Written by Da’Shaun Harrison
I woke up on Wednesday morning, November 8th. It was around 8:30 am. Expecting it to be just another Wednesday, I checked my emails, then my texts, and then social media.
What I found when I scrolled through Twitter, however, was that this was not just another Wednesday. This was the day that someone, or several people, decided to do what most survivors often want to but opt-out of due to fear, lack of protection, antagonism from apologists, and a host of other reasons.
Student survivors from the Atlanta University Center (AUC)—which consists of Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Clark Atlanta University—plastered Morehouse and Spelman’s campuses with sheets of paper. On these sheets were the names of various assailants throughout the AUC and organizations they were affiliated with.
When I saw the first tweet, my heart sank. I was excited about the labor that survivors were putting in; labor that both institutions have proven they were unwilling to, and maybe even incapable of, committing to. However, though the action was both humbling and refreshing for me as a survivor, I also knew that Twitter would soon be set ablaze by the many assailants and their apologists who have also proved that they are unwilling to put in the labor to combat rape culture. I took several deep breaths, sent out various texts, and then I waited.
— Thickie Smalls (@Ehidebamen) November 8, 2017
At 8:30, there were a few folks talking about the incident, but there was not yet too large of a conversation. 9:00 came and chatter had increased, but still nothing tremendously outrageous. By this time, I was reading tweets stating that Morehouse’s campus police had already begun to remove the sheets of paper. I thought, for a moment, that this protest would prove to be unsuccessful. And as an organizer, that reality was disappointing. I am always in full support of organizers who take such radical, bold, and strategic steps toward justice. However, as a survivor, I could not help but to feel a little excited. Thankful that I would not have to bear witness to the inundating ignorance of people who refuse to hold sexual abusers accountable for their actions.
Then 10:00 came.
Suddenly, a rush of tweets began to flood my Twitter timeline with more pictures of the white sheets of paper and the names of assailants typed onto them. Some names I knew and expected, others coming as a total surprise. And with these pictures came the commentary I originally expected. “How do we know these people are actually rapists?” some asked. “Are we sure we know what they did?” others asked. It was as if rape apologists rushed to Twitter in droves to make unapologetic claims about the survivors’ actions while not daring to condemn the men and women who were accused. Many of them even dressed their bigotry in the guise of solidarity with survivors.
#WeKnowWhatYouDid quickly became more than a hashtag, much like the origin of #BlackLivesMatter. This became a national campaign in a matter of hours. Tons of survivors took to Twitter to share their stories with names of their assailants, and Twitter pages, designed with the purpose of naming perpetrators, were created.
That day was spent having long, tough and painful discussions about rape culture and sexual assault. Survivors forced to argue the indispensability of our humanity. For hours, I was stuck deciding when choosing to be quiet to protect my sanity made me complicit in the silencing of my voice and when not being vocal aided in the erasure of my narrative.
I was finally able to laugh again at the end of the day. Barely, but I did. After hours of fighting through triggering responses to combat harmful beliefs about survivors, I was able to smile again.
Then Thursday came.
And with this new day came a second action. This time, a part of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, which stands at the front of Morehouse’s campus, had been spray painted with the message: “Practice what you preach Morehouse. End rape culture.” In yet another frenzy, Twitter users quickly tweeted out their thoughts on the action. Just as the majority focused on condemning the survivors and not the assailants the day before, many people focused on the vandalism of the chapel and not the reasoning behind it.
8:30am @ Kings Chapel “Practice what you preach Morehouse. End Rape Culture” pic.twitter.com/pD3u1KweHa
— Royalty ?? (@PrinceJauan) November 9, 2017
Almost as quickly as the vandalism was discovered, Morehouse’s campus police covered the work with a tarp. As many folks pointed out on Twitter, this was an emblematic gesture—be it intentional or otherwise—of how Morehouse, and HBCUs in general, respond to sexual violence. It depicts, almost comically, how swiftly those with the power and privilege to make real, structural change are committed to silencing survivors and covering up our stories. Fixated on damning those who have experienced trauma for the ways in which they choose to seek justice over condemning those who caused the trauma.
That very same Thursday morning at Crown Forum, which is a college-wide student assembly, the interim president of the college, Harold Martin Jr., addressed the students and the recent actions. Within this statement, he says: “This will be the last time anyone ever defaces the chapel on this campus.” A moment that could have been used to have a raw discussion about sexual violence with a room filled mostly by men was, instead, used as a moment to, yet again, focus on the property that had been painted over.
He used the word “deface,” which can translate to “damage” or “ruin,” to describe the spray painting of the chapel. And while it is true that students defaced property, it is also true that the Church has attempted to deface many survivors as it has been a place of deep-rooted violence towards queer folk and women. In a piece I recently wrote, I discussed my own experiences with sexual violence and the Church’s role. The Church—specifically, the Black Church—has long aided in the silencing of survivors and has been committed to molding and shaping assailants. Morehouse is an institution built on old baptist morals and ethics and has been a product of two institutions, Christianity, and the cisheteropatriarchy, with a dedication to protecting perpetrators. And what better place to attack that than the one place that represents both institutions on campus?
This forced me, and a lot of other survivors and advocates, to revisit and reintroduce the fact that though rape culture is prevalent throughout the rest of America—as patriarchy is not confined to Morehouse and Spelman’s campuses—HBCUs have a deeply painful history with and connection to sexual violence that cannot be ignored. A violence that is often silenced and, thus, exacerbated, by a belief that Black people must handle our intracommunal issues “in-house.” That, as a community, healing must come on the terms of the abuser(s) and at the expense of the survivor(s).
#WeKnowWhatYouDid acts as a catalyst to a much larger moment, not conversation, that requires us to daringly hold responsible the various men, women, and people who have violated others in unimaginable ways. The hashtag, the movement must push us to not be fixated on the tactics of survivors looking for justice, but on how we work to hold the perpetrators accountable while prioritizing the healing of the survivors.
The Circle on Netflix Had A Racism Problem
Bey Ain’t Slick
The opinions expressed in this publication are those of Rafael Roden.
For far too long we’ve been giving her passes and today I say enough is enough. People are literally afraid to write about this shit because of the inevitable blowback from people who worship Beyoncé like white Brits worship their actual Queen monarch. So here goes…
Beyoncé is not above criticism. That’s the first thing. I understand the stance many Black people take when another Black person casts an unflattering light on your favorite Artist or celebrity, but not all of it is hating. A lot of it is warranted. And every charge I make in this article is coming from a major fan and someone who used to wanna collaborate with the woman. Understand that I have bias, but that’s not making me not wanna hold Beyoncé accountable for her trash ass actions as of late and the precedent it sets for aspiring “bosses”. And just know she ain’t the only member of the upper echelon guilty of this shit. I’mma take shots at a few other entertainment giants, just you wait.
What set this think piece I didn’t wanna find myself writing into motion was the information stirring around that Mrs. “of course sometimes shit go down when it’s a billion dollars on an elevator” is only paying her dancers and other various performance staff $250 a day without benefits when they are performing at the highest level in the world. I’m even flattering her in my critique so please uncock your pistols. I have caught up on all the tea and these claims are supported by many of the lead performers and solidarity exists within that community. It’s hard to substantiate every last bit of wrong in this whole ordeal, but that’s the crux of the situation. Take me at my word cause there are receipts for days.
Moving back retroactively to the Shawn Carter Foundation Gala (which is where that tacky ass clutch in the picture is from) we find our favorite vocal angel arm & arm with her sell out husband Jay Z (NFL partnership, nuff said) who gave out Rolex and bottles of champagne as invitations to a room full of people worth billions of dollars who only raised $6 million. That’s just stingy. But that’s been written about enough. I just think it’s crazy who get’s in these rooms in the name of seeming to authenticly coming from nothing. Like Fabolous. You know the dude that head butt his then girlfriend and knocked her teeth out? Not Beyoncé’s fault, hell no, but why are abusers around a self proclaimed Feminist? Why are you letting your man invite him? Why did Rihanna try and normalize him at her last few events (which I find quite disgusting considering her history)? The answer is money and optics. The message comes off as “rich black men who are seen as legendary can make the mistake of domestic violence and still deserve A Seat At The Table” (see also Nas who beat Kelis). I just can’t square these conflicts of interest. I need somebody to make it make sense. Because remember, birds of a feather flock together. Beyonce blink twice if you need help. I’m fucking serious. He cheated, who knows if there’s a domestic violence story in there. I don’t put shit past no man at this point. It’s also part of the reason why I stopped identifying as such.
Read the entire piece at RafaelRoden.com
Welcome to Uncle Tom’s Haus of Koonery
So in light of the great news of President Trump getting impeached. I was sent an article from a few twitter mutuals of an interview done by Mikelle Street interviewing everyone’s favorite problematic porn star Max Konner. I knew at that moment I would not receive any peace this week. The article at hand denoted that Konner was beginning his own talent agency for people of color. I did a double-take, but I been on this earth long enough to know a stunt when I see one. In the article, Konnor mentioned the need for porn actors of color needing proper tutelage and education before entering the pornography industry. Which I do agree with, but we also know that seeing the phrasing “people of color” does not mean black people and why would Konner exclusively help his own people? He wouldn’t, but that’s been made very clear that he has no intention of helping the Black LGBTQIA+ community after his behavior during the PR nightmare which and is still NoirMale.com.
I have to be honest that I found the interview to be amazing and at minimal a cross-examination of Konner’s work history, work ethics, and very sorted and messy racially insensitive history. Konner acknowledges that there will be criteria for all those that apply to join the slaveshi-, sorry the Haus of Konner.
He says in the article:
“Right now we have three exclusives: Derek Cline, Jabari Clutch, and Asher Lee. I have a bunch of other submissions but I’m taking my time to go through everything because it is a boutique talent management company. I am not just accepting everybody that applies. I’m trying to pick models who I feel like have what it takes to make it.”
Now, what this statement could subversively say so many things. Firstly, Jabari is the only black presenting model. Derek is racially ambiguous and Asher is Asian. Even in the first stride of selection, there is only one Black person in the mix (pun intended). Secondly, “boutique talent management company” is reading as “no fats, no fem” because knowing the shortness of sight that Konner has he may only present body boys and cis actors that are racially palatable.
Mr. Street follows up with the question:
“The release says that you all are prioritizing “models of color.” Are you referencing all models of color, specifically Black models, or will it be all models with an emphasis on models of color?”
Konner responds with:
“As of right now we are looking at all models of color. I’m trying to decide if I want to have one or two models that don’t necessarily fit that because in doing this I don’t want to become the problem that I’m trying to fight. There are so many avenues and so many arenas where we as models of color are shut down or shut out because of the color of our skin, and I don’t want this to be a thing where we say: OK it’s all models of color and anyone who is not that, get out. So I’m still toying around that, but right now we are exclusively models of color.”
My thoughts are that this is basically saying that “I’m gonna have some good ole boys in the club because I don’t want massa upset with me none.” I’m just saying. Rather than doing the right and altruistic thing and doing an all-black agency. Konner is going to appease the comfort of his white fan base in spite of the fact his black fan base was there for him when he was the porn actor Isaiah Foxx. Which if anything he owes that little boy the world because Konner is fully aware and present on the issues that BLACK porn actors face and what Isaiah a black bottom porn actor felt.
The thing that is further disturbing in the article is when Konnor says this:
“I do plan to send models from Haus of Konnor over to Noir Male but one of my big things is: if I send a model to a studio there’s agreement between me and that studio that nothing that has to do with that model’s race or nothing pertaining to the “BBC experience” is what that model is participating in. I’ve been on jobs where I’ve had no clue what I’ve been working on and then the movies come out and it’s like ‘Oh god!’”
This sounds very historically familiar. So during the slave trade, the Caribbean Islands was used as a large space for sex farms for slaves and “buck breaking”.
Noted on RacistReport.org:
“These male slaves were purchase based entirely on the prerequisite of them possessing a large penis. Black men were routinely raped by their gay slave owners. The process was known as “breaking the buck.”
It involves a strapping Negro slave, who was defiant, was beaten with a whip till bloody in front of his entire slave congregation. The slave owner would cut down a tree and, with the help of the overseer, would then pummel the deviant “buck” into submission. Once the slave was worn down, the master had the other Negro slaves force him over the tree stump where his britches would be removed and he laid fully exposed buttocks, he would remove his own clothing and proceeded to savagely sodomize the buck in front his wife, family, friends, and children.”
Konnor is basically handing these gentlemen over to a problematic porn company ran by the also very racially problematic DJ Chi Chi LaRue. After the debacle with PrEP/U=U advocate, #TakedownTina activist, and now amateur porn actor Jacen Zhu. He stepped away from the company for their purposeful mishandling of race in the studio. We can not trust that Konner will have good intentions.
So let’s be clear. Is there a race issue in gay porn? Absolutely.
Should there be a space cultivated for porn actors of color to get jobs and to be treated fairly? Yes ma’am.
Should there be a space cultivated for black porn actors of color to get jobs and to be treated fairly? Yes sir!
Should Konner be the one doing it? No, not at this juncture and especially around his limited education on race.
Konnor has clearly acknowledged that there is a problem, which is good for him I guess. I just understand that there needs to be more work done to supplant footing for black LGBTQIA+ porn actors of all genders and body types and this attempt is half-cocked, lazy, and wildly remedial. He participating in the same foolish stunting that Noir Male did as well at their inception.