Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Monday, April 8, 2013
Wow. What to say. Inhale, exhale.
I'm not trying to jump onto some media hype. Rarely am I blogging about celebrity goings ons (rarely am i blogging period, to be honest). But the fact that this conversation about male privilege, rape culture, accountability and hip hop IS happening in such a public arena across genders, feels important. At the same time, I am honestly a bit heartbroken.
A bit of backstory, Crunkfeminist critiqued and commented on Talib Kweli's Huffington Post Live conversation. Monday, which was hosted by Marc Lamont Hill, and included guest speakers Rosa Clemente, Jamilah Lemieux, and Rahiel Tesfamariam. The subject was dealing with Rick Ross' now infamous and much discussed rape lyrics in his new song.
In response to how Kweli interacted with guest Rosa Clemente, Crunkfeminist wrote a blog post entitled "Five Ways Talib Kweli Can Become A Better Ally To Women In Hip Hop." An amazing, firey and to the point bit of bloggery. To which Kweli has recently responded with an extremely dismissive "5 Ways Crunkfeminist.com Could Actually Be A Responsible Source Of Information."
It was a painful read for me.
I particularly winced at Kweli's rebuttle to Crunkfeminist's 5th allyship definition/requirement:
5. Recognize that you don't get to tell us how to be our ally; we get to tell you- No. Recognize that I'm your ally whether you and your crew realize it or not. I always have been, I always will be, regardless of how you feel about it. Get your own damn megaphone. I rock mics.My jaw literally dropped. I'm not sure if Kweli means it, or if he was simply being reactionary and defensive after being called out in so many ways, as well as him feeling misrepresented, and yes, even Crunkfeminist admits that their post was not written with the most "loving tone", but... wow.
I mean, i know race and gender are very different oppressions, but i'm trying to imagine some straight white dude telling Talib Kweli (and me for that matter) that they call the shots on what being a white ally means, and that us black folks just need kill that noise about dictating what our empowerment is gonna look like. I umm, don't need allies like that. I don't know Kweli, but i suspect he doesn't either.
Kweli's response continues to read in a shaming, silencing, dismissive vernacular and tone, ironically to explain how he isn't mansplaining with a tone. Wow. I feel like an opportunity was lost. When someone tells me how to be an ally, I am grateful. I see it as a gift from the true scholars of how i can be a less oppressive presence in the world. It may clash with my preconceived notions of power and privilege, but it is always a valuable learning experience, and at the very least, a door for constructive dialogue.
For Harriet responded with The Problem Of So-Called Allies, which stated:
In discussions about misogyny and sexism, women are the experts. Trust us. Trust our knowledge, our experiences, and our pain. If women's voices can't come first on the issues that shape our lives -- on those that result disproportionately in the loss of our safety and security, when will we ever be heard?
The worst allies believe they're doing a favor; they compulsively pat themselves on the back; they spend more time deflecting correction that reflecting on their questionable judgements; they demand our gratitude and our silence. I do not want nor need allies who spend their time dressing down those they claim they're trying to help.
Speaking for myself, I know that ego can be the largest obstacle to being an effective ally. In a 2008 blog post i did called What Is One Sexist Thing You Are Trying To Unlearn?i talk about benching my grumble around how women weren't beating down my door to date a nice feminist/womanist/humanist brother. Tap on the shoulder. You aren't an ally to score some ass, Richard. Liberation work is not done for cookies. Liberation work is not done for nookie. Remove the attachment to being a "good ally", and just do the needed work. Work that is done for many reasons, but mostly because no one is free until we all are free. Work that is done with humility and a grounding in the fact that we are going to be wrong and challenged sometimes, as men injected with heteropatriarchy from birth. I learn this from women and LGBTQ folks, elders like Audre Lorde and Angela Davis, and my own relationship to how I want folks of European descent to ally for the liberation of all.
While I have been disappointed by Kweli's response, i am still greatly appreciating that men in hip hop are breaking the silence around rape culture and male responsibility (as Talib Kweli and Lupe Fiasco did live on Twitter, great convo!), and I have a feeling that this conversation has not been permanently derailed, but will in fact continue to blossom. Clearly, we will have bumps along the way. I hope it leads to larger community conversations, healing, and bigger steps towards gender equality in our communities.
And i stand in solidarity with CrunkFeminist.
Friday, April 5, 2013
The Clique inspired me so much, i wrote my own rhyme:
pass this dj some Rick Ross or Weezy i will say NEXT
ain't no plantation jingles playin on these decks
enslaved storytellers gettin paid plenty loot
to keep plantation trauma alive and distort the truth
corporate massa stupid ass don't know that all humans are connected
so ain't just black and brown, now the whole world infected
misogyny, racism & capitalism trifected
time for the liberated storytellers to rise up
give that instead to our malnourished kids, drink it up!
i said rise up, rise up free storytellers, rise up!
drink it up, drink it up, children, drink it up!!
Saturday, April 21, 2012
hello everyone. thanks for your readership and words. may this reach you doing well! i'm sure most of you are feeling the change in the air, in our personal lives, the earth, and social arenas. may the winds of change blow positive transformation and blessings your way.
and i've been riding the winds of change so religiously that i'm only getting around to promoting the San Francisco Walk Against Rape here a whole WEEK before it happens :P
last year my goal was $1500, and because of you incredible people who passionately believe in justice and healing, i was able to blow away that goal for a whopping **$1800**, and whoa... next thing i knew i was receiving an award for being the top individual fundraiser! not quite what i was planning for, but of course, a pleasant surprise and honor. wish all of you were there to accept it with me, cuz my contribution was $50, and Y'ALL handled the rest!!
giving how late i'm kicking this off, i'm not going to be as ambitious as asking to reach a goal of $1500, i'm going to split that in half and aim for $750. I'm at $285 now, i think this is definitely doable.
i'm aware that its fundraising season, and that we are all trying to make ends meet, just know that $60 = a one hour shift on the 24-hour rape crisis hotline, so even $10 could provide a crucial 10 minutes in someone's life. If you can spare more, $120 is the cost of a rape prevention presentation for teens. And when all is said and done *any* donation makes a difference. To support these and other services, and to help build healthy communities free of sexual assault, please click here to make a donation, or click on the widget to the right.
and again, thanks for supporting me in my 5th year of walking for SFWAR! It has been transformational, and I am thankful to be a conduit to help create change with the help of my community members. Together we can help get survivors crucial services and help dismantle rape culture. Let the winds of change continue to bring healing, justice, and a more humane society for all of us.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Wow. It's been an incredible week. Heard Angela Davis & Grace Lee Boggs speak on revolution last weekend at the Empowering Women Of Color Conference, and now spent International Women's Day with Alice Walker. She led a sit at the East Bay Meditation Center for the POC sit evening, and also read new poems on revolution. Wow. In my spiritual tradition, the Orisha tradition from West Africa, this year belongs to Oya, who is the Warrior Woman Of The Winds Of Change; the principle of Transformation. Sitting with all of these elder woman warriors who speak of personal and social transformation... has been an incredible, blessed gift. Maferefun Oya.
And Alice Walker... her presence is so deeply peaceful and wise. Much less to hear her poetry after meditating... the already profound words permeate your consciousness on a whole other level. I'm so grateful. She will be sitting for 5 more Thursdays at the East Bay Meditation Center POC sit night.
and now, some gems. enjoy.
Alice Walker On Wanting The Self & Meditation: "There is such a lot to be said about learning to want yourself. no matter who does or does not want us, or me or you, want yourself. if you want yourself, you are already winning, because you know what is worth having. and want your true self, not your phony self. the phony self doesn't really exist, its just a figment of somebody's...humor. so want yourself as you are- and that's why meditation is so divine... because you get to sit there, with you. and finally you have to agree... it's not that bad."
Alice Walker On Ancestors: "All of us in this room, if you go back far enough you will come across somebody who stood up when everybody else was saying sit down, shut up and don't move. You had an ancestor that said, I will stand thank you. I will stand."
Alice Walker on Teaching Youth Meditation & Ancestors: "I think that sitting is basic to liberation. and i truly believe that if you sit with sufficient patience, humility, and openness that your ancestors will show up. that has been my experience....if you teach them how to meditate, they will then lead themselves, the inner spirit will attract the ancestral forces that they need to be guided by....that has been my experience... some of the best times of my life... its not like a search, its just like an openness, like you are preparing for a guest. You are preparing for an ancestor. You are preparing for wisdom. and your job is to hold your seat. and some of it can be very scary, but you just hold your seat."
Alice Walker on Joy: "What brings me joy? Everything. Everything but the bad things. I'm naturally joyful. and it took decades of depression for me to realize it."
Alice Walker on Womanism: "You notice how this word has 'man' right in the middle of it. That is one reason i like it. He is there, front and center. But he is surrounded."
The crowd laughed raucously for the last one, and others too :) and duly noted! hmmmm... womanism does comprise of feminisms from communities of color, maybe i should change my blog to wo.men.ist....
Happy International Women's Day! And thank you Alice Walker for one of the most profound ones yet. <3
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Amazing, radical workshops, healing bodywork on more will be available at this conference, happening on the Berkeley campus. Click here for a list of workshops, and register! The 1st day is free and open to the public, and whoooo: March 2, "On Revolution: A Conversation Between Grace Lee Boggs and Angela Davis" from 4-6pm in Pauley Ballroom. What?!? I will be there, trust! I was honored for the second year in a row to be asked to speak on the Male Feminist Of Color panel on the 2nd day, Saturday 10:20 - 11:15 in the Pauley Ballroom. Truly an honor, and i'm looking forward to linking up with other men of color who believe in this path. We need each other dammit! In any case, come through, its really a profoundly powerful and important event, regardless of gender. Bless....
Monday, February 6, 2012
Thursday, January 26, 2012
"racism and sexism are just like, byproducts of capitalism, so if you just focus on capitalism, it will take care of that shit for you...."
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
i am glad that Jay-Z is quite literally taking this baby step towards accountability, and i'm sure this will have some ripple in hip hop community around fatherhood/manhood and misogyny... but he's gonna also have to swear not to have scantilly clad women depicted as brainless objects decorating his videos as well, and use his influence to send healthy messages to our children. his daughter may not hear him say b, but can still learn that she is supposed to be an object for male pleasure, and that her appearance is more important than her soul and intellect from his videos.
I also wonder what Beyoncé thinks about the fact that for however long as she and Jay-Z have been married, it took the birth of their daughter for him to make this step. What does that make her?
Tricia Rose breaks it down for really real, in a commentary in the Guardian.
Sean Carter, who performs under the name Jay-Z, has apparently vowed never again to use the word bitch in the wake of the birth of his daughter, Blue Ivy Carter. And while I celebrate and congratulate his new fatherhood, this vow didn't impress me.
It doesn't begin to address his role in contributing to and profiting from the global power of a hyper-sexist brand of hip-hop masculinity. I need to hear quite a bit more about how he feels about this legacy and its impact on millions of black girls and boys before getting all teary-eyed.
Sure, hip-hop didn't invent sexism, nor has it been the only musical genre to profit from promoting it. The vast territory that is popular music is a treasure trove of sexist ideas and images. And it is also true that racist, rightwing critics have targeted hip-hop as a way to continue the demonisation of black men while remaining silent on countless other sexist images, sounds and stories that define US culture.
also, Lisa Belkin from the Huffington Post brilliantly explores how "Jay-Z is not the first man to realize he has been a misogynistic jerk only after he has a daughter", chronicling stuff like male CEOs who decide to close the gap between higher paid male employees and female employees by a few more fractions of a percentage. She hilariously starts out her piece asking the question: "Ladies, do you feel more respected this morning?"
Well, i'm glad that at least its starting some good dialogue.
Update: Jay-Z says to New York Daily News "that poem and that story are fake." The UK Star editors however stick to their story saying that "It is not made up or fictitious at all. We bought the interview from a reporter in the U.S. who conducted the interview with Beyonce before the birth." The Huffington Post reports.
Wonder if an iota of introspection occurred with this very influential couple around this rumor. Best celebrity hoax ever. I'm still glad that it started some good dialogue.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
WOW. Sooooo... its been quite some time since i've blogged. Won't get into all the ways i have been using my energy otherwise... but i came across this gem, and it just made my day, i and i knew i had to post it here!! Science is amazing sometimes. I feel like it affirms what a lot of us knew already.
Heterosexual men with the most anti-gay attitudes, when asked, reported not being sexually aroused by gay male sex videos. But, their penises reported otherwise.
Homophobic men were the most sexually aroused by gay male sex acts.
Amazing. Insightful. Hilarious. And sad at the same time. It's not even a new study (1996). But now its official... Homophobia Is Gay.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
“the nudity scares the nation as a whole.... but what i really learned was that when it was packaged the way i was, no high heeled shoes or long hair, spinnin around a pole or poppin it... people have a hard time processing it when its not packaged for the consumption of male entertainment. So they don’t know what to do with it, or how to place it or what to say. Because surely, a woman couldn’t be intelligent enough to be making a point. (smiles)”
Friday, April 29, 2011
"UNDEFEATED": The Oakland Sister Council's Zine Release Event Models Radical, Resilient, Creative Sisterhood.
Watch this.... and prepare to be moved, angered, inspired.
The Oakland Sister Council was formed initially in response to a charismatic, attractive, unconsciously counter-organizing man who was targeting women of color in progressive/activist communities. His manipulative behavior traumatized powerful, community-conscious women, broke trust, and left some organizations trying to figure out how to recover, as he continued to build bigger, more influential networks springboarded off the shoulders of these women. Instead of being silenced and shamed, these women banded together to spit fire in the face of patriarchy and misogyny that DOES happen in progressive/activist communities. Don't mess with organizers y'all!!
i am proud to be an ally of the Oakland Sister Circle (i just wish i had been in town to dj pro-bono for em!!) , and i invite other men of color in our communities to step up, and not look the other way when one of our brothers is causing harm. Radical sisterhood is one part of the equation to rise against patriarchy and misogyny, but it is of the utmost importance than we as men pull our weight as allies, and dismantle bullshit from our end as well. i, other men, and the sister circle continue to toil at co-creating restorative justice, and how we as men can be optimal allies without taking over the movement.
this is a model for ending all oppressions.
check out their online zine and resourceful website. it ranges from sharing powerful visual art, spoken word, links to models of community accountability in POC progressive movements, brother Kiwi reppin for the male allies, talkin about love, solidarity and workin on our shit!, and firey, playful "you know what i'm talkin about" satire around the "Anatomy Of A Macktivist" ie, an activist who uses his alleged progressive/feminist stance to "mack" on women, be deceptive and get dates... which is kinda worse than straight up misogynists who have never heard of bell hooks. Feel me?
All this and more, check it out!! http://oaklandsistercircle.org/
Love & Solidarity to the Oakland Sister Circle!
Thursday, April 21, 2011
For Boyfriends Who Love Doing Makeup - COLORLINES
i love this! especially how this sweetly doting brotha exhibits fairly traditional masculinity but is proud to be doing make-up for his girlfriend. i was taking notes :) Got this one from Colorlines, a gem!
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Hope this reaches you doing well. On April 30th (two weeks away!) i will be proud to be doing my 4th year participating in the San Francisco Walk Against Rape, and i am thankful for all of the support to this cause so many of you have given. Rape impacts me through the lives of many people i love, so for me, this is an act of love, and one way i can contribute to dismantling patriarchy. Every year it is profoundly powerful and beautiful. I encourage others to walk, even if you don't fundraise.
This year, my goal is $1,500, and i would love your support helping me reach it. I'm asking for just $5 - $10 today, just so more people can be involved in supporting this. Know that $60 = a one hour shift on the 24-hour rape crisis hotline, so even $10 could provide a crucial 10 minutes in someone's life.
If you can give more than $5 - $10, please consider sponsoring a one hour hotline shift for $60, or donating $120 to sponsor a rape prevention/healthy dating presentation for teens (important work!).
To support these and other services, and to help build healthy communities free of sexual assault, please click here to make a donation.
For more info about the walk, the movement, SFWAR's services and more, click here: http://www.sfwar.org/
Together we can help get survivors crucial services and help dismantle rape culture. Thank you for your time.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Have y'all seen this yet...??
Cons/critiques: REALLY wish it had more a diverse representation of men. Like, really.
Sometimes i felt a little twingey about the essentialist declarations of what the "feminine" realm and ""masculine" realm are.
Although i *very* much value these men bringing spirit and psyche into the discussion... i fear that they will lose the men who really need to hear this message, that it will be discounted as hippie ramblings or something.
i don't agree that submitting this apology means that "the past should be forgotten".
Pros/critiques: Wow. Besides alla that, its kinda beautiful in a really powerful way. i am impressed by how thorough this MANifesto is. it covers commerce, trafficking, religion, government, war, spirit, the human psyche and soooo much more. clearly, a lot of thought and strong intention went into this. its pretty inspirational, and for all of my con/critiques, i am glad that something like this representing actively non-patriarchal men and masculinities is out there. my very good female friend who sent this to me said she was moved to tears, so just even the healing that happens there also means a lot.
what do you think?
Friday, February 18, 2011
Click here to register for the 26th Empowering Women Of Color Conference that will be held on the Berkeley Campus this Saturday. I will speaking on the Male Feminist Of Color panel @ 10:30am, but wow... SOOO many other amazing workshops/presentations to check out! birthing justice, building community for WOC's in predominantly white academic institutions, community accountability strategies (i would be at this one if i wasn't doing a panel at the same time!!) healthy relationships, capoeria, dance, yoga, dj classes for women... and much more. Peep the grid below to see what's up, and more details on are the website. Looking forward to building with some cool brothas, and building community in a larger context as well.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
27. At my funeral, it is unlikely that my family would present me crossdressed against my living wishes.
Wow. The notion of such disrespect, such refusal by close, supposedly "loved ones" to essentially really see someone, was really impactful. And the point of privilege is driven home... i will never have to worry about this.
Patriarchal notions of gender as static are really archaic. And harmful. To everyone.
Sending love and strength to my trans fam, stay up y'all.
Peep the rest of the list here.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Men's stories? Isn't that uh, already kinda the standard, one might ask. The Men's Story Project is ongoing and evolving show has a different agenda. Peep this multidisciplinary event that explores male strength, manhood and masculinity in ways that are rarely modeled. Topics include creation of a historic gang truce; friendship between men; homophobia and pride; gender identity; forgiveness; images of African American masculinity; men's public restroom rituals; healing from partner violence and sexual assault; relationships with fathers and other family members; disability & sexuality and much more. Last show... tonite!
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Amazing blogpost written by Nerdy Apple Bottom, documenting all of the issues that arose because her 5 year-old son dressed up as Daphne from Scooby Doo for Halloween. If you've ever doubted that love is revolutionary, read the account of a mother who loves bravely and fearlessly. A must read!