poet kush thompson sings a black girl’s song.
poet kush thompson sings a black girl’s song.
-zora neale hurston
when you walk in the smell hits you. the air seems thick with sugar, and i had an urge to stick my tongue out to taste the invisible molecules. then i turned the corner and laid eyes on something magnificent. with the sun beaming down on her face, kara walker’s sculpture of an enslaved african woman almost brought me to tears. wearing a scarf on her head while posed like a sphinx with large breasts and a round behind, the woman represents both caretaker and the overly sexualized black woman. by using something sweet to represent the tortured lives of slaves working on sugar plantations, the artist puts us at the epicenter of an american paradox.
sugar triggers serotonin in the brain — the sweet substance is like a drug that can give people a physical high. however, instead of experiencing bliss, slaves lost their limbs and lives to feed the american sugar economy.
looking for a place to learn about all things related to black women? from pop culture to black feminism to world affairs, black girls talking is a podcast that gives listeners meaty discussions around issues affecting women of color. the show features four sisters whose bios are just as witty as their commentary. check it out, feel smart, enjoy.
in the latest episode the sisters discuss “the lasting impact of the late, great dr. maya angelou; #yesallwomen; lupita nyong’o doing big things; laverne cox on the cover of time; louis c.k. and justin bieber.”
here’s some news stories that made me laugh, excited and shed a tear over the past two weeks:
1. lupita nyong’o won the critic’s choice award for best supporting actress and her speech was per-fec-tion. i’ve watched it at least three times (and shamefully cried each time) because it was so heartfelt and sincere until i’m convinced we won the award together. she’s making history, and it’s more inspiring than i can bear.
2. michelle obama turns 50 and is as amazing ever. i love her because despite being one of the most recognizable women in the world, she shops at target, is a very hands-on parent, can be seen around town at r&b concerts and restaurants, is always fierce and has a mean side-eye that cannot be touched. happy birthday flotus, i hope i’m as fabulous as you at 50!
3.obama picks staci michelle yandle, an attorney in private practice, as the first black, lesbian federal judge. she’ll hear federal cases in the southern district which covers illinois, indiana and wisconsin. future judge yandle has spoken about discrimination in the legal field, stating:
when i first started practicing, for a while i did not feel comfortable acknowledging my sexual orientation because i didn’t want it to cost me my job,” she said. “i wanted to be judged on my merit and my merit alone. many members of the LGBT community still have that fear. we are a traditional profession that is conservative in many ways.
i’m happy that president obama has made a commitment to increasing race, gender and sexual orientation diversity on the federal court.
4. keep calm, season 4 of the boondocks airs on april 21st at 10:30 pm. the best cartoon since jem and the holograms (yes, i’m an 80s baby), the boondocks is pure genius and centers around the antics of a young revolutionary, huey freeman, his younger brother riley and their grandfather. the satire and allusions are spot on, and i suggest investing in the first three seasons for your viewing pleasure. it’s effing hilarious.
over the summer, i fell in love with the netflix series orange is the new black. more than just another prison show, it chronicles the lives of a diverse group of women sharing life, love and turmoil in an upstate new york prison. while some of the plot twists were based on the predictable prison stereotypes (sex with guards and smuggling drugs), others focused solely on unique aspects of the women’s humanity. sophia, the trans hairstylist, is one of my favorite characters, and i’m completely wrapped up in her struggle to maintain a relationship with her wife and son while in prison. face beat and hair laiiiiiiiid, sophia is portrayed by actress laverne cox, one of the first trans actresses to receive major media attention. check out her vibe vixen feature here and visit dr. kortney ryan ziegler’s blog for his critical analysis of oitnb’s trans narrative.
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