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The Black State

Black Breasts And Battle Cries

Black Breasts And Battle Cries

 

On Thursday morning, May 22, 2015, in the San Francisco Financial District, approximately three hundred activists in protest of the murder of unarmed Black Women by United States Law Enforcers stopped traffic and generated a palpable signal throughout social media. What brought a significant contribution to the signal’s amplification was the tactic used by a segment of the Black Women protesting. That tactic? The segment of Black Women went without a segment of clothing revealing their Black breasts and some are even reported to have gone without undergarments.

 

black breasts and battle cries black breasts and battle cries black breasts and battle cries

 

In the spirit of Black Women who have demonstrated against Whyte Supremacy throughout history, the sisters laid bare their grievances with the state by stating their grievances partially bare.

 

black breasts and battle cries black breasts and battle cries black breasts and battle cries

 

The demonstration orchestrated by the BlackOUT Collective succeeded in tandem the African American Policy Forum’s report entitled,”Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women”. The Twitter hashtag, #SayHerName was typed while presenting powerfully impactful images of Black Women in a militancy of semi-nudity not often conjured in the media. The protest action was only one–yet possibly the most resonant and resounding one–of at least seventeen protest actions nationwide addressing the murder of unarmed Black Women by US Law Enforcers that Thursday.

 

 

Black Women In Resistance

While the protest has generated much attention due to the ladies’ decision to present their forms topless, it should not go without considering they were filing a public grievance. Protest is the intentional usage of spectacle to file a public grievance. The public grievance included not only the addressing of the media silence that surrounds the murder of 7-year young Aiyana Stanley Jones, Rekia Boyd, Tanesha Anderson and many other names, but it also addressed the perception of the Black Woman’s naked form. In fact, I could so far as to say Women’s naked form in general, however, while I skirt attacks of being a sexist and misogynist, I probably should not add inclusionist or “All Lives Matter”-ist to the list of scorn against my public writings. In that vein, while this particular disruption roots itself in African tradition of protest by Black Women using their nakedness, with the most prominent example being in the Women’s War in Eastern Nigeria in 1929. It should be highlighted here, that the tradition of Women’s rebellion against their enslavement by European and United States’ traders is often reflected in the mass suicides(and preceding homicides of slavers) of the Igbo of Nigeria, often accredited with being led by the Black Women. Much of this is documented under the history and legends emanating from the actions that give birth to the consecrating of “Ebo’s Landing”. That Black Women have repeatedly been of wit to use their bodies in protest and rebellion is greatly reflected in the documentation of the life and times of Sojourner Truth.

 

Sojourner and Black Breasts In Resistance

 

While I refuse to make this a comprehensive biographical sketch of the blazing ball of brilliance and bravery that is the an-“sister”(coined, not quoted, and I’m charging for its usage…), Sojourner, I do feel two well relayed tales from her existence here deserve note. Sojourner is possibly most storied due to her being engaged at a 1851 Akron, Ohio Women’s Rights conference. According to Paula Giddings’, “When And Where I Enter”:

 

From the very beginning of the conference, the White women were overwhelmed by the jeers and hoots of men who had come to disrupt the meeting. Their most effective antagonist was a clergyman who used both the gender of Jesus and the helplessness of women to counter their feminist arguments. Present at the meeting was the legendary abolitionist Sojourner Truth, who squelched a heckler with an oft-quoted speech. In the first place, she said, Jesus came from “God and a woman–man had nothing to do with it.” Secondly, Truth asserted that women were not inherently weak and helpless. Raising herself to her full height of six feet, flexing a muscled arm, and bellowing with a voice one observer likened to the apocalyptic thunders, Truth informed the audience that she could outwork, outeat, and outlast any man. Then she challenged: “Ain’t I a woman?”

 

 

The second incident I would like to present occurs in the state of Indiana, around the date of October 4, 1858, and is documented in a letter reprinted in “Sojourner Truth: Slave, Prophet, Legend” written by Carleton Mabee, Susan Mabee that I have uploaded here on page 189:

 

In both situations, Sojourner addresses what I have observed being addressed in its complexity and intricate nature by US Black Women, and fundamentally–as well as blatantly– by the sisters of the san Francisco protest action. In dealing with Whyte Supremacy, in addressing dominance over definition of their bodies and psychic spaces, Black Women battle sexism as it pertains to their overall Womanness as well as racist sexism, or misogynoir, as it pertains to their Black Womanness. While the Black Woman’s body is oversexualized and pushed into a collective space whereby the attitude towards all Women is that their bodies are to be dominated and are weak, the Black Woman’s body is also criminalized and frequently masculinized in a subhuman sort of fashion. As it has been stated by Michelle Wallace, the Black Woman has been mythically extended in some Super Woman area of the collective conscious and robbed of the ability to feel;they are so strong, it is said of them.

 

For me, as a man, as a Black Man, at that, it does enter my thoughts in both aspects. The imagery of Black Women in protest, not exposing their Selves, but involving their Selves is sexy and militant(How is that for a male gaze rendering?). In the manner that Sojourner courageously and humorously asks the two Whyte male “validators” if they want to suck her breasts, it is at once an embrace of her sexualness, as well as a use of that sexualness as a challenge when confronted with a hostile and violent Whyte and male presence. In the same breath that the sisters have to confront a militarized threat to their lives with very minimal media concern, they also have to wage a psychological campaign that thinks their bodies are to only be used in a sexual and male-dictated fashion. Unfortunately, this second campaign is on a multitude of occasions fought on the mental battlefields within the minds of others Blacks: Black Men and other Black Women.

 

black breasts and battle cries black breasts and battle cries black breasts and battle cries black breasts and battle cries black breasts and battle cries
The Better You

Don’t Force A Fit :: On Quality Versus Quantity

Often I find myself as referee in a heavyweight bout between two champion level boxers. In one corner, the mighty brawler with quick and never tiring punches, Quantity. In the other, the calculating and patient warrior, Quality. In writing, especially online content creation, the notion whereby Quality always loses to Quantity is less accurate. The online world at this date, is primarily one of markets and branding. A digital collage and gallery of images and words strung together for the purpose of influence and credit card form filling, numbers, or the quantity of a thing–much like on any sales arena–matter a great deal more than books in a movie theater, albums on an ipod shuffling through songs, or Black lives during a Police conference.

 

My philosophy and religion, Asylum, is predicated on a mantra of simplicity. And, simply put, I do not put much effort in doing what is unnecessary or more than I need to. I do not force fits. If it does not go in the first time, I will give it enough attention to make it invite me in, but I do not spend much more than that with the foreplay of activity outside of the sexual. It simply has never paid off or panned out well for me. That being typed, in my online pursuits, I’ve learned that quantity attracts and quality defines.

 

The quantity of a thing has a tendency to evoke its substance. The quantity of the act is what is typically used to assess its consistency, or a person’s character. How often we post on social media allows for our visibility. It begins to shape our brand and forge our image. The quantity speaks to the what. Quantity also demands a lot effort. Quantity is the force of consistent action in a particular field and the resulting yield.

 

Quality appreciates. Quality speaks more to expertise than quantity does; despite their kinship. Quality has the capability of alienating the less rarefied of consumers from the connoisseurs. Where quantity can be overwhelming, quality tends to be substantive, fulfilling. Quality is the difference between a lot and enough.

 

Asylum can often be the practice of the Self Sculpture. Not in the sense of molding that which is into that which is not, but the exact opposite. In life we can often be handed a clump of conditions that need to be chipped into what the designer had in mind. That is not to give credence to fate or predestination, but to remind my Self that I may have been here before and their are some characteristics about my Self that are more refined and sophisticated, capable of defining me better than others. Once again, not to frame my Self in the definitions of others, but some social conditions and environments demand that which is the best of us in the now, not the later, not the give me a few more hours to practice, but the right now. The Now demands quality, it expects that you have either already put in the necessary quantity to rise to the occasion of the Now.

 

One of my concerns with the digital social space is its illusion of the unlimited. Often I find when one believes something to be unlimited, they become wasteful in their assessment of quantity. Why would one worry about doing too much of something that one cannot run out of? Probably because it lacks good judgement to believe anything in a material existence is infinite, especially but not limited that which is manufactured and channeled by USA’s brand of capitalists. The Now demands quality; but if the Now is not demanding anything, it probably is excessive. Excessive is not quality, it is quantity beyond necessity.

 

My measuring stick here is whether the urgency of Now is there or not. If it is, I take that walk on water. If not, I walk to the storehouse and ask Joseph to watch over my treasurers. This is even in the case of what most would consider the mundane world of digital content creation. I refrain from pushing my spiritual beliefs on others because that is not spirituality, that is religion, however, I do not think anything is mundane, just more or less dense.

 

Some words do not need to be typed. It will not impact your precious follower count or remove you from the first page of Google. Some of the time, it is better to leave a few of your written thoughts in draft form. Save them for another Now.

 

There will always be another Now.

The Better You ::

Articles, Posts, Essays, And Media in this category are discussions designed to provide self-improvement, self-reflection, and self-awareness
Mike Brown Notes

All Lives Don’t Matter

All lives don’t matter when one in particular is murdered more often than others.

 

As a preschool teacher, I seriously crave adult conversations. Not necessarily ones that are “deep” in nature, but ones that require me to use words without having to double check if my audience is familiar. Ones that discuss current topics. This can lead to over sharing, simply because I let my guard down–the one that has to be up when deal with children. Though, that’s not really fodder for what I intend to discuss. Forgive me if I veer off topic–both children and Twitter foster a habit of digression.

 

I often sit for a (white, fairly affluent) couple which I really love. The wife in particular. We have discussions about all kinds of topics. Yup even the really uncomfortable ones. And it is enlightening to hear from the perspective of a well-to-do white woman. Though she often doesn’t have what may be considered the “typical” attitude. She genuinely admires the current first couple (look/swagger-wise) as much if not more than I do. And she purports to dislike the cops. Which is crazy considering that she’s a lawyer. And they’re on “the same side of the law”. At least, they’re both sworn to uphold it.

 

This day in particular, I spent the entire day wishing I could just leave my job and head to Baltimore. To do something. I don’t even know what, really. It was the first day of the uprising, and all the news was claiming that, essentially, Baltimore was in ruins. Nobody knew what had happened to Freddie Gray. It was just apparent that he was brutally murdered by Baltimore Police and they weren’t saying shit.

With all of this on my mind, my heart was heavy. I mean… Another black person murdered by police. Will it fucking end? Another name to learn. Another life, wasted. And call it what you may, black participants or not, white supremacy plays the largest roles in these murders. Second only to the god-complex that carrying a gun in a country which disallows almost everyone the right.

 

Speaking of which… Anyone wanna donate to me buying a gun?

 

Anyway, when the aforementioned lawyer came home, a conversation started as per usual. She tells me that she’s been thinking about the Bruce Jenner (only saying Bruce because I don’t know her new name, forgive me, trans ppl) sex change. And what it means to America’s society. And it was a very interesting conversation with both of us opening about different biases we have had in the past about LGBTQQI persons. And how far society has grown. And how far it will grow in the future.

 

I am without a doubt a staunch supporter of becoming who you are, regardless of societal expectations and influences.

 

But I didn’t give a shit about Bruce Jenner and her struggles.

 

I was hurting for another life lost. I was trying to figure out how I can be a part of this revolution. Because that’s what this is. A revolution.

 

I was focused on not having to fear for my life every time. I see flashing lights near me. Hear sirens in any direction. Fearing a call that somebody I loved was senselessly murdered.

 

Because that’s what it feels like it’s come to. A constant state of fear.

 

I told her that it wasn’t my focus. And she listened. And she explained to me her thoughts on the topic of white supremacy, which she openly acknowledges. A surprise from a southern belle turned Princeton/Emory lawyer who lives 2 blocks from the National Cathedral.

 

I discussed my thoughts on the revolution making its way to DC.

 

And she offered me her home if things get bad in my neighborhood (an as of yet ungentrified area of DC).

 

And I refused. Because when things make their way to DC, I will have no choice but to fight.

Mike Brown Notes ::

Articles In This Category Relate To The Mike Brown Forever Movement, Youth Slain By Killer Cops, And The Ferguson Family Of Activists
Mike Brown Notes

Freddie’s Dead :: Filed Charges Of Officer Garrett Miller In Freddie Gray Murder Case[DOC]

This is the filed charges of Officer Garrett Miller, involved in the Freddie Gray murder case.

 

Filed Charges Of Officer Garrett Miller In Freddie Gray Murder Case

 

Mike Brown Notes ::

Articles In This Category Relate To The Mike Brown Forever Movement, Youth Slain By Killer Cops, And The Ferguson Family Of Activists
Mike Brown Notes

Freddie’s Dead :: Filed Charges Of Sergeant Alicia White In Freddie Gray Murder Case[DOC]

This is the filed charges of Sergeant Alicia White, involved in the Freddie Gray murder case.

 

Filed Charges Of Sergeant Alicia White In Freddie Gray Murder Case

 

Mike Brown Notes ::

Articles In This Category Relate To The Mike Brown Forever Movement, Youth Slain By Killer Cops, And The Ferguson Family Of Activists
Mike Brown Notes

Freddie’s Dead :: Filed Charges Of Officer Caesar Goodson In Freddie Gray Murder Case[DOC]

This is the filed charges of Officer Caesar Goodson, involved in the Freddie Gray murder case.

 

Filed Charges Of Officer Caesar Goodson In Freddie Gray Murder Case

 

Mike Brown Notes ::

Articles In This Category Relate To The Mike Brown Forever Movement, Youth Slain By Killer Cops, And The Ferguson Family Of Activists
Mike Brown Notes

Freddie’s Dead :: Filed Charges Of Officer William Porter In Freddie Gray Murder Case[DOC]

This is the filed charges of Officer William Porter, involved in the Freddie Gray murder case.

 

Filed Charges Of Officer William Porter In Freddie Gray Murder Case

 

Mike Brown Notes ::

Articles In This Category Relate To The Mike Brown Forever Movement, Youth Slain By Killer Cops, And The Ferguson Family Of Activists
Mike Brown Notes

Freddie’s Dead :: Filed Charges Of Officer Edward Nero In Freddie Gray Murder Case[DOC]

This is the filed charges of Officer Edward Nero, involved in the Freddie Gray murder case.

 

Filed Charges Of Officer Edward Nero In Freddie Gray Murder Case

 

Mike Brown Notes ::

Articles In This Category Relate To The Mike Brown Forever Movement, Youth Slain By Killer Cops, And The Ferguson Family Of Activists
Mike Brown Notes

Freddie’s Dead :: Filed Charges Of Lieutenant Brian Rice In Freddie Gray Murder Case[DOC]

This is the filed charges of Lieutenant Brian Rice, involved in the Freddie Gray murder case.

 

Filed Charges Of Lieutenant Brian Rice In Freddie Gray Murder Case

 

Mike Brown Notes ::

Articles In This Category Relate To The Mike Brown Forever Movement, Youth Slain By Killer Cops, And The Ferguson Family Of Activists
Signal Boost

Methods Of Making Money While Black Blogging

Methods Of Making Money While Black Blogging

 

As recently as last week, I was asked how do Black people make money blogging? Black blogging must of course have in some spaces a profit motivation, or in the least, a means to sustain it Self, right? It is a variation on a fairly common theme regarding content providing and monetization of the brand that is forged consequently. In my five years maintaining Asylum, I have utilized three major forms of monetization, and I have notice these are the main three techniques used by most other Black bloggers.

 

 

Donations

 

People tend to donate to causes, organizations, and services. People typically assist other people vis-a-vis groups and institutions; begging and online panhandling is often frowned upon. People will allow themselves to be guilt tripped into donating money in situations where they feel what they are donating to is facing an overwhelming obstacle or injustice. People also want to be asked to donate without having to think about where or how the money will be spent; that should be spelled out and, when possible, shown to them.

 

Most folks that donate to Asylum are donating to the service provided via OWL’s Underground. The second group or type of donors are primarily people I refer to as OWL’s Angels or Asylum Staff. This particular collective provide the services and donations that give the lifeblood to Asylum; without their work, contributions, and insights, Asylum would not be five years strong. These are not my best donors because of the amount of money contributed, but because of their loyalty to Asylum and my Self. These are for the most part extensions of nurtured relationships forged due to Asylum, not because the Asylum website has a “donate” button.

 

 

Advertisements

 

Unlike social media(websites such as Twitter, Facebook, and G+), the blog format can be fitted and treated like a one-to-many communication in a time where people are mostly conditioned towards a many-to-many paradigm of media communication. One-to-many communications such as newspapers, cable television shows, and broadcast television(is there really a difference between cable and broadcast in this present media landscape?) shows typically rely on advertising for financial support and profit.

 

My experience with advertisements has typically been of the local, small business variety. The strength of advertisements and attracting advertisers is often purely related to the amount of traffic a site can attract, or signal boost. How well these ads will work, that is convert to actual sales, depends often on how well what was being advertised reached the type of reader looking for or curious about that which was advertised. This may take a very refined approached to media communications. With certain advertising software and companies, the use of cookies, or website tracking scripts, this can be auto-tailored without much effort.

 

I am not a supporter of cookies, or website tracking scripts, for commercial purposes, but that option exists. What is advertised being reflective of the interests of the consuming audience being advertised to, is the overall takeaway here.

 

 

Products

 

My biggest suggestion due to my success with it as a means of monetizing the brand is simply to provide a product.

 

Writers should provide collections of their writings in a way that can be packaged for trade. If there is a service being written about like design or coding, that should be packaged for trade. Providing a product often demands a certain level of credibility and authority that will have to be earned from the reading audience.

 

A product can often double as advertising for the site, promote word of mouth marketing, as well as serving to instill credibility in the brand. Products should always aim for the highest quality to investment budget obtainable.

 

 

These are just my thoughts on the three largest means of making money for Black Bloggers and online content providers. If you have some ideas and thoughts, or just simply want to chat on the topic, please feel free to contact OWL at owlasylum@owlasylum.net.

Signal Boost ::

Articles In This Category Designed To Assist Readers With Drawing Traffic To Online Content
Black Media Trust

Black Media Trust

What is Black Media Trust?

 

Black Media Trust is an extension of the ideas presented in Media Literacy, Media Analysis, and Communications studies. It delves into the concepts presented in these fields, not only as a statement regarding US Black images, but also as a framework that reminds the adherent or student how important critical thinking remains in the panoply equipped for Self-preservation.

 

Black Media Trust is more than an academic conceptual framework, it is simply easier to present it as such. What it actually is a fundamental way of being in a social setting designed to hinder critical thought on a socio-psychological battlefield.

The Black State

The Black Woman’s March [Clip Two :: @Virtuous_Queen_ Perspective]

Black Lives Matter! Black Lives Matter! Black Lives Matter! Black Lives Matter! Black Lives Matter!

 

Black Lives Matter! Black Lives Matter! Black Lives Matter! Black Lives Matter! Black Lives Matter!

 

Black Lives Matter! Black Lives Matter! Black Lives Matter! Black Lives Matter! Black Lives Matter!

 

Black Lives Matter! Black Lives Matter! Black Lives Matter! Black Lives Matter! Black Lives Matter!

 

Black Women’s Lives Matter…..

 

*****record scratches******

 

******crickets******

 

******DJ looks up*****

 

*****people in the party stop dancing******

 

Yes, I said Black Women’s Lives Matter and society’s reaction to that statement is an abrupt halt. The Ferguson train has been moving at the pace of TGV since August 9th, without any signs of stopping, well until we started to mention the black women victimized by police…

 

Sunday, April 26th there was a rally held in downtown Saint Louis to amplify the names of black women who have been killed and/or raped by police officers. The desire to incorporate black women into the conversation about police brutality, is not an act of division, it’s an act of inclusion. This was the first rally held to centralize black women here in Saint Louis. It has been long overdue. In comparison to past events, the turn out was typical. White allies were in attendance, kids, signs, banners, blowhorns, chants, cops, etc. Every thing was as it always is, minus one thing…. There were only six black men present. I wish I was exaggerating this number, but someone even walked around and counted to be sure. Six black men supporting black women. Even the police exceeded the amount of black men, there were approximately eight of them [policemen] standing behind us.

 

I’ll be honest, none of us were surprised. However, intellectually knowing that no one really capes for black women except black women, does not stop that fact from hurting. I saw so many tears yesterday, including my own. Most of these tears weren’t provoked by merely the absence of black men, but also by the abuse and exploitation of black women that has taken place for nine months straight.

 

I’ve personally witnessed, Netta, co-editor of the “This Is The Movement” newsletter being referred to as a “bitch” and body shamed by the same men that are supposedly protesting for “black lives”. Her work has been valuable in documenting these protests and keeping the nation updated. If these “activists” think that documenting our own movement, our own history is not essential, then I assure you they have no idea what the solution is to systematic racism; erasure is a part of the problem. Accurate recollection of the past is a piece of the puzzle. Yet, she is still dismissed as “irrelevant” by black male “activists” in this movement. We’re unheard when telling our stories.

 

I’ve witnessed Kay, a community organizer with Organization for Black Struggle being called “bitch” and “ugly” by the same men that have been labeled “leaders”. Her work has been valuable in organizing campaigns and placing pressure on the political leaders here in Saint Louis. We’re disrespected in the midst of our work.

 

My sister Bre was transparent about her experience in a black male dominated organization. She was community organizer for the organization, and she endured not only being silenced but her work being exploited. There was an expectation of her to follow their instructions, but her input was rarely considered with the same enthusiasm as her male counterparts in the organization. We’re constantly used and never heard.

 

My sisters Juliette and Sunny PLANNED and LED an action a while ago centered on raising awareness about mass incarcerations. A black man, who was not apart of their planning and organizing, showed up to THEIR action with his own blowhorn. He then proceeded to lead people off of the sidewalk and in to the streets, and essentially treated the march as if it was his own. We’ve endured hostile take overs in our own actions.

 

My sisters Britney and Alexis, two founders of Millennial Activists United, are disrespected daily not only for their status as women in the movement, but also because of their sexual orientation. MAU is one of the organizations responsible for many of the direct actions that take place (Black church, Black Brunch STL, Black Shul, Brentwood shutdown, Frontenac shutdown, just to name a few). Their work that keeps the movement going, has not stopped black cisgender heterosexual men from being violent towards them.

 

I’ve had my own experience with being silenced, my work disregarded, and being dehumanized when men in the movement get the message that I’m not there for their consumption. I’ll never forget an action back in October in which the men were having a heated discussion. They were trying to make a decision, and at some point, they asked us [black women], their “sistas” is what they called us, to give input on the decision. They said “what do the sistas think” and the moment one of us opened our mouths, they would go back to exchanging words with each other. This went on for 10 minutes straight. For ten minutes, a request was made of us that we could not fulfill over their loud exchanges with each other. It was not until finally, myself and another woman present, pointed out their hypocrisy to supposedly “hand us the mic” to speak, then speak over us. This is only one example of the many times that black women are constantly silenced in these “activist” spaces.

 

A black man, whose organization and actions, I’ve supported since August, disregarded my work. Any request he made for me to be present, I was there. Any fundraisers his organization started, I supported and reached out to others. I was even one of the people reaching out to donors to fundraise his bail. In January, I hosted a self-care event and the day of, he messaged me with his excuse for not attending. It was “I’m leaving town”. And the same man, went on a rant how “the real work doesn’t get funding”. In reference to funds and items I collected to implement the self care event, instead of donors sending to his organization. My work… Dismissed.

 

Honestly, I don’t even want to open up the can of worms that is “sexual harassment at the protest”. Just know that this is a daily experience for black women doing the work. Where there is a protest for “black lives matter”, there is a black woman being harassed, demeaned, or called “bitch” by a black man, simultaneously as these racist police call us [black women and black men] “animals”, “lynch mobs”, and “thugs”.

 

The hammer that hit the nail on the head wasn’t the absence of black men, it was the response to our cries. There were tweets about the tears being shed, and one of our “brothers” took it upon himself to say “they crying but they didn’t show up to our stuff”, and he was specifically talking about a black unity event occurred about one week ago. I’m not exactly sure when this movement became a quid pro quo “you don’t show up to my event, I don’t show up to yours” deal for him, but it is this kind of ideology that will allow systematic racism to flourish. “I didn’t see you present one time, so I don’t care about you” is separation; that’s DIVISIVE thinking. Not only is this problematic thinking, but it is simply not factual. I distinctly remember when the flyer for the Black Unity event was launched (I wasn’t physically able to attend), I definitely help spread the word which is support. All imagery of this movement shows black women on the frontline. Not only are we physically present, but we support financially and amplify their actions. So why is this same love and support we’ve consistently given in the midst of sexist and homophobic violence, not being reciprocated? Why are we required to be strong and unconditional without expectation?

 

For Entire Essay, Follow Link To Original Post Here
The Black State

Voices Of The Unheard by @ajh_books

Baltimore is our home. We love the literary and arts communities that reside in the city, but also the people who also call Baltimore home. For generations, the people have had their voices silenced, gone unheard. While people condemn “rioters” and “looters,” saying that they are destroying the city, let it not be forgotten that in large swaths of the city, elected officials have decided to let them rot through poor planning and a general sense of apathy towards the people.

 

“A riot is the voice of the unheard.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

The people have spoken. Today, recently elected Governor Hogan is visiting some of the affected areas to speak to residents. Would he have gone to speak to them without the upheaval? Who’s to say; but this wasn’t a planned visit.

 

The people have spoken and will continue to speak in various ways. Don’t let their voices be drowned out by outside sources. For updates and more information into the history and background of Baltimore we suggest following local alternative and independent media, such as:

 

The Baltimore City Paper

 

The Baltimore Spectator

 

The Real News Network

 

People in the community are speaking by coming together to clean-up the city and hopefully begin the healing process.

 

For More Information, Follow Link To Original Post Here
The Black State

The Black Woman’s March [Clip One :: @LovnMyLocs Perspective]

I was surfing the internet and happened upon an article about a Rekia Boyd vigil in NYC that had an embarrassingly low turnout. I believe the numbers were less than a hundred people. I was surprised and disappointed to hear that such a large city who has been active in many other things movement related (I still struggle with the term “movement”…but that’s neither here nor there) had such a poor turnout for something so important. Then a couple days following I saw a post on Facebook about a march being held here in St. Louis for Black Women who’ve been killed by state violence. I was happy I saw it in enough time to make plans to attend, and happy that we were doing something here. I thought surely the turnout would be better…but then…if I’m completely honest, I had my doubts. Regardless of my doubts, I was hopeful and excited to be able to stand with my people and for my sisters and daughters who’ve been taken.

 

So I get downtown and am walking several blocks to the meeting spot. As I’m walking I’m looking around to see if I spot anyone I know or recognize to walk with. No one. I kept looking the entire walk because I knew that I would eventually spot someone who looked like they were going to the same place as me. I didn’t spot not one person the entire walk. It wasn’t until I got down to the arch, which is where we were to meet, that someone spotted me. A white woman. She noticed my “Unarmed Citizen” tee that I’d borrowed (thank God or I’d have been completely alone) and approached me. After meeting her (sidebar- every time I met a white person at the march I wasn’t sure if I should thank them for standing with us) but after meeting her, together we began running into people one or both of us recognized.

 

At first, the majority of the people there were white. This little old white lady approached me and asked if I was Loctavia Butler (my twitter handle, which she could not pronounce) and said she recognized me by my hair…*sigh* So more people, including my activist family, began to show up. There were still a great number of white people and women. At first, there were only two Black men, one being a photographer. I remember standing there thinking “man, there are a lot of white people here…did they organize this?” My next thought was “why am I not surprised that there are no Black men here?”

 

It’s funny how the lack of surprise doesn’t equal lack of disappointment. I was not the least bit surprised that Black men had not shown up to a march for Black women whose lives have been taken by state violence. I was, however, no less disappointed. It really made me think of my own personal letdowns, abandonments, and pain caused by Black men (that’s another story for another day though…). During the march, it was evident that I was not alone in my feelings. My sisters were embarrassed, angered, hurt, disappointed, and some even cried. I stood quietly, periodically nodding my head in agreement at their vents…I’ve become somewhat of a cynic in regards to this particular subject so I tend to be quiet about it.

 

My sisters were tweeting and telling us what was happening in their mentions…also not a surprise. Black women are not allowed for any reason to speak out against Black men. To do so does not go without consequence. It wasn’t until that night when I logged on Twitter that I both saw and experienced first hand the abuse from Black men toward Black women about speaking about them not supporting us.

 

At first I just retweeted, because again, this subject is quite personal for me and my voice is quite strong about it. I didn’t want to bring my personal views/situation into such a public space. There was, at one point, where I did make a comment and immediately someone hopped into my mentions and told me that the march (that they did not attend themselves) was poorly planned and the organizers should not have tried to divide Black men and women. He even went as far to say at the march (that he did not attend) that the organizers bashed Black men and shouldn’t have. I never engage trolls…but this one time I had to clarify some things.

 

His allegations were completely untrue. At least I thought I needed to…I ended up ignoring his nonsensical arguments. But I continued to watch as my sisters who were asking for the support of Black men get called out of their names, threatened, and accused of not being supportive of Black men…by Black men. We had white people saying how embarrassing and disappointing it is that Black men don’t support Black women enough and our very own Black men attacked us for asking for their support! I don’t even know how to make sense of that one…but it hurts.

 

Last night opened up very personal wounds for me. It was a reminder that no matter how much we love and support them, the chances are high that Black men will not reciprocate. And not only will they not reciprocate, but they expect us to bow out and be silent about it.

The Black State

I Refuse To Vote For Another US Black Leader

Any politically dominant class is also ideologically dominant; that is, it keeps its position because the dominated class accepts its moral and intellectual leadership.

Dr. Michael Stanford

 

I refuse to vote for another US Black Leader. I refuse to waste another ten footsteps walking to the polls of Black Leadership. I refuse to look across the bridge elevated above the gulf of class, prestige, and proximity to Whyte Privilege. I refuse to steel my nerves for that journey across that bridge when the signs clearly read,”One Way” when it should be an eight lane highway leading them to me as much as me being lead to them.

 

I refuse to plan my commute across that chasm that divides us. I refuse to map out my excursion from what seems to be a landlocked position of Black Authenticity so authentic, it does not need a label unless on a magnet of those Black Leaders that drive through so infrequently, people have to have their Black Authenticity advertised for them. My hourly drive through the Common and Shared Black Experience is not a photo opportunity; no flash, no wave from chauffeured vehicle; no cut, edit, and paste of b-roll footage for press releases. I refuse to travel another millimeter towards another candidate of Black Leadership.

 

I refuse to cast my ballot in the campaigns of the Black intellectual elite or the Black intellectuals of the Whyte elite. I refuse to be swayed by thirty second commercials interrupting my scheduled Blackness to have my fictive kinship obligations obligated. I refuse to engage topics of today regarding these far off idols at bus stops in Blackville. Let my knees not grow water as I voyage across endless waves and vibrations arguing about lives that matter but only physically embraced during election cycles. Let me not stretch yet another calf muscle in favor of those that look similar but consider me unequally yoked.

 

Let me not travel.

 

Let me not wait.

 

Let me not waste.

 

Let me not hope.

 

Let me be.

 

 

I refuse to vote for another US Black Leader.

We Write Webs

A Poet’s Toolkit :: 20 Poets Worth Reading By B. Sharise

  • Ntozake Shange
  • Sonia Sanchez
  • Tyehimba Jess
  • Harryette Mullen
  • Victor Hernandez Cruz
  • Larry Neal
  • Jayne Cortez
  • Quincy Troupe
  • June Jordan
  • Amiri Baraka
  • E. Ethelbert Miller
  • Yusef Komunyakaa
  • Rita Dove
  • Shel Silverstein
  • Sterling Plumpp
  • Sylvia Plath
  • Gwendolyn Brooks
  • Etheridge Knight
  • Camille T. Dungy
  • Elizabeth Bishop
We Write Webs

A Poet’s Toolkit: POETIC FORMS from A-Z By B. Sharise

ABC
A poem that has five lines that create a mood, picture, or feeling. Lines 1 through 4 are made up of words, phrases or clauses while the first word of each line is in alphabetical order. Line 5 is one sentence long and begins with any letter.

 

Acrostic
Poetry that certain letters, usually the first in each line form a word or message when read in a sequence.

 

Ballad
A poem that tells a story similar to a folk tail or legend which often has a repeated refrain.

 

Cinquain
Poetry with five lines. Line 1 has one word (the title). Line 2 has two words that describe the title. Line 3 has three words that tell the action. Line 4 has four words that express the feeling, and line 5 has one word which recalls the title.

 

Elegy
A sad and thoughtful poem about the death of an individual.

 

Epic
An extensive, serious poem that tells the story about a heroic figure.

 

Free verse (vers libre)
Poetry written in either rhyme or unrhymed lines that have no set fixed metrical pattern.

 

Haiku
A Japanese poem composed of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five morae, usually containing a season word.

 

Italian sonnet
A sonnet consisting of an octave with the rhyme pattern abbaabba followed by six lines with a rhyme pattern of cdecde or cdcdcd.

 

Limerick
A short sometimes vulgar, humorous poem consisting of five anapestic lines. Lines 1, 2, and 5 have seven to ten syllables, rhyme and have the same verbal rhythm. The 3rd and 4th lines have five to seven syllables, rhyme and have the same rhythm.

 

List
A poem that is made up of a list of items or events. It can be any length and rhymed or unrhymed.

 

Lyric
A poem that expresses the thoughts and feelings of the poet.

 

Narrative
A poem that tells a story.

 

Ode
A lengthy lyric poem typically of a serious or meditative nature and having an elevated style and formal stanza structure.

 

Persona
A poem written from a perspective other than your own.

 

Quatrain
A stanza or poem consisting of four lines. Lines 2 and 4 must rhyme while having a similar number of syllables.

 

Rondeau
A lyrical poem of French origin having 10 or 13 lines with two rhymes and with the opening phrase repeated twice as the refrain.

 

Senryu
A short Japanese style poem, similar to haiku in structure that treats human beings rather than nature: Often in a humorous or satiric way.

 

Sestina
A poem consisting of six six-line stanzas and a three-line envoy. The end words of the first stanza are repeated in varied order as end words in the other stanzas and also recur in the envoy.

 

Shakespearean Sonnet
A 14-line sonnet consisting of three quatrains of abab cdcd efef followed by a couplet, Shakespearean sonnets generally use iambic pentameter.

 

Shape
Poetry written in the shape or form of an object.

 

Sonnet
A lyric poem that consists of 14 lines which usually have one or more conventional rhyme schemes.

 

Tanka
A Japanese poem of five lines, the first and third composed of five syllables and the other seven.

 

Terza Rima
A type of poetry consisting of 10 or 11 syllable lines arranged in three-line tercets.

 

Villanelle
A 19-line poem consisting of five tercets and a final quatrain on two rhymes. The first and third lines of the first tercet repeat alternately as a refrain closing the succeeding stanzas and joined as the final couplet of the quatrain.
We Write Webs

A Poet’s Toolkit :: 10 Poetry Prompts for Writer’s Block By B. Sharise

  • Write a haiku about a mirror. Your poem should express jealousy.
  • Write a shape poem about a skyscraper or city skyline. Your poems should express loss.
  • Write a persona poem about a candle. Your poem should express wisdom.
  • Write a list poem about your first kiss/intimate experience.
  • Write a free verse poem about a conversation between a rainbow and a pot of gold.
  • Write a four line poem about an amusement park using onomatopoeia.
  • Write a 14 line poem about the last serious relationship you were in from your ex-mate’s perspective.
  • Write a cinquain about your favorite food.
  • Write a 10 line, non-rhyming poem about the last dream you had.
  • Write a tanka about your father’s voice.