Chescaleigh of YouTube on #BlackOutDay

“Guileless and without vanity, we were still in love with ourselves then. We felt comfortable in our own skins, enjoyed the news that our senses released to us, admired our dirt, cultivated our scars, and could not comprehend this unworthiness.”

Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye



Wish I participated! Thanks for vlogging about it @chescaleigh!! If you don’t know her, she along with Issa Rae are among the most recognized YouTubers (and notice I didn’t say black YouTubers). Please subscriber to her channel!!


PS This was my 150th blog post! Small celebration! Woo-hoo!

Throw Your Daughter a Period Party. #period #bottomlines

“If you are free, you are not predictable and you are not controllable.”  #thebloodandtheblessing ― June Jordan

5 Digital Lessons, pt. 3: Practicing Non-Violence (the real way)

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.”
― Kahlil GibranThe Prophet

I love how my work sits in the between spaces of girls’ musical expression in games and twerking and male expressions in commercial/mainstream hip-hop music. Doing this new work on twerking seems so relevant to my earlier research the deeper I get into it. I love to write about music between the sexes in ways that allows race, gender and generation to come across in my interests to show the socialization processes at work as an ethnomusicologist.

So here’s one final lesson, though it’s really an afterthought while writing the previous two posts (see 5 Digital Lessons part.1 and part. 2 for the larger discussion but here are the 4 previous lessons I outlined:

Lesson #1 Websites containing YouTube videos can disappear.

Lesson #2: Capture everything that is meaningful while you work with online media.

Lesson #3: Stop and Think! Find Other Solutions When Data Goes Missing

Lesson #4: Stay Calm and Keep Love Alive

And now #5 reserved for throwback Thursday. After hearing John Lewis speak on MLK day for the second time, the latter via a podcast, it’s led me to think about the ways non-violence, the actual study of what it was back in SNCC activist Ella Baker’s and Dr. King’s time, what it might mean for a scholar like me today doing work on gender and sexuality within black cultural studies. We black feminists studying hip-hop do this out of love. Love of community. Love of music. Love of blackness as a cultural signifier of our time and place in the world. But I never really got present to the root of nonviolence being love until John Lewis talked about it that way.

It helped that Sunday night I witnessed love as music by Toshi Reagon and a host of African American singers I love and adore as musicians and people at the Public Theater of Joe’s Pub. So the notion of what love means as active participation in struggles have been very real for me relative to music this week.

Lesson #5: Practicing (and Studying) Non-Violence Can’t Hurt

I heard John Lewis speaking yesterday in an On Being podcast from Krista Tippett that I regularly follow. He talked about what “Love” meant practicing non-violence in the face of viscious attacks by whites who claimed then to hate black folks. In an aside, he said the Dr. King used to jokingly tell them “Oh, just love the hell out of ’em anyway!”

Lewis talked about the discipline, practice and study required to learn to be “non-violent.” It wasn’t some romantic idea as some young generations seemed to believe. Doing this kind of work on twerking, black girlhood and hip-hop has required a similar same kind of love–discipline, study and practice–in the face of hearing popular male voices now broadcast 24-7, anywhere, anytime, and being able to access explicit video content the same way. It takes something to learn how to protect minors from the possible cognitive and emotional harm that is no longer protected by the FCC with these privatized platforms that seem to be free-sharing sites. Sites that now promote a different kind of “hyper-masculinity” via new media, in quantity not necessarily quality; where we are bombarded by visual and aural images naming “females” bitches 24-7 as well as emasculated men (if you need reminded watch Slaughterhouse defend such positions back in 2012).

Mainstream hip-hop’s gendered discourse seems designed to seduce girls and grown women into patriarchal bargains where our affection for their music content as fans may be making even emerging feminists complicit in a queer form of economic oppression that also has emotional and social consequences in gender relations, both romantic and non-romantic in nature. Gender is not simply a conversation about sexuality in hip-hop. It serves any number of unrelated ends aside from sexuality as Lewis Hyde once defined (1983).

True love

Several times in my life I’ve felt I met a “soulmate” or felt like I met the one. I totally acknowledge that I believe there are many men who have captivated me to feel touched by their heart and soul or whom I touched with mine. There is no single soulmate out there in the 6.7 billion people on the planet but many people you might truly love in a lifetime.

A few weeks ago, I reunited with one of them. This man makes my heart, mind and soul sing when I am with him. When we are apart, however, it seems like I don’t exist for him. He’s called me once since we went out on a remarkable date after two years. It was as if two years hadn’t passed. But he only called once since then. I’ve called a few times but memories of the past, of calling with no response have resurfaced and I want to be chased rather than chasing after men who seem like soulmates, say they feel soulmate with me, but don’t deliver the actions that go with finding a soulmate–staying connected and seeking after true love if it’s available.

I remember telling him that I intend to be married within the next nine months. I also now recall in hindsight that the last time any serious relationship conversation was shared between
us, two years passed. What gets me is that we click! Why is intimacy of that nature so abhorred by men and women today? I see myself in him in many ways. If you really, really, really are available to me, I’ll get scared and do something to mess things up. (Run away! Run away!)

We human beings are characters in a play we keep scripting and then not wanting to follow the script we wrote. So I have to admit, I’ve gone back to being resigned with this particular guy. He’s an extraordinary man. Really, truly remarkable and the more I seem to share my view of him, the more distant he becomes. Makes you want to regret sharing, but I’ll never stop but I’ll also move on to share with others where the sharing is mutual and constant.

What I want it to be open no matter what. To be willing and able to love and cherish. To be longed for and wanted and to be deliciously happy and growing beyond my self with another.
I know it will take something but I also am standing for that it will happen for me and anyone in my community who wants that too.