On Alter Egos and Infinite Literacies, Part I

Fleshy Professional Avatar spent the weekend in Richmond, Virginia with colleagues and friends at the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History.  I tagged along for the ride, made a minor appearance in time to introduce myself to amazing and dynamic public intellectuals like @NewBlackMan and @DrJamesPeterson.  Then I dove right back in to life and work here in the DMV with the arrival of the Mobile Homecoming Project (@alexispauline and @juliawallace) for their week-long university residency.  This was another event Fleshy Professional Avatar was signed up to do but I hung out in the wings, dipping in when Alexis and Julia referenced their trip to AMC 2011 and the Shawty Got Skillz workshop, taking a breath of peace when I saw @Mdotwrites and as I was introduced to another professor-cum-insurgent.  And when I looked up, I turned around to find we’d formed a circle of womyn of color who do intense intellectual work and activism around saving our own lives in spaces that are almost universally hostile to everything we are and represent.  And yet…there we were.  Queering the space with our very own light energy, turning the room on its side and moving the group as a whole along a new wavelength of ultraviolet visibility.

For a moment, just long enough to breath in and out twice, I was able to be Kismet and Flesh at the same time.  The two bodies overlapped and co-existed in time and space together.

But it was only a moment.

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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.

 

Not a Review of The Help

Given the rabid success of 'The Help,' Warner Brothers has announced it will begin filming a Gone with the Wind reboot, opening summer of 2014. Alfre Woodard will play Mammy. Tickets Are Selling Fast! Get yours soon! Support Black Actresses!

“Paternalism defined the involuntary labor of the slaves as a legitimate return to their masters for protection and direction.  But, the masters’ need to see their slaves as acquiescent human beings constituted a moral victory for the slaves themselves.  Paternalism’s insistence upon mutual obligations–duties, responsibilities, and ultimately even rights–implicitly recognized the slaves’ humanity.” 

***

“Wasn’t that the point of the book?  For women to realize, We are just two people.  Not that much separates us.  Not nearly as much as I’d thought.” ~~Kathryn Stockett, “In Her Own Words

The Help is the most disturbing book I’ve read this year.  Skeeter is one of the most annoying “heroines” of 21st century.  Reading it was like eating ice cream with my back against a Woolworths counter while watching hoses slam into black children in the street outside.  Bull Connor is on the corner, motioning for the fire trucks to fill’er’up.**  And somehow, my maid churned and froze this Ice cream herself.***  Of course.

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If You Need Help with ‘The Help’….

Like it or not, ‘The Help’ is the talk of the interwebs.  Some folks love it, many folks hate it, others just don’t know what the big deal is.

In case you have yet to read the Association of Black Women Historian’s beautiful, eloquent and concise statement on why ‘The Help’ is problematic, faux-Civil Rights history, you should check it out here (Zora Walker also posted it to Tumblr, for your reblogging ease and pleasure).  Reblog, repost, re-Facebook the statement EVERYWHERE. They are the experts.  They paid their dues.  They know what they are talking about.

But let’s say you still don’t see what the big deal is–or you loved the book/movie and you just want to be well informed on all perspectives.  Or you just need help understanding the whole history.  Never fear!  Zora Walker has your back.  Click away and get your mind right.  Then decide for yourself how you feel about Stockett’s work.

#MacheteBehavior after the jump:

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The WOC Survival Kit is Desperately Seeking GIFs!

Never submitted to the WOC Survival Kit?  Now is your chance.  The WOC Survival Kit needs more GIFs!!!!

What’s a GIF, you ask?  Well, since a GIF is worth a thousand words…..

Except if you’ve ever tried to search for the perfect, pro-womyn of color GIF, then you already know.  Not so easy.  Not easy at all.

Help us make the WOC Survival Kit one of the go-to places for poignant, political, ratchet, funny, sexy, silly and honest radical womyn of color GIFs on the web.  

Go forth!  Make those images of womyn of African, Asian, Latina & Native American descent move, shake, flash, beep, bling, snark, cuss, fart, and frakk.  Submit them to the ‘Kit here.  Or toss them up on your Tumblr, Twitter or blog and send us a message so we can reblog.  Or shoot them to us in an email (iwannaliv@gmail.com).  But send them our way!  Because the WOC Survival Kit is here for and accountable to YOU.

Happy searching,

The #AntiJemimas of the WOC Survival Kit

An iwannalive production

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.

Sunday Livin’: Searching for RWOC Speculative Fiction

*breathes in deep*  *looks around*

This isn’t the world I remember.  It smells…toxic.  Noxious.  What is going on here?

No matter.

I’ve decided to build an army.  No, not a harem.  An army.  We will fight with brown gold and yellow jade and ride black unicorns.  We will make magick and cross worlds.

And I’m recruiting.

That shooting star up there?  That’s me, skipping across the digi-verse, looking for womyn and gyrls of color who are making radical womyn of color art.

Like Andrea Hairston:

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In the Future, We Kill Our Attackers: Rihanna’s “Man Down” as Afrofuturist Text

YouTube-Rihanna-Man-Down-8

Rihanna’s video for “Man Down”  dropped last week and set the web on fire.  The way justice and rape, innocence and violence work in the video–and the non-sensical responses to it–have already been outlined by better writers than me.

I’m writing this post to take the video to its logical conclusion:

In the future, do we kill our attackers?

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