Moving on the Wires: Taking a Break + Donations + Vampires + Studio Museum + The Beautyful Ones Exhibit

* Hey everyone! I decided that since my birthday is in a couple of weeks (August 7), and since I have been slowing down on the blog due to both things that I am personally doing that is taking up my time and the events of the world tiring me, I will take a few weeks off. Enjoy reading or rereading my previous posts, and consider donating to my blog at the side (it would be a nice present, especially with my laptop getting old! haha).

*With vampires having a renaissance and with several cult film classics including black vampires or vampire-hunters, like Blacula, Vampire in Brooklyn, and Blade, books like Octavia Butler’s Fledgling and TV shows like True Blood featuring the character Tara, here are some projects to take a look at:

1) Rashid Darden’s upcoming novel Birth of a Dark Nation about black vampires who come to America during the transatlantic slave trade. Here is the Indiegogo page.

2) Nikyatu Jusu’s upcoming Suicide by Sunlight web series. She describes the series: “Daywalking Black Vampyres protected by added melanin roam modern day NYC. RAYN, a half vamp+half human hybrid rejects her vampyre lineage while hunting for the right human sperm donor.” For more on the series, here is the facebook page.

Continue reading Moving on the Wires: Taking a Break + Donations + Vampires + Studio Museum + The Beautyful Ones Exhibit


Otherworldly Videos: A Seed of Hope – Baobab + Simphiwe Dana

I saw these two beautiful videos today, the French short film, Baobab, and South African singer Simphiwe Dana’s “Mayine.” While the videos may appear disheartening at first (and I do have questions about the former’s reason for the cutting down the tree, the depiction of violence in general, and the film’s meaning within a larger cultural context), there is some hope at the end of them.

The My-Stery: The Different American Realities We Have and Politics of Proof – RIP Trayvon Martin

I feel genuinely weakened and tired from the not guilty verdict given to the George Zimmerman case. I was not shocked by it, but it did feel like another painful smack in the face after you’ve already been beaten several times.

During the whole trial, two quotations from Malcolm X came to mind:

“If you stick a knife nine inches into my back and pull it out three inches, that is not progress. Even if you pull it all the way out, that is not progress. Progress is healing the wound, and America hasn’t even begun to pull out the knife.”

Here is another version of the quotation where he says they won’t even admit the knife is there.

The second quotation is:

“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”

Continue reading The My-Stery: The Different American Realities We Have and Politics of Proof – RIP Trayvon Martin

The My-Stery: Dance Apocalyptic By Shaking Your Groove Thing!

From “Fela” Source: Dance Studio 101

“The booty don’t lie” – Janelle Monae and Erykah Badu’s “Q.U.E.E.N.”

“I’m wigglin’ my fanny, I’m raunchy dancing, I’m-a-doing it doing it” – Betty Davis’ “If I’m in Luck I Might Just Get Picked Up”

“Free yaself gal, you got class and you got pride
Come together cuz we strong and unified…

Show it off gal and let di world see
Roll it gal, roll it gal” – Alison Hinds’ “Roll It Gal”

(All the songs in the playlist at the end of the post)

“These hips are magic hips.” – Lucille Clifton’s poem “Homage to My Hips

Thinking about Janelle Monae’s recent videos for “Dance Apocalyptic” and “Q.U.E.E.N.,” I was inspired to write about booty dancing and its relationship to us in the African diaspora. With Miley Cyrus releasing twerking videos and claiming that she wants a sound that “feels black,” I cannot help but feel a bit of deja vu, by way of Elvis, the so-called “pelvis.” I cannot help but think of the way Afro-diasporic dances, like hip-swiveling, waist rolling, booty shaking movements, that are significant to us and part of our lived experiences, are vilified, hypersexualized, and laughed at when we do it, but when others outside our cultures appropriate it, its not treated with as much disgust and disrespect.

Booty dances are one of the connecting parts of cultures across the diaspora from whining (wining, wainin, etc.) and perreo in the Caribbean, to the several dance names in the United States from shake a tailfeather, da butt and twerking, to mapouka, soukous and others in many African countries. Yet although booty dancing has been part of our cultures and many of us have grown up with them, others, and even some, of us still see it as negative, stereotyping it ghetto and low-class, and not a sacred, traditional part of our cultures. Often these judgements are using morals indoctrinated into us by heteropatriarchal religions like Christianity and Islam. Black men are not expected to move their hips and black women who do so are immediately slut-shamed.

Continue reading The My-Stery: Dance Apocalyptic By Shaking Your Groove Thing!

Modern Griots Reviews: Apeshit + The Creation of the Humanoids – The Politics of Obsolescence

From The Creation of the Humanoids

This morning I heard that communication companies are attempting to rid us of phone landlines and replace them with wireless service only, and it reminded me of the two films I saw last night, Leah Gilliam‘s movie Apeshit and Wesley E. Barry‘s The Creation of the Humanoids.

Gilliam spoke at the showings of the film about her use of “obsolete technology” in creating a film using 8mm reduction film print of Battle for the Planet of the Apes and the hosts of the event finding also spoke of finding the rare print of Barry’s film. But the old technology also correlated with the themes of obsolescence in both films.

As mentioned here, Gilliam’s use of old film formats and technologies, including silent film dialogue cards, created a conversation around political ideologies and rhetoric that are now out-of-date, such as the ideas of tolerance, inferiority of different beings and assimilation.

Barry’s film, instead of having the humans and the alienness of humanized apes, has it between humans and androids. After an atomic war kills of over 90% of the humans on the planet, the humans left begin creating robots to compensate. But there is an antagonism between the androids, who are disparagingly called “the clickers,” and some of the humans. But the twist at the end is that some of the humans who think they are humans, are actually androids. They found out that there has been a secret process to transfer the memories and experiences of the humans left into robotic bodies through a “thalamic transplant” to keep them living because human bodies are becoming “obsolete” after the atomic bomb.

Continue reading Modern Griots Reviews: Apeshit + The Creation of the Humanoids – The Politics of Obsolescence

Modern Griots Reviews: Sekou Sundiata Tribute at Summerstage

Although we the audience were subjected to downpours on Wednesday night, the sun seemed to come and shine, even for a little bit, for the three songtresses, Toshi Reagon, Sandra St. Victor and Nona Hendryx, who hit the stage in honor of late poet Sekou Sundiata.

The singers, along with their bands and special guests, notably poets Liza Jessie Peterson and Carl Rux (who I saw do a moving and witty performance at the blessing the boats: the remix show with Mike Ladd and Will Power last Friday), performed a mixture of their own songs which they dedicated to Sundiata and some of his poetry.

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Modern Griots Reviews: Malik Manifesto

On their bandcamp page, duo Malik Manifesto has the phrase “real is ‘relative,’ truth is ‘absolute.'” The motto appears to be a fitting explanation to Malik Manifesto’s debut, self-titled album.

Consisting of producer Dasman and MC Mike Lamont, aka “Sintex Era,” Malik Manifesto’s album begins with what Lamont calls “the king’s manifest,” a title for that a large entity (ex government, big business), something that can hold and affect all of our multiple realities as mentioned in the “Intro” or like in the album cover. This album stands out due to Dasman’s jazz and soul sampling sound, and Lamont’s laidback, effortless flow and intriguing lyrics that are reminiscent of the golden era of hip-hop, like Erik B and Rakim and De La Soul.

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