Monthly Archives: February 2014

Anti-Black Racism/Anti-Blackness Part. 4

A lot of anti-black racism/blackness is steeped in anti-black womanhood.  Recently, singer/producer Pharrell Williams annoyed black women/folks with this album cover for his new song:

1393523241000-PHARRELL-WILLIAMS-GIRL-12-62413530

In the article “Hip Hop’s White Girl Habit” (the link has mysteriously disappeared) the author calls out the marginalizing of black women in music/hip hop

“By no means am I saying that objectifying women sits better with me when it’s Black women as opposed to others. The problem I have is with the perception that white women are an accessory that’s synonymous with luxury and success; that there’s a golden stair lined with pretty women that symbolizes a man’s climb toward the Promised Land where Black women are relegated to the bottom step. Our young people are being told that “just Black” isn’t enough and that idea being associated with hip-hop is bothersome, to say the least.”

Williams has tried to defend himself in the most ridiculous way, but his response is not surprising. The majority of black celebs/rappers today are obsessed with white acceptance. They could give a f*ck about the impact of their actions on black women/the community.

But it goes deeper than just album covers…

A few months ago, a friend gave me a TV. The TV is old as hell, and after just a few days of watching it, only one channel worked :/  I am forced to watch new Jerry Springer type talk shows. It has reminded me why I avoided TV for the past year.

It’s the same old same on these shows, but what has grown worse is the representations of black women. If black women aren’t cussing each other out, they are physically fighting. If they aren’t in a healthy relationship, they are sleeping with friend’s man. The “baby mama” episodes are endless, as well as paternity tests.

It doesn’t matter if it’s her own family members, in relationships with black men or non black men, or even same-sex relationships, black women are portrayed as bothersome folks to deal with.

These images are being put out there to justify the real life oppression of black women.

“According to Collins, stereotypes can serve at least two functions. (A) They can serve to hide or to normalize oppression by making it seem something that the oppressed person wants to do or something that comes from the oppressed person’s nature. (B) They can serve to coerce people into acting in certain ways.” http://web.calstatela.edu/faculty/tbettch/collins.htm

It’s a strange time for black women. On the one hand,  folks like Kerry Washington (Scandal), Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave), are being celebrated. But on other, the majority of black women are being erased, white washed, or horribly stereotyped.

There isn’t even a safe space in the black community/media for  the majority of black women. Folks like Tyler Perry, Black Entertainment Television (BET), etc.  contribute to anti-black womanhood. It’s a way to keep the black community black male identified/ uphold black male privilege, despite black women being the key/heart of our community.

This anti-black woman hostility is probably why I tend to get piss poor treatment by black folks/non-black folks alike. The majority of folks have nil respect for black women.  Sadly,  I think it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

I hope you have enjoyed my different topics in celebration of Black History Month. Have a good weekend!

Anti-Black Racism/Anti-Blackness Part. 3

When I heard that Spike Lee was planing to do a sequel to “School Daze,” I cringed. I hate when directors essentially remake classic films. Leave it be! However, after hearing his reasons why he wanted to update the film, it might not be such a bad idea. Obviously, our culture has changed so much since the original film came out in the late 80’s. Not to mention the many changes at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Anti-blackness has grown worse since that time,  even at HBCUs. Lee touched on this issue in the first film.  It will be interesting  to see how he handles the subject matter/expand on it. There are so many places to go with it now

Anti-Black Racism/Anti-Blackness Part. 2

A couple of weeks ago, Aura Bogado a Colorlines’ news editor and reporter, hosted the live chat “What’s Next For White Privilege?” The panel featured some prominent activists and educators including: Mia McKenzie (writer/founder of Black Girl Dangerous), Terry Keleher (Race Forward Thought Leader and Project Specialist), and Kenzo Shibata (Chicago-based educator, writer, and activist).

It’s a great discussion. They cover anti-black racism/anti-blackness at the 29:01 mark.

Check it out:

Anti-Black Racism/Anti-Blackness Part.1

Wow, I can’t believe this month is almost over. The new year is going by fast! Soon it will be summer. Yesss! I hate the cold 🙂 Since this is the last week of Black History Month, I want to discuss anti-black racism/anti-blackness. Ironically,  there have been several anti-black incidents that have happened this month. One of the more offensive ones was rapper Nicki Minaj  degrading the image of Malcolm X to promote a new song:

Nicki-Minaj-Lookin-Ass-Nigga-Downloa-MP3

 

Of course, an insincere apology was later issued by Minaj and the cover art removed. But Black folks should never forget. The usage of X’s image with the word “Nigga” next to his face, is the continuation of anti-blackness that has been running rampant in the music industry. Besides Black women celebrities being pressured to bleach their skin, wear blonde weaves, straighten their noses, etc., black celebrities are being rewarded if they degraded/insult the black community or our icons.

There has been some rumblings that Minaj is being unfairly picked on because she is a woman. Maybe. I do think that black women are more harshly criticized when they do something wrong. However, rapper Lil Wayne was clowned (and rightfully so) when he also insulted another beloved son in the black community, Emmett TillI think a lot of the outrage is because many black folks are simply fed up with the disrespect and offensive behavior of many black celebrities today.

Also, it’s shameful when you think about the tragedies that have befallen the X family. The shocking death of Mrs.  Betty Shabazz. The grandson, Malcolm Shabazz (named after his grandfather), who later went on to repent for the accidental fire that contributed to the death of his grandmother, was trying to get his life together. Last year, he was found dead in Mexico under suspicious circumstances.

While there are a few black celebrities I enjoy,  I am always waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop.  The majority of black celebrities today are so obsessed with fame/money and white acceptance (because to them that means they have arrived) they will do anything to keep it. Even if it means throwing other black folks under the bus. Minaj isn’t the first black celebrity to degrade a black image, and won’t be the last.

Engaging in anti-blackness seems to be the way many black celebrities will keep themselves afloat these days. It’s important we don’t support these actions by not buying their products/resisting their agenda.

I guess when you are young, you don’t think much about it. But I wonder how these folks are going to feel when they are in their 50’s/60’s and reflect back on their lives.  I’d imagine it’s not going to be a restful sleep for many of  them.

Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965…

DIY Black Women-4

I’m a zinester. What’s a zinester? It’s someone who makes zines. What’s a zine? Zine is a take on the word “magazine” it’s a form of DIY self-publishing.  I live on the West Coast and zine culture is very popular here. Zines are typically done by younger folks. Those in their early 20’s. So, I’m a nontraditional zinester 🙂  However, all ages can make them. Zines tend to be typically made by marginalized groups whose voices are left out of mainstream media . These folks include: radical women of color,  activists/feminists of color, LGBTQ folks of color, anarchists, prison abolitionists, sex workers, etc.

I became a zinester by accident. I needed to do a creative project for a class and a friend suggested I make a zine. I had never heard about zines before. I researched and liked the concept of it. I’ve been part of zine culture ever since. I host workshops for women of color zinesters/DIY publishers as we are still underrepresented in the NW.  It’s definitely getting better, though 🙂

The People of Color Zine Project is a great resource  if you want to learn more about the history/activism of people of color zinesters/DIY artists.

Check out this fun video on how to make a zine:

I hope you enjoyed this week on DIY projects! Have a great weekend 🙂

DIY Black Women-3

Indiegogo campaigns are a great way to fund DIY projects. It’s a crowdfunding resource:

“Crowdfunding (alternately crowd financing, equity crowdfunding, crowd equity, crowd-sourced fundraising) is the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations.”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowdfunding

Indiegogo campaigns are relatively easy to create. The biggest thing is making sure you have interesting perks, so that folks want to give up their $$$. Indiegogo campaigns can be potentiality seen by millions of people, as they tend to be shared across social media (twitter, tumblr, blogs, etc.)  I always see these campaigns on my Facebook newsfeed.

It’s free to sign up with Indiegogo. There is a small fee on any money raised. If you reach your goal it’s 4% if you don’t it’s 9%.  You can choose between fixed funding or flexible funding.

I hope one day to get it together and start a campaign for a DIY project. Any who,  The Black Portlanders is one of my favorite campaigns happening right now. The Black Portlanders is all about photographing Black people in Portland, Oregon. This campaign has some sweet perks 🙂

 

Also, check out the article “In the Spirit of Community Building: 5 Projects You Should Fund in February.”  There are some awesome projects needing support 🙂

DIY Black Women-2

Folks can no longer depend on working at a job for 30 years, and then retiring with a phat nest egg/benefits. Those days are over...if Enron taught us anything . Now, you best have 2-3 side gigs/skills to keep yourself employed. For folks of color, especially black women, we definitely need to  stay on our grind. The saying  “last hired and first fired,” hasn’t been a staple in our community for nothing.  Starting our own businesses/side gigs is a good way to stay afloat.

According to the article “Black Women Branch Out As Owners,” between 1997 and 2002, the last year statistics were available, black female-owned businesses grew 70 percent.

I stay doing something. Whether I’m blogging, organizing my zine workshops, volunteering, etc., I keep myself occupied. When you do lots of “stuff” money eventually flows in from somewhere. I only work part-time (the other time in school).  It’s been difficult finding even another part-time job. My state’s unemployment rate is still high.  Of course, black folks unemployment doubles that of white folks.  Imagine how hard it is for folks (regardless of color) who live in rural areas. Jobs are scarce. It’s a shame the long-term unemployed are suffering so.

 I have also been developing my grant writing skills. I encourage folks to take a grant writing workshop (small fee at a community college/sometimes free at a local library).  It’s  good way to find funds.  For those of you who are change agents, I really like the grant “The Pollination Project: Seed Projects That Change The World.”  It’s a cool grant because it support folks who want to make a difference in their community. Creating community projects can be a good way to combat depression/sense of hopelessness when one is under/unemployed.

Black women are natural doers. We have always had to work. If you’ve seen “12 Years a Slave,” you know Patsy wasn’t chilling. We can use our everyday life skills (braiding hair, cooking, organizing, etc) to help us financially/create businesses.

“There’s an entrepreneurial spirit in the black community,” said Sally Pipes, president of the Pacific Research Institute, a San Francisco think tank, and author of a 2004 report on African-American women and entrepreneurship. “The opportunities are [in entrepreneurial enterprises] for women who want to combine work and family.” http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2005-07-24/business/0507220743_1_black-women-women-entrepreneurs-businesses

If ya need support, check out the Small Business Administration website

or these blog articles:

http://happyblackwoman.com/is-it-time-to-start-your-own-business/

http://thegrio.com/2013/12/18/black-women-make-significant-gains-as-entrepreneurs/

other grant ideas:

http://www.fundsforwriters.com/grants/

http://lifehacker.com/5971249/apply-for-a-travel-grant-and-get-your-trip-funded-for-free

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY Black Women-1

I am a proud DIY (Do It Yourself) writer/blogger. I also have much love/respect for other Black women who are DIY artists/writers/entrepreneurs etc.  I think this is a great time for Black women. Technology is allowing us to express ourselves, like never before. On a grand scale. We can reach hundreds, thousands, and even millions (!) of folks via blogging, twitter, tumblr, etc. We can use these mediums to tell our stories in our own way.

In honor of Black History Month, this week is all about DIY Black women!  🙂

I came across the YouTube “The State of Black Women in Contemporary Media”  on the DIY blog “What About Our Daughters.” The owner is also the founder of “Blogging While Brown,”  a social media event.

The roundtable features five fabulous DIY Black women:  Issa Rae (creator of “Awkward Black Girl”), Lena Waithe (producer of “Dear White People”), Ashley Blaine (actress/producer), Numa Perrier (writer/director), and Andrea Lewis (actress/singer).