politcs

#blackout friday

picture it. it’s black friday 2003, and wal-mart has dvd players on sale for $20. these were the pre-netflix days so a dvd player priced under $75 was a huge steal.  like dedicated shoppers across america, i woke up at dawn to rush my local wal-mart.

all hell broke loose when somebody’s uncle jumped on a stack of boxes and started throwing dvd players to nearby customers. i caught one like odell beckham jr. and ran for my life. you would have thought i was carrying baby jesus.

fast forward to 2015. not only do i try to abstain from shopping at wal-mart due to it’s anti-worker practices, but i’m also working hard to align my spending with my principles. with the murders of so many black men, women and children, i’m in no mood to celebrate a capitalist system that devalues black life.

this holiday season, my mission is to support black-owned businesses who deserve love year round. on friday morning, i’ll be shopping online from the comfort of my bed while eating leftover sweet potato pie.

clothing:

  1. nubian hueman
  2. ekineyo
  3. dopeciety
  4. nubian skin
  5. gloss rags
  6. nomad yard collectiv (dc area)

accessories

  1. peace images jewelry
  2. venus visuals
  3. rachel stewart jewelry
  4. lost queens

makeup

  1. coloured raine
  2. ginger + liz
  3. black up cosmetics

skin & haircare

  1. pooka pure & simple
  2. oyin handmade
  3. curlkit
  4. qhemet biologics

art

  1. andrea pippins
  2. thepairabirds

good reads & writes

  1. salt by nayirrah waheed
  2. teaching gold mah how to heal herself  by bilphena yahwon
  3. shapeshifters by aimee meredith cox
  4. vagabroad journals
  5. effie’s paper

health & well being

  1. little urban tea
  2. afro-vegan cookbook
  3. the spice suite (dc area)

check out quirky brown love for a list of over 200 black-owned businesses.

explore the black diaspora through #strollingseries

i’ve never felt more american or isolated than while watching strolling series. created by cecile emeke, the short films explore the black diaspora through complex topics such as feminism, afro-futurism, capitalism, music and immigration. what’s most interesting is uncovering the ways race and nationality are shaped by physical location.

while we have a long way to go in america by way of representation and inclusion, strolling series reminded me that black-american art influences the international black experience. there’s privilege in living at what some might consider the epicenter of black life.

one thing’s for sure — black womanhood is lit no matter the location, and these young sisters’ analysis is so sharp until i beamed with pride.

5 reasons black girls have no rights police are bound to respect

my heart is breaking. watching the video of the child assaulted by a school resource officer in columbia, south carolina is a reminder that our examination of the school-to-prison pipeline can’t miss the forest for the trees.  discriminatory systems are upheld by individual actors with racist and sexist beliefs — it’s the teachers, administrators and school resource officers who enforce policies that traumatize and brutalize our kids.

in response to the viral video of the teenager’s assault, law professor kimberlé crenshaw tweeted “black girls have no rights police are bound to respect.  are we clear?” yes, professor crenshaw, that message is loud and clear. here are five facts that support this painful truth:

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black girl sabbaticals: amina’s story

it felt as though i’d been tired for days, for months…maybe i’d been tired all year, maybe even longer.

i remember waking up one morning in the middle of june, in a flood of tears. the migraine i had struggled with the night before still raging like a storm in my head, and my chest still skipping off-beat from the panic attack i’d fought with the week before. as i rolled over in bed, sobbing uncontrollably at the thought of having to face another day, another dozen or more emails, hundreds of texts and several other “urgent” demands on my time, i realized that i needed to make some very *urgent* and intentional energetic shifts in order to regain a sense of balance in my life. i knew then that for the sake of my own well-being – and life – i needed to slow down, stop and catch my breath.  i needed to do things differently.

Amina4as an activist and someone that’s been involved in social-justice-community organizing for many years, it’s hard to explain what it means to suffer from “systematic exhaustion.” though my body and mind felt weak and drained almost daily, i often felt shrouded by feelings of guilt for my tiredness. the moment i would start admitting the need to rest, i would hear myself saying really quite, destructive things like – “there are so many other people out there who have things a whole lot worse than you do,” “just keep going” and “you can do it.”  being relatively young made it even more complicated – because who the hell was i to be feeling so tired at 30?

…and that’s when i decided to take a moment to pause.

i needed to be with myself alone in the cool, dark, quiet of dawn, outside among the trees and flowers, in the ocean, in my kitchen boiling ginger and lemongrass and chopping garlic. i needed to be in all of these places in order to release myself of all of the guilt, pain and anguish that i was feeling – and the ridiculous need to compare myself to others.

…and it was in those moments of revolutionary quiet that i found myself making decisions such as taking time off from work (and being unavailable and offline), shifting to part-time work to give my creative self the time and space that it needed, learning to say things like “no” (thank you) and being able to respond with “yes, but i will need some time for that.” i found myself reaching out to my various communities of care and sister circles saying– “i need your support” and “i need to be held.”

there is no shame in creating the space, and making time in order to allow yourself to heal. admitting the need for rest and prioritizing wellness does not make you any less of a “great” human being (or an activist). in fact, it speaks to the heart of self-preservation and revolutionary love, something that black women like toni cade bambara and audre lorde wrote so fiercely about.

taking the time out to heal and be well is one of the greatest gifts we could ever give ourselves and our communities. truth be told, i’m still figuring out what true balance looks and feels like – but these days i’ve been waking up feeling lighter, and with more of the sun in my eyes.

photo (iphone) credit: sabriya simon and amina doherty | graphic credit: politics & fashion


Amina6

amina doherty is a nigerian feminist artivist whose work focuses on feminist philanthropy and creative arts for advocacy. she is passionate about art, travel, photography, fashion and writing. she lives and works from kingston, jamaica. you can tweet her at @sheroxlox.

black girl sabbaticals

i’ve been in a season of self-care. after making a conscious decision to stop normalizing anxiety and stress, i’m seeking a simpler life — one that’s judged by the quality of my experiences, not the quantity of my possessions. thankfully, i’m not doing the work of re-evaluting my position in the american rat race alone — sisters of the yam by bell hooks has been my bible and sister’s circle dc has become my congregation.

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why i stan for amber rose

Amber Rose VMAsi stan for amber rose. while she’s witty, genuine and has an epic personal style, watching her feminism evolve is what has me doing a perpetual praise dance.

we all know double standards exist, but for women like amber, they’re a way of life. just take a peek into her mentions and the sexist vitriol will leave you reeling. hoe, slut and gold digger are the mildest insults she’s called daily by complete strangers. why? because the way patriarchy is setup, women aren’t allowed to embrace their sexy, have fun with their friends, post twerk videos and be wives and mothers worthy of respect.

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black women: too loud to ride the train, too black to sip wine

woman-screaming loud. mean. angry. all words embodied by the fire-spitting, gun-totting sapphire stereotype often used to describe black women. captured in blaxploitation films, tyler perry movies and ratchet reality tv, images of angry black women (abw) are abundant.

we were sitting in our high school math class the first time my friends and i were derided for our abw tendencies. we were the only black students enrolled in a mostly white accelerated academic program and frequently navigated prejudice and low expectations. while engaging in our usual banter of shade throwing and quick witted humor, our white-substitute teacher asked: “why do all you black girls act like this? you know…every school i go to y’all are all the same. mean and loud.”

we were confused and upset. not only was his statement a generalization about black students’ behavior, but it was also an ignorant critique of our actions. no one was angry. we were communicating in a way that he didn’t understand, and he used a prevalent stereotype to condemn.

racist and sexist tropes narrate much of black women’s lives. when coupled with other forms of discrimination, few positive images are allowed to exist that challenge the negative narratives. it’s no surprise then that my substitute teacher labeled all black girls as mean and loud or that black girls are suspended at high rates nationally for being loud and “un-lady like.”

the sapphire stereotype should be front and center of a national conversation about 12 black women who were kicked off a napa valley wine train last weekend for laughing loudly.

if the accusation of laughing too loudly isn’t absurd enough, the group is actually a bookclub (i can’t think of a quieter hobby) whose members include an 83-year old woman. this humiliating experience was prompted by what some say was a white customer’s complaint that they were treating the train like a bar. shortly afterwards, the group was met by police who shuttled them back to their cars.

not only did one person’s privilege trump the positive interactions between 12 paying customers, but the company thought a bookclub was intimidating enough to require a police escort.  it’s hard to imagine a group of white customers being treated this way, especially when white women are not stereotyped as loud, un-lady like or aggressive.

it’s undeniable that racism and sexism conflated to categorize the bookclub’s harmless recreation as problematic, even unlawful.  invisible borders outline the truly safe spaces where black women can be ourselves — the napa valley wine train was not one of them. we’re too loud to ride the train and too black to sip wine.

weekend music: wonderland records, hell you talm bout

janelle monae’s wondaland crew kicked off their eephus tour in philly by joining a black lives matter protest. hell you talm bout was released the next day as a tribute and rally cry for the movement.  it gave me chills to hear the names of so many black lives lost by state-sanctioned violence.

dear movement: a year after ferguson

Protest1 to my revolutionaries, activists, advocates and allies —

as imperfect beings, we must come to terms that a perfect world will never be created. i say that not to make good the enemy of perfect, but to remind us of our constant need for criticism and self-criticism. we must do the work to question norms not just outside radical spaces, but also condemn the insidious hierarchies that occur within the movement. (more…)