Category Archives: Black Women Writers

New Year’s Giving #2

Sorry about that y’all. I’ve been a bit neglectful keeping the blog updated. Thank goodness the holidays are over. That was such a stressful time. HAPPY NEW YEAR!! (I hope you got your spoonful of black-eyed peas 🙂 Unfortunately, we are starting 2017 with the inauguration of a President who has made it clear he is anti-people of color/women (don’t be fooled by the celebrities of color who are kissing azz for their own benefit). I encompass both, so Trump will be no ally to me.

It’s more important than ever to support marginalize voices/communities, as these groups will not be able to look to the new administration to align with those who aren’t  white, male, and wealthy.

As someone who is a big lover of DIY (Do It Yourself) culture…I urge folks to financially/promote alternative forms of media/activism, as we will need these resources to keep ourselves safe and heard these next four years.

Here are a FEW to connect with:

Black Girl Dangerous: “Amplifying The Voices of Queer & Trans People of Color.”

Black Women’s Blue Print: “Black Women’s Blueprint envisions a world where women and girls of African descent are fully empowered and where gender, race and other disparities are erased.”

Feminist Wire: “The mission of The Feminist Wire is to provide socio-political and cultural critique of anti-feminist, racist, and imperialist politics pervasive in all forms and spaces of private and public lives of individuals globally.”

Brown Recluse Zine Distro:“Zine culture is not white culture. D.I.Y. culture is not white culture. Punk is not inherently white culture. So in the spirit of resistance, in the spirit of visibility and in the spirit of celebrating our cultures and intersectionality: Brown Recluse Zine Distro.”

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The Black Girl Magic Lit Mag Horror Issue

One of my writing goals for 2016 was to do more fiction writing. I’ve been having several short stories swirling around in my head. I’ve received a lot of rejection emails. So, I was pleasantly surprised when Black Girl Magic Lit Magazine accepted one of my stories…this past summer. It was a dream come true. I tried again for their horror submissions call, but alas it was not meant to be. I’m not hurt, though. Reading some of the excerpts from the latest issue, I can tell the competition was stiff! So grab their first horror edition. It’s a great way to get some early Halloween scares in 🙂

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Rachel Howzell Hall

I love a good mystery novel. However, I have a habit of reading the end of the book before reading the first page. A friend asked me once doesn’t that ruin the story for me, but I tend to lack patience. I want to know who the killer is… now! 🙂

It’s hard to find mystery novels written about black folks, by black folks. Especially, black women authors.  The only mystery series that comes to mind about/by a black woman is the Tamara Hayle adventures by Valerie Wilson WesleyI think she stopped writing the series a few years ago, though.

So, I was pleasantly surprised to read that a black mystery writer had fallen under my radar.  In the article, “Rachel Howzell Crafts a New Type of Hero in Her Detective Mystery,” I learned about newcomer Howzell. Well, actually she’s been around for a minute. Her debut novel “Land of Shadows,” featuring Detective Norton, came out in 2014.

It was exciting reading about the work of Howzell Hall. We need more black women writers across all genres of literature. With summer fast approaching, Howell’s latest novel Trail of Echoes should definitely be on folk’s reading list…

“On a rainy spring day in Los Angeles, homicide detective Elouise “Lou” Norton is called away from a rare lunch date to Bonner Park, where the body of thirteen-year-old Chanita Lords has been discovered. When Lou and her partner, Colin Taggert, take on the sad task of informing Chanita’s mother, Lou is surprised to find herself in the apartment building she grew up in. Chanita was interested in photography and, much like Lou, a black girl destined to leave the housing projects behind. Her death fits a chilling pattern of exceptional African-American girls–dancers, artists, honors scholars-gone recently missing in the same school district, the one Lou attended not so long ago.” http://rachelhowzell.com/

Faints. Sounds so good 🙂

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Black Future Month #2

When I first learned I was going to become a mother, I wondered how it would impact my work as an activist. The reality is, mothers tend to sacrifice the most of ourselves/time even if we have supportive allies in our lives. Then I came across the article “Claudia De la Cruz: Motherhood As a Part of Her Revolutionary Process.” Cruz, who identifies as Black Dominican or Afro-Caribbean, wrote about how motherhood influenced her role as a community activist. Motherhood doesn’t have to hamper one’s political goals. If anything, it can be used as a valuable tool.

It’s easy to forget the power of mothering. We live in a society that gives lip service to honoring mothers,  but only on the surface. Particularly, when it comes to mothers of color.  The Revolutionary Mothering Book Tour seeks to give space to marginalized mothers. The co-editors (Mai’a Williams, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, and China Martens) have created a gofund account to support their work.

“Our goal is to raise $10,000 to create a series of events, through a national tour,  that will truly embody the legacy of radical Black feminists and move their visions forward, because marginalized mothers are at the center of a world in need of transformation. We are now so excited to bring this vital work to your communities with readings, and a national tour, where we will do not only revolutionary readings, but also motherful community events, presentations, conference panels, and interactive workshops” https://www.gofundme.com/8qqthgbc

How we raise our children. What we teach them. And the wisdom/legacies we leave for our children is an integral part of the future of communities of color. The Revolutionary Mother Book Tour aims to remind us of that.

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Revolutionary reading with my little one (“A is for activist” and “Counting on Community” By Innosanto Nagara).

 

Ghost Summer Stories

I couldn’t sleep for weeks after reading Tananarive Due‘s “The Good House.” It was a deliciously disturbing book. I soon became a huge fan of Due’s work. Due tends to be lumped in with science fiction writer Octavia Butler, but Due dabbles more in the supernatural/thriller genre. Her work stands on its own.

When a good friend asked me if I wanted a book for my birthday (she knows I love to read), I said “Ghost Summer…please.” I’ve been itching to get this book. I was excited when it finally arrived in the mail the other day. The book contains 15 short stories. A perfect read for a new mom like myself.

I’m scared already 🙂

 

STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF A SECRET

On Facebook, I am in a group of dynamic Black writers/poets/dancers/visual artists. I have no idea how I got invited into the group, as I possess none of these skills, but I love the group as I am privy to exciting new work by other members.

Rosalind Bell is a writer and urban farmer. She has started an Indiegogo campaign to help fund a research project examining her family history/legacy.

“I ask for your financial help and support in my endeavor to discover, research and tell the stories of my ancestors and in so doing, tell the story of Louisiana before and after the Civil War, and unravel the secret of me.  How, in one of the most inhospitable to black life places in the whole wide world could both my progenitors have purchased the land? My first mother’s grandparents bought over 700 acres starting in 1881. And how were they able to secure it in the face of documented racist treachery. STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF A SECRET is as much a research project as it is a writing project. I must scour microfilm, parish and state records, attics, books and people to get what I am looking for. I am seeking $29,000 to cover this expedition.” https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-fund-standing-in-the-middle-of-a-secret#/story

Sounds interesting, eh.  And check out the perks! Goodness, a Louisiana Meat Lovers Delivery, Gumbo Fest, and more!

Support and/or share with your networks if you can!

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Rosalind Bell an urban farmer.

A Litany For Survival: the Life and Work of Audre Lorde

March is Women’s History Month.

“Women’s History Month is an annual declared month that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. It is celebrated during March in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, corresponding with International Women’s Day on March 8, and during October in Canada, corresponding with the celebration of Persons Day on October 18.”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women’s_History_Month

While we tend to be a bit more open talking about racism in this country, we fail to discuss the hatred of women that permeates in our society. It’s not hard to pick up on the loathing via mainstream media.

As a Black woman, I often have to navigate high levels of anti-blackness/femaleness in my daily encounters with white folks/men.

Black feminist scholar Moya Bailey coined the term “Misogynoir” to speak to the unique form of hostility that is geared towards Black women simply for being Black and women (Yes, Madonna and Patricia Arquette you can be both).

While I haven’t been able to do too much for Women’s History Month, I was able to attend a film showing of “A Litany For Survival: the Life and Work of Audre Lorde.”

Audre Lorde tends to be revered in feminists communities. After watching the documentary it became clear why the self-proclaimed “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” is loved. Lorde was a great creative spirit/orator/intellectual.

It was hard to watch the latter years of her life, as she battled cancer. There was one scene (I can’t remember if she was with her daughter or a friend) but even as she could barely speak/was weak from cancer, she was brainstorming how to put an activist conference together. Her daughter/friend told her “No, I wanted us to talk about you doing something fun.” Lorde titled her head slightly and let out a soft sigh.  She had a small smile on her face. She was a thinker/organizer until the end.

I highly recommend the film. The documentary made me realize that Black women intellectuals don’t get enough shine in or out the Black community. Pop stars, actresses, fashinonistas do…but not our Black women intellectuals. Black women pretty much still have to be oversexualized or playing Mammy to get some love.

If you do nothing else this Women’s History Month, at least check out this documentary 🙂

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A couple of weeks ago, I tried to make a sweet potato pie.

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I got the ingredients
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I did some boiling
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I misread the recipe and found myself with a mess. Wonk, wonk 😦

I should’ve known it was going to be a flop. I accidentally grabbed yams instead of sweet potatoes from the store. Yes, there is a difference 🙂

In any case, I was happy to recently come across a new zine called “Cooking With Mama, A Soul-Food Zine” by Patricia Jones.

“A legacy in a ladle: 
I was born in California, my mother was born in Kentucky, and her mother was born in Alabama. These recipes traveled with these women and they continue to nourish our family as I pass them on to my daughters. The most important ingredient of each of these meals is without a doubt Love. Cook these meals with the people you love in mind, including yourself. The flavor begins there. Bare in mind, these recipes are very traditional. There are not many quick shortcuts in here. You can’t be scared. No dippin your toes in, you got to put your foot in it.” -Mrs. Jones https://www.etsy.com/shop/PaperMulatta

The “Cooking With Mama… zine brings together my love of eating/recipes (y’all know I’m a foodie 🙂 and zines. This zine is definitely one of my favorite things this season. It would make a great gift for the foodie/DIYer in your life!!

I will be going on winter break starting today and will return early January. It’s been hard these last few weeks for folks across the country. This is a time to connect with loved ones, regroup and keep pushing ahead in 2015.

*Here is the recipe I tried to make. Maybe y’all will have better luck than me. 

No-Fail Sweet Potato Pie (I failed..haha 😉

3 sweet potatoes

3 eggs

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

Dash of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 store-bought ready to bake 10-inch pie

Scrub the sweet potatoes but do not peel. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the sweet potatoes and boil until tender when pierced with a fork, 30 to 40 minutes; the timing will depend on the size of the sweet potatoes. Drain well, let cool, and peel. Place the sweet potatoes in a bowl and mash with a potato masher until no lumps remain. Measure out 2 cups; reserve the remainder for another use.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs until blended. Add the 2 cups mashed sweet potatoes and beat well. Stir in the milk until well mixed, then gradually beat in the sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. Add the vanilla and stir well. Taste and adjust with a little more spice, if you like.

Pour the sweet potato mixture into the pie crust. Bake until the center is firm and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool before serving.

Makes one 10-inch pie; serves 6 to 8.

 

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These days there is a better selection of toys/books for Black children. If I had children, I would probably indulge them and buy everything.  Check out my favorite things for the young folks in your life 🙂

1) Little Miss Rue – Zuri Doll: I heart QuellyRue’s designs. As a fellow DIY (Do It Yourself) creative, I respect all the hard work she puts into her handmade products. She recently introduced dolls into her line. Little Miss Rue is adorable and looks oh so cuddly 🙂

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Photo from: http://www.quellyrue.com/product/zuri

2) “Flying Lessons” written and illustrated by Kayin A. Talton Davis: I actually got  a chance to interview Davis for a project, a year or so ago. She was very nice and has a lot of passion for her work. Her book “Flying Lessons” was inspired by the “The People Could Fly” a book about slaves who possessed magical powers to fly away to freedom.

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Photo from: http://shop.soapboxtheory.com/products-page/paperworks/flying-lessons/flying-lessons-a-lola-and-luella-adventure/

3) Doc McStuffins Puzzle: Whenever I give toys/books to toy drives, I make sure to provide culturally diverse items.  I came across the “Doc McStuffins” line by accident. I had never heard of the show, probably because I don’t have a lot of kids in my life. The creator of McStuffins, is actually a non-black woman. The show/merchandise is also promoted by Disney who I am usually giving the side eye to.  But how can you resist such a needed character in Black children’s lives?  I’ll give this one a slight pass 😉

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Photo from: abcpartyideasforgirls.org

 

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It’s that time of year for gift giving. I thought I would share a few of my favorite things this week for gift ideas. I wrote about how I failed my summer reading list, but I was able to read one of the books a month or so ago. “The Roving Tree” by Elise Augustave was a heartwarming read.

“Elsie Augustave’s novel The Roving Tree has a surreal opening. Its narrator Iris Odys is giving birth to her daughter Zati and—hanging between life and death—she drifts into a deep sleep and receives a visit from a Vodun goddess. Her bed seems to be floating as the daughter she’s given birth to lies in an incubator. Little by little her story is sown together for the reader.”  http://kreyolicious.com/haitian-book-club-the-roving-tree-by-elsie-augustave/9549/

As a young Haitian girl, Iris is left with a white American family, due to unfortunate circumstances. She must learn where she comes from, to know where she is going. I teared up at the end of this book. I felt connected to Iris as she went through her journey of self-discovery, love, and family. This book is a good gift for the reader in your life 🙂

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