Monday, November 12, 2012
Monday, August 27, 2012
"54. everyone is waiting
to see what great thing
you'll do next." -from Wishful Thinking by Alexis Pauline Gumbs
Following in her mom Pauline's footsteps, Alexis will be participating in the International Center for Traditional Childbirth's Full Circle Doula training Nov 1-4th in Dallas, TX. Yay!!!!
When I was born, my mother, like many young mothers of color, was forced to have an unnecessary c-section. This was an act of disrespect by doctors who put their convenience over my family's wishes and it did not honor the way my mother and I wanted to come into each others lives. What would have been different if there had been a black feminist doula (or two) at the scene of my birth affirming my mother's power? My journey to become a doula and especially to do doula work together with my mother is a major act of healing. It is my intention that every child will one day be born into a world where the magic and power of black women is revered and respected at every moment! It is also a necessary act of revisiting my own birth that I see as a crucial part of my journey to become a mother someday soon! :)
Becoming a community supported doula is a dream coming true and a wish about to be fulfilled. DO you believe that the world will be better with our mother/daughter doula project? Do you believe in the power of a black feminist love evangelist poet facilitator in the birthing room? Then YOU are part of the community that I am accountable to!
I am looking for 57 people to donate any amount that feels right to them as an affirmation of the necessity and power of this work we are doing together to rebirth the world! Each donor will receive an original collage based around the 57 wish poem Wishful Thinking. I appreciate your support and your love! Spread the word! And donate here:
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Check out this recap video of the inspiring amazing Broken Beautiful Conference. I'm so affirmed and honored that the legacy of BrokenBeautiful Press is growing in such healing ways and led by brilliant young women of color!!!!!
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
This is What it Feels Like
“It is an internal sense of satisfaction to which, once we have experienced it, we know we can aspire. For having experienced the fullness of this depth of feeling and recognizing its power, in honor and self-respect we can require no less of ourselves. “
-Audre Lorde Uses of the Erotic
When it’s right it feels like a note Aretha just sang.
When it’s right it feels like dancing in warm rain.
When it’s right it feels like the ocean, ever deep, ever lifting me up.
When it’s right it feels like still waters rushing nowhere, knowing its source is the same place it must return.
When it’s right it feels like a “first” experience.
When it’s right it feels like a longing for something true, true feeling.
When it’s right it feels like a yearning, like intimacy without physical contact, a yearning of the spirit.
When it’s right it feels soft.
When it’s right it feels like fresh air.
When it’s right it feels like air gently bristling in the hairs on the back of my neck.
When it’s right it feels complicated sweet, freshing sweet, like lemonade.
When it’s right it feels abundant and free.
When it’s right it feels limitless.
When it’s right it feels timeless.
When it’s right it feels deep and endless.
When it’s right it feels like a way out of no way.
When it’s right it feels like something out of anything.
When it’s right it feels like gospel choirs singing!
When it’s right it feels like Nina and Jill and E. Badu and Ella getting together for a jam session.
When it’s right it feels like the music of the heart.
When it’s right it feels like lovers.
When it’s right it feels like a mother’s hug.
When it’s right it feels like everyone is there, ancestors, future beings, everyone I love.
When it’s right it feels like a prepared-perfected-my-craft-ready-to-serve orgasm!
When it’s right it feels like the word “YES!” bursting in my chest.
When it’s right it feels unstoppable.
When it’s right it feels like I was meant to be no other place in the universe.
When it’s right it feels like Audre whispered this to June once, full of hope.
When it’s right it feels like a dream I had that must have never ended.
When it’s right it feels.
This is what it feels like!
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
You now (only until the end of June) have the opportunity to buy one, or two or three or several tiny origami folded poetry books by yours truly as part of my fundraiser to publish my chapbook Such Rainbows a series of love poems to my inspired community edited by Mai'a Williams! Poetry for poetry's sake indeed!
These teeny tiny books of poetry that has never been published anywhere before are perfect for your pocket, for a gift or for a fabulous fan during this hot hot summer!
Donate $5 for one little book, $10 for 2 little books and $14 to take three little books all the way home. Be sure to specify which books you want and your current address!!!
A big claim for a tiny book right?
Enjoy some strong impact small poems inspired by Phillis Wheatley, Kanye West, Saidiya Hartman, Countee Cullen, Margaret Danner and the blackest things you know, like the ocean at night and wrought iron.
After Dark: Remix Haikus for June
This series of remix haikus based on June Jordan's Things That I Do in the Dark is a deep breath. A to do list. A prayer in a darkroom, a black feminist afterglow. The perfect thing to read this June.
Harlem Sidewalk Monument
to Straight Hair Gone Forever
This experiment is a memorial to the over-rated straightness of a girl born crooked. A series of intentional square poems engage the anthropology of Zora Neale Hurston, steam of a Dominican hair salon, breakdancing, cardboard and the undead Aaliyah. Yes.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Using the Mothering Ourselves Manifesta we acknowledged the fact that collaborating allows us to evolve out of the language of struggle into the language of creativity we are not making "something out of nothing" we are honoring what is present in our lives and our communities and mobilizing our creativity to make something out of ANYTHING! This week's group poem celebrates that clarity. Enjoy!
by the participants in the Eye to Eye Webinar on Collaboration for Community Accountable Scholars
“We can make something out of anything.” From the Mothering Ourselves Manifesta distilled from Audre Lorde’s Eye to Eye: Black Women Hatred and Anger
We can make something out of anything.
We can make home out of movement
We can make a movement out of feet stuck in the same mud.
We can make reality out of dreams
We can make family out of distances
We can make eternity out of the shortest stolen moments
We can make mothers out of brothers
We can make mothered mothers mothering abundant out of would-be martyrs suffering in silence (ourselves)
We can make love out of heartbreaking laws.
We can make delicious banana fritters out of overipe fruit we forgot.
We can make ourselves anew in order to recognize & show up for our brillance...
We can make difference be the springboard for greatness...
We can make our own cool, cultured collabos!
We can make it ALLL. Right!
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Just Saying/See You There
By the Brilliance Remastered Eye to Eye Participants
After Audre Lorde’s “At First I Thought You Were Talking About…”
I speak the language of roots up, all the way everything must be changed.
She speaks the language of measurable deliverables.
I speak the language of rainwater-clarification-process-matters.
They speak jampack big words together like a train
I speak the language of here right here at home.
He speaks the language of inevitable uprise class struggle like science.
I speak in things felt a knowing of my bones
He through well thought out equations elaborate logic models
I speak in hope
I speak "like me"
She speaks I like you, but not always
She speaks me first. She speaks my kids first. She speaks secrets
I speak 69 years. He speaks FaceBook
I speak plan with flexibility.
They speak plan and stick to it.
I speak student wants and needs
They speak stick to what we need to see only
I speak possible risky let's do it
they speak practical hedged bet sacrifice
I speak concepts & ideas are real, they are tangible, touchable.
They speak “huh, what you what you talking bout sistah?”
I speak seek the relationship
They speak: seek the product(s)
I speak the language of the academy sometimes
he speaks shyness, grammar of booze and sex
sometimes I speak no grammar language
But I know that:
“Black girls are from the future” and that
“Everything we do is insignificant. Yet it is incredibly
important that we do it.”  And that
Children are full people who have something to say
And that trusting is like tree roots and we reach down, tangled up
And that everything we need is already within us
And that I am who I am doing what I came to do
And that our silence will NOT save us.
SO I am seeking the place where the language of risky radicalism
meets the pragmatism of those who have seen the consequences
the place where afrofuturefearlessness meets blackbloodsoilhistory
the place where we feel whole meets
the place where we are allowed to be prisms of light
the place where faith meets shaking legs
the place where level headed realists can meet starry eyed dreamers
the place where good intentions meet critical implementation
the place where longing meets listening
the place where yes meets i know
the place where why meets when
the place where--as white people--we remember without expectation of forgiveness
we account for what has been lost and stolen
the place where but i have _______ friends, so I couldn't be __________
meets self introspection
the place where bourgie balancing meets grace
where press and curl meets this is my natural curl
the place where longing children meet absent parents
the place where wholeness meets brokenness
where miracles equal a mere embrace
the place where courage (like jumping into a cold river)
meets self-determination (where are the rocks at the bottom)
the place where the long night meets the pale kiss of morning
the place where water and sky are indistinguishable
the place how i was raised meets raise UP!
the place where can't get right GETS RIGHT
the place where hope meets salvation
where the souls of the living dance hot and fast in love, light
and treating each other right
the place where the love you always wanted meets the love you always had
See you there.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
We talked about what is at stake our collaborations, nothing less than the world we want to live in and create together. We supported each other in holding ourselves to a standard where our collaborations themselves embody the values we have for our future, and where the impact of that collaborative work on US is not sacrificial, but also consistent with the nourishing vision we have for our species on the planet.
We made ourselves poets with this similie standard for what our collaborations can feel like, what our futures can feel like, what our days right now can feel like.
Be Like: A Poetic Vision for Collaboration
by the participants of the Eye to Eye Webinar on Radical Collaboration for Community Accountable Scholars
like breathing, like recognition, like gratitude
like manna from heaven, free and plentiful for all
like eye contact, like risky breath, like skin
like ease, like willingness, like welcoming
like food on the table, like real justice for all, like freedom
like deep earthy soul bearing funky togetherness
like sisters I never had, like a family we are making everyday
like the joy of decoding a secret language
like celebration, like faces touching, like cherished communion and congratulation
like everyday cheer for your graduation from another insight-filled day of being you
like a shower, refreshed remembrance that I don’t have to be everyone
like a rub on the back looking at me eye to eye
like face to face, foreheads pressed in affirmation
like life sustained, like clean water, like no more premature deaths
like being excited and grateful you exist
like love, like love, like loving
like coming home at last
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Spring is thoroughly SPRUNG and collaborators Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Ph.D. and Julia Roxanne Wallace, M.Div. are proud to present their newest dream come true: Black Feminist Film School!!!
Read our founding document Create Anew: Black Feminist Filmmaking as Spiritual Leadership by Julia Roxanne Wallace!
Read about our first superstar public event on Black Feminist Filmmaking featuring the early works of Cheryl Dunye and the brilliance of Yvonne Welbon, Katina Parker and Julia Roxanne Wallace here: http://blackfeministfilmschool.wordpress.com/events/
Check out our first Black Feminist Film forum on Camille Billops and Suzanne Suzanne with reflections by Kai Green, Julia Wallace and Alexis Pauline Gumbs here: http://blackfeministfilmschool.wordpress.com/films-filmmakers/#reflectionssuzanne
How can you get involved?1. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get on our Black Feminist Film School update list so you can get notices about our screenings and workshops!
2. Save the date August 15-22 to come to Durham, North Carolina for our first experimental, healing, ancestor accountable exercise in performance and documentation as part of Queer Black August in Durham! (email email@example.com to get updates about Queer Black August specifically)
3. Contribute! Do you have a rare Black feminist film to send to our library? Are you a Black feminist filmmaker that wants to donate a film or speak at a screening? Do you just love the project and want to donate money towards this crucial and long overdue manifestation of brilliance? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or donate here:
About Black Feminist Film SchoolBorn out of our frustration with the glaring exclusion of films and discourse by, about or for Black women in Julia's film school experience and our deep love for the possibility of Black feminism in all forms, Black Feminist Film School is a collaboration between Black feminist scholar/filmmaker Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Ph.D and Black feminist filmmaker/scholar Julia Roxanne Wallace, M.Div.
Our project has 2 key components:
1. Is there Black feminist tradition in film? Make space for a discourse about Black feminism in film and a conceptual framework in which contemporary filmmakers and theorists of film can participate in, measure, look out for and/or critique the presence or possibility of Black feminism specifically in the medium of film/video by
- screenings and discussions of rare/underdistributed films by Black women directors/writer/producers in our hometown of Durham, North Carolina and around the country.
- online forums on this site by Black feminist scholars about the possibility of Black feminism in important films by Black women
- sharing information about the locations of rare/hard to see films by Black feminist filmmakers
- developing a curriculum on Black feminist film, piloted in a community setting
2. Where my Black feminist filmmakers at? Infuse Black feminist community, and in particular under-represent Black women and genderqueer filmmakers and future filmmakers with the skills to use film to express their visions and transform our society by:
- hosting a series of accessible community workshops that share the skills of script-writing, producing, shooting, lighting, editing, sound and all the other skills crucial to making high quality films
- creating partnerships between existing institutions/equipment sources and potential Black feminist filmmakers
- building community between existing Black feminist filmmakers, with an emphasis on queer and genderqueer Black filmmakers
- creating an all queer of color and allied cast and crew for Julia's upcoming film!
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
These budding powerhouses, leaders in media, politics, sports, and science, are facilitating our future. Meet the architects of the next decade.
Alexis Pauline Gumbs & Julia Wallace • 29 & 32
Historians, Mobile Homecoming
In 2009, Alexis Pauline Gumbs and Julia Wallace were at a conference in North Carolina, attended primarily by black lesbians, and realized they were the youngest people there. Listening to the older women, “it became very obvious that the choices they had made and the things they had done had made things better for us,” Gumbs says. Adds Wallace: “We became very excited about the experiences they had.” That led the partners in life and work to get on the road and seek out African-American LGBT elders (basically, anyone older than they are) around the nation for a project called Mobile Homecoming. Gumbs and Wallace are documenting their subjects’ lives through video and audio interviews that they plan to assemble into a documentary film by the end of next year, and they are also holding intergenerational events and collecting photos, manuscripts, and other artifacts for an archive of black LGBT life.
The effort “has been affirming and sometimes overwhelming,” Gumbs says. In some cases, “people have been waiting all their life for someone to listen to them.” Wallace says the project made her realize “we have a responsibility to our elders and our ancestors to take care of each other.” In addition to Mobile Homecoming, Gumbs’s projects include BrokenBeautiful Press, a website where activists can share resources, and Brilliance Remastered, which offers online seminars, individual coaching, and other assistance for scholars. Wallace is founder of Queer Renaissance, which uses the Internet and other media to connect artists, activists, entrepreneurs, and others. Soon the busy duo will be collaborating on a children’s book as well.
Monday, April 23, 2012
Greetings Bright Thunder!
Applications are now open for May's Webinar Eye to Eye: Radical Collaboration for Community Accountable Scholars! Sign up by April 30th!
Eye to Eye will meet on four Tuesdays in May (8, 15, 22, 29)
Eye to Eye is an opportunity to get real about how individualism, internalized oppression and a capitalism-produced need to seem smart can get in the way of creating meaningful collaborations and useful intellectual partnerships with the communities that we love the most. It is also an opportunity to find partners to collaborate with and to create plans for becoming the unstoppable, interconnected, community accountable scholars we want to be!
Required reading: Audre Lorde's Eye to Eye: Black Women Hatred and Anger
The Eye to Eye Webinar Includes:
- a workbook based on Audre Lorde's Eye to Eye
- 4 live webinar discussion sessions facilitated by Alexis Pauline Gumbs and attended by aligned visionary underrepresented scholars
- inclusion in an ongoing networking google-group for webinar graduates
- theme songs to release internalized oppression as we reach out into collaboration!
To apply for the Eye to Eye Webinar email email@example.com with your responses to the following questions:
Contact information: (phone, email)
Who are you and what are you up to?
Why do you want to take this webinar?
What times are you available on Tuesdays in May? (Include your time zone!)
Alexis Pauline Gumbs, PhD
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
This Sunday was the second session of The Angry Intellectual: Channeling Rage for Transformation! We are training ourselves to use the energy and insight of our anger to create transformative relationships, not to reproduce domination. Here are some stones on our path.
After Audre Lorde’s “Journeystones I-X”
a quarry of clarity from the Angry Intellectuals
(or a can of stones to kick)
i can drop my need to be right all the time
i can drop my fear of seeming like a failure
drop my need to be liked
drop my need to fix things for other people
i can drop my tendency to bear it alone....
i can drop the need to always do more...sometimes i have already done (MORE THAN) enough. capitalism kills.
i can drop my fear of being judged
i can stop faking the funk like any revolution has gone smoothly
i can drop the need to fit in completely. i'm different (in some ways) and it's good.
and my shoes are cute :)
i can drop my hard rock need to seem like i can never be hurt
i can drop the fear of never being hurt...and suspecting that the present is simply the past in a new body, time, and person
which also must mean i have to drop a refusal to deal with past hurts
i can drop my expectations of other black women to be the perfect me i wish i was
i can drop my fear of seeming needy
i can drop my fear of being my mother
and me of being my father...
and me of being reactionary
i can drop my need to be right/to focus on just my hurt so that i can see that other’s actions are really out of fear
i can allow compassion, instead of pushing it away.
i can drop my shoulders and release the pent up tension. that's not even a good warrior pose!
i can drop the teacher/academic/professional pose which hinders the possibilities of radical education
i can drop those standards of grace that were not mine/ours to begin with
i can drop those perfectionist tendencies....
i can drop the idea of speaking to anger or emotion as taking up too much space.
i can drop my fear that i'm taking up too much space.
i can drop my fear that my community won't hold me.
i can drop my fast conclusions which foreclose the possibilities of allies
i can drop my fear of my own healing and give others permission to heal
i can drop my need to hide love. I feel deeply and I need to say it often.
i can drop my need to seem rational when I KNOW my feelings hold truth
i can drop my distrust of my body. my body knows the truth!
Thursday, April 12, 2012
This group poem highlights some of the wisdom that our anger reminds us to act on!!!
A Group Poem by the Participants in the Angry Intellectuals Webinar
Channeling Rage for Transformation
I know that there is magic in my rage, and power in its love
I know that every emotion I express is valid
I know transformation is possible possible possible
I know I have the power to create create create from something, from anything from nothing
I know that my work is valuable and matterfact PRICELESS!
I know that the lives of black girls are priceless and sacred everyday. Including Sunday!
I know I'm happy I got to go to black feminist "church" this afternoon :)
I know I am grateful for this space.
I know that we need more of these spaces, for the many more like us out there
I know that state sanctioned, vigilante style, wrongful death--genoicide--is wrong
I know that love is always the answer
I know the power of our knowledge and love is stronger than capitalist ignorance that has those i love captivated.
I know that the revolution begins with the self
I know I have more to learn. I know I must be held accountable.
I know that being present is an uncomfortable lifestyle I must embrace
I know Superiority, Supremacy is not used to having to listen to the invisible.
And, I will not remain invisible.
I know that I am beautiful.
I know that I am more than enough
I know that I am bigger than any institution
I know that we can do this work....
and I know that I am not yet who I desire to be but all things in due time...
I know I am not limited by my physical challenges
I know I have what I need to do the work I am here to do. Actualize!
I know, as a white woman, other white people often don't want me to respond to racism.
and yes I know that wrong is not my name
I know that my ancestors are right here right now.
I know I am not alone. I am surrounded in love.
I know that I am surrounded in and filled with transformative LOVE!
I know that letting go and not holding on is healing. Pack light
I know that we have strength in community. Not alone at all.
I know that my emotional clarity and expression will not only heal myself, but my community
I know when we come together to give others the space to express themselves
we give ourselves permission to be who we are
I know that my knowing is growing by the day.
I know that I know that I know that I know that I KNOW!
I know “they” betta act like they know
I know we betta act like we know!
(I know that I don't want this to end just yet :-)
Monday, April 09, 2012
This audio goodness comes from the newest educational program of Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind which is Brilliance Remastered (alexispauline.com/brillianceremastered) especially for community accountable scholars and visionary under-represented graduate students based on the ever blooming brilliance of Audre Lorde!
This podcast is inspired by the brilliance of the participants in the first webinar Remastered Tools 101! It includes group poems and definitions that we came up with during the webinar sessions and some of my favorite music from NC and the rest of the world! (Nneena Freelon, Bradford Marsalis, Pierce Freelon, Apple Juice Kid, Fantasia, Frou Frou, Fela Kuti, Stevie Wonder, Suheir Hammad, Goapele, Phillis Hyman and Res!)
At first I had planned for this podcast to be only for the webinar participants and our pre-existing monthly sustainers, but it is just TOO good not to share more widely! So anyone who makes a donation to Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind or becomes a monthly sustainer in APRIL will get a link to the podcast to groove to yourself or to share with a visonary under-represented graduate student/emerging community accountable scholar who you LOVE!
Wednesday, April 04, 2012
In the middle of the fourth and final session (it's so hard to say goodbye) of the Remastered Tools 101 Webinar, we affirmed the fact that daily truth is a crucial tool for empowered community accountable intellectual work. In order to stay in each other's lives every day beyond the webinar we shared the daily mantras that remind us WHAT IT REALLY IS! We will be putting these affirmations in our homes, pockets, bags, offices so that we can see them everyday and we invite you to do the same!
Remastered Tools 101: Daily Mantras:
"you here to remind people of free" -marvin k white
“I am who I am doing what I came to do.” –Audre Lorde
“Being open to receiving and giving blessings will keep you in touch with your passion, the passion you need to make it to the finish line. Get excited about your work and know that when you change the way you look at things, things you look at change. Go get em’ girl. I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your being.” –Melissa’s Auntie
“Nothing in the world is as soft and yielding as water, yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible nothing can surpass it.” –Tao Te Ching
“I wish to live because life has within it that which is good, that which is beautiful and that which is love.” Lorraine Hansberry
“Salt water can heal anything.” Lex’s Pop-pop
“Go on and be what we couldn’t.” Mississippi Damned
“We can learn to mother ourselves.” Audre Lorde
“How you treat yourself if how you treat God. You are the representation of God in your life.”
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” Lao Tzu
“Are you sure, sweetheart, that you want to be well.” Minnie Ransom from Toni Cade Bambara’s The Salt Eaters
“Consistency is manifestation.“ Queen Hollins
“There is an invisible red threat that connects all human beings and though it may stretch or tangle it will never break.” Chinese Proverb
“Love is lifeforce.” June Jordan
“A thing is mighty big when time and distance cannot shrink it.” –Zora Neale Hurston
“There is a close connection between sexual repression and extreme aggression.”
“This is my granddaughter the poet.” Lex’s Grandma
“Caminante, no hay puentes, se hace puentes, se hace puentes al andar./ Voyager, there are no bridges, one builds them as one walks.” –Gloria Anzaldua
“Listen to each person as if she is your great teacher uttering her last words.”-Hafiz
“Safety is always necessarily an illusion.” –James Baldwin
“The work is the diva.” Zakia
“The best way to do it is to do it!” Toni Cade Bambara
“Everything in the universe is within you. Ask all from yourself.” Rumi
“Movement is medicine.” Brown Femi Power
“Relationships not resumes.” –Thaura Distro
“Wrong is not my name. My name is my own my own my own my own.” –June Jordan
“We have the opportunity and the responsibility to become fifty times greater than we thought we could be.” Grace Lee Boggs and James Boggs
“We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous. Actually, who are you not to be?” Marianne Williams
“Warrior get up!” Climbing Poetree
“So it is better to speak, remembering we were never meant to survive.” Audre Lorde
“Black girls are from the future.” Renina Jarmon
Thursday, March 08, 2012
Survival is Not
(when academics kill)
“Survival is not an academic skill.” -Audre Lorde “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House”
“Capitalism of the mind makes us all stupid.” Anna Torres’s advisor
Based on a group poem activity by the 2012 Remastered Tools 101 crew!
Survival is not the death of me.
Survival is not the death of you.
And I wish people would stop making it so complicated.
Love is not an academic skill.
Listening is not an academic skill.
Liberation is not an academic skill.
Compassion is not an academic skill.
Care is not an academic skill.
Comradeship is not an academic skill.
Courage is not an academic skill.
Mindfulness is not an academic skill.
Humility is not an academic skill.
Self-correction is not an academic skill.
Feminism is not an academic skill.
Speaking truth to power is not an academic skill.
Visibility is not an academic skill.
Affirming the beauty of others is not an academic skill.
Honoring one another and our visions are not academic skills.
Ethics are not academic skills.
Trust is not an academic skill.
Trusting intuitive power and hope are not academic skills.
Nurturing spirit is not an academic skill.
Being human is not an academic skill.
Being yourself is not an academic skill.
Creating family is not an academic skill.
What our grandmothers taught us
and what we learn through the body are not academic skills.
Dancing is not an academic skill.
Making love is not an academic skill.
Survival is not an optional skill.
Survival is not a game for pay.
Survival is not the illusion of safety.
Survival is not thinking we need to fit into boxes.
Survival is not becoming who you need me to be.
Survival is not holding our breath.
Survival is not made possible by overriding our bodies.
Survival is not possible without rest.
Survival is not scary when we know what we are living for.
Community is everything.
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
Friday March 16, 2012
At the NEW Inspiration Station
(email firstname.lastname@example.org for directions)
"Rock in the manner of a quiet sea. Hum softly from your heart. Repeat the victim's name with love." -from Indigo's "Emergency Care of Wounds that Cannot be Seen" in Ntozake Shange's Sassafrass Cypress and Indigo.
Inspired by Ntozake Shange's brilliant novel Sassafrass, Cypress and Indigo, I present to you INDIGO NIGHT SCHOOL (aka night-time is the right time). We will be convening on the Fridays closest to this season's new moons into Spring for evening long rituals based on the magical remedies, recipies and rituals of the healer-girl sister in the novel, our beloved Indigo. This is a special sacred space for grown black warrior healers who identify as black women and/or black two-spirit, twinspirit, gatekeeper or genderqueer folks.
Please join me in participating in three sessions of luxurious, fragrant, nourishing evening rituals where we can set our intentions, support each other and bask in the brilliance of a Black Feminist literary legacy!!!!
Save the Dates!
Healing (Wounds that can/not be seen) Friday, March 16th, 6pm-10pm
Dreams Coming True Friday, April 20th, 6pm-10pm
Sunday, February 19, 2012
this is how i know
that skin is thin and bright and precious
that song can be broke
love slice the veins
that beauty is a call
and we are all responsible
-excerpt from Almost Bop for Whitney Houston by Alexis Pauline Gumbs
Falling in love is so bittersweet. The life and death of Whitney Houston offer an emotional, spiritual and political challenge to black feminism. How do we balance the brilliance of her voice and offer up optimism for her spirit transition while also taking seriously the issues of addiction, relationship violence and the exploitation of black women that continue to harm our communities? How do we feel about R. Kelly having space at the altar at her funeral? Is her long time aide and companion Robyn being written out of the story in a way that hides the complexity and depth of black women's love?
There are many conversations to have and a lot of healing still to do. The upcoming Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind Podcast Every Heart Beat seeks to honor the complexity of a black feminist relationship to Whitney Houston's life, brilliance and struggles.
Please send your:
- written letters/poems and statements for Whitney
- recorded messages of healing for all of us who face addiction, interpersonal violence and exploitation (send recordings as mp3 files if possible)
- and song requeststo email@example.com by Feb. 27th at 5pm to be included in the podcast.
Alexis Pauline Gumbs
Monday, February 13, 2012
Remastered Tools 101 is an opportunity to examine our relationship to knowledge and our theories of change as they relate to the work we do as scholars and the work we empower with our scholarship. We will investigate how dependence on systems that are NOT community accountable are cultivated even in the most seemingly radical fields and support each other in creating visions for our own community accountability.
Remastered Tools will run on Wednesday evenings March 7-28
Required Reading: Audre Lorde's The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House
The Remastered Tools 101 Webinar includes:
- a workbook based on Audre Lorde's The Master's Tools
- 4 live webinar discussion sessions facilitated by Alexis Pauline Gumbs and attended by aligned visionary underrepresented scholars
- inclusion in an ongoing networking google-group for webinar graduates
- group theme songs to rock to while you smash the system :)
Rate: $25-50 per participant per session ($100-200 for the whole course) or FREE for one-on-one coaching clients.
To apply for the Remastered Tools 101 Webinar email firstname.lastname@example.org with your responses to the following questions:
Contact information: (phone, email)
Who are you and what are you up to?
Why do you want to take this webinar?
Thursday, February 09, 2012
Brilliance Remastered: For Visionary Under-represented Grad Students and Emerging Community Accountable Scholars!
Calling all community accountable scholars and visionary under-represented grad students!
Hey there bright thunder!
Do you ever feel isolated and misunderstood in your department? Do you ever feel that the passions that motivated you to get your degree are contradicted more and more by the process of getting there? Do you feel like you are in limbo? That even the well-meaning advisors around you know how to help you conform to academic standards, but can't be accountable to the ways you want to TRANSFORM?
Never fear. You are not alone. As Audre Lorde famously said to an academic conference filled with feminist scholars: "The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house." But less people remember that immediately afterwards she reminded us that "This fact is only threatening to those who still define the master's house as their only source of support."
Brilliance Remastered is about going beyond our critique of the master's tools in order to cultivate the already existing tangible forms of support that can free us up to do the brilliant work we were born to do inside the academy and beyond it.
I had the miraculous experience of a wildly successful and enjoyable experience in graduate school. I wrote, published, traveled, presented, finished in a very timely manner and was even offered some exciting and attractive tenure track jobs. At the same time built an ecology of community institutions and autonomous community accountable intellectual projects that allowed me to freely choose to do my passionate work in the ways that would best serve my community and my vision for a transformed planet beyond the scarcity model of academic self-marketing.
I found that the key to a miraculous experience of community accountable scholarship was
- constantly being in touch with the deeper purpose of my intellectual work
- remaining connected and accountable to the communities that I love
Brilliance Remastered is my contribution to shifting the paradigm of what we do as community accountable scholars. It is my intention that your experience of graduate school is not full of paranoia, proving yourself, being misunderstood and overlooked, but rather of radiant and inspiring opportunities to bring your best intellectual resources to the issues and communities you care about. I also intend that when you finish graduate school you are not grabbing for crumbs based on what academic institution wants to hire and tokenize and overwork an under-represented person with your specialties, but rather that you will be able to choose to continue your passionate inquiry on your own terms in ways that prioritize and support strategies of power for the communities you love.
Brilliance Remastered is a wellspring for remembering that as Audre Lorde said, the master's house is not our only form of support. As community, we are our primary and most valuable sources of support. Browse our webinars, one-on-one coaching offerings, blog and podcasts for resources to affirm your vision and support your growth whether you are deciding whether to go to graduate school, struggling to finish or start your thesis or dissertation, needing tools to rearticulate your purpose or to build a community of support. I know that working with you, bright thunder aka brilliant visionaries who are ready to transform the world, will have an impact on the meaning of scholarship and the usefulness of intellectuals for generations to come.
Let's get started!
Alexis Pauline Gumbs, PhD
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
"When you first realize your blood has come, smile an honest smile, for you are about to have an intense union with your magic." -from Marvelous Menstruating Moments (as told by Indigo to her dolls...) in Ntozake Shange's Sassafrass, Cypress and Indigo
On March 3rd 2012 my mother and I (also known as the Thicker Than Whatever Unstoppable Mother/Daughter Team) will be be co-facilitating a special love-filled workshop for kids who might be about to menstruate or who have started recently and for their mamas/main supporters called Love Overflow: Marvelous Menstruating Moment. This will be a daylong intergenerational workshop at the new Eternal Summer space (aka the Greenhouse...where we grow!) with play, affirmation, storysharing and special spaces just for mamas and just for young folks to process their relationship to the physical, spiritual and social transformations going on at the ever-exciting time of puberty.
My mom is traveling from Atlanta in Durham to be my partner in this endeavor and we are so excited! We wanted to invite our entire community to support this project!!!!
We especially invite those of you (of any gender or identification) who have ever had an experience menstruating to add to our wisdom overflow by sharing a piece of wisdom you learned from your own experience menstruating as a note with your paypal donation below. Or just email your wisdom to me at email@example.com!
Lex (and Pauline)
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Venerating Dr. Nina Simone: Conjure Woman, Soul Woman
by: Ebony Noelle Golden,
Co-Founder/ Co-Curator of Women on Wednesday Art and Culture Project
Women on Wednesday Arts and Culture Project honors the incomparable Dr. Nina Simone as the ancestral mother for WoW2012: The Naked Edition. WoWs organizers honor Nina Simone because of her unabashed boldness and fearless dedication to truth-telling, liberation and creative excellence. Join us in celebrating the brilliance of Nina Simone this month and every month.
Nina Simone was born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in Tryon, North Carolina February 21, 1933 and transitioned April 21, 2003. Her life, legacy, music, fashion and pursuit of liberation serve as guide for how black girls, women and the rest of the world can live their NAKED TRUTHS.
I was first introduced to Nina Simone in college. Every summer I taught dance and worked as a choreographer for the Young Performers Program at the Ensemble Theatre in Houston, TX. My first summer, I choreographed Lorraine Hansberry’s play “To Be Young Gifted and Black.” While researching the piece, I found Simone and remember listening to the song a few hundred times. I remember thinking that she didn’t necessarily have a melodic voice, but instead a committed voice. A voice that made to sit up and pay attention. A voice that demanded every listener recognize the wealth that is the black youth, black talent and just blackness overall. From then, I was hooked. Using her work in my scholarly, artistic and amorous adventures.
Years later, I remember playing a game of chest with a lover, who didn’t dig her sound. Her voiced opened me to a greater capacity of strategic maneuvering. I remember my lover asking about her, where she came from, why did I like her. I remember being bothered by his lack of love and admiration for Simone. In the months following that game of chest, I continued to play Simone’s music. Eventually, he learned to love her, and couldn’t remember the time when he didn’t appreciate her voice.
In a time where the cult of black respectability forced women and men to bend to white culture and standards, she was a member of a crew politically active, cultural warriors who visioned and worked for a world where creative innovation and liberation conspired to blaze a trail of possibility, beauty and freedom for communities, artists organizers and educators the world-over.
Simone’s iconic sound, political action and musical innovation resisted tradition, form and boundaries. Songs like “Mississippi Goddam” and “Four Women” season the soundtrack of liberation movements for global human rights. Always the conjure woman; Simone was able to move the crowd with the greatest of ease, radicalize a soul with a moan or a hollar, change the temperature of a room with a stoke of the piano and delve into the heart of all that is beautiful and troubling about the world with her soothing or harsh tones. She was one bad mama-jama.
This contemporary moment finds Nina Simone just as relevant. Simone serves as the muse for many Hip-hop artists, theatre-makers, dancers, choreographers and visual artists around the globe. Several of the Women on Wednesday Art and Culture Project participants are currently or have in the past created work that honors her life and legacy.
I wrote the poem below a few years ago. It is included in a poetry collection I am building and obsessed with called “again, the watercarriers.” The collection, includes a section dedicated to the diverse manifestations of the conjure woman archetype. That section includes a suite of poems dedicated to the one and only Nina Simone.
conjure woman, soul woman
they say you stole shadows
you cast babyspirits out in nocturnal limboyou make them wander
in search of womb
in search of milk
in search of the space between heaven and hell
where each step is a breathsqueeze
they say you keep a sachet of boneshavings crescent city spit
and motherlanddust under your slip
that you blew
the brows clean off a man's forehead
for cutting his eyes at you
they say you could have been a street preacher
but you couldn't keep your legs closed
or pray just to our lord jesus
i know a woman who carries your face
and she aint nothing but sanctified
and she speak sweet like i hear you speak
and her fingers too are wands that stir heaven
and she holds night in her skinsings it to her children when dawn breaks
they really don't know how you got the blood and the lightening in your tone
don't know how you swung back this lifetime without wings
know how you birthed us with out light so
they call you witch when obeah be your name
call you mystery when you are everywhere like dew
magician when magician you are
they call you alien when you are mamathey call you alien cause you tune our hearts
your name be obeah
you bend time
siphon your way through space
i hear you do it
stretch through speakers at me
stretch through speakers at me
just when i get tired of shouting freedom
writing freedom birthing freedom
stretch through speakers at me--your groove
a feathered redemption
About the Author
Hailing from Houston, TX, Ebony Noelle Golden is a cultural worker, artist and creative director of Betty’s Daughter Arts Collaborative, LLC and artistic director of Body Ecology Performance Ensemble. Ebony's current bodies of work include: "RingShout for Reproductive Justice" and "again, the watercarriers." She also writes about jazz, culture and liberation for Okayplayer’s The Revivalist Magazine. www.bettysdaughterarts.com.
Motto: Engage, Create, Empower
Mission: WoW is dedicated to celebrating the creativity, empowerment, holistic health, and civic engagement of black girls and women.
In honoring the voices of women and girls of the African Diaspora, “Women on Wednesdays: Art and Culture Series” privileges our ancestors and their labor, affirming our collective truth – we do not walk alone, and we could not create transformative and innovative art without the journeys of those who came before us. Thus, WoW creates a space for our ancestors’ at every “Women on Wednesdays” event, encouraging participating artists and audience members to share this sacred space.
This series’ success is notable, because it provided women of color professional and emerging artists with an opportunity to share their work, engaging audience members in talk-backs after each performance. Such opportunities are crucial for women of color and our community. Though many social and political advances have been made, cultural art-making by women and girls of the African Diaspora still lacks the support often granted to others. “Women on Wednesdays: Art and Culture Series” celebrates our labor and creativity, putting women of color at the center of cultural exchange while simultaneously creating a welcome space for audiences which may not have known of this work without such a platform for expression.
To find out more about Women on Wednesday Art and Culture Project visit our Facebook Group or wowproject.yolasite.com.