October 19, 2016


Artist: Tayo Abiola
Yemoja reclines
Braced against
Tramplin' her

They know
Snuff out

Their own

She is energy
Without her
Muscle shrinks
Flakes blown
In southerly winds

Needs be they
Consume not
What makes
Life itself

Her peace
Stolen in
By the hour
In the name of

Teach them


Cannot float

Broken waters
Buoy no

They must

Secrets of
Yin and Yang

Letter of universal law


Lest we all perish.

Z.Hall, 10/17/2016

October 15, 2016

She Is A Woman

 She Is A Woman
Batili Ashabi

They live in the past ... they still do
Clutching their decrepit notions and views
Rigid in mindsets
Myopic in thought process
Stuck in their pasts
Unchanging in their stance
We need to knock them really hard
We need to throw their asses out in the yard

Image Credit: Artist Unknown
In the kitchen and the other room?
What's that all about?
For food and rumping no doubt
And that's all a woman's good?
I ask these oafs
These geriatric fools
Who see no better use
For womanhood
Other than trivialities
Other than frivolities
Is there no iota of substance
Nothing remotely significant
In the one who carries the womb
That births the entire manhood?

She is "trump groped"
Smeared and thumb poked
Muffled, subdued
Subjected to ridicule
Whipped by your ego
Silenced by your veto
For how long O man
Will you trample on your woman?
For what length of time
Will her sufferings suffice?

Enough already!
Not a day longer!

Enough Trumphari!
Your vituperating days are over!

She will not be denigrated
No she won't be derided
She is more than a pussy
Certainly not your snack cookie
She is not confined to your kitchen
She is not your pet dog or kitten

She's dared to soar
And rise beyond the Stars
Where the galaxies spread
There she dwells
Amongst the best
And she is a Woman!
She is not a Man!

© Batili Ashabi 2016

October 5, 2016

No. You Can't Touch My Hair.

On September 15, 2016 the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had this to say about dreadlocks (a black hair style): “We recognize that the distinction between immutable and mutable characteristics of race can sometimes be a fine (and difficult) one, but it is a line that courts have drawn ... [and] There have been some calls for courts to interpret Title VII more expansively by eliminating the biological conception of ‘race’ and encompassing cultural characteristics associated with race,” but that he wasn’t prepared to lead that inquiry regarding discrimination." ~U.S. Circuit Judge Adalberto Jordan, Huffington Post

Jordan shrinked back from stetting precedent in that case, but I can tell you that legal fictions have no bearing on reality.

My hair grows from my head and is not separate from me--I am a whole person. There is no either-or representation.
My hair is not a "mutable" medium. A wig is not one's hair. That is a medium. My hair is part of me--just like my eyes, skin and lips. How I style my hair has everything to do with the nature of my hair and my Afro-Latina culture.

Channel 4 News, South Africa

The politics of skin and hair are fundamental to racism and white supremacy. This effects how black persons move through this world. It is the reason the issue of black hair reached the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. This court, instead of setting precedent, followed numerous other courts that handed down negative rulings which limit the life prospects of black persons whose hair does not conform to white culture.

Solange, 'Don't Touch My Hair'

October 4, 2016

Disposable Lives

On Saturday, September 24 I delivered a public address entitled 'Disposable Lives' through which I reached out to audience members relating the traumatic effect of police killings on individuals and communities of color. I asked attendees, "how safe is a society where large populations of people live in fear of "public safety" authorities?"

Z. Hall, 'Epidemic': fiber, acrylic, ink, 2016

Between January 2014 and July 2016, 2,996 unarmed black people were shot and killed by police in America. Twelve names in ‘Epidemic’ represent 12 months in each year. The distressed fabric and stitching symbolizes oppression experienced at the hand of the state. The frayed threads express the lives and families torn apart and communities of survivors in anguish. Black dots are symbolic of bullets shattering lives. Their names rise above the sea of blue that should protect and serve. We say their names.

Common Threads: Anatomy of the Wound' curated by Sonie Joi Ruffin and Arzie Umali, is on exhibition at Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, KCMO; August 2, 2016 – October 29, 2016.

The Murder of Alfred Olango

“He did not do anything; he had no gun; he was not mental,” explained Pamela Benge, the mother of Alfred Olango ... My son is a good, loving young man
She said the police shooting of her son has forced her to feel pain similar to what she felt in the midst of war
[As refugees from Uganda, she] came to America with her children seeking safety and a better life for them. Coming from a place of war, she said she did not expect this ending for her son." ~NBC San Diego

October 3, 2016

Female Nude and the Male Artist

Nzekwe Phillips Lexie Okai; clay and fiberglass on wood which is evolved using traditional Benin methods.

This is an absolutely gorgeous piece!*

The unclothed human form, male and female, is beautiful. I am comfortable with it as an art form, in many instances enjoy the works. I'm not even bothered too much by the ones that border on porn, except when the artist tries to pretend it is high art rather than a titillation piece. In those cases, artistic dishonesty is a turn-off more than the artwork itself.

Personally, I don't question expression of the body and actually believe that the unclothed form is more natural than covered, just as pre-colonial societies demonstrate.

That said, we live in different times. And as much as I respect the nude form, I am, many times, torn between appreciating a particular artist's nude female work and struggling with his entrenched, patriarchal stance as expressed by the artist. When engaging the work of male artists that are new to me the question is in the back of my mind: "Sure, he states how much he appreciates the nude female form, but who is he really?"

How does the artist's patriarchy inform his work and selection of subject matter? At the foundation of patriarchy is objectification and silencing of females.

To me the question is: Can a patriarchal male inhabit another dimension in his work with the female nude such that she, in that instance alone (no other areas of his life), becomes a full human equal to him in intelligence, maturity, creativity, sexual choice, and spirituality?

The male artist-female nude is a complex domain.

*NOTE: This discussion of patriarchy and art has no reference to artist Nzekwe Phillips Lexie Okai or his masterful art. The image of his piece is shared solely because it is exquisite and exhibits tasteful representation of the nude female form.


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