When Rape Culture & Pop Culture Collide

Which is to say, often.

Before I get into the crux of this blog post, first let me touch on the Nate Parker shit real quick. I’ve seen blog posts by Black women blaming those evil “Black Feminists” for the tanking of his movie. To which I say; Good. Let it Bomb. And let the record show and the reason be that Black Feminists, those loud-mouthed Black women,  were tired of putting aside their liberation for the sake of a noxious unity that lets trauma continually be perpetrated so that we can pretend that we are a collective.


The conversations that the Black community are having around sexual assault and rape culture only really seem to come up when some prominent Black man is accused of sexual assault and/or rape. That’s kind of fucked up, when you think about it. if over 60% of Black women experience rape/sexual assault and we not even beginning to include people of other genders in that tally, then why does sexual assault and rape culture not take center stage when we talk about “unity in the community”? Instead, when we mention the high rates of abuse within our community, we tend to receive the “who hurt you” concern-trolling rhetoric that is more of a silencing tactic than anything else.

It’s interesting, also, that there is a wide-spread belief that if a Black man is accused of sexual assault, and that Black man happens to be a pop icon or relevant in pop culture in any way, then those charges are met with the idea of “conspiracy” and “trying to keep the Black man down”. It is almost as if Black people only conceive of their power inside of the validation of white supremacy, and therefore, if a Black man has been allowed access to a certain platform within the white mainstream that to critique that man is counter-revolutionary. But the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house, and it is far more important that our leaders not be rapists than to be given Sundance awards.

The fact that some of us are more concerned with ticket sales of one man’s (inaccurate) film than the thousands of Black women, GNC folk and even men that are saying that rape is inexcusable points to an enormous issue that we still refuse to confront en masse.

It shouldn’t be radical to say Stop Rape. Some people say that we should be more forgiving and more relenting. I say that we are so forgiving. Some of us are forgiving our fathers, some of us are forgiving our brothers, some of us are forgiving our aunties, some of us are forgiving our baby daddies, some of us are forgiving our mothers and our sisters every damn day. Some of us gotta see our rapists and act with cordiality just to continue to have access to the things we need. Some of us is so busy forgiving that we forget ourselves. Some of us is forgiving so we don’t blow the damn heads off of the next thing that reminds us of the last person that assaulted us. The problem with this conversation is not the lack of forgiveness, the problem is the absence of justice from this discourse.

It is here that I will digress and note that Rosa Parks, often seen as the mother of the Civil Rights Movement, was an an anti-rape activist and that anti-rape work was at the foundation of the Civil Rights Movement, however subsumed that work has become. It is important that we pick up those conversations about rape and sexual assault in our communities from where we left them in favor of the more palatable and popular discourse of integration.

This conversation deserves to be at the top of our agendas and in the front of our revolutionary work, because dehumanization belongs nowhere in a revolutionary movement and contrary to Eldridge’s claims, there is no such thing as a revolutionary rape.

We need to do this work of healing justice inside of our community and take a long hard look at the trauma that our community perpetuates on each other. Because sometimes, homie, the cointelpro is just us handing down unexamined wounds like family heirlooms, and sometimes the conspiracy is for us not to dismantle the hierarchies of oppression inside of our own community lest we end up loving each other enough to actually call down the revolution we’ve all been waiting for.


Kim Kardashian is not a litmus test

So I’m a say a couple of things and then I’m going to bow out of this conversation about Kim Kardashian getting robbed.

Kim Kardashian is not a litmus test of Black folks humanity. Many of us have seen so many Black folk killed on camera in the past few years that we can’t even get past the numbness of it. Black folks are constantly inundated with the identification of humanity with whiteness. Empathy for white people is basically hardwired into our brains at a very young age. To not show empathy for a white person is reactionary, sure, but not the measurement of a Black person’s soul.

I think we need to take a look at the fact that white people can basically believe that we are sub-human but still be treated as a good individual with some bad beliefs while Black people, especially Black femmes- ESPECIALLY dark-skinned Black femmes, are not only read for filth, but also are treated as subhuman any time they refuse to show empathy for white folks.

I mean, literally, a white person can argue you down about how they don’t agree with BLM which is just shorthand for ‘I think Black folks deserve to get shot like dogs in the streets,’ and still not have his humanity challenged. We out here with biopics on serial killers that make them look like just misunderstood souls, and a Black person not giving a fuck about Kim Kardashian is a reason for folks to revoke their humanity card.

We gotta admit to ourselves, being short on empathy is sometimes part of being human in a world that can rescind your membership into humanity at any given moment. Do I condone folks talking about her like “Good, she got what was coming to her?” Nah. I think some of the hate that she’s receiving is misogynistic and violence. But if you can’t bring yourself to really care or shed a tear, especially after the year that Black folks have have, I don’t think that’s a judgement on your character or your moral compass.

I think it’s violence to expect/demand Black folks to continue to extend compassion to folks that continuously steal and appropriate Blackness without regard to the harm that it does to Black femmes. That compassion is a grace that should never be demanded, only received with humility when it is genuinely extended. Black folks, more than anybody else, continue to extend that grace to white folks and non-black folks even when our humanity and morality is constantly called into question. When was the last time a black person shot 9 white folks dead in a house of worship and the families of the victims openly and publicly forgave that person? Nah, we not short on forgiveness, compassion or grace. We are continuously extending compassion because that is what we believe keeps us human.

But being human is not a category that you (should be able to) fall in and out of. It is a divine right to exist fully as who we are, in our boundless empathy and our infinite rage. And Kim Kardashian is not a litmus test of how human you are. If your path is compassion and empathy, cool. If your path is fuck her, cool. You gotta do what helps you stay alive as a Black person in an abjectly anti-Black world.

The Medicine of Tears

crying can be a miracle when the world is too much. it’s interesting then, how many people are taught to be afraid of their own and other’s tears. Most people recognize tears as a problem, rather than the recognition of a need for a cleansing, for a healing, for a balancing.

We have the power to baptize ourselves. Today I was supposed to go to child support court, to fight once again for a few dollars that is supposed to help me give my children the things that they need. I couldn’t do it. As soon as I sat up in the bed, I started to cry again as I had been doing for the past 4 days. Bae told me, “just don’t go,” and laid his hand around my waist, and I laid back down.

Over the past 4 days, I cried because of the wound of unworthiness that I have carried with me for the bulk of my life. For the deep loneliness I feel, for the pain of my mother– I cry like my mother used to when she had flashbacks, and I struggled with hating that until the tears over took my resistance. I am like my mother in some ways, and that is ok.

My tears can be scary because I know how to wail like the wind at a graveyard, and I had to recognize the powerful medicine in those tears. It’s the type of power that you ignore at your own risk of shutting down, and the type of power that sweeps out all of the lies you’ve been holding onto desperately trying to make shit work and trying to make shit fit while knowing all the while you’re on a futile mission of ego.

Over the past 4 days, I was held gently in the arms of my Mothers, who did not force me to see the bright side of things, to see myself and my circumstances in a different light, did not force me to get up and fight. They didn’t even hold me to my promise of making sweet potato pie for them on Saturday.  Rather, they acknowledged and witnessed the deep trauma that needed the storm as big as an ocean to let go of some of its stubborn strongholds around my mind, body and spirit.  The Mothers held me as both the boat (vessel) and the storm (spirit) as I made this sacred journey to a new understanding of myself and to a new peace that does not have to fight to be loved, to be cared for, to be valuable, to be respected.

So, today, I was supposed to go to child support court and I cried instead. I cried for the last few years of trying to make this man, force this man, to do more than he was willing, show up more than he desired, to bring more than he wanted to. I cried because this, ultimately, is never what I wanted for my children. I cried because I was tired of fighting to make something else happen, to hold someone else responsible, to force things to change. I cried, and I let go. I let go. I let go.

Crying is our first language, and it is a vulnerable one. To be Black in a world that seems  to want us dead is a very scary thing. To be Black and woman crying, well, this is where we get into the ancestry and history of grieving.

Science has caught up- kind of- to what we already have known for a long time. We carry the trauma of our ancestors within us. Any unshed tear of your mother’s is also yours. Tears, especially emotional tears, have specific physical health benefits. Culturally we have adapted a way of being that eschews crying as a weakness we cannot afford. It is a survival mechanism meant to keep us safe from the harsh realities of the world. Another black child gunned down in the street? Why yes, it’s sad, but we still have to go to work or hustle and pay bills. A Black woman  killed for saying no or for being trans? Why, it’s despicable but we still gotta keep going. About to get evicted and don’t know where your kids’ next meal is coming from? Why, that’s scary as shit, but if you succumb to the sadness of it all then you won’t be able to figure out your next moves.  You gotta be strong, breakdowns are for white women with too much time on their hands. (I don’t believe anybody in this society actually really truly cries enough).

We can’t forget the other side of this equation though, that the sort of numbing that happens to us as Black people is the result of a program of dehumanization that cosigns our oppression. “They can’t feel pain, they were bred to endure, they’re closer to animals.” It’s encoded into the fabric of white supremacy to the point that black people are much less likely to receive adequate pain relief when going to the hospital. Of course, white supremacy looks for any reason to declare us less than and that is not our shit to unpack.

However, the mechanisms of internalized oppression enshrine these ideas of toughness and numbness in a way that is detrimental to ourselves on a molecular, cellular and spiritual level. We believe the lie that- and it is a very believable one, look at the evidence that supports it- if we- black women & femmes-  were to break down and cry that our worlds would fall apart, because we are the ones holding it together and we are doing it by ourselves. There is no safety net, we believe. Our minds are too fragile to deal with the repercussions of  letting ourselves grieve trauma, we would lose it completely. And if we were to cry in front of others, we would be in a vulnerable position in a world that doesn’t love us. And last but certainly not least, NOBODY GIVES A DAMN.

What to do about these lies? I believe that it is time to come together, in secret and in the dark, and wail. I believe that it is time to be held physically by one another and spiritually by our ancestors. I know that our ancestors rejoice when we release a lineage of trauma through the baptism of tears, and that they are here to guide us through a death of what we have been taught we are and back into right relationship with the radiant beingness that is our birthright.

I believe that we will find together, in the sacred womb of darkness, the medicine of our tears. I believe that we will come to understand that our woundedness is not a monster trying to kill us but the tenderest parts of ourselves deserving love. I believe that we will find that it is not our tears that hold us back, it is our denial of our own pain that keeps us stuck.



The leaves are starting to change, and our ancestors are calling us. In the words of Radiant Ancestor Lucille Clifton,

“the leaves believe
such letting go is love
such love is faith
such faith is grace
such grace is god
i agree with the leaves”

Are you ready to let go? I encourage you to form a grieving circle with those you trust to hold you, and those you can hold, and let go. I encourage you to connect with your ancestors and let go. I encourage you to follow the rhythm of the fall equinox and let go. I encourage you to make a sacred space in your house and let go.

If you are searching for a sacred space to hold you, please know that we have prepared a space for you, beloved, to hold you in the most tenderest of ways, to unlock the grief you’ve been holding in your cells, and to reconnect with the divine and radiant ancestors in your blood. details here.


american mythology

thinking deeply on my maroon ancestors today.


the conditional citizenship that black people who are descended from enslaved Africans in the united states have is dependent upon the objectification of black people as producing but non-sentient beings. this social death is a necessary foundation of the mythology of the united states and the american dream. thus it becomes that a statement as simple as “black lives matter” becomes a controversial subject and a litmus test for one’s allegiance to the construct that is the united states. The appropriate response to such a sentiment would be “yes they do,” not “all lives matter”.

it is not because the united states, socially speaking, recognizes the inherent value in black lives, but because to interrogate the extent to which black lives are not seen as human lives is to give voice to that which must be seen- ever suffering, punished, feared and exoticized- but never heard as having a dissimilar experience from white americans that one is sentient enough to articulate and therefore matter.  The hypervisibility of black death is built into the very fabric of this society and to radically interrogate that death and suffering disassembles american rhetoric of progress and the underlying assumption of equality for all. interrogating black death from a radical black lens strips it of american mysticism that attributes black death to the inherent flaw and criminality of black people and reorients black death in a way repudiates the assertion that progress is linear, all-encompassing and will ultimately bring equality for all that wish to have it and work hard enough for it. it positions black death in a timeline that is not one of american mythology- you know the one where slaves were brought to america, taught how to be good christians, liberated by a beneficent father figure and then were free to pursue american dreams and assimilate into american society. the timeline of american blackness is one of revolving history merging with present technologies and an ever-innovating racism that simultaneously intersects and diverges from the timeline of american mythology. thus we can have a black president and also experience a surge in public lynchings, both by police and the old-fashioned noose around the neck.

As producers but not owners of our labor, all of who we are as black people is presumed to belong to the american public, and thus the world through the consumption and the consumerism of blackness as a commodity (even liberals do it under the idea of diversity and inclusivity). It is important to note here that it is not simply our cultural products but our body parts that are up for sale for anybody that wishes and has the means to purchase it. As an example, kylie jenner’s transformation into a psuedo black girl as a part of her rites of passage into adulthood is meant to signal her sexual desirability to the general public.

For any black person in america to reach success as is defined by the “american dream” it is assumed that that person owes a debt to american mythology and is not free to critique it. if that person is in the public eye, then that person becomes a de facto missionary of american mythology, the mythology that denies the existence of black dehumanization and rhetorically screams “all lives matter”. the condition of their acceptance into the american imaginary with praise and accolade is that the person is not to transgress by realizing that they are black and thus remain suspended through the remainder of their lives as colorless individuals. these people ‘transcend’ blackness and lose the hyphen and are simply american.

but as america is terrified of recognizing its own reprobation from egalitarianism. something as simple as not standing for an archaic song (that most people don’t even know all the lyrics or stanzas to) is seen as treason and reason to revoke citizenship. This is demonstrated in the backlash to Kaepernick’s refusal to stand. by his own testimony, he received many messages telling him to take a ship back to Africa. This is also demonstrated by the backlash to Beyonce’s Lemonade (other critiques notwithstanding) in which she was refused security and reprimanded for asserting her blackness.

This is not an essay which hopes to redeem the united states or offer a plan for redemption, simply because america is an idea which collapses under close scrutiny. instead, this essay seeks to highlight the conditional citizenship of black people into the idea of america (which is in and of itself a fallacy, albeit one that holds enormous sway in the lives of millions of people). it is pessimistic in that the author does not believe there is a full humanity for black people in a structure of lies about what humanity is and what one must be in order to be considered fully human or in this case, fully american.

to explore why america is a fallacy, one must contrast the hyper-visibility of black death with the relative invisibility of contemporary native genocide and suffering. It is universally accepted by most americans that native people were robbed of their land in order for america to be founded. but unlike black death, which is hypervisible and must be the backdrop against which civilization springs (black degeneracy being the thing which retroactively corrects the sin of enslavement) native people must be relegated to a pre-united states history that denies their contemporary existence as actors on and rightful stewards of this land. for native people to be seen is to remind america that it is built entirely on- euphemistically- ignoble principles. Hence, native people are folded into american mythology as noble but anachronistic people, (when ‘real americans’ are not in close proximity to native people, that’s a whole other story) while completely ignoring the conditions under which many native people live today. In order to claim native land as theirs, many non-native people actively claim mythic native ancestry.

The presence of contemporary native people shatters the mythic claim to the land and thus the rights to ownership and stewardship of what is now known as america. As an example, compare the visibility of (but relatively small gains of) Black Lives Matter and the obsession with capturing and publicizing the actual deaths of black people to #IdleNoMore #MMIW and #NoDAPL which at the moment is enduring an american media black out. The statistics for native populations are more dismal than any other population in terms of poverty, access, police brutality and many other statistics, yet there is no national outcry or attention on these things. To bring attention to the conditions under which native people live as compared to native peoples’ pre-america existence is to completely undermine the idea of america as the birthplace of democracy and the light of salvation for the world. It is to acknowledge a demand which would crumble america. To acknowledge black people as fully human is to acknowledge a terrorism without which america would not exist. (as a person who is non-native,  i encourage you to seek out the many native voices who are speaking in more in-depth and nuanced ways to their own experiences.)

it is a given that america is hypocritical, it could not stand otherwise. we must see america in its totality for what it is, not simply argue against the rhetoric. It is only then that we can form strategy that leads to liberation and not simply a piece of a poison apple pie.


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…And promptly stopped writing

So I woke up this morning to an anonymous post on my blog that questioned my lack of updating on my blog since my trip as suspect. To be clear, there are people that I still owe artwork for supporting my trip, and that’s still coming (I ain’t forgot about y’all) . But- I don’t owe anybody a damn thing when it comes to me writing. I don’t owe anybody my emotional labor. I don’t owe anybody my creative labor beyond terms which were mutually agreed upon.

The fact is that I am still writing, but I needed to take a pause to explore exactly what I’m writing about. If it seems suspect to you that, after I took a life-changing trip,  I would take a pause to assess what I am saying in the world, take a pause to really get intimate again with my inner world and what I’m putting in the outer world, then you taking this 24 hour instant internet gratification thing too seriously bruh. What I’m writing you may never see on these blogs.

I’m also seriously questioning whether y’all interrogate white writers the way you demand labor from black writers. Whether you demand access from white writers the way you demand access from black writers. The need to consume our analysis of the latest blip in pop culture within 3 hours of whatever it is that happens to start trending is not something I’m interested in any longer. I’m not an entertainment writer. I am always investigating and interrogating the nature of the soul in my writing. And that sometimes means taking time and listening.

So, respectfully, fall the fuck back. If your support is conditional on me churning out writing for your consumption, then respectfully, don’t fucking support me. I’m raising children, doing healing work- on myself and others. I’ve stayed active in sj work through Roots Pride and other shit. My daughter had major surgery this summer and a bunch of other shit happens that you don’t even need to know. I raise 5 children every single day. If that’s not enough for you I honestly don’t give a fuck. Be honored that I blessed your unworthy ass with an entire damn blog post. I’m a black woman in America and I don’t owe anybody shit but staying black and staying alive.

I’m taking this trip, you see

TW Most things



I’m taking this trip. I’m taking this trip for the little girl who did not think she would live past 21. Whose father was angry and left the hospital when she was born because she was a girl. whose childhood sentences were punctuated by bullets; who is haunted by the sound of her own feet leaving her foster sister on the sidewalk and running back to her mother when they drove down the street shooting that one time. I’m taking this trip for the little girl who sucked her babysitter’s dick so her brother wouldn’t have to. I’m taking this trip for the little girl who skipped other classes to go to english class so she could learn how words worked. I’m  taking this trip for the little girl who lost herself a long time ago. I’m taking this trip for the little girl whose “uncle” put his fingers inside of her. I’m taking this trip for the little girl who doesn’t share anything with her mother anymore. I’m taking this trip for a little girl who devoured an entire library once. I’m taking this trip for a little girl on a swiftly tilting planet. I’m taking this trip for the little girl who only had enough space for her dreams at dusk outside in the summer with the fireflies. I’m taking this trip for the little girl who sucked in her stomach and sat on the edge of her seat so her thighs wouldn’t spread. I’m taking this trip for the girl who got raped in high school and then used sex to numb herself. I’m taking this trip for the girl who thought she was so unlovable that she married someone that didn’t know how. the girl who got pregnant at 19 and married at 20. the girl whose high school best friend was shot in the head when she was pregnant with her first.  the girl with no formal education and is by all accounts a perfect storm of statistics. I’m taking this trip for the woman who tried really really hard to kill herself two years ago and thinks about killing herself the way one thinks about calling an ex-lover. I’m taking this trip for the woman with 5 kids and bunch of failed relationships and extraordinary fuck ups. I’m taking this trip for the woman who is learning how to own her body and her voice. I’m taking this trip for the woman on food stamps who worries about how to pay the rent. I’m taking this trip for the woman who eats smokes and drink so she don’t have to feel shit. I’m taking this trip for the woman who is swimming against the riptides of her own past and ghosts. I’m taking this trip for the woman with the broken heart. I’m taking this trip for the woman who always feels like she is not enough for what life demands of her. I’m taking this trip for the woman who likes to have colored weave and short tight shit on her body. I’m taking this trip for the woman whose baby fatha always tell the kids that she don’t love them. I’m taking this trip for the woman who is an orphan with living parents. I’m taking this trip for the crazy woman. I’m taking this trip for the woman who was never asked about her future when she was a little girl. I’m taking this trip for the woman who still doesn’t know how to answer that question for herself. I’m taking this trip for a woman who the dandelions and wild things call by name. I’m taking this trip for a woman who straddles the storms and makes love to the lightening. I’m taking this trip for a woman who doulas life and death. I’m taking this trip for a woman who was murdered and resurrected 9 times. I’m taking this trip for a woman who is a scholar of the spirit. I’m taking this trip for an Atlantic Ocean Crossing Black Woman, but also a Verdant woman. I’m taking this trip for a woman with many praise names. I’m taking this trip for a woman who prays. I’m taking this trip for a woman that is loved. I’m taking this trip for a woman that is wealthy and abundant. I’m taking this trip for a woman with daughters and suns to raise. I’m taking this trip for a woman who conjurs. I’m taking this trip for a woman that heals.I’m taking this trip for a woman who refuses to be ashamed.  I’m taking this trip for a woman that loves.   I’m taking this trip for a brilliant woman. I’m taking this trip for a kind woman. I’m taking this trip for a fierce woman. I’m taking this trip for a woman drenched in light. I’m taking this trip for a woman saturated in darkness.  I’m taking this trip for all of me. for me. for me.


Thank You.





Historical Amnesia, 20 $$ bills & the land of the free

” I have been particularly struck by the many comments and reactions from children for whom Harriet Tubman is not just a historical figure, but a role model for leadership and participation in our democracy. …” Treasury Secretary Jason Lew

Black people must not allow our struggle to be subsumed into the American political imaginary. Laboring under the myth of progress, it is assumed that Black labor, particularly the labor of Black liberation, is a function of the quest to make America “Great”.

It is assumed that dissenting voices are available to be encompassed in the myth of American democracy and the American imaginary as a part of what makes America unique in its value system and extraordinary in its ideals. It is assumed that this dissent is a part of American dissent and does not own itself. This assimilation of Black Liberation struggle into the discourse of the American imaginary is part of what allows America to export its special brand of imperialism and violence around the world and market it as freedom and democracy.

Black fungibility allows for the black body to be consumed in any way desired by the American imagination. Harriet Tubman, whose life was a threat to the perceived order of American governance, can now be consumed and traded, bought and sold hundreds and thousands and millions and trilllions of times. Now in death, she is to be the literal currency that symbolizes American prosperity, but not just prosperity, progress. Harriet Tubman’s life is enslaved again for the American imaginary, all under the guise of a progress that makes America an expert in freedom and liberation in its own mind.

We must make the incredible leap then, that Harriet Tubman’s liberation labor was retroactively to legitimize the colonialist/imperialist nation of the United States, that she labored to be the beneficiary of a system that amassed its wealth on the bodies of Black people, on the bodies and the land of Native people. We must make the leap, if her face on the 20 dollar bill is acceptable, that her liberation labor was indeed in service to the American “ideal” and not to the liberation of her people. We must make the leap that the dividends still being received by the descendants of slave owners is co-signed by the spirit of Harriet Tubman herself.

Let us be clear, American wealth was amassed by the genocide of Native people, and the MAAFA of people of African descent. This is a travesty that is sustained by the continued erasure of Native people and their sovereignty of this land, by the continued MAAFA of black people and by the blood of millions around the world.

Black people must not allow our liberation to legitimize the myth of America and to distort the labor and life of Harriet Tubman. This is not new for America. just as gynecology was built on the torture of Black women and Henrietta Lacks’ cells were stolen for American innovation, the liberation work of Harriet Tubman is being co-opted under the myth of progress that works to retroactively enslave black women by stealing their bodies and their labor for the benefit of the “greater good”.

If America was being sincere about honoring Harriet Tubman’s legacy, then Assata Shakur would not still be a fugitive. If America was being sincere about honoring Harriet Tubman’s legacy, then we would have an honest discourse about reparations. If America was being sincere about honoring Harriet Tubman’s legacy, America itself would cease to exist, because it would recognize that the foundation of America was illegitimate for the aforementioned reasons.

But America is not sincere in its desire to honor or even remember the legacy of Black Liberation struggle. America has amnesia about the foundation of this country, and therefore renders invisible the struggles of Native people- who must be invisible in order for America to be legitimate- and conveniently victim-blames Black people for their position of subjugation that is necessary to retroactively absolve America from its actions in the MAAFA by insisting that our position is a result of moral inferiority. It must purify itself and create a historical amnesia in order to justify its continued existence.

To buy into the myth of progress that is symbolized by Harriet on the money is the legitimization of a system that has never acknowledged our humanity let alone our work to dismantle the channels of our dehumanization.