I'm Serdy Like That

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On Rick Ross and the Outrage Over Rape Culture

In the case of Rick Ross, Black Social Media exploded. But guess what? I did not—because they protested a bit too much, in my opinion. 

These are the same folks who have had no problem with Jay-Z’s, Kanye’s, Common’s, etc. “b-word” & “h-word” usage for several years now, and these guy’s contemptuous, sexually demeaning depiction of women in their records and videos. Who defended Kanye’s depiction of a lynched woman in one of his videos—a woman hung by chains around her neck—and his holding the decapitated head of another woman as “art.”

What’s the difference? Well, several millions of dollars, popularity, and/or sex appeal, that’s what.

[Read the rest at Phillis Remastered]

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(Academic) Hustle Alert! April 1 DEADLINE!

Call For Proposals

Special Issue of Atlantic Studies

“Obeah and Its Literatures: Knowledge, Power, and Writing in the Global Atlantic”

We seek three to four additional contributors to fill out an interdisciplinary special issue of Atlantic Studies, guest edited by Toni Wall Jaudon (Hendrix College) and Kelly Wisecup (University of North Texas). 
In recent years, scholars of the early Atlantic world have begun to recognize the inseparability of religion and science in the period’s literature. So too have they begun to attend to the alternative forms of knowledge and power that consistently shadowed and undercut these binaries. This special issue will engage these conversations by focusing on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century representations and manifestations of obeah, an Afro-Caribbean religious and medical complex that played a signal role in confounding distinctions between religion and science. Often associated with slave rebellions and other, more local disruptions of colonial order, obeah appeared in literatures and histories as a protean and subversive force, one that repeatedly blurred boundaries between natural and supernatural powers, rational and magical explanatory systems, and spiritual and medical healing practices.  We envision the special issue as extending recent studies that reconceptualize colonial, global, Native American, and New World African approaches to natural and supernatural realms, while also providing a site at which to draw two major strands of disciplinary discussion into fruitful conversation.
Obeah offers a provocative center for a discussion of the relations and intersections between science and religion; medicine and witchcraft; magic and reason because of its hybrid status as a material practice and a textual phenomenon. As a practice, obeah developed as enslaved Africans sought to heal their illnesses, appease supernatural entities, and resolve conflicts in the material world. At the same time, it challenges scholars to rethink the geographic frameworks defining their fields, for obeah’s origins and its influence extended to Africa and India and the people, ideas, and plants from these places; obeah thus requires both local and global units of analysis.  As such, it offers a compelling site at which scholars working from a wide range of perspectives and disciplinesmay consider how their fields intersect and what their various disciplinary tools illuminate about obeah and its literatures. 
We are especially interested in contributions on the following topics and methodologies:
  • Obeah in a global context; connections not only between the Caribbean and Africa but also among Atlantic and Pacific contexts
  • Approaches to colonial archives, especially colonial accounts of African religious and medical practices
  • Intersections of religion and science in Atlantic and global contexts
  • The relation between “fictional” and “historical” accounts of obeah
  • Connections between Africans’ and indigenous peoples’ botanical knowledge and practice, religious practices, and colonial writing
Submit one page abstracts and CVs by April 1, 2013 and Complete essays will be due in late 2013. Inquiries also welcome.
Essays of about 7,000 words will undergo the journal’s usual peer review process.

Kelly Wisecup
Assistant Professor
Department of English
University of North Texas
Denton, TX 76203

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Help A Poetry Elder Out

A poetry elder and one of the founders of the Nuyorican Poetry Movement is about to be homeless if he doesn’t receive help. I’m asking anyone who reads this post to send him a donation at

Mr. Jesus “Papoleto” Melendez

PO Box 268

New York, NY 10029-0260.

Here is the NY Times article about him:  Jesus “Papoleto” Melendez, a King Among Poets, Now Looking for Work

I hope you will not forget those who made it possible for many of us writing today. I hope you will not forget Mr. Melendez. In the meantime, experience some of his work.

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Being a Poet. Being a Crier. Being Both.

It’s still so much easier for me to write a poem instead of a short story when I sit (or in tonight’s case, lie in bed in my pjs) down to write.  I’m grateful that after all this time—twenty years since my first workshop with Mr. Ray Grant at Spelman College—I still love to write poetry.

I cry a lot writing this book on the life and times of Phillis Wheatley.  People keep asking me, “Honorée, when’s the book going to be done?” I don’t like to whine to folks, but since it’s Black History Month, so let me say, it’s taken me a long time to write this book because it hurts to write each and every poem. It aches. You can’t explain that without seeming like you’re making excuses for being lazy—but that’s what’s taking so long.

When I started this book, I thought it would be about a Black woman in the middle of the American Revolution. That’s it. Then, I started doing the research, and everywhere I turned was the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Most of the key figures of the Revolution owned slaves. Dig a little and you find a lot of bloody dirt concerning their slave owning. It’s just everywhere. It’s ugly.

Marcus Rediker, the author of The Slave Ship: a Human History (Viking Penguin, 2007) said this in the introduction of his book:

To conclude on a personal note, this has been a painful book to write, and if I have done any justice on the subject, it will be a painful book to read.

I hope that my book, when it’s finally finished (by the grace of God) will be beautiful, but I don’t know. It may not be. I do believe nobody’s going to be able to read it without tissues, though. 

There’s so much sadness for Black folks back in the 18th century, but what makes me feel better about that sadness is the all the testimony I see. Today, when an old Black lady gets up in church and begins, “First giving honor and glory to God…” that comes directly from African American testimony in the 18th century. And I love that.

Black folks refused to shut up about their pain. No matter how bad things got, they stood on the Rock and opened up their mouths. I cherish that about my people. That’s what keeps me writing through the tears. 

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100 Books By Black Women Everyone Must Read

From the wonderful For Harriet Website (it’s one of my “go-to” places!): 

"Far too often Black women are excluded from the classic literary canon. But Black women have consistently published evocative, thoughtful works. Our stories soar. They provoke. They inspire. The work of Black women across history is expansive. Though we’ve compiled 100 selections, this is still only the tip of the literary iceberg…"

Read the entire post by clicking the link below!

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From the fabulous tayarijones:

Opportunity alert! VONA, the writing workshops for writers of color is offering a NEW course on the graphic novel, led by Mat Johnson.  In addition to this exciting class, there are offerings in all the other genres, led by the teachers of your dreams….
Fiction with Junot Diaz, M. Evelina Galang
Memoir with Faith Adiele, Staceyann Chin
Poetry with Ruth Forman, Jimmy Santiago Baca
Residency with Jeffrey Renard Allen, David Mura
Graphic Novel with Mat Johnson

From the fabulous tayarijones:

Opportunity alert! VONA, the writing workshops for writers of color is offering a NEW course on the graphic novel, led by Mat Johnson.  In addition to this exciting class, there are offerings in all the other genres, led by the teachers of your dreams….

Fiction with Junot Diaz, M. Evelina Galang

Memoir with Faith Adiele, Staceyann Chin

Poetry with Ruth Forman, Jimmy Santiago Baca

Residency with Jeffrey Renard Allen, David Mura

Graphic Novel with Mat Johnson


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Beyoncé Knows Voodoo (I Think)

Every time I’m on Facebook and Twitter whenever Beyoncé performs, I always wonder, what is it that everyone else sees that I don’t? I can only play DVDs on my TV so I went on Youtube tonight to see her halftime video because everyone was talking about how phenomenal her half-time show was.

I was like, “This is completely horrible, I’m bored and her voice sounds awful.” (In her defense tonight, maybe it was bad because it’s hard to sing while doing hardcore Zumba? I know I couldn’t. I must to give that Sister credit for heart healthiness.)

But I think I know what’s happening here.

Y’all know Beyoncé’s mama is one of them Louisiana Creoles, right? Well, about a week ago, I came to the (serious) conclusion that Beyoncé comes from a long line of Voodoo practitioners on her mama’s side and that’s why everyone is so blinded to the truth.

Because, yes, Beyoncé is fine as h—l with a great body, her weave is off the chain, and she can dance her behind off—but her voice is mediocre, her songs are silly and all sound the same, and further, people just completely excuse her strange/rude behavior.

I mean, a Black women lip-synching at the Presidential Inauguration when that White girl sang live? That would be a great, big “aw, no, she didn’t.”

Asking your so-called “best friends” to ”sing with me” at the Super Bowl Half-time and then having their microphones turned all the way down so they’re whispering? That just violates The Girlfriend Code. That has got to be up there with sleeping with your cousin’s husband or something!

And yet, Beyoncé enjoys nearly universal adulation. So it’s clear she must know some powerful gris-gris. I’m not playing here. I really do think she’s killing chickens and throwing the bones. My hat is off to Her Royal Rootiness.