chairman of the geology department at William and Mary, told NPR that another explanation could be that the current movements of the North Atlantic tectonic plate are putting pressure on the same ancient faults mentioned by Vidale.

 

According to David Spears, Virginia’s state geologist, there are three such faults in Virginia alone.

 

“An area of central Virginia, along a line that runs from Fredericksburg to Gereensboro, N.C., used to be a plate boundary,” Spears said. “Perhaps there’s some leftover stress in the crust.”

I survived y’all.  Here’s to the impending Rapture.  *sips Bacardi & Coca*

xoxo,

 

Interlude: The Sable Fan Gyrl Presents….

Todd Heisler/The New York Times

“…Butler’s ostensible prescience, as seen through the environment she constructs for Lauren, becomes increasingly evident with each news item I hear while stuck in Chicago traffic. Butler’s foresight goes beyond the evolution of televisions into flatscreens, which Lauren calls “windows.” Consider, for example, that Atlantis’ return to our atmosphere last month marked the end of the space shuttle program—and the jobs of 1500 employees—for N.A.S.A. How can one not recall Lauren’s concern about the government’s desire to end the space program altogether, and the effects such decisions might have on one of her invented religion’s, Earthseed, core tenets: The Destiny of Earthseed is to take root among the stars?….”

Octavia the Prescient” by Summer Mcdonald at @SpecterMagazine’s Ghost+Blog.  Read the rest….

R. I. P. Leslie Esdaile Banks (b.k.a. L. A. Banks)

In June, we published a call for donations and support and prayers for Leslie Esdaile Banks who was battling cancer.  We are sad to report that on August 2, 2011, Banks passed away.

From the website:

In Loving Memory

Leslie Ann Peterson Esdaile Banks

It is with the most profound sadness that I have to inform everyone that our most beloved sister and friend, Leslie Esdaile,August 2, 2011.

We will all miss her terribly.

The Leslie Ann Peterson Esdaile Banks Memorial Service will be held:

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

11 o’clock a.m.

at the

Holy Apostles and The Mediator Episopal Church

51st and Spruce Streets

Philadelphia, PA 19139

215-472-3000

At Leslie’s request, in lieu of flowers, donations should be made to the United Negro College Fund in her memory.

The Peterson family wishes to thank you for the love and kindness you have shared with us during Leslie’s illness and her recent death. Your many messages of support, which we were able to share with Leslie, meant so much to her.

Your expressions of sympathy have brought us all great comfort in this time of grief.

Tina R. Wise

Tinarwise@gmail.com

Visit the website here.  Fanboys and fangyrls from around the web poured libations for her:

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Death and Other Night Terrors

“It is not something you just let happen.  Your body knows how to do it, but you still have to do it.  Nevertheless, as it is when one is good at something, I enjoyed the effort because in many ways the effort was effortless.  I spread my wings and took to the sky.  No one heard from me for an hour.”

I wish I felt as confident as Onyesonwu, the sorceress-heroine of Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death.  She just took flight.  Me?  I need a blog post to mark what I already feel.

Time to take flight.

So many new things were happening, are happening, that I didn’t even have time to do an update.  With the help of the Shawty Got Skillz/INCITE Women of Color crew and YOU, my lovely & loving donors, I finally attended the Allied Media Conference.  I met activists, artists, bloggers, and organizers I’ve admired for years.  Years.  With @MdotWrites there in spirit, we rocked a session on using safe and critical use of Twitter.  I smanged some delicious pasta and radical POC conversation and made friends I hope to have for-ev-er (Dancing on Embers, I’m looking at you).  Care packages, skill share materials and more are on their way so make sure I have your contact information if you donated, purchased the skill share gift package, still WANT to purchase, etc.  (More info on this to come, don’t worry.  You will get reminders!)

And if you want to follow along with what the Shawty Got Skillz sharers are doing now or catch up on the back tweets, follow @ShawtyGtSkillz (no “O” in “got”) on Twitter, head over to the Shawty Got Skillz Tumblr, or search the #SGSZ hashatg.

I also moved back to the District.  I’m still soaking up the spectrum of sights, smells, and tastes I’ve missed for so long.  No, I didn’t romanticize you DMV.  Even when you’re ugly (#streetharassment, #Gentrification), I love you, because when I look into the worst of you I know I’m looking into parts of myself.  And I know that black & brown folk regroup and rebuild.  We will make it through this.  I can’t wait to re-join the fight.

I moved in with Mr… (Moment–

–go on and get that out of your system)

…which has been a lesson in love, patience, sexual stamina, money management and all the rest.  I’ve been officially banned from posting about it (what I wanted to do was make a new Tumblr because you know how I do) but I will be posting informal updates as the adventure unfolds (Hint: #LivingWithMr on Twitter).

And even though I’m back, I’m practicing a little bit of self-love & solitude.  Yes, even with Mr. here, because in a lot of ways I’m letting him take care of me.  According to Little Sis, this is my Year of the Hermit; I’m either going on a journey, sola, or I’m coming back from one.  She’s the numerology guru but I do feel it.  I’m reaching out less.  I’m micro-managing my real life social networks less.  I’m mothering less.  I’m journaling more.  I’m crafting stories and considering submitting them.  I’m making plans for Nuñez Daughter and iwannalive productions and focusing inward on what my dreams for the next two, ten, twenty years will be.  I’m babying myself.  And I’m learning quite a bit about myself and my relationships as I go along.  Good and bad.  Ain’t that always the way?

Maybe most important, and the reason for the title and the image, I’m also in the last stages of writing my dissertation.  There is a kind of death that this process requires, an execution I have been afraid to face–death of childhood, death of adolescence, death of certain radical dreams, death of certain assumptions about myself and life in general–but the time is nigh.  Not because I feel like the research is over–in fact, there is a world of documents I can’t wait to dive into.  But because circumstances demand that I move on to the next stage of my life.  And the more I discuss my state of mind with colleagues and friends, the more I realize most dissertations aren’t written because the writer feels the research is complete–they are written because the writer feels that something has got to give.  It may be financial or emotional, an impending job offer or a big move or a new marriage or a new baby or a death in the family.  Or the death of a mentor.  It may be that the sun shone through the window a different way that morning.  But if the effort required to write a dissertation is quantifiable, I’d guess that only 40% of it is the work of researching.  The other 50% is just mind & drive & courage.  That last ten?  Typing that b*tch out.

When I left the Little Town in New England, Asian Dancer put it just right.  In paraphrase, she said, “You are setting yourself up with the most perfect situation you could ever imagine, the best situation possible to finish this thing.  You’ll be in a city you love, with people you love and a man-piece who loves you for you to lay on.  You are going to write all day.  And then you are going to have sex all night.  You’ll have no excuse not to.  You’ll even want to.”

She’s right.  I do.  After all:

“…something must be written before it can be rewritten.”

This blog is about to be sporadic in updates.  And when I do write, expect to get an eye-full of ranting and raving about bad coffee and loud cafés, obscure requests from committee members and last minute dashes to the archive.  Along with learning more than you ever wanted to know about bondwomen’s reproduction, labor, market work and higglers, sex across the color line, libertines and debauchery, dances, tignons, 18th century birth registers, slave castles and poor soldiers, Afro-Atlantic maroonage, and other permutations direct from the experience of women of African descent during the period of African slavery.  I’ll also be throwing in the usual Sable Fan Gyrl, pop culture, day-in-the-life, political ranting riff-raff that is my escape hatch.  Can’t get too serious, right?

If I haven’t updated recently and you want to know where to find me, chop it up with me on Twitter (@KismetNunez).  It’s public so you can always lurk my timeline but I’d love to e-meet you so please sign up.  Or poke around the Confessions of a Sable Fan Gyrl Tumblr and leave a question in my Ask box (the really juicy, cuss-word filled ranting will be done there).  The WOC Survival Kit & my other friends will be updating on a regular basis.

In other words, I’m around.  I’m married to the E-Game, after all.  I’m just cheating on it with Ms. Diss.  Respect my mistress.

Till next time (& I’m stealing from @MdotWrites on this one but it’s inspired by @Nnedi):

Wings up.

L. A. Banks Needs Our Help

Aww man what a week.  Just caught this via the Carl Brandon Society’s Twitter:

Donate today!

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