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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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For The Culture

Caucasian Christian Colonizer Cole LaBrant Catching Criticism for Using Adopted Child as Ottoman for Privileged Daughter

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In today’s segment of Typical White Nonsense, we return to none other than Alabama for the latest act of insensitivity. YouTuber Cole LaBrant uploaded a controversial video of his adopted cousin, a Black boy nicknamed Peanut, being used as a footstool to lift his daughters up to the swings. Although the video has been deleted, it was captured by the entirety of Black Twitter, who assembled to quickly mete out justice.

Having recently trended because of the poor decision to pass one of the nation’s strictest abortion bills, Alabamians have another reason to hide their faces in shame. Youtuber Cole LaBrant, who runs a family channel with his wife and children, shared a video of his Black adopted cousin being used a footstool to his Twitter account. Expecting the video to be received as a warm gesture, Cole quickly realized that a Black boy being pressed into the dirt by the heel of two white girls isn’t exactly the visual we need in 2019.

Although Cole has been racing to clean up his mess, evidence of the misdeed has already made international waves. Catching the immediate ire of Black Twitter, the culture has already rallied and uncovered disgusting liked tweets. An outspoken Christian, Cole has apparently taken “make your enemies a footstool” quite literally as he celebrated the behavior of”Peanut”. Despite there being multiple able-bodied adults in the vicinity, that poor child is the one to “aid” his cousins, who in my opinion didn’t even need his help.

Along with drawing comparisons to behaviors exhibited during slavery, Cole’s actions have prompted a discussion for the argument against transracial adoption. When Black babies end up in white homes, are deprived of the knowledge of their cultural history, and are subjected to treatment like that, it’s the perfect storm for birthing an Uncle Ruckus. They endure psychological abuses and internalize hatred for all that so many of us hold dear. They develop disdain for the elements of Black culture they missed and eventually grow to use the language of the oppressor to justify their prejudices and distance themselves from the community. The fear of “Peanut” facing such a fate has spawned calls for his removal from a potentially dangerous environment.

Has Black Twitter gotten CPS on the line yet?

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Kim Kardashian’s Kredit Belongs to Black Female Attorneys, Activists

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Behind every Kardashian is a Black woman who truly did the work! Yesterday, we reported that Kim Kardashian would be featured in a two-hour documentary chronicling her justice crusade. Now, an attorney and criminal reform advocate a part of the team that REALLY led the efforts has spoken up.

Kim Kardashian arrived at the table when dessert was being served and was given credit for the full meal! The true team of people who put the work in to secure the freedom of Alice Marie Johnson along with the other 16 life sentences, is made predominantly of black women and men.

Fed up with the misinformation people have been spreading on social media, Texas attorney and activist Brittany K. Barnett decided to clear the air. Through two organizations called The Decarceration Collective and the Buried Alive Project, Brittany and her partner, MiAngel Cody, were the driving forces behind the success Kim Kardashian has claimed. Commenting on the silent struggles she has faced, Barnett says she is “coming out of the shadows” and is no longer shying away from their magic in all of its melanin glory.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BuAWwMYDTEi/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

As a co-founder of Buried Alive, Brittany K. Barnett has been invested in the pro bono presentation of federal prison inmates. Changing the lives of nonviolent drug offenders, Brittany has worked to secure the freedom of countless victims of the American justice system. Having experienced firsthand the atrocities mass incarceration inflicts upon families, Brittany has worked tirelessly to free her clients, 37 in total. So when it comes to what exactly Kim Kardashian provided, in short, it was “support”.

https://twitter.com/KimKardashian/status/1124379995143426048

 

 

The use of Kim’s platform was integral in securing funding and spreading the word but the work was done by those behind the non-profits. While Brittany does not harbor any ill-will toward Kim, she is conflicted by reports that Kim led the way. Expressing her frustration, Brittany stated:

Kim has always been very clear in her role. It’s the media that spins it around — not Kim. We do not care how the media is portraying it — that’s what the media does. Who cares. We need Kim’s support and the support of anyone else who wants to join this fight. We love that she is using her platform to raise awareness. We ain’t trying to be famous, we trying to get our people free. Period.”

 

Brittany credits Kim for “linking arms” with them in support when other foundations declined requests for funds. However, TWO black women lawyers are responsible for the 90-day effort to release 17 incarcerated individuals.

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Dear Tiffany Haddish

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