February 29, 2016

Black History Month 2016

Three words: Mavis is real!

First and last sentence of book.

I've lived a lot of Black History Months, each one experienced in mostly side-eye mode.

Blacks treated as February's flavor never set well with me. It never harmonized with Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History's "Negro History Week," which was observed the second week of February starting in 1926. Their purpose was to encourage teaching the history of black Americans in our nation's public schools.

The teaching of black American history in U.S. public schools is beyond the scope of this thread, but ....

My thinking is there are countless American blacks whose history needs to be recounted in *addition to* MLK and the few others who get coverage in February. I have always felt that Black History Month has been co-opted, bastardized, and re-packaged for easy digestion and mass consumption for, mostly, people who are not black.

The present-day Black History Month project seems to *not* be about connecting the black diaspora with its rich past. Let's be clear, it's not.

But this February 2016 I feel I've experienced the blackest Black History Month ever because ... Sankofa!

We, the black diaspora, are choosing to fetch and not wait, hands stretched out, to be reconnected with what of ours had been lost.


#Formation #KendrickLamar #MelissaHarrisPerry (keep on keepin' it real, MHP, endings are new beginnings) #MavisStaples #WEBDuBois

February 28, 2016


If we step away from personal feelings, Nerdlandener to not-so-much, toward Dr. Melissa Harris Perry (for the record I like her) the larger picture comes into view.

It's plain. It's uncomplicated: "The master's tools [finish the sentence] will ...." ~Audre Lorde

Let's be clear, I don't claim to be clairvoyant where Perry's career at MSNBC is concerned. Our "seeing it coming" is not the important issue here.

It is vital that we step up to support and rebuild our black institutions, and create new ones that are platforms for the unapologetic black voice.

Otherwise, we are merely working Massa's plantation no matter if it's by choice (plantation guard) or necessity (sharecropper).

No judgement. This is the reality and the choices we face.

February 25, 2016

Open Letter to Oppression

Come for us if you will.

You want to destroy individuals and their work because when they hold up a mirror, the true reflection in which you are harsh even to your own power-numbed conscience scares you too.

Those “others” and poor whites who guard your present-day plantation to suckle at the tit of regular paychecks, lifestyles just a few notches above what they could otherwise afford, titles, structural support, and “I’m an insider” bragging rights crumbs have been around since the founding of this country.

And you rely on any one of them concerning what we are thinking or what we have said? They don’t know!  Don’t put faith in their edited recordings, half-truths, and whisperings that affirm your hatreds and fears. How can you trust reports from those so deeply dependent on your good graces not to tell you exactly what you want to hear to boost their own star, wallets, and egos. They know well your songs and dances, and how to hold your tune. Since slavery, reconstruction, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Era, the Black Power Movement and all strategies targeting “minority” groups up to today they have strengthened their DNA to know how to maintain your pitch.

Who is at risk?

That’s right. You have your open conversations when “others” are not in the room. What do you think the conversations sound like when your liaisons are in their respective rooms? What do you imagine is said by them when the demand to be “in tune” is absent?

We are without ill-will and forthright. Don’t ask your proxy, ask us yourself. Just don’t ask questions you don’t want a genuine answer to. We are not sensitive to the fragile façade to your brutal actions, thoughts and policies, which intend to destroy the aspirations and lives of people who look like us. No.

Your often used trope “I’d like to think that these things are not intentional” lacks veracity. You know that, we know that, the world knows that! Yet you continue to stroke yourself with this widely-known falsehood. How is it possible for anyone to respect that?!

And if you can a lease be honest with yourself, this is what you hate about us: We don’t pretend, along with you, that you are fragile and harmless.

So come for us if you will. But know that when you do, you are coming to destroy what you and the world knows about yourself. It is a form of self-hatred, actually. But you are too weak and greedy to hold yourself accountable.


February 14, 2016

Original Quotes (My Thoughts in Motion)

Silence never ushered nor freed a slave. 

Tower of Silence, Mumbai (Bombay) circa 1890. Image: Alinari Archives/Getty Images

February 13, 2016

Happiness Delivery

According to Alexandria Tava, "what you see is a myosin protein dragging an endorphin along a filament to the inner part of the brain's parietal cortex which creates happiness. Happiness. You're looking at happiness."

I am sitting with the question of why this sight disturbs me slightly.

The realization that I would be perfectly fine with the endorphin floating as if moved along by a current of fluid or energy as apposed to being dragged as it is by the myosin protein to brain's parietal cortex unsettles me as much as the notion of the protein having a mind of its own.

February 7, 2016

The Shrews are Drunk in Love

Hall, Z. (Nov. 2015) The Shrews are Drunk in Love
Popular Music and Society, 40(2), 1-13 (print version tentatively: May 2017)
DOI: 10.1080/03007766.2015.1101276

[Abstract] Beyoncé and Jay Z’s “Drunk in Love” has been praised for its artistry and criticized for its violent content. Intimate partner violence and non-partner violence against women have been a major struggle around the world for centuries. Today, in the United States, they are considered a public health threat. This study unpacks the contrapuntal text of “Drunk in Love.” The researcher used frame analysis and close textual analysis to explore its polyphonic text. The question is how does “Drunk in Love” function to either perpetuate patriarchy or challenge the foundations of the institution? This article analyzes three frames: “The Carters” explores intimate partner violence; “The Hook-Up” investigates non-partner violence; and “The Shrews Tamed,” through the lens of intimate partner violence, interrogates “Drunk in Love” as an adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew, the most compelling of the frames.

Free access link (if you have institutional access, please use it and leave these limited links for those who do not. Thank you!): Download

February 5, 2016

Salon~360 Talks with Nigerian Artist Jelili Atiku

Participants at Salon~360's January 26, 2016 'Art Activism' event watched a clip of Jelili Atiku’s most recent performance.

There are a number of positions on art activism. Salon~360 approached it from the perspective of art that makes a statement, potentially carries risk for the artist, and has an effect on the realities of individuals, institutions, and systems.

Jelili is a multidisciplinary, multimedia artist with political concerns for human rights and justice. Through drawing, installation sculpture, photography, video and live art performance he strives to help viewers understand the world and expand their understanding and experiences so that they can activate and renew their lives and environments. Jelili draws heavily on his background, Yoruba, its practices and achievements, for inspiration.

On January 14, 2016, Jelili Atiku and several others performed 'Aragamago Will Rid this Land of Terrorism.'

On Saturday, January 30, 2016, Salon~360 chatted with Jelili Atiku.

Learn more about Jelili on Salon~360's webpage and visit his website!

If you are i
n or near Michigan (U.S.), stop in to see Jelili Atiku's work in the 'Material Effects: Contemporary Art from West Africa and the Diaspora' exhibit in the Broad Museum at Michigan State University! November 6, 2015 - April 8, 2016

Be included on Salon~360's monthly Evite mailing by sending your name and address and learn about the next event! Follow Salon~360 on Facebook!

February 4, 2016

Woman: Portal to the Dimension of Human Life

Forever awe inspiring.

The instance of conception, the process of gestation and birth continue to be points of magic. Recently, I have been introduced to the Yoruba notion of aragamago in relation to female energy, which I am exploring further.

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