The Pansy Craze was the name given to the movement of outrageous queer performers who entertained in speakeasies during the Prohibition Era. They performed transgressive gender identities despite laws prohibiting them. Performing in speakeasies across the country, they broke through to mainstream audiences with their outrageous mix of camp wit, androgynous poise and savior faire.
Buffet Flats was the name of the alternative food and lodging provided by black Harlemites for black travelers who were sometimes not permitted to get lodging in segregated hotels. Later these apartments evolved into renowned venues, serving up an exuberant mix of artistic risk to satisfy a variety of subversive tastes and pleasures. Diverse audiences came from all over to eat, drink, sing, dance, and participate in the creative revelry.
Kara Keeling contends that cinema and cinematic processes had a profound significance for twentieth-century anticapitalist Black Liberation movements based in the United States. Drawing on Gilles Deleuze’s notion of “the cinematic”—not just as a phenomenon confined to moving-image media such as film and television but as a set of processes involved in the production and reproduction of social reality itself —Keeling describes how the cinematic structures racism, homophobia, and misogyny, and, in the process, denies viewers access to certain images and ways of knowing.
She theorizes the black femme as a figure who, even when not explicitly represented within hegemonic cinematic formulations of raced and gendered subjectivities, nonetheless haunts those representations, threatening to disrupt them by making alternative social arrangements visible. Keeling draws on the thought of Frantz Fanon, Angela Davis, Karl Marx, Antonio Gramsci, and others in addition to Deleuze. She pursues the elusive figure of the black femme through Haile Gerima’s film Sankofa, images of women in the Black Panther Party, Pam Grier’s roles in the blaxploitation films of the early 1970s, F. Gary Gray’s film Set It Off, and Kasi Lemmons’s Eve’s Bayou.
African American literary contribution to the national conception of nature, in all of its symbolic ambiguity and historical twists and turns, is a subject that has been little studied. In fact, African American writers have contributed profoundly to our popular understanding of nature and to our ecological concern. …
If many African Americans have felt estranged from mainstream environmentalism, Ruffin argues, it is because people themselves—“the most precious of natural resources”—seem to have been excluded from the discourse. The author cites Wangari Maathai’s Green Belt Movement as a model for a new way of thinking about environmentalism, a “human-sensitive” activism that advocates simultaneously for people and the land. She argues that people of African descent have had both the burden and the blessing of being themselves seen as natural; whereas too often people of European descent have viewed themselves as radically separate from nature, a realm to be tamed and controlled or, later, to be visited for leisure.
Another critical point that she makes is that pre-twentieth-century Americans knew nature through work. The connection to the land was forged through labor, with both the body and the landscape part of the same “bioregion.” Similarly, nature has been inextricably involved in human efforts to achieve social justice and to escape from enslavement. She demonstrates that environmental degradation has disproportionately harmed the disenfranchised, but a detailed knowledge of the environment was instrumental, for example, in helping enslaved people establish routes to freedom. African American writing also reveals the extent to which the natural world provided sources of healing—the “wild-growing medicines” that are so much a part of cultural tradition and folklore.
ok wild is an invalid concept, but this seems like a necessary book amongst the white eco-fad zeitgiest.
ALICE WALKER: .. she’s explaining to Celie that, you know, the beauty of nature is what reminds us of what is divine, I mean, that we’re already in heaven, really. It’s just that we haven’t noticed it, and we’ve been diverted by people who want us to believe whatever it is they are basically selling us. But if you pass by the color purple in a field and you don’t even notice it, why should you even be here on the planet? I mean, you should notice what is here, because it is wonderful and amazing and loves you back by its beauty and by its fragrance or however it can love you back.
AMY GOODMAN: And how did that title come to you, The Color Purple?
ALICE WALKER: Because when I was writing the novel, I lived way in the country in Boonville, California, and I went walking through the redwoods and swimming in the river and noticed that in nature purple is everywhere. And it’s interesting because we tend to think that in nature you would see more red, yellow, white, you know, all of those colors. But actually, purple is right there. And in that sense, it’s like the people in the novel. You think that they are unusual, that what’s happening to them is unusual, but actually it’s happening somewhere on your block almost every minute. All the trouble, all of the trials and tribulations of Celie are happening to people all over the planet right now.
My deafness hadn’t bothered me in the past but now I thought of so many things — the way I was politely passed over when someone in the church wanted something done, the quick snicker when I misunderstood something said to me, and other little things. If it was like that among people who knew me, what would it be like without Mam or someone here at school to make me feel like I was a person, too?
Barbara Smith (born December 16, 1946) in Cleveland is an American, lesbian feminist who has played a significant role in building and sustaining Black Feminism in the United States. Since the early 1970s she has been active as an innovative critic, teacher, lecturer, author, independent scholar, and publisher of Black feminist thought. She has also taught at numerous colleges and universities over the last twenty five years. Smith’s essays, reviews, articles, short stories and literary criticism have appeared in a range of publications, including The New York Times Book Review, The Black Scholar, Ms., Gay Community News, The Guardian, The Village Voice, Conditions (magazine) and The Nation. In 1975 she reorganized the Boston chapter of the National Black Feminist Organization to establish the Combahee River Collective. Barbara has a twin sister, Beverly Smith, who is also a lesbian feminist activist and writer.
Prompt: a white transguy in local queer health group this year said to me - dismissively - on issues of race + women’s representation being raised - that he hadn’t heard this being an issue with the local transwomen.
Which is odd, because they’d certainly shared these views with me ,at fairly public forums. But were very polite, mindful of other people’s feelings, politically astute, reflective etc. Used to not having ANY forums for themselves so they didn’t take the ones they had for granted; were overly kind, self aware, practical in their focus, informed and welcoming to others.
Note: Just because someone ‘rises above’ doesn’t mean you should ignore them while you claim to speak for them.
Just because someone doesn’t take for granted or always employ the ‘angry young male leftists’ rant talk all the time doesn’t mean they’re more privileged than you, or know less, or deserve to be ignored.
If someone with less that you ‘rises above’ like that, or has developed more ways of being articulate and doing politics with a range of people - you could respect their effort, their POV and support them rather than dismiss anyone who isn’t playing the game like you, centering you.
I remember how being young and Black and lonely and gay felt. A lot of it was fine, feeling I had the truth and the light and the key, but a lot of it was purely hell. There were no mothers, no sisters, no heroes. We had to do it alone, like our sister Amazons, the riders on the lonliest of outposts of the kingdom of Dohomey
“Known as the Motorcycle Queen of Miami, Bessie Stringfield started riding when she was 16. She was the first African-American woman to travel cross-country solo, and she did it at age 19 in 1929, riding a 1928 Indian Scout. Bessie traveled through all of the lower 48 states during the ’30s and ’40s at a time when the country was rife with prejudice and hatred. She later rode in Europe, Brazil, and Haiti and during World War II she served as one of the few motorcycle despatch riders for the United States military.”
HEY! Tumblr ate the bio i had here for years. Will come back to that.
Basic FYI = in Australia, been organizing for decades across sexual, union, land rights and landcare politics, but this is not a political Tumblr. My usual byline is something about beauty, as a state of mind and usurping the gaze. Which confuses people but whatever
Following is only recommended if you embrace the food sovereignty, art, LGBTI, history, fashion and politics pastiche.