As someone who is a DIY (Do-it-Yourself) artist, I encourage women of color (of all self-identified genders/sexualities) to write, self-publish, make their own movies, etc. Because if they don’t tell their stories, no one else will. I’m happy to promote “TransParent; A Story of Loss in a Community Misunderstood” a new film written by queer activist Natasha T. Miller:
“TransParent is a film about the life of Shelley “Treasure” Hilliard, a Detroit 19-year-old girl, beloved by her family and friends. TransParent is a film about Shelley’s murder, about a hate crime that wasn’t prosecuted as one. TransParent is about the struggle to forgive. TransParent is about Detroit. TransParent is about projections and perceptions and communities misrepresented and misunderstood. TransParent is about incredible beauty and horrific violence. TransParent is about a grieving mother and her commitment to honor her daughter, Treasure.”
If you can afford to contribute a few dollars to her project, please do so!! Miller has met her initial goal, but I’m sure some extra funds wouldn’t hurt 🙂
If you consider yourself an avid reader, yet have never read or heard of Octavia Butler, for shame! No, but seriously, Octavia Butler should be on every reader’s book list. She was a gifted writer (sadly, Ms. Butler passed away in 2006), who used her talents to tackle issues on race, gender, class, sexuality, etc., within science fiction books. I understand everyone doesn’t like sci-fi, but I challenge folks to read at least one book by Octavia Butler. You will not be disappointed. I think a good starting point would be Butler’s “Kindered.” It’s a quick and easy read.
There are two young black women writers, working on a book, in honor of Ms. Butler. In the writers own words:“It’s an anthology of radical science and speculative fiction written by organizers and activists.” If you can, support their Indiegogo campaign….
Happy reading!! I will be sharing other summer book recommendations. Keep an eye out 🙂
The picture was courtesy of a group called Oakland Street Art. On their website it was noted why they do what they do: “A space to document, share, and appreciate the wealth of beautiful street art in Oakland – from murals and graffiti to stenciling, stickers and chalking.” The caption of the picture read: Anti-sexual harassment stickers up around Lake Merritt: “Stop telling women to smile.”
I related to all of the stickers, but especially the one telling women to smile. It’s bad enough that some white folks expect you to be their Mammy and skin and grin for them, but it’s also annoying some black men expect this as well. Now remember I said SOME black men. I know other men engage in this behavior (obviously), but my interactions tend to be with black men, regarding this issue.
I have had black men get angry with me, because I wasn’t cheesing. Never mind the fact I might’ve had a bad day, singing my favorite tune in my head and didn’t notice them, just realized I didn’t have enough to get a caramel mocha from Starbucks, whatever the case might be. It doesn’t matter, I am a woman, and I am expected to make their day.
I remember one time, I was sitting outside enjoying the sunny day. I was starting off into space, loving the warmth on my face. A guy walked by and told me to “smile.” I was confused because I had been daydreaming. I guess I didn’t respond fast enough for him, because he said angrily, “smile, damn!” I looked at him like he had two heads. I wanted to say something smart, but just decided to ignore it. The truth is, you never know how some men are going to react, when you try to defend yourself.
Speaking back against street harassment has been deadly for women, especially black women. Too many men think they have a right to black women’s bodies. It’s because our bodies tend to be degraded in mainstream and black media. It’s also because people have learned you don’t have to respect black women (after all, we are just crackheads, baby mamas, hoodrats, crazy, loud & angry, etc). Men of color who verbally attack black women on the street, would be hesitant to do so to white women. It’s a combination of having colonized minds and fear of the police getting involved (it’s been proven that men of color are more likely to be arrested for assaulting white women, than women of color).
The video Black Woman Walkingis dedicated to Adilah Gaither. She was a young woman who was shot and killed because she wouldn’t give a boy her number. Street harassment is a real and serious issue. Some folks don’t see the big deal in a man telling you to smile. They figure it’s better than him calling you a “bitch.” The problem is, if you don’t react the way they think you should react, it’s not long before you become a bitch, hoe, cunt, etc.
This summer, we are hosting our 2nd Women of Color Zine Symposium. Saturday, Jun 8th, 2013 @ Portland State University/Smith Memorial Student Union. 10am-4:30pm. The schedule is still being determined.
The event is free and open to the pubic. Allies are encouraged to attend.