This piece was originally posted on Cody’s blog, Reclaiming Anger
Like Darell J. Hunt says,
“You can’t outdo Black people.”
This is just a reminder that Black folk can’t be outdone, won’t be outdone.
Won’t ever become undone.
We are otherworldly.
Please enjoy this collection of Black brilliance and Black creation, at a variety of beautiful intersections. This is not meant to be a perusal for one sitting, but perhaps something you can come back to often. This collection is best on a tough day of dealing with institutional -isms. This (collection) pairs well with a cup of hot chocolate, or a liquor of your choosing on the rocks. Please use the comment section to nominate other videos to be added to Part II of the collection (to come at a later date).
Moreover, if you know someone who shows up in the collection below, please tag them referencing this piece. Share. Share. Share!
*Throughout this piece captions are provided- either embedded in the video or through hyperlinks. Click on TRANSCRIPTION or LYRICS for accommodations.
How do we not begin with this hysterical Soul Train commentary from Darell J. Hunt? So many quotable moments. Peep the pure joy in Darell’s voice, alongside a lil shade…just a tad-bit.
Look at his fine ass- Trevante Rhodes. Damn. Truth be told, I’ve given myself to him several times in the past year…yes, in my very vivid dreams. Important to note, every fantasy encounter included enthusiastic consent. 🙂 Below is one of the best scenes in film history, in one of the best films ever made. FIGHT ME.
LYRICS to Hello Stranger by Barbara Lewis
Literally, the only child I like. You won’t find anything cuter…or fiercer on the inter-webs! “Do it for the vine?”
To love should be this simple…
Baddass, Nina Simone! Perhaps all the unpaid writers for Ebony should pull a Nina for those lost checks…oops. #EbonyOwes
One of my favorite people on planet earth (next to Kandi Burruss). Audra deserves so much more shine for her tremendous talent. And please know that I’ve peeped she’s only an Oscar away from an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony). She’s brilliant.
LYRICS to The Glamorous Life: *Audra McDonald singing Glamorous Life*
I love when Black people queer white spaces. They are more entertaining (and talented) than most of the performers at this year’s (2017) BET Awards…oops, again.
After watching this, I feel….tired. And yes, protect Black children at all cost!
Celebratory shouts and dancing to Wedgie by Taylor Girls- LYRICS
Protect black children at all costs this was so lit. pic.twitter.com/NwsqXd4Bab
— Règ (@GoldCorazon) March 1, 2017
Just hit play…
LYRICS to Four Women by Nina Simone
Just Black children being exceptional…nothing out of the ordinary.
Classic. But lowkey, this was an important declaration for the group, hence this fake CNN opening and closing.
Kelly Rowland: I’m the second lead vocalist for the group.
Latavia: *coughs* I’m Latavia
This is the young Black woman who created “on fleek.” I swear creation is the key to our liberation. Pay Peaches here.
Peaches: “We in this bitch, finna get crunk. Eyebrows on fleek, da fuck.”
June 21,2014 Was day I made history and created a word that will never be forgotten Happy Fleek Day ???? https://t.co/AwvqsgHdJa
— Peaches ?✨? (@peaches_monroee) June 21, 2015
Because Black girls tell the truth. TRUST BLACK GIRLS and WOMEN.
Black Girl with 45: “You’re a disgrace to the world.”
Me if I ever meet Cheeto Voldemort pic.twitter.com/a51ZBXdd6D
— @TerroirNoir (@terroirnoir) May 10, 2017
Now you know we all have one of these “faux gifted” people in our family. If you don’t know who this person is, then it’s you!
Pay close attention to the hand geometry…
Dancing to Wet Dollars by Tink- LYRICS
Said this to my therapists the other day…
“Because it’s an inner cry bitch”
Miss Jay is damn good- I could almost believe that this is a real business concept…
Ugh. Soul melting voice. But why is this song called Redbone tho? (Please answer in the comments)
Sings Redbone by Childish Gambino- LYRICS
Be mad! Please be mad. This Black girl below is more helpful than most Black adults. read: Black cis het men
Black Feminist thought in a sea of white feminists…
And somehow we still equate talent to success, and success to happiness…
I hate this song, but love his voice.
Mike Yung singing Unchained Melody- LYRICS
Reminder from the Lorde.
“There is No Hierarchy of Oppressions” by Audre Lorde: *reading the essay found here*
I mean, I guess Sheree had the last laugh with Chateau Sheree, but it definitely was a journey…a long journey…
One of the best singers ever…EVER…FIGHT ME…I’ll win.
Because Tituss is SO much more than Tina Fey’s prop #MoreThanTinaFeysProp
Black, Queer, and Trans People not only on the margins, but at the origins…
Lowkey…I’m with auntie ‘Retha, this pie is flat out nasty. But I love Patti and this video. Just sayin’.
Hamilton meets Beyoncé Giselle Knowles…ahem, Carter. Can we ask for more? AND India Carney (in the center) is all things and everything all at the same damn time.
Listen. And then listen again. Wait an hour, and repeat!
Poet recites the poem “Black Privilege”
This is what I tell the students I work with…
I include Iyanla’s laugh, but exclude the centering of ashy Black men. Oops.
Black Panther talking to the Avengers pic.twitter.com/6AsI1saFFA
— Geeks of Color (@GeeksOfColor) July 6, 2017
Again, we come from a creative people. We’re too damn much. Bahahaha.
Cue the tears…and anger, as white supremacy was the root cause for David and Ava not receiving Oscars for his performance and her direction. Tho, white validation can never be a measure of Black excellence.
And how Tasty, or Sweetie, or whomever she is didn’t get up and leave the table is still a loss to me…
Most of you think this look and performance only took a black trash bag…but look closer (I’m still unsure of what you’ll find).
Dancing to Missy Elliot’s “Rain” (Supa Dupa Fly)- LYRICS
The woman’s reaction in the front row is typically my reaction when I realllllyyyy like something. Keep that in mind potential suitors…actually I react that way to good food too.
Because drunk Crissle is really the best of all of us… #TeamHarriet
I feel similarly about Red Lobster’s cheddar biscuits. And I’m waiting on someone to remix this with a Nina Simone track. Tew much?
But fo’real, who got this recipe?
And cold-blooded- sending a message to her competitors, like the Terminator, “I’LL BE BACK…on top. Soon.”
One of the best television characters to ever flee the paper to the big screen…Rest in Peace and Power Nelsan Ellis.
Because I love you Janet, I know you would want to be placed near Bey.
— Logo ?️? (@LogoTV) July 13, 2017
Share. Share. Share! And like James Wright says, “Support Black Businessessss”
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.
Cody Charles is the author of Re-Imagining Black Love, Getting To Know Rosa Lee: An Overdue Conversation With My Mother, Black Joy, We Deserve It, The Night The Moonlight Caught My Eye: Not a Review but a Testimony on the Film Moonlight, 5 Tips For White Folks, As They Engage Jordan Peele’s Get Out. (No Spoilers), Student 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.
“I Still Know What You Did Last Summer: Pandemic, Pride, and HIV Afterlives”
Atlanta Black Pride began as a picnic.
Once upon a time in 1996, “a small group of African American lesbian and gay friends held a picnic over Labor Day weekend to celebrate their unique experience in Atlanta’s LGBT community. Each year, the group grew with others from the community and neighboring cities.” This swelling group would become the non-profit, volunteer-led 501(c)3 organization, In The Life Atlanta (ITLA). As a founding party to the International Federation of Black Prides, ITLA annually hosts upwards of 100,000 Black queer people in Atlanta, Georgia–comandeering almost every major club, the entire metro area, and, the city’s heartbeat, Piedmont park.
Atlanta Black Pride is the largest pride event dedicated to Blackqueer people in the World.
Of course, everyone who attends is not affiliated with ITLA, nor is every event held in the name of Atlanta Black Pride on Labor Day weekend engineered with the consultation or even knowledge of ITLA. However, I find it imperative to properly situate what can be considered a kind of Blackqueer Hajj into the larger, historical context of the “Black (gay) Mecca”.
As I write this, cases of COVID-19 and resultant deaths are on a relative decline in Georgia. Yesterday, September 4, 63 people died; ten less than the number who died the day before on September 3. There were 2,066 cases discovered yesterday as well, which in comparison to the 2,675 found the day before seems like progress–seems.
Either unwittingly or out of sheer moral dereliction, Blackqueer people have, nonetheless, crowded the concrete corridors of downtown Atlanta in the name of “Pride”. Fulton County, in which Atlanta resides, has the most cases of any county in Georgia with 25,540 confirmed cases to date. Footage from inside clubs packed passed capacity proliferated Black twitter. Bodies move as if welded together; the building heaves as it holds them–constricted and ecstatic. Sweat and swisher-soaked shirts find their way up over heads, tucked into jeans or draped across clavicles, couches. Tongues untied touch, mouths unmasked meet. Exhales no longer waited; they breathe each other in, eliding every edict to distance. Under these conditions, death is imminent, intimate.
In 2018, WSB-TV reported that, according to Emory University’s Center of AIDS research, HIV infections had reached “epidemic” proportions for Blacks in Atlanta, with every 1 in 51 Black people at risk of diagnosis. 42% of new HIV diagnoses in the country in the same year were among adult and adolescent Black people. Black queer men–the demographic majority of Atlanta Black Pride, I must add–make up for 37% of new diagnoses among all queer men in the United States.
One of the very few things known about COVID-19 is that it disproportionately impacts the already immunocompromised–the Elderly, the infantile, the asthmatic, the seropositive. Hence, it would seem to behoove the Blackqueer attendants of Atlanta Black Pride–who by no means nor stretch of the imagination are solely responsible for the intracommunal increase of HIV diagnoses nor by majority, themselves, seropositive–to be vigilant, not simply about their own health but about the health of their larger community. Put differently, Atlanta Black Pride 2020 seems blissfully ignorant of, not merely this current historical moment but, moreso, itself; its attendees–against the backdrop of 5,000+ deaths, 263,000 cases and counting, impending eviction crises, mass unemployment, abolitionist unrest–begin to appear almost morally bereft.
I’d be remiss if I did not mention that most of the event fliers appeal to cisheteronormative cultural appetites with well-oiled and scantily clad, light skin men/mascs who titillate the impoverished desirability politics of its viewers. Consequently, thin, conventionally desirable, cisgendered, homonormative Black men get to feel most hailed and at home. This may possibly clarify why it looks to be the case that, for Atlanta Black Pride and her benefactors, the pandemic is not to be taken seriously; to whom/what do cisgay men ever feel accountable?
On the other hand: it is, however, simply empirically untenable, outright false to assert or even suggest that Black cisgay men are the only Blackqueer folks present for Pride. Anything else would be or border erasure. This, then, raises an even more harrowing question: for whom/what is the Blackqueer responsible? If cases rise in Atlanta post-Pride, even if only within Blackqueer commons, are Blackqueer people, even partially, responsible? Who is the onus on to defend Blackqueer life or stave off Blackqueer death and dying?
Cultural historian Saidiya Hartman, in her trailblazing monograph Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-making in Nineteenth Century America, looks at the Black codes and Freedmans’ Bureau handbooks to illuminate how postbellum America incorporated recently emancipated slaves through liberal ideologies of consent, responsibility, and culpability. The “ex-”Slave demonstrated their appreciation for emancipation through self-mastery, discipline, and hard work. After 400+ years of free labor, idleness and lethargy in the Black was shamed and eschewed as “the body no longer harnessed by chains or governed by the whip was instead tethered by the weight of conscience, duty, and obligation,” writes Hartman. In a constant performance of ethical sophistication and proper conduct, Black bodies were ushered into a more modern regime of servitude in which they would perpetually genuflect to the behavioral dictates of the State and its White majority in always already foreclosed attempts at making good on the promises of manumission: national incorporation, sociopsychic recognition, juridical protection, and legal equality. To be irresponsible–meaning both without anything to be responsible for (property for instance) or to be accessed as negligent vis-a-vis what one is supposed to be responsible with (personhood and other persons)–was to be unfit for freedom.
Under these on-going conditions, the Blackqueer remains precluded from recognizably responsible behavior at least insofar as Blackqueerness yet marks the racially abject and sexually deviant imposition on and threat to the very notion of the public and every concept of the proper, good, and socially acceptable on which it relies. Stuart Hall’s Policing the Crisis, Michael Warner’s Publics and Counterpublics, and Saidiya Hartman’s Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments come into chorus beautifully on this point. Blackqueer responsibility is a misnomer because Blackqueer propriety is impossible. As Hartman further advised in 1997, the Blackqueer is the constitutive outside of citizen-subjectivity, or the Blackqueer is only a political subject to the extent to which it is criminally culpable. The Blackqueer capacity for responsibility, within a legico-juridical order to which it has no place or legitimate claim, is always a precondition for Blackqueer criminality.
The Blackqueer is ontologically ir/responsible: at once, made to be responsible for their own bio-political damnation and irresponsible with their ever-pending redemption. “Sin is Negro as virtue is white,” writes Frantz Fanon in Black Skin, White Masks. “All those white men in a group, guns in their hands, cannot be wrong. I am guilty. I do not know of what, but I know that I am no good.”
What might it mean to understand Blackqueerness as the refusal of the politics of the proper? What if the politic of Blackqueerness is to dispossess itself of the proper, which is to say the appropriate and the “responsible”, which is to say place and/in state? Can we look at the refusal to be withheld from each other as that dispossessory politic? Maybe getting together is the only or originary politic of the dispossessed; those dispossessed, first, of the very possibility to get together. If what poet-philosopher Fred Moten reminds us is true, if “we get together to fight,” can we see within all the fighting, the “fighting to maintain our capacity to get together”? Must we be responsible for the conditions that coproduce our constriction and our ecstasy? Whither might Blackqueer rage and release be permitted? What would it look like to shift the penologic of responsibility back on the “authors of devastation,” whose “innocence,” Baldwin tells us “constitutes the crime.”
Before the U.S. government decided to rescue Wall Street from COVID-induced collapse, it refused to democratize access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis while defunding the Global Fund to Fight AIDS. Blackqueer people, particularly in Atlanta, have long occupied a state of [non-]emergency, with nothing to show for it besides a well-lit stadium and a Mayor with Bottoms for a last name. Therefore, when we ask Blackqueer people to be “responsible” for their contribution to the pandemic, be held accountable for COVID’s role in community, we must first ask how “responsibility” itself is a request for a comportment that consents to the current medico-juridical paradigm that engineers Blackqueer death–both, premature and belated. Blackqueer riskiness, ethical irresponsibility, was not why HIV/AIDS became an epidemic and, in the same way, it will not be why COVID-19 never loosens its grip. A government that capitalizes off of catastrophe; that chooses profits over people; who–right before entering a $1.95 Billion deal with Pharmaceutical company Pfizer and biotechnology company BioNTech, a $2.1 billion deal with French pharmaceutical company Sanofi and British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline–allowed the ban on evictions to expire, permitted schools to reopen, began disseminating “back to work” plans, and “phasing-out” travel restrictions: the U.S. government will always, in every instance, be responsible for the rise of coronavirus and its asymmetrical presence in Blackqueer and poor communities.
Furthermore, if to be Blackqueer is to lose the right to one’s own body or the right to own one’s body; if Blackqueer bodies are always “public texts”, as Karla Holloway might suggest, then we must take into our analysis how Blackqueerness has been written into the general political body, the hegemonic commonsense, the collective unconscious as, in itself, a biological threat, as negrophobogenic as Fanon later puts it, as sheer pathogen. This discursive-material conceptualization–Blackqueer systematic vulnerability to disease/death conterminous with disease/death as the universal sign of Blackqueerness—rebuffs performative concealment or “proper posture”. There is nothing the Blackqueer person can do to not be a figure of epidemiological scandal. The Blackqueer is the ghost of every pandemic. The Blackqueer occupies the political role of bioterrorist, in advance. Borrowing a Hartmanian locution: this is what it means to live as the afterlife of HIV.
Still there is the very real risk of acquiring (and dying by) COVID. The lives of Blackqueer folks, disproportionately immunocompromised and/as disabled, hang in the balance. Their vulnerability to death seems eclipsed–as it is already more generally–by an intracommunal propensity to play with precarity. There is no question that a dearth in political attention to the Blackqueer disabled structures Blackqueer responses (or lack thereof) to the pandemic. Yet, I want to suggest that play can also be a Blackqueer disabled response. I want to suggest that Blackqueer disabled folks attended Atlanta Black Pride, against their best self-interest and though it might not be an ethics to universalize, it is not a politic to minimize. Amidst the ongoing War on AIDS, Blackqueer lifeworlds–crowded nightclubs, dilapidated bathhouses, un/protected penetrations—become articulations of summers refusing to be stolen, bodies refusing to behave, backs going unbent. Blackqueer folks–disabled and otherwise–engage in risk irreducible to the apolitical or asinine. There is a politics present in Blackqueer folks’ refusal of the ways precarity precludes play. If we think about the war on AIDS as war on the Blackqueer disabled/immunocompromised, how might Blackqueer disability always entail the negotiations of play and precarity; how might those negotiations proliferate to unforeseen, counterintuitive and counterproductive ends? A politics of Blackqueer commons might also look like where touch persisted, when pleasure insisted under the pressure of pandemic and antiBlack public, especially as the difference loses all distinction, especially since “we have nothing to lose but our chains.”
Twitter Reacts to BlackLoveDoc’s Shortage of Dark Skinned Women in Promotional Video
#BlackLoveDoc returns to OWN on September 5th, and they’re being dragged through the Twitterverse because of their promotional video, which dark-skinned women are largely unaccounted for.
If you’re unfamiliar with what #BlackLoveDoc is, it’s a docuseries where a collection of black couples—queer and hetero—have discussions about love on camera.
The promotional video sparked a debate about colorism. One Twitter user replied, “When I say that ‘Black love’ is nothing more than a lie this is what I mean. The women had to pass a paper bag test to even get the so-called ‘Black love.’ This is why I’m [a] firm believer in Black women opening their options and dating the right person for them regardless of race.”
Whoever runs #BlackLoveDoc’s Twitter account, probably Gayle King, replied: “Hey Ella! We agree. This is why we show Black men and women of all shades in loving relationships – we even show them in relationships with someone who isn’t Black Flushed face And some folks are mad. It sucks. But we [still] show US being loved. Because that’s what matters.”
Bad response to being called out for colorism. Surely a billionaire like Oprah can afford better social media editors and public relations training for her staff.
Enjoy these tweets of #BlackLoveDoc’s promo getting dragged:
Cori Bush Snatches The Missouri Primary From 19-year Incumbent William Lacy Clay
A little positive political news is coming our way. Cori Bush, who’s running for Congress in Missouri has snatched the primary vote from Lacy Clay, who has held the seat for 19 years. For the past 50 years, the Clay family has held the seat. Today, Cori ends that streak.
Of importance is that Cori is not only a Black woman, but one of the better-known organizers for Black Lives Matter. The Congressional Black Caucus was very vocal about their disapproval of her “radical” stances, but it seems their clucking has meant absolutely nothing to the final result. She punctuated her victory with a simple tweet:
Boom! Haha. Ya girl has sass. I’ll remind you all that she was one of those protesting for our lives at Ferguson and has lead her public life with a raised fist ever since.