Futuristic Black Love – on 3000

Futuristic Black love
on 3000

Because 2,999 won’t do
You, me and Badu
Space traveling through galaxies
Building our families
Resisting normative boundaries
of social expectations
Highest love levitating
and creating
Bodies and ciphers and
Intergalactic escapes to lands
That celebrate

Futuristic Black love
on 3000

We’re on that new shyt
Black love on 3000
That some folks can’t
Get wit
We don’t live in boxes
Fluid, undefinable identifies
and I’m checking pansexual
Because our passion connects
To the intellectual
While our love births those

SpottieOttieDopaliscious

Aliens from Atlanta, Dallas and West Blocton
We three – a true southern concoction

of Futuristic Black love
on 3000

Find us in our spaceship
No rear view mirrors
Ain’t looking back while
We dip
Into the exosphere
So damn high, elevated
Clouds are miniscule beneath
Our feet
Our next lifetime is now
Breaking atmospheric beats
Loving, living, creating

Exactly

How

We

Pleeeeaaaaase.

No need for a player’s anthem
Ain’t nobody choosin
With these three bodies
Ain’t nobody losin
Because it’s love, love…

We’re just on that

Furturistic Black love
on 3000

He – She – and I
Capismini, Capismini.

Advertisements

Messages from the Universe: Be Open, Raw, Authentic – Write.Me.Free

Writing is like breathing is like loving is like mothering is like exhaling is like speaking (out) is like dancing is like exploring is like living. It’s like freedom. That I must have. ‪#‎WriteMeFree

The Universe moves in such mysteriously correct ways. Over the past few weeks, She has sent me several messages that require that I listen.

I received the first message during a vacation to the Dominican Republic. My partner and I rented a condo at the beautiful Alsol Resort in Punta Cana. We spent time relaxing by the pool, partying with the local citizens at Carnaval, and attempting to navigate the country with our limited Spanish. Because much of Punta Cana caters to tourists, many of the restaurants lacked the authentic food that we craved. So we rented a car and drove to Santo Domingo where we enjoyed asopao de camarones, arroz con pollo, mofongo, and asopao de pollo. We also spent time on the beautiful beaches of Punta Cana, and it was during the trip to Juanillo Beach that I felt renewed. I am not a swimmer – partially because I nearly drowned as a teen when a cousin tried to teach me to swim at a family reunion (in 10 feet of water) and partially because salt water, chlorine water, etc. burns my contacts when I have tried to swim – but after relaxing for a while with my face to the sun, I ventured into the water. With splashes of miniature waves hitting my breasts, an energy consumed me that I can only describe as the feeling I had when I was first dipped in a baptismal pool as a teenager. I started to cry and speak – reciting random poetry, narrating lines to the beginning of the book I’ve been writing in my head for quite some time. There was a spirit of newness surrounding me.

My eyes were watching God...

My eyes were watching God…

The second message came as I was researching information on substance abuse, and the phrase ‘self-silencing’ caught my attention. Self-silencing is a term used to describe people who suppress their feelings, thoughts, and needs…especially when doing so is an effort to protect others. For example, Flett, Besser, Hewitt, and Davis (2007) contended:

People high in self-silencing are self-sacrificing individuals who keep their distress to themselves in an attempt to maintain or improve interpersonal relationships. Their distress often takes the form of unexpressed anger (see Jack, 1999b, 2001). People high in self-silencing conceal their true feelings out of desires to maintain relationships and obtain the approval of significant others. (p. 1212)

Anger is not an emotion I experience often, but occasionally self-silencing leaves me disconnected and emotionally flat. Anger gives way to numbing indifference.

The third message came through Facebook. Scrolling through my timeline, I was stopped by a reposted blog on For Harriet’s page by Zakiya Brown. In the blog, Dancing to My Own Drum: How Embracing My Authentic Self Set Me Free, Brown wrote that the deaths of her mother and grandmother along with a move to a new state encouraged her desire to let her soul dance to music she selected. I identified with this post in so many ways. Although I have not encountered the losses that Brown has, I know the implications of faking good and dancing to music that doesn’t move my spirit.

For Black women, the intersection of self-silencing, self-sacrificing, and inauthentic living is a place of exhaustion where we become more susceptible to mental health issues. Yet, we view our strength as our defining characteristic, our badge of honor that masks any perceived weaknesses. We are Superwomen. This rationalization of the silent, sacrificial Superwoman makes being strong synonymous with quietly coping with hurdles that challenges our physical, emotional, and mental well-beings. [We are forever jumping hurdles.] Then as much as our resilience is our savior, it can also be our batterer. Finding the space to be resilient and vocal and authentic without being wholly sacrificial of ourselves can be a challenge. Lifelong internalization of using quiet strength while we mask our hurt takes great energy and support to unearth. But we have to engage in the process…

Bag lady you goin’ hurt your back/Draggin’ all ’em bags like that/I guess nobody ever told you/All you must hold on to/Is you, is you, is you… Each day has to be a process of putting down our bags and holding on to ourselves.

It is not that Black women have not been and are not strong; it is simply that this is only a part of our story, a dimension, just as the suffering is another dimension— one that has been most unnoticed and unattended to.   —bell hooks, Talking Back

We must talk back, write back. So I receive the messages that the Universe sent me and will address them the only way that I know how – to write. For too long, I’ve been a writer…that doesn’t write. I narrate the stories in my head but refrain from putting them on paper, on screen because that makes them real. That makes me visible. And to borrow Brown’s contention, I would be Open. Raw. Authentic. And that’s a scary feeling. I always have been an introvert, satisfied fading into the background. But like I was told during a conversation on tenure and the academy, “You have to put yourself out there. Your name should come up in these conversations.” That, too, is a scary feeling. Yet, no matter how frightening being open, raw, and authentic can be, the only other option is to remain in this space of numbing indifference. To remain in this space where I literally canNOT breathe, move, grow. A place where I canNOT live or be free. I must Write.Me.Free.

Dear Ebony: Let’s Celebrate Black LGBTQ Love, Too…

I spent a portion of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday randomly thumbing through books and magazines at Barnes and Noble. In the book section, I photographed the covers of several books to add to my ever-increasing ‘to read’ list. I moved to the magazine section and my eyes were drawn to Ebony magazine’s February issue with a picture of the beautiful couple Carmelo and La La Anthony on the cover. I grabbed the magazine and noticed that there were two other covers available with couples Nick Cannon and Maria Carey and David and Tamela Mann. The theme of the issue was ‘Celebrating Black Love’. Okay Ebony. I’m with you. Let’s celebrate Black Love.

Black Love - Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey, Carmelo and La La Anthony, and David and Tamela Mann

Tucked away in the back of the magazine between a Nelson Mandela tribute and photo from the Ebony archives were the stories of the three couples previously mentioned. ‘Love, Actually’, ‘Through the Fire’, and ‘All-Star Romance’ were celebratory pieces that examined the business and marital success of the Cannon-Carey duo; highlighted the 25 years and going strong marriage of the Mann’s; and debunked the perception that all male professional athletes aim to be womanizers as readers were exposed to how Carmelo Anthony decided very young and very quickly that he wanted his friend La La Vasquez to be his wife. Yes, these articles did indeed celebrate Black Love.

Following the last story is more celebration of Black Love as Ebony’s ’10 Sexiest Couples’ were included in a pictorial. These couples included Nicole Murphy and Michael Strahan, Amar’e and Alexis Stoudemire, Viola Davis and Julius Tennon, Lebron James and Savannah Brinson James, Kimberly Jackson and Ice Cube, Solange Knowles and Alan Ferguson, Steve and Marjorie Harvey, Ciara and Future, Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Josiah Bell, and Brandy and Ryan Press. Again, Ebony scored with these couples in different stages of their relationships. This pictorial was yet another celebration of Black Love.

But wait. I flipped through the Black Love section again and looked feverishly for some diversity. Yes, Black Love is diverse love, so where is the diversity, Ebony? Where are the ‘non-traditional’ representations of Black Love? Where are the LGBTQ couples? Yessss, there are Black LGBTQ folks out here loving on one another in healthy ways. So why were none of these couples included in this celebration of Black Love? [Don’t worry. I’ll wait.]
Before I got too hyped about this exclusionary heteronormative celebration of Black Love [yes, it became all that in my mind], I combed through the magazine looking for professions of Black Love. Voila! I found the ‘Love and Relationships’ section where Claire McIntosh compiled stories on maintaining the spark and building romance. I read each of the 23 stories exploring the Four R’s – Rites of Passage, Rituals, Routines, and Retreats. Presumably, not one of the stories included a LGBTQ couple. [Of course, the disclaimer here is that there was limited background on the couples, but the names and use of his/her pronouns suggested these were all heterosexual couples.]

Since 1945, Ebony has promoted the experiences of Black people in an affirming manner. It has been a beacon for addressing political, educational, cultural, religious, financial, relationship, and identity issues in the Black community. In recent years, Ebony has expanded its audience by providing more emphasis on the issues for Black LGBTQ individuals. Just last year, there were at least eight articles or letters focused on the LGBTQ community – Pride, Workplace Inequality, a Welcome Home Letter, Black LGBT Pioneers, Kwanzaa, and Coming out to Family. And yes, there were two articles on Black LGBTQ Love – Rashad Burgess and Bishop Oliver Clyde Allen III (and their daughter) were included in the ‘Coolest Black Family in America’ and the wedding of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity members Robert Brown and Nathanael Gay were celebrated. These are great examples of Black LGBTQ Love.

Noting the previous examples, it is not my suggestion that Ebony is consistently exclusionary in its celebration of Black Love. However, it is my concern that Ebony is NOT consistently inclusionary in its celebration of Black Love – and that’s a serious issue. Black LGBTQ couples should not be celebrated only when perceived as unique. [The article on the Burgess-Allen couple noted the two were ‘revolutionary’ and ‘ardent innovators’, likely due to their commitment to one another and religious convictions; and many perceived the wedding of Brown and Gay to be unique in part due to their membership in a traditionally Black fraternity.] Black LGBTQ couples are not anomalies and the scattered inclusion of said couples suggests otherwise.

In the 2015 ‘Celebrate Black Love’ issue, I hope Ebony will begin the practice of being consistently inclusionary. While there is limited ‘out’ representation of Black LGBTQ Love among Black celebrities, those couples do exist. Consider adding Monifah Carter and Terez Mychell or Janet Mock and Aaron Tredwell to the list. Lee Daniels, Meshell Ndegeocello, RuPaul, etc. are In addition, Lewis Duckett and Billy Jones, who married last year after being together for 46 years, might not be Hollywood celebrities but they are the epitome of long-lasting Black Love.

It’s time to celebrate Black Love in its many forms. Ebony, you have the platform and the voice to remind readers that Black Love is Lesbian Love, Gay Love, Bisexual Love, Transgendered Love, and Queer Love. Black Love is Love, Actually – and Unconditionally.

Eclectic GRITS