writer, poet, researcher, poly kinky LGBTQ* atheist Jewish activist workin' to repair the world.
Fan of: Doctor Who, Octavia Butler, Lord of the Rings, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Captain Awkward, Tamora Pierce, and many, many more.
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I'm currently on hiatus from all RPing, but the Terre d'Ange Roleplay Boards are super rad! Send me asks for more information, or just come and join them!
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Beyoncé is a remarkable singer, artist, dancer, artistic visionary, Black woman, feminist (I’d say womanist, really), wife, mother, human being. I write this sentence and like…I can hear the haters (that I call miserys; the opposites of stans) screaming their heads off and thinking of horrible things to tweet to me and thinking of less talented artists to compare to her or more talented ones to compare, as if that erases her and I just…don’t care. I still stand by the first sentence.
After watching an incredible episode of Scandal—the winter finale of my favorite show—I received word via Twitter that Beyoncé released a new album via iTunes and practically out of the blue. Even her most loyal fans—ones in the #BeyHive who follow her career more intensely than I do as a fan—didn’t seem to know that this was going to occur. The buzz on Twitter was electric and passionate. My whole timeline—or most of it anyway—seemed to be enthralled and surprised.
I went to iTunes and listened to the previews and watched the previews of the videos. She had me at ‘hello.’ I bought the album immediately. And though I haven’t always been a stan for her entire career, none of her albums so far have immediately pulled me in the way that this one has, though I enjoy her other albums very much. Something is different here. Something huge.
This album, also called BEYONCÉ, is a manifesto of Black womanhood and freedom. It sounds free. It feels free. It’s like…it has wings. It floats. It’s light. It’s thoughtful. It’s humorous. It’s reflective. It’s introspective. It’s sensual. It’s sexual. It’s incredibly fucking sexual and I ain’t mad at her. The thing is, it’s not only sexual. This will be hard for her critics to understand because to many people, a Black woman’s celebration of her own body, emotions, thoughts, ideas, choices, decisions and perspectives can only be sexual (and even so, sexuality is not inherently degrading solely because a Black woman has agency; It is misogynoir to think so).
Of course as this album is new, it will take time for me to really formulate my thoughts on each song and each video as there are 14 songs and 17 music videos (plus one video of credits). It’s an extensive creative work and the marketing plan of no marketing and distractions (i.e. her Vegan diet, her current tour) was brilliant and even better than her own husband’s approach for Magna Carta Holy Grail.
This album celebrates multiple facets of Black womanhood and while it won’t be a portrait that speaks to “every” Black woman’s notion of womanhood, it is quite a full portrait and one that I think is a creative and emotional revolution from her admittedly great previous work. I think…this album might be better than Dangerously In Love, which is considered the best of her solo career. The jury may still be out but I think it’s going to end up being the conclusion by the fans. We’ll see.
I mean…Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's voice is on the album! I nearly fell out of my chair. This exquisite Black feminist scholar is someone Bey listens to, the same Bey that White feminists are adamant about insulting and marginalizing even as they applaud the racist, culturally appropriative and insensitive actions of White women as automatically “feminist.” Their need to police who is feminist or not, even when a person rejects feminism in life (i.e. Margaret Thatcher) or a person’s being and work is LARGER than White feminism could ever dare to encapsulate (i.e. Madiba) is a White supremacist sickness that is antithetical to fighting oppression.
The themes present on the album BEYONCÉ—from eating disorders to Eurocentric beauty norms to the male gaze, to claiming and owning sexual pleasure without shame, to self-esteem, to feeling insecurity in romantic friendships, to truly loving motherhood, to friendship, to fighting the State, to comfort in theism during grief, to joy in sexuality, fun and friendship in marriage, to finding empowerment in performing her sexuality by choice for her partner, to some very positive allusions to and respect of sex work to several diasporic cultural connections—makes the album is so full. It feels…complete. Like a great novel.
And sure, there’s things to critique. For example, I don’t like Jay-Z’s reference to Ike/Tina and a particularly abusive moment in their relationship. I think the reference is to speak of their ride or die nature of being a power couple, but even Tina spoke of that abuse in documentaries that such references need delicacy before made. Further, since Tina is a big inspiration to Beyoncé, that part of “Drunk In Love” made me uncomfortable. The rest of the song slays; it’s so hood and I love it. Even the dances she did on the beach, not choreographed, but just some shit you do at the club rocked.
So far, of all of the songs, “Haunted” is my favorite; song and video. I love the aesthetics. “No Angel” and “Blue” reveal beautiful textured images of Black and brown people, and it felt very connected, not voyeuristic to me. The former reminds me of where I grew up and was raised. “Partition” and “Rocket” are very sensual, sexual and empowered. She names her pleasure and without shame. She finds strength and reveals passionate vulnerability in her desires. “XO” and “Heaven” show two sides of the beauty of non-romantic relationships; joy in togetherness and pain of loss. Two sides of the same coin.
Vocally it is good. She does not flex all of her vocal capabilities in every song, but does the right thing for each song. Her voice is excellent as always and there’s a confidence and a chill about it. She doesn’t have to prove a thing and it comes through in the songs. Lyrically it is not overly complex and her songs usually aren’t, but it’s beautiful or sensual or melancholy, depending on the song. Aesthetics? BRILLIANT. Genius. Watching all of the videos felt like watching an amazing film about Black womanhood from a variety of angles. Musically? Wonderful. I truly enjoy the tracks and the production.
I am so glad that I was online when the album dropped (heh, because of Scandal; was that purposeful Bey?) so that I could talk about it with people on Twitter. I really enjoy it thus far. I feel…proud of her. She really does not give a fuck about boundaries and challenges them (as the politics of respectability will NEVER be womanism/Black feminism) within the work and let’s you know she’s challenging them with Adichie on the album, for example. All of the hot air and hatred in the world couldn’t silence this work, this art, this manifesto.
Beyoncé is a real life fixer in the way that “Olivia Pope” is on TV. After an entire year of White woman after White woman shitting on Black women’s style, culture, experiences and lives while demanding silence or praise from us, she reminded us what greatness in the public eye looks like and what music that celebrates facets of who many of us are sounds and feels like. She also seems to really come into her own womanhood without apology, without fear, without shame. She’s winning. And so are Black women who understand that we can be nuanced beings and do not have to live down to White feminism or the world’s rigid boxes for us but can live up to our own standards and spread our wings too. We don’t have the same lives, experiences or even privilege at times, but we share some experiences as Black women that nobody else seeks to understand or can. We can spread our wings too.
Of all of the cool Tumblr posts that I saw regarding the album release, I like this one the most:
"Beyoncé just dropped the soundtrack Black women gonna take over the world to and I’m a-ok with this." - kenobi-wan-obi
Basically everything Trudy said about this is perfect.
Are you a WOC ages 18-25?
Do you get frustrated from being left out of mainstream publications?
Would you like a place were you can fully embrace being you and your culture?
Then Rude Girl Mag wants you.
Rude Girl Mag is an online women’s magazine created by Bre Moore. Frustrated by constantly not seeing herself represented in mainstream publications she decided to create a space for her fellow women of color.
Rude Girl Mag is targeted towards women of color ages 18-25. It is a place were we can come together and celebrate ourselves. Our goal is for all women that identify as a WOC to find a place here.
We’re hoping to launch on January 1st and we’re currently we’re looking for editors, writers and artists.
So if you fit our demographic and are interested in getting involved please contact Bre at firstname.lastname@example.org
It was just announced that CeCe McDonald, who was being charged with two counts of second-degree murder in an incident of self-defense, has just taken a plea-deal—second degree manslaughter with a recommended 41 month sentence. CeCe McDonald’s sentencing hearing will be in a month.
But Ms. McDonald isn’t the first young Black trans woman to be thrown in jail and aggressively prosecuted for surviving a violent attack on her life. Unfortunately, without real systematic change, she isn’t likely to be the last either.
It should be no secret that young trans women of color (TWOC) are being murdered at alarming rates. This is a social problem largely ignored by most people, including the media, the service/nonprofit sector and government. But this is something people in the affected communities can’t afford to ignore.
But attacks on the lives of TWOC don’t go without resistance, and when TWOC resist sometimes their attackers end up dead. This was the case with Ms. McDonald, but it was also the case last year with Akira Jackson, a Black trans woman currently serving a four-year sentence for “manslaughter” for stabbing her boyfriend in self-defense when he beat her with a baseball bat.
Jackson, a Detroit native, moved to the California Bay Area where she became an advocate for young TWOC. She was a Program Specialist from TLISH (Transgender Ladies Initiating Sisterhood), a transgender youth program where she spent her time counseling young women about housing, government assistance, and employment.
If Ms. McDonald and Ms. Jackson weren’t Black trans women it is likely that their cases might not have ended up differently. By being criminalized for their survival, these two women share something in common with many other women of color, including the New Jersey 4, a group of Black lesbian women who were attacked in the New York City’s West Village and later aggressively prosecuted for defending themselves. The attacker fully recovered, but the women were forced to serve time.
It’s a sad irony that we promote self-defense classes as a way of combating violence against women, yet many of the women of color, trans and cis alike, are currently imprisoned precisely because they fought back against violence in their homes and in the streets.
Too often trans and queer women of color survive violence in their homes and on the streets only to have the police, courts and prison-industrial complex come after them for having the audacity to survive in a world where, as Audre Lorde said in her poem “A Litany For Survival,” they “were never meant to survive.”