a love-driven survival

I am an earth lover from way back. I am in love with losers and laughter. I am in love with freedom and children.-Assata Shakur

[Header created by woc duo artist group, Climbing Poetree]


"Ooh, shock me one good time."


(Source: jessicaisgray, via bravenewgirls)

Anonymous said: I feel so useless sitting here. What can I do to help Ferguson??



there’s a bail and legal fund that’s been set up for those who’ve been arrested 

this person is trying to organize a food drive for school kids in ferguson

national moment of silence 2014 (for victims of police brutality) 

share the following: 

videos of what has happened

links to articles

how to make a tear gas mask

livestream link to the peaceful protests










"He got on his knees and said ‘Don’t shoot me, don’t shoot me’…He shot him dead in the head. Then walked up to his body and shot him 4 more times. Looked him in his eyes, paused for a minute, and shot him four more times"

All for stealing candy

No all for being black

He didn’t steal anything. This was murder by the police.




We must get this out. Please reblog.

(via fuckboirepellent)

“My lady,
Your love is hard.
Your love is hard.
Your love is hard.
If God suffered what I suffered,
He would have sreamed : Oh God!”

—   Nizar Qabbani, The Lover God (via nizariat)

(via awakenenlighten)


Young Somali refugees living in the world’s largest refugee camp, in Kenya, have sent letters of encouragement to Syrian refugee children who have also had to flee their homeland. The young Somali students reside in the Dadaab refugee camp, in north-eastern Kenya. It is home to nearly 400,000 refugees, the majority of whom have fled conflict, drought and famine in Somalia over the last 23 years. Care International, the aid agency that provides many basic services at the camp, organised the pen pal exchange and delivered the handwritten letters to Syrian children at the Refugee Assistance Centre in Amman, Jordan.They offer messages of solidarity, encouragement and advice to their “dear brothers and sisters”.

-BBC “Syria crisis: Uplifting Letters of Hope”

Perhaps the best line: “Be the stars and the new presidents of Syria.”

(via zanzoobamagdoos)




"I don’t think that my work is actually effectively dealing with history. I think of my work as subsumed by history or consumed by history." —Kara Walker

New episode from Art21’s Exclusive series: An in-depth look at the creation of Kara Walker’s monumental public project for Creative Time, A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby (2014), at the Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn, NY.

WATCH: Kara Walker: “A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby”

IMAGES: Production stills from the Art21 Exclusive episode, Kara Walker: “A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby”. © Art21, Inc. 2014.


She is right.

I went to see this and wasn’t prepared for the amount of random inexplicable whiteness in the crowd. Here I am thinking only black folks concerned with this will be viewing this and it was a whooooooole lot of white folks. It only made me uncomfortable because I couldn’t figure out what would make them want to view it, what led them to it, and for that reason, I was positive the message would be but a whisper to them. Something they couldn’t understand at all.

Now I’m not sure what reaction she expected/wanted, but walking through the empty, haunting venue, I was annoyed that I couldn’t separate my viewing pleasure from the consuming white gaze. It was everywhere. I could barely take in the pieces of work because I was surrounded by jeering white people. Watching them consume these little black bodies and feel nothing like the sorrow that took me instantly. And then they were walking through the puddles of liquid sugar that was part of the art. Letting their children touch it. But in a way they became part of the artwork. It was like a presentation on the white gaze and their consumption of PoC.

Anywho, that shit was hard for me. I’m telling you old white couples stood by the grand ass of the mammy sphinx and smiles arm-in-arm for photos. SMILED. Hee-haw, a big ol’ butt y’all. Like the irony hurt. It hurt. Probably don’t even know what a mammy is. So yeah, the work isn’t critical of history is a sense that these oblivious people learn something. It’s kind of a product of history, or an example.

(via browngurlwfro)


The Time Travel Convention was an exhibition that explored time travel as a practical activity – something that does not necessarily require a machine, an advanced degree, or any other privileges. Using afrofuturism and the speculative as lenses, the exhibition featured time travel devices and objects from creators who use tools such as memory, dreams, imagination, manipulation of language and perception, light, and music to craft their temporal devices.

In this temporal-spatial instance, AfroFuturist Affair Creator Rasheedah Phillips debuted her speculative fiction collection, Recurrence Plot (and Other Time Travel Tales)

More photos at: https://www.facebook.com/AfroFuturistAffair

Featuring Time Machines from:

MMGzPsychoAcoustics & Memory 
Black ShesusThe Pyramid of Shesus
R.PhillipsRecurrence Plot (RP)
Kameelah Janan RasheedNo Instructions of Assembly, Activation II
Alisha B. Wormsleythere are black people in the future
Mourl FerrymanThe Shadow and the Substance 2014
Melissa MooreAn Infinitygram: Diasporan Object Design For A New Future

Noni Red - everything begins within

(via nayyirahwaheed)

“A white college student from a private college goes into a poor neighborhood and volunteers four hours a week and that’s considered exemplary. [Whereas] a poor kid who lives in that community and takes care of all the kids in that neighborhood four hours every day is not seen as a volunteer.”

—   Patricia Hill Collins (via ethiopienne)

Lookin’ at you, Teach For America. (via chronicallyqueer)

(Source: sampaguitagirl, via baribakhma)


 Frida Kahlo


 Frida Kahlo

(via locksandglasses)


That one time I got my face beat and nobody knew about it…..

My lil sista badd. (No, for real this is my little sista. We got the same mama and errrythang so talk slick if you want to…) Anyways, follow her though!!! :) :) :)


That one time I got my face beat and nobody knew about it…..

My lil sista badd. (No, for real this is my little sista. We got the same mama and errrythang so talk slick if you want to…)

Anyways, follow her though!!! :) :) :)


"I’ve loved a few men, I’ve loved a few women. And a few people have loved me, I suppose it’s all that saved my life."
James Baldwin’s 90th birthday is today, praise.


"I’ve loved a few men, I’ve loved a few women. And a few people have loved me, I suppose it’s all that saved my life."

James Baldwin’s 90th birthday is today, praise.

(via ankhempress)


Common Sense


Common Sense

holy goods.


(first draft, late night/early morning freewrite.)

Chile, let the sun

shine in,

and feel F L Y.

I’m talkin’

brand new suit-struttin’ kinda F L Y.

Let Avery*Sunshine sing riffs of deliverance

into each sift of flour dust

as it cakes the corner of each eye


How to Not Die: Some Survival Tips for Black Women Who Are Asked to Do Too Much


Audre Lorde

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence,

it is self-preservation,

and that is an act of political warfare.”                           

–Audre (the) Lorde

High blood pressure runs in my family.  I have been taking medication to regulate it for six years and I recently started getting intense headaches and migraines that I realized were related to hypertension.  Deadline-driven days have become so commonplace in my life that I didn’t recognize or respond to the “stress” anymore.  It became normalized.  A way of life.  The way my life is.  This is a problem.  And sometimes I won’t sit down (read: take a break from work) until/unless I am hurting.  That is also a problem.  I always tell myself that I am going to take better care of myself, but the priority of paying attention to my emotional and psychic needs usually gets put on the backburner—behind things that seem to require my immediate attention.  I will take care of myself after I teach my class…  after I mentor the student…  after I attend the meeting…  after I finish grading…  after I write the last 5 pages of the paper that was due last week…  after I read the thesis, write the report, and wash the dishes…  After…after…after…  My life is a continuous cycle of roles and responsibilities that make my personal wellbeing an afterthought, something that can perpetually wait.  Until now.  I am learning that undue and unnecessary stress has no place in my life.  And looking at the lives and legacies of black feminist foremothers reminds me that I have some agency around strategies for saving myself. (For a beautiful reflection on this, see Alexis Pauline Gumbs’ piece The Shape of My Impact)

I believe the stress of weighty expectations and doing too much takes its toll on us.  It doesn’t happen all at once.  It happens over weeks and months and years of pushing our own needs and desires down until we can’t feel them anymore.  It happens, subtly, until it makes sense to do too much because that is just the way things are, the way things have always been.  That, too, is a problem.  It is a problem when caretaking (taking care) becomes something we do for other people and not ourselves.  It is up to us to survive and not just survive but thrive in our lives.  To not put work above living.  To not make ourselves our last resort.  To not wait until we are tired to rest.  To not wait until we are sick to make healthy choices.  To not wait until we have pleased everyone else to think about our own needs.  To not postpone our own happy.  To not just tolerate foolishness.

I have been working on a list of ways to take care of myself and to honor the lives and legacies of the black feminists before me whose lives ended too soon.  I worry that our foremothers were worked to death.  I worry that they didn’t see death coming because they were too busy taking care of other things.  I worry that they had too much to do and ran out of time.  I worry that they didn’t get to see themselves as celebrated and loved and worthy of celebration and love.  I worry that they worked too much, too hard, and for too little pay.  I worry that people saw them as strongblackwomen and forgot to see them as human.  I worry that our jobs, our families, our friends, and sometimes our supporters expect too much and we expect too little.

I am no longer flattered when people ask me to do things because I am “so good at it…”

I will not be punished for a job well done.

I will not be overworked and underpaid.

I will not do free labor (there must be some kind of reciprocal exchange, which does not necessarily mean money but means I don’t prostitute my gifts).

I will not let people use me.

I will not feel guilty for saying no.

I will ask for what I need.

I will walk away if I don’t get what I need.

I will fight against injustice in the world, starting in my own life!

It is inconceivable that we are expected to just get used to injustice (racism, sexism, classism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, ageism, etc.).  We have to resist injustice and talk back to it, but not at the expense of being well.  I don’t want to give myself over to the struggle.  I don’t want to be superwoman in my twenties, strongwoman in my thirties, and suffocated in my forties.  We can’t let the work (and there is much work to be done) take us out.  We have to be mindful about how we engage others and ourselves, especially when it comes to obligations and expectations of our time, minds, bodies, thoughts, experiences and hearts.  I don’t want to give myself away.  And the labor of love that is my life is not free, nor is it worth my emotional/physical/mental/spiritual health.  I am disinterested in being a martyr.

In a posthumous collection of her work, Some of Us Did Not Die, June Jordan writes:

…But we have choices, and capitulation is only one of them. 

I am always hoping to do better than to collaborate with whatever or whomever it is that means me no good.  For me, it’s a mind game with everything at stake.  For example, what has what kind of savagery blurred or blocked or buried alive?

This is an excerpt from my Poem To Take Back the Night:

What about moonlight

What about watching for the moon above

the tops of trees and standing

still enough to hear the raucous crickets

chittering invisible beneath the soon lit stones

What about moonlight

What about moonlight

What about watching for the moon

through windows low enough to let the screams

and curses of the street the gunshots

and the drunken driver screeching tires

and the boombox big beat and the tinkle

bell ice cream truck


What about the moonlight

What about the moonlight … .

Luckily, there are limitless, new ways to engage our tender, and possible responsibilities, obligations that our actual continuing coexistence here, in these United States and here, in our world, require.

Here are a few survival tips (in no particular order) for black women who are asked to do too much:

  1. Take some time to/for yourself and be unapologetic about it.  At least one hour of your day should be yours.  Whether your vice be a glass of wine and reality TV, Facebooking, caking, going to a sporting event, talking on the phone to a friend you haven’t seen in a while, going to listen to live music, reading a book, writing in a journal, a bubble bath (don’t forget the candles), etc., it is important to take the time to do something that allows you to decompress, unwind, and relax.
  2. Say no! (I have written about this at length here and here, but essentially I have learned how to say no to others and to say yes to myself.  This means that I don’t over-extend myself, I don’t do things I don’t want to do, and I make “no” my default response to spontaneous or last-minute requests.  I believe that women feel obligated to say yes even when they want to say no because it seems/feels polite.  Be impolite!  Say no (without an explanation/reason).
  3. Reject negativity.  We all have well-meaning folk in our life who have something to say about everything and have unsolicited opinions about our lives, loves, choices.  While it is important to take responsibility for the choices (and consequences) we make in life, we don’t have to take on other people’s baggage.  Surround yourself with positive people.  Have people in your life who  inspire you, love you, affirm you, encourage you, tell you how wonderful and beautiful you are, smile when you walk in a room, tell you the truth (in love), and are positive influences.  As for anyone and everyone else… hellwitem.
  4. Pay attention to your body.  If you are tired, take a nap.  If you are craving chocolate, have a candy bar.  If you listen and pay attention you will know/learn your body well enough to know the tell-tale signs that something is wrong.  And if/when something feels wrong/off, see about it.  I have a high tolerance for pain and am known for “bearing” discomfort.  I am learning that it is unwise to ignore the signals your body gives you that something is not quite right.  When your body speaks, listen!  And do something about it.
  5. Sometimes, though, symptoms of distress are asymptomatic (making them even more dangerous), so have a bi-annual or annual check-up.  If you do not have insurance take advantage of clinics, Planned Parenthood, and other agencies that are available to help you get screened, tested, and taken care of. Also, know your history.  While sometimes our family medical histories can be mysteries, it is important to know what to watch hereditary diseases or ailments you may be at risk for.  The leading causes of death for African Americans include heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes.
  6. Do a regular inventory and purge anything toxic in your life.  The same way you clean out your refrigerator and/or pantry every few months, get rid of things that are expired in your life.  Not everything or everyone is meant to stay in your life forever:    This includes people, relationships, thoughts, habits, and hobbies.  Nothing and nobody should find a place in your life or headspace that is not purposefully and regularly adding to it.  Don’t keep things in your life that are old, outdated, spoiled or rancid.  Clean house!
  7. Let people go.  Especially those that don’t honor and respect you.  I believe that black women oftentimes put up with too much ish in their lives from people out of fear of rejection, abandonment and loneliness.  Don’t be afraid of being alone.  Never keep someone or something in your life out of desperation.  Be clear about your principles and standards (for friendships, networks, romantic relationships, etc.) and never settle.  If someone fails to treat you like the queen you are…On to the next one…
  8. Don’t be a people pleaser.  I personally think that post-30 should mean you don’t give a damn about what people think/say/believe about you.  Turning 30 was a turning point in my life (real talk, it was probably around 28) and when I stopped making decisions based on what I thought other people would think/say/believe about me I became more self-confident and free.  Living your life for yourself and not other people makes a world of difference.
  9. Have a confidante.  We should all have someone in our life we don’t have to “put on” for.  We need at least one person we can talk to about deep-seated and deeply personal issues without judgment, someone we can cry with/to/in front of; someone we can tell our secrets to; someone that will hug us and pat us on our back when we just need to wail.  This might be your best friend, partner, sister, or mother, but it might also be a professional counselor, mentor, or spiritual advisor.
  10. Celebrate yourself and your accomplishments even if/when you have to do it (by/for) yourself.  Don’t miss an opportunity to acknowledge all of what/who you are and where you come from.  Sometimes even the victories are significant and deserve acknowledgment.  Whether you finally completed a long-term project, got over a long-term relationship, or made it through a grueling week, celebrate!
  11. Take care of yourself mentally, physically and spiritually.  This means different things to different people.  For me it means (mentally): that at the end of a semester I do/read something that I don’t have to think/talk/write about (usually Cosmopolitan magazine).  I laugh, a lot.  I also cry.  (physically):  I try to make healthy choices (doesn’t always mean everyday…) I stopped drinking sodas and started juicing, I limit my intake of salt and sugar.  I have good intentions (that I don’t always meet) of getting some exercise in every week.  (spiritually):  I pray, I listen to inspirational music, I call my mama, I do yoga, I meditate on my life.  Figure out how to best take care of yourself.
  12. Kick it, regularly, with your homegirls.  This can be magic.
  13. Let people do things for you.  When someone offers to do something for you, let them!  Oftentimes, I think, we reject offerings of help and care because we are not used to it.  Get used to it!

Please share your strategies for survival and/or the names of black feminists who are gone too soon.  May we honor their lives and legacies by learning from them and about them.

The black feminists I name are Audre Lorde, June Jordan, Claudia Da Silva, Aaronette White…

Reblogging again because I need it.

(via woundedandpriceless)