Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mississippi "Odd" Damn: Intergenerational Black Feminism is Unbelievable

Black women on the move have always been queer to the intersecting systems of oppression that rely on us staying in our interchangeable and demeaning place.

“It just sounds really odd. You know?”

This is what a white male police officer said to me several times after he separated my partner and I for questioning and we both explained to him that we were driving through Mississippi as part of our cross country journey interviewing black LGBT feminist elders.

And outside the matrix of uniforms, skin, privilege and visible weapons, ghosts and the bloody history of the state (in the specific sense and the general sense) his disbelief would be at worst a strange look to brush off and at best a conversation to have about intergenerational black feminist love in action. But in this case the fact that the officer could not believe our truth and was much more likely to believe that we were troublesome black teenagers joyriding across state lines in a stolen RV, could have been the difference between us driving through Mississippi and being locked up, or worse. We are inside a matrix where to be black and feminist, to be black and driven by love, where to be black queer women on the move together is unbelievable from the perspective of the state. And we still live in a time when to be black, queer, brilliant, feminist, driven, to be incredible, unbelievable, stunning, to be exactly who we are, is a threat to the state and a risk to our lives.

Officer writing a "courtesy warning" to us for being "odd" in Mississippi.

The Story:

While driving on 1-20 in Mississippi a police officer from the interstate crime division pulled us over, citing a traffic concern: our following distance. Once we were pulled over, he asked us who owned the RV and what we were doing. We explained that we bought the RV, which is in my name, together with the support our community in order to travel the country interviewing our elders. The officer then asked my partner to leave the RV and called for back up. He questioned us separately. He asked us several times where we were going, how we got the money to be able to travel, how did we find these so-called elders, why would we want to visit them, was this for school, where did we live, how were we going to get back home, how did we get connected to these so-called black feminists, how did we know there were black feminists in the southern and western states we were planning to travel, and who are we to each other.

To see the whole article and join the conversation visit:


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Women on Wednesdays Teach-in & Healing Cipher

This year, WoW organizers are pleased to offer a day-long teach-in to deepen our exploration of our motto "Engage. Create. Empower". Save your spot by RSVP with an email to


10 am- Welcome and Honoring Toni Cade Bambara
1015 am-Yoga and Mindfulness w/ Dehejia Maat

1115 am- Workshop Selections (Descriptions below)

A-Define Your Personal Shine w/ BurnBright Lifeworks, Inc.
B-Finding Voice through Identity w/ Carmen Mojica
C-Lyrical Meditations: Using Freestyle to Free the Spirit with Toni Blackman

1215 pm- Lunch

1 pm-Safe Spaces w/ Ocean Ana Rising

3 pm-Break

315- Prepare Community Sharing from Workshops
330 pm-Community Sharing from Workshops
430 pm-Next Steps Continuing the Sisterhood
5 pm-Closing Activity

Workshop Descriptions

Yoga and Mindfulness with Dehejia Maat

All-Group Session 1 hr.

As a poet and writer I've come to a place where I can't write anymore, because the exterenal world impacts my internal. Yoga for Poets and Writers is a workshop that I've created to remove blockages thru meditation and yoga. Our focus: clearing the noise and drawing form the pool of inspiration.

Safe Spaces for Trauma to Triumph with Ocean Ana Rising

All-Group Session 2 hrs.

The Safe Spaces Workshop is designed to provide women survivors of violence with tools of creative expression to help them transform trauma into healing and liberation. Through this workshop, participants are encouraged to express their own sacred, magical selves, using cultural art techniques that can be revisited long after participation in the workshop. For this Safe Spaces residency, workshop participants will re-discover body awareness on their own terms through guided creative movement, body painting, & writing techniques. We will begin with free writing exercises using prompts that inspire participants to explore the initial and personal trauma. This writing will lead to creative movement techniques, focusing on breathing, flexibility, and rhythmic dance, utilizing an African dance fusion technique. The creative movement will gently guide participants through the memory of the initial wound/scar/trauma addressed through the writing exercise, toward a transformative process of re-memory through which the body experiences full expression and triumph. Participants do not need any formal dance training to participate in this workshop. Following the first portion of the creative movement aspect of the workshop, workshop participants will further celebrate their bodies, self expression, and beauty through a body painting session, high-lighting spaces on the body with visual symbols, designs and colors that reclaim and reinforce personal ideas of affirmation. After body painting, participants will return to creative writing, emphasizing transformation and triumph.

Define Your Personal Shine with BurnBright Lifeworks, Inc.
1 hour

Artist Track:
The overall objective of this workshop is is to equip artists with a deeper level understanding of how they may use branding as a personal & professional tool for their artistic endeavors (networking, seminars, collaborations, exhibit, etc.)


This workshop will take place as a free-form dynamic discussion/presentation followed by a break out Q & A where participants may pose questions.

Glow Assessment (What's working for/against me?) With their lives moving at a lightening pace, many artists rarely get an opportunity to see themselves clearly. This section will focus on teaching participants to do a 360 degree analysis of their current situation.

Selecting Your Candle (Formulating their goals) Selecting your candle will help artists prioritize their goals and by doing so, develop their OWN standards for success.

Burning Bright (Branding Statement) The purpose of this section is for participants to walk away with their own personal Branding statement. Please not that this statement is quite different than an Artist's Statement. Participants will be coached to create a Branding Statement that will speak more to how they want to be SEEN as opposed to what their artistic vision is.

Voice and Individuality with Carmen Mojica
1 hr

Lyrical Meditations: Using Freestyle to Free the Spirit with Toni Blackman

1 hr.

Toni Blackman will lead a session using the spoken word to heighten creativity, inspire self-expression, and improve one's ability to go with the flow. Toni's participant centered wkshp provides a transformative experience that empowers those present to exist beyond their comfort zones. She facilitates the process of "getting open", guiding the energy so that both artist and non-artist benefit from the exercises. Be a part of the cipher.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Lending and Reference Library! Coming Soon!!!!

Greetings loved ones!!!!

We are in the final stages of opening something called the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind Reference and Lending Library in my community (out of my living room) so that people can have access to great books that can inspire and empower them to think about race and gender and sexuality and politics and everything that they may want to think about more. I'm particularly collecting books that are not in the local libraries and I'll be having library days starting in March in addition to the events I have here at the Inspiration Station when folks can look at the reference books, scan themselves copies of articles and chapters and borrow the lending collection to take home!

I'm really excited about it. Since this summer when I started the process over 700 books have been donated!

You can see the books that I have entered so far (about half) here:

You can see the books that we are still "wishing for" on this amazon wishlist:

Hooray! Maybe you'd like to donate some books that you already have? Email me at brokenbeautifulpress at gmail dot com. OR maybe you'd like to start your own lending and reference library in your community? OR if you live in Durham...maybe you'd like me to show you how you can catalog the books that you can share! Get in touch!

Much much love and booklust to everybody!!!


Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Bootcamp Podcast: The Sound of Mothering Ourselves

Loved ones!!!! For those of you who didn't get to participate in the MotherOurselves Bootcamp in Durham NC this January here is a podcast featuring the insights of the participants and some beautiful music!!! Playlist below.


direct link:

Also know that for the next week...if you become an Eternal Summerian (monthly sustainer of the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind) your first gifts will be a mixtape of the meditations of release we did during the bootcamp and the motherourselves manual so that you can bring this work into your life and your community!!!

We can make something out of anything.

Insight from Mariel Eaves and

The Revenge of Ricky Williams "Sweet Wolf Shirt"

We recognize and nurture the creative parts of each other without always understanding what will be created.

"Dear Mom" by Adele Nieves and

Climbing Poetree "I Wonder"

We establish authority over our own definitions.

Affirmations from Miya Binta

Doria Roberts "Dying Man's Wish"

We claim power over who we choose to be, knowing that such power is relative within the realities of our lives.

Estas Mujeres: Covenant by Fabiola Sandoval

Amel Larrieux "All I Got"

We provide an attentive concern and expectation of growth, which is the beginning of that acceptance we came to expect only from our mothers.

"When I Crave Mama" by Fabiola Sandoval

Me'shell Ndegeocello "Solomon"

We affirm our own worth by committing ourselves to our own survival in our selves and in the selves of other black women.

"I Am My Mother's Daughter" by Rashida James-Saadiya

Lauryn Hill "If They Only Knew"

We refuse to settle for anything less than a rigorous pursuit of the possible in ourselves, at the same time making a distinction between what is possible, and what the outside world drives us to do in order to prove that we are human.

"Mother Ourselves" by Julia R. Wallace (JDub)

Santigold "Unstoppable"

We recognize our successes and are tender with ourselves even when we fail.

"My Mother Ourselves Covenant" by Dara Montaque

Res "Bittersweet"

We learn to love what we have given birth to by giving definition to, to be both kind and demanding in the teeth of failure as well as in the face of success without misnaming either.

"Letter of Release to the Next Generation" by Miya Binta

Erykah Badu "My Life"

We lay to rest what is weak, timid and damaged without despisal and we protect and support what is useful for survival. We explore the difference together.

"Mother as Savior" by Miya Binta

Georgia Ann Muldrow "Runway"

We stand toe-to-toe inside rigorous loving and speak what has always seemed like the impossible to each other.

Truth Booth Conversation between Miya Binta and Manju Rajendran

Tata Vega, "Miss Celie's Blues"

As we speak the truth to each other it become unavoidable to ourselves.

ESG "Keep on Moving"

Infinite love,