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Re-imagining Black Love

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By: Cody Charles

Black love,

a bursting speck of gold dust

sunrise waking us

to us.

~Megan Pendleton (Badass Black Queer Poet)

I’ve been thinking about Black Love for a while now, and how it is both felt and intellectualized. As a Black fat queer cis femme, love has always been complicated.

I have been in community with beautiful Black folk who uplift me, challenge me, hold me accountable, induce hearty laughs, and often finish my sentences and interpret my infamous side-eyes.

I have been in community with resilient Black folk who hold me when I have nothing left, who cook my favorite meals in times of celebration and grief, who massage my shoulders and administer hugs that heal the soul, and who I trust passing the baton onto when I’m in need of rest.

It is worth mentioning that when I feel this radical prioritization– this space created where my full self is welcomed, and can be explored- it is often with my Black queer and trans family.

In addition to the above, I have felt extreme isolation and violence in the name of love, often caping behind the veil of organized religion (informed by Imperialist White Supremacist Capitalist CisHeteroPatriarchy).

Re: someone does and says something really awful to me, and using the above framework, I’m supposed to respond with love and forgiveness.

Nope.

The word love is complicated, and often goes untroubled.

I am curious.

I am curious about how we engage love outside of the aforementioned toxicity.

I am curious about what love even means? Isn’t it a made-up word steeped in violence and manipulation- a tactic to keep the powerful in power? Am I off here?

But, I am most curious about the following question…

What is Black Love outside of Imperialist White Supremacist Capitalist CisHeteroPatriarchy? (What is Black love minus the standards/expectations of the cisgender white phukshyt?)

Below I have asked a few of my brilliant friends to chime in.

Enjoy, and share.


Bulaong Ramiz-Hall– Educator, writer, community builder, granddaughter of the resilient survivors of enslavement and colonialism

Black love is the magic of our ancestors existing in our bodies, minds, spirits and souls. It is the deep and direct rejection of all things that tell us we are not beautiful, brilliant, worthy, and free. Black love is what makes us human, what allows us to access the deepest parts of ourselves, its that love that separates us from all others and connects us to each other.

I had to learn to love blackness, mine and others. I had to train myself to find the beauty in my people, to feel an affinity with my culture, to let the connection to both intergenerational trauma and intergenerational thriving sustain and guide me.

Black love is the antithesis to white supremacy, it is the cure to imperialism, it is a return to the fluidity of our roles in community, it is a rejection of hierarchy that allows for some to have more than enough and others to have nothing, it is the elevation and celebration of women and femmes, it is what will free us all.


Robert Jones Jr.- Creator of the Son of Baldwin Platform

To me, this kind of black love would, first and foremost, be built on a foundation that neither fetishizes nor recoils at the sight of jet-black skin. It would know that dark-black skin is something to be adored and treasured, like the cosmos itself, rather than covered up or bleached away.

Nor would black love understand or accept violence in the face of black queer desire and black queer bodies. Rather, it would celebrate, given their unpopularity in this current white supremacist cisheteropatriachal moment, any consensual romantic black bonds.

Black love would not be afraid of black children’s joy and would not seek to police it. I use that word “police” intentionally. Black love would seek, instead, to un-train itself from art of corporal punishment because black love would push out the fear and sadism that drive such practices.

Black love, outside the scope of the pathologies mentioned, would make untrue the rap verse (“And when you get on, he’ll leave your ass for a white girl” — Kanye West, “Gold Digger”) describing the phenomenon of black men who select white partners over black ones because black would be seen as more than enough.

Black love would eschew respectability for humanity, choose humility over pride, select gratitude not ego, seek to be spiritual rather than religious, make whole not half, restore as opposed to damage. It would never assume, but would always ask permission, move forward only when permission has been granted, and would not whither from rejection, but would rejoice at the mutual respect left in its wake. Rather than seek to narrow, confine, and exclude, black love would seek to expand, liberate, and include.

In short, black love is potentially the complete opposite of imperialist white supremacist capitalist cisheteropatriarchy.


Zerandrian S. Morris– Anti-Academic and Ivy League Professor

Hmm…black love outside of the phukshyt is…Hell, I have no clue, as I’ve never experienced it. But I would imagine it to be exceptionally liberating and a deeply creative space. A place where it’s ok to phuk up and the fear of relationships dissolving at whim, wouldn’t be there. It would be women liking me for me, not because they’re curious about what its like to date a non-binary person and a year later, they’re engaged to a cis-person.

Sorry let me try and stick to what it is, versus what it’s not.

It is freer. More liberatory. It’s both hood AF and elegant like a quarter pounder with cheese with a side of sushi from Masa in NYC.

Damn. That sounds dope AF!


Romeo Jackson– Black Queer Femme Educator, Learner, and Thinker.

This is such a hard question to answer given most images we have of Black love are Imperialist White Supremacist Capitalist and deeply invested in CisHeteroPatriarchy. Even the few public images we have of Black love are often coded as white and placed in proximity to gender and sexuality norms (think: Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade or Michelle Obama and Barack Obama). Where are the expressions of poor Black love, of Disable Black love, of trans Black love?

Black love has the potential to be the transformative power to liberate all Black people. This liberatory Black love understands that love is a way of being versus a feeling. Yes, love can be a feeling, but what if we imagined love as a place we can never reach, a way of thinking, as praxis? In thinking about Black love this way, no where can the cis-het-college-educated-upper-middle-class couple with two cis-het children be seen as the model for Black love? It is then, how we start to imagine the Black trans femme couple fighting for survival while mothering an entire community of queer and trans youth as Black love, because at its core Black love is a rejection of Black death, pain, and suffering.

Lastly, we must begin to understand Black friendship as Black Love. Love is more than the people we fuck, go on dates with, and enter into romantic relationships with. My friendships, often with Black queer and trans people, have been my greatest source of Black love. Black love that sees you in your wholeness. A Black love that is there to call you out while honoring your humanity. Black love is seeing another Black person as human, always deserving of love, support, and community. Black friendship is the past, present, and future of Black love.


Black folk, what is Black love to you outside of these toxic systems? #ReimaginingBlackLove #BlackJoyWeDeserveIt Click To Tweet

 

Black love,

a bursting speck of gold dust

sunrise waking us

to us.

~Megan Pendleton (Badass Black Queer Poet)

If any of my writing helps you in any way, please consider tipping here =>cash.me/$CodyCharles (Square Cash), @CodyCharles(Venmo), orpaypal.me/CodyCharles<=

This is the work of Cody Charles; claiming my work does not make me selfish or ego-driven, instead radical and in solidarity with the folk who came before me and have been betrayed by history books and storytellers. Historically, their words have been stolen and reworked without consent. This is the work of Cody Charles. Please discuss, share, and cite properly.

Bio: Cody Charles is the author of Getting To Know Rosa Lee: An Overdue Conversation With My MotherBlack Joy, We Deserve ItThe Night The Moonlight Caught My Eye: Not a Review but a Testimony on the Film Moonlight5 Tips For White Folks, As They Engage Jordan Peele’s Get Out. (No Spoilers)A Letter to Black Greeks Who Happen to be Black and QueerStudent Affairs is a Sham, 19 Types of Higher Education Professionals, and What Growing Up Black And Poor Taught Me About Resiliency. Join him for more conversation on Twitter (@_codykeith_) and Facebook (Follow Cody Charles). Please visit his blog, Reclaiming Anger, to learn more about him.

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The Diversity JUMPED out: Savage x Fenty Fashion Show Gave us all the Inclusion we Needed

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Last night Savage x Fenty by Rihanna ended New York Fashion Week with a bang! The lingerie brand had an array of women from different skin tones to body types. Rih wanted to show the world that ANYONE can wear Savage x Fenty and feel sexy. There were even pregnant models featured in the show. Yes, pregnant. Get into the models and event down below:

 

Rihanna is taking the fashion industry by storm. Let’s hope other fashion brands can follow suit.

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Lawrence Makes His Way Back to Insecure and Leaves Us SHOOK

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Lawrence must’ve had a seasonal positional at Best Buy because he is back but will he be in a full-time employee in Issa’s life?

Insecure delivered one of the most sickening episodes with “High-Like” episode 4, and not because they brought back breaking couch potato, Lawrence. It was the conversation about friendships and how things change. Dealing with real situations and how friends can all have something going on but also come to support one another. But for some of us seeing Lawrence made us wet and how us wondering why since we didn’t want to see him anymore.

The last 2 minutes as Issa walks in 7-Eleven after trying to assure Tiffany that things will be the same after she has her baby. Tiffany seems to be reluctant that it will be. Issa walks into the store to get some water and runs into Chad the Bluetooth wearing real estate agent. As she looked over to her left (in my Tweet voice) their goes Lawrence looking so good without a mustache OH MY! Issa’s looks as if she is excited and Chad’s mood is all of us!

Take a look at some of the reactions from Twitter as some said: “To hell with Lawrence!”

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Black People Stay Winning! Tiffany Haddish & Katt Williams Win Emmys!

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Tiffany Haddish made history last year for the being the first black female comedienne to host “Saturday Night Live.” Her performance garnered her a Creative Emmy for “best guest actress in a comedy.” During her SNL episode, Haddish addressed the hot button issue of sexual assault in Hollywood. It’s great that Haddish was able to bridge the gap between comedy and current events and get an Emmy for it! Haddish beat out Maya Rudolph, Jane Lynch, Tina Fey, and Wanda Sykes.

Another Emmy award winner we’re excited about is Katt Williams. The comedian won “best guest actor in a comedy” for his appearance on FX’s “Atlanta.” Katt Williams played Earn’s Uncle Willy and stole the show. This is great news because Williams career has gone through its ups and downs along with his personal life. With the Netflix special and this Emmy hopefully, this indicates that the “It’s Pimpin’ Pimpin'” comedian’s career is on an incline and we get to see him in more TV and film projects. Williams beat out Bryan Cranston, Donald Glover, Sterling K. Brown, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Bill Hader for the award.

It’s great to see black talent that would be classified as “ghetto” or “ratchet” win Emmy awards. This goes to show that that respectability politics isn’t ruling anything over here. Black people are being their authentic selves and getting awards for it.

Are y’all here for the Emmy’s now that we’re getting awards or are they still late like always? Let us know in the comments.

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