I'm Raising Money for Organizations Fighting Ebola in Liberia.





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Creative Friday: Ava DuVernay and the Coat of Desperation, National Novel Writing Month, and ESSENCE Short Film Competition

Still recovering from last weekend so no hellfire and brimstone this week. Next week- I promise :)

I watched this last week and it really spoke to me. It is Ava Duvenay's Keynote at the 2013 Film Independent Forum. She talks about using what you have write now to create.There is no  success fairy running around who is going to grant you your creative wishes. She also makes a strong argument for not playing the Hollywood "get green lit" game and letting your work speak for you.  Skip the first 5 minutes or so to get past the introduction. Do the work. Its a really good, heart-felt talk.

National Novel Writing Month

It is an annual tradition on this blog to encourage you to participate in National Novel Writing Month. Well it has arrived. Don't worry if you have not started yet, you can catch up. 50,000 words by December 1st. I recently pulled up a novel I wrote during NaNoWriMo five years ago and its a pretty good first draft. Even though I'm not participating in the challenge, I plan on attending the local write-ins. If you sign up on the NaNoWriMo website you can find other writers in your area. 


ESSENCE Short Film Competition

Yes it is ESSENCE :( but I'd love for one of y'all to win this one. And give me a shoutout from the mic. They would just LOVE that :)

The film competition is in response to a study ESSENCE conducted about images of Black women.

Unsurprisingly, the results were dispiriting. The 1200 respondents reported seeing twice as many negative portrayals of black women as positive ones, with most images of black women falling into one of a handful of stereotypes: "Gold Diggers, Modern Jezebels, Baby Mamas, Uneducated Sisters, Ratchet Women, Angry Black Women, Mean Black Girls, Unhealthy Black Women, and Black Barbies."

In response, Essence is encouraging filmmakers to counter those demeaning images by creating their own in the form of a short film competition. Submissions should feature "an image of a Black woman in a unique, refreshing way" in twenty minutes or less. 

Here are the rules. You basically give away rights to your film without compensation for use in advertisments. 



Meet the New First Lady of New York City: Chirlane McCray

Meet the new First Lady of New York City: Chirlane McCray. Some are erroneously reporting that she is the first Black First Lady of New York, ummm I believe David Dinkins was married to a Black woman- was he not?


OH Nooz! The Hood Feminists Threaten to Get Me if I Don't Stop Talking About #solidarityisforwhitewomen

Well my Halloween was made even scarier this year because a hood feminist ( his words not mine) has declared that if I don’t stop talking about #solidarityisforwhitewomen something bad is gonna happen to me. 


Here is the tweet he sent to my personal account. He added the “.” in front of my Twitter username intentionally so his Twitter followers would see his threat to me. 



So let me see if I have this right. "Hood feminists" have a Black male in their ranks that is running around the internet demanding that Black women be silent... or else. And he’s doing this in their name.


Now I conferred with the What About Our Daughters Ministry of Defense, also known as the WAOD Facebook Fan Page. Several suggestions were bandied about. Some involving vaseline and pulling off earrings. I have formulated a formal response to the hood feminist’s ultimatum that I “stay in [my] lane” and stop blogging about #solidarityifforwhitewomen:


Are y’all ready?


My formal response is....KNEE GROW PLEASE!


If you don’t stay out of grown folks business and go sit down at the children’s table. Ain’t no body scared of y'all or your hashtags. #havefiveseats #illdowhatiplease #iwishyouwould I will write about whatever I please and if you don’t like it, don’t read it. I would rather live a short life filled with random acts of boldness than a long life of perpetual cowardice. 

You ought to be embarrassed to be using a #hoodfeminism hashtag while telling another Black woman to be silent - what exactly is hood feminism fighting for? Silent Black Women? This is what happens when people get more obsessed with the brand name  of a “movement” with little regard to its mission - which is why hashtag activism can occasionally be problematic.


I COULD fight with “hood feminists” about a hashtag I really don’t care all that much about one way or the other. I find the behavior in response to that Feministing post highly irritating, but it itsn’t something I’m willing to fight about. Why fight someone who is hell bent on self immolation. 


And let’s be clear,  based on their behavior on Twitter, WAOD would win a battle with “hood feminists” decisively. I’d add with one hand tied behind my back, but that would be DOING. THE. MOST. 


After all, we’ve  fought (and won) skirmishes with multi-billion dollar companies, sex predators and their publicists, almost every major Black publication, the Internet Ike Turners, the Civil Rights Industrial Complex,  and the Black Elite Establishment. So we could easily add some emotionally unstable Twitteratti throwing up “hood feminism” gang signs to the list. But I really do have much better things to do with my time and the attention of my blog audience. 

Also, I don’t hold Mikki Kendall, the creator of the #solidarityisforwhitewomen responsible for the Tweets of her acolytes. I get highly irritated when people expect me to be accountable for the crazy antics of my blog readers :)


You have captured the most valuable asset in the digital age- people’s attention.

That attention has value- whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.

You appear to want to control in some way the destiny of your creation - which indicates a desire to execute some of the privileges of ownership.

Despite the desire to execute the privileges of ownership, you have no desire to carry the associated burdens and responsibilities of ownership. Mikki Kendall, the #solidarityisforwhitewomen creator wrote the following to The Root:

I started the [#solidarityisforwhitewomen] to call out the problem of mainstream feminism sidelining the concerns and safety of marginalized women. It's an old problem. The tag was great for the marginalized. But now it seems it's being commodified to suit the same people who were complicit in the problems it references. Now they're talking branding and setting up meetings and events. And even if those things don't directly pay, they do help people get paid. The Root

 So the solution is to sit by and let them commodify your creation while taking absolutely no steps to A) prevent them from comodifying your creation and B) comidify it yourself? #GurlStop!

*sigh* Your Twitter followers make a public #$*&^ of your hashtag by outright lying about material facts related to the #solidarityisforwhitewomen panel organized by the National Organization for Women (NOW).

  • yes you were invited (albeit in an incredibly TACKY manner on Twitter - NOW should have done a better job in that regard.) - it is not true that you were not invited.
  • yes, NOW acknowledged that the hashtag was your creation- it is not true that they did not give you credit. 
  • No, Feministing.com was not an organizer of the panel - it is not true that Feministing.com was an organizer. 
  • Yes, Feministing.com hosted a discussion about the hashtag on a video chat- there’s no law preventing them from doing so. 
  • No, you never indicated to anyone that you did not want the hashtag discussed online without your prior approval - whether the law requires it or not. - if you wanted a courtesy contact from them, then that should have been made clear. It is not customary online to get pre-clearance to discuss a “hot topic.”
  • You didn’t make clear that you don’t actually want to be in solidarity with White feminists, you just want to use the hashtag to discuss why you aren’t. You don’t want resolution or reunification, you want to critique the breach. You’ve got people talking about your creation without knowing what it means, and that’s not entirely THEIR fault. If you want to define what it means- then DEFINE IT or someone else will define it for you. 


So to readers who are observing all of this, I leave you with following words of wisdom...

If you create something powerful, it doesn’t become less powerful because you didn’t intend it to be powerful or you didn’t want it to be powerful or you didn’t want to use the power of what you created. If what you create has monetary value, that value does not disappear because you decide you don’t want to profit from your creation. And take it from one who knows, if you aren’t the one using the power that you created, someone else is. If you’re not the one profiting from your own creation- someone else will. 

The creator of #solidarityisforwhitewomen is not going to take my suggestion because she appears to be particularly averse to following the advice and counsel of others, but I’m going to make the suggestion anyway because it might be helpful to others- if you are going to continue to be irritated by what other people do with the #solidarityisforwhitewomen hashtag, then  ask friends, family or organizations which share your values to be guardians of your creation. 


And yes, somewhere right now, there is someone plugging away at a book all about #solidarityisforwhitewomen -  They are capturing the #hashtag impressions to present to a publisher demonstrating that this is a “hot topic” and they are going to get a book deal and become an authority on something SHE created.  Just because she can’t capture the lightening in a bottle doesn’t mean someone else won’t. If I were  her, I’d get off of Twitter and get to writing. 


I’ll conclude with reposting a comment from a WAOD reader who get’s the point I was attempting to make:


I think what you are saying, Blogmother, is that things like clever hashtags are only truly meaningful in the context of a broader strategic undertaking. That perhaps we're too caught up in the tactical, and don't focus nearly enough on the end game. That the store goes on unminded while we're off engaging in futile arguments with white women about things like the precise level of 'cultural appropriation' involved in some tawdry, utterly boring, white starlet’s performance act. The black woman responsible for this meme seems to have some talent for generating ideas that resonate with a certain demographic of black people who use the internet. But, for reasons that are not quite clear, has difficulty leveraging these ideas into something that will: a) strategically (there’s that word again) advance her own career, and/or, b) cushion her bank account (at least in this instance, I cannot speak to the above allegations) I love a trenchant takedown by a black woman as much as anyone. It provides a measure of psychic comfort to know that as a black woman I’m not imagining racism and sexism. And it also helps us to determine the dimensions of the problems we must confront. BUT, what I have come to realize, and what you’ve been preaching all of these years, is that the takedown is not enough—we have to find a way beyond this. We have to find a way to channel our anger, indignation, and exasperation into something that is, quite literally, self-serving. I know that much of our inability to do this is rooted in our collective lack of proximity to power—most of us have only an outsider’s view, and are thus lacking a firm grasp on its internal machinations. But maybe that just means that we have to do some reverse-engineering. Black women need infrastructure. And even though I’m not even sure that I know what that means, I’ve sure as hell been trying to grapple with it this past year. I’m can’t say that I’m close to a solution, but I can say that my thinking is now oriented towards doing. I’m asking myself what I can do/create/bring to fruition that will both serve my own interests, and constitute some sort of infrastructure that is capable of furthering the interests of other black women. I’m thinking in terms of tangibles.WAOD Reader Shlbshl

The Blogmother has taught you well!


SolidarityisforWhiteWomen and Apparently So is Strategy

I was just having a discussion with @RoslynHolcomb and @Zabeth8  on Twitter about my growing hatred of Twitter hashtag activism. It is ranking right up there with online petitions.  I like a good online fight, but hashtag wars rank right up there with watching cat videos. Hashtags are basically Twitter's Dewey Decimal System. They are quite useful, but they are still a tool.

I was on blogcation when the whole #solidarityisforwhitewomen hashtag broke out. #ThankYouLAWD! For those who missed the earlier uprising, the hashtag was basically a laundry list of grievances Black feminists have against White feminists. The grievances range from the substantive to the petty - real and imagined.

Well apparently NOW/Feministing/ the NSA/Who Cares At This Point  hosted a panel and they discussed #solidarityisforwhitewomen. I actually got an email invitation to the event, and I ignored it:

When the hashtag #solidarityisforwhitewomen was created this past summer it caused an uproar on Twitter, with Women of Color questioning their position within the feminist movement.  Tomorrow, Tuesday, October 22nd, the National Organization for Women (NOW-NYC) will host a conversation that will explore how Women of Color feminists navigate their experiences within a society where solidarity has been commonly defined by white women. We will discuss recent developments within the feminist movement as it pertains to Women of Color and how race, politics/policy, pop culture/media and economic developments affect their lives. Panelists will participate in a roundtable discussion, engaging in conversation with one another conducive to defining Solidarity for Women of Color by the end of the evening. I am excited and so honored to share that I will be one of the panelists sharing my thoughts on this provocative topic. This is a FREE event so if you can, please join us. 

Well they didn't get pre clearance from the creator of the hashtag and they didn't invite the creator to be a panelist and another round of online sniping ensued.









So apparently you can't discuss a hashtag on Twitter unless the creator of the hashtag is present and approves. And I'm being facetious here folks- this is far deeper than the hashtag, but instead of addressing the underlying grievances, we're fighting over a hashtag. 








And yes, I like to do my own online sniping, but over things like rape, torture, murder, movies with all-Black casts, but not hashtags. Second, I'm not seeing the connection between Feministing and the panel other than a writer over at Feministing covered the panel and hosted a webchat. 



If the creator wants to control the hashtag then print up t-shirts sell them for a dollar and then get a trademark with the USPTO.  And if you have not purchased the domain solidarityisforwhitewomen.com - then you're a fool not to.    Too late. Someone purchased the hashtag while they were fighting about it on Twitter. LAWD Have Mercy! 



Can we be real here: this isn't about marginalized women. Sorry I'm not buying that.


 Yep- it's about money. 



Marginalized Black women don't give a rip about a bunch of privileged BLACK and WHITE women fighting over a hashtag.And if you want to scream "we're not privleged," I don't believe you. I know two things about you right now A) you have an internet connection and B) you can read. You're privleged. 



And so the way to address this is a hashtag?At least one person on Twitter got it right.




If you want to attack imbalances between Black and White feminists then start carping at the cable news networks who don't book Black feminists.



Demand that publishers explain why Black feminists weren't offered book deals. But before you demand that information from the publishers, we probably ought to know how many Black feminists pursued a book deal. 

The blood of Black women and girls is running in the streets and out brightest minds are fighting over who can use a hashtag. 



No, they didn't steal the hashtag, you gave it away. Isn't that the point of a hashtag, to spread a message? 

So folks is there any strategy associated with the #solidarityisforwhitewomen other than using it to memorialize grievances? Is the goal to create solidarity at some point or just talk about its nonexistence? And did anyone get in Michaela angela Davis' grill about "appropriating" the hashtag for her piece over at Jezebel?

Black and White American women were doomed from the start, introduced through treacherous, asymmetric, viciously competitive, inhuman maddening circumstances. And perhaps it’s because we’ve never dealt with the underlying issues of our tragic start a hashtag like #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen can trend in the summer of 2013.

Women’s movements can’t move in America until we have courageous honest discourse about the sadistic historic foundation of the relationship. We were systematically cultured to distrust and envy each other. We were never meant to be sisters.

I say it’s time to define, for the first time, who we are as Black and White American feminists, time to be fearless, fully equal and free for real. #SolidarityIsForAllSisters Jezebel

I don't have a dog in this fight. My only caution to my readers is be careful about pledging allegiance to #hashtags, just because someone is clever and can put a # symbol in front of a catchy phrase doesn't mean you want to ride off to war behind them. 

I washed my hands of Black feminists online when they mocked my horror and sadness over the Dunbar Village gang rapes on the blog BrownFemiPower. August 12, 2007. I haven't forgotten. I'd link to the post where the Black feminists attacked me for not embracing "transformative justice", but the blog was shut down because White feminists made her mad. Yeah, that was a brillant strategy. 



If "the work" means protecting your #hashtag then you aren't doing "the work." The "work" would have been to legally protect the phrase #solidarityisforwhitewomen to be a steward of its use - you didn't do that. Nor have you paid the $4.99 to reserve the domain name of the same name.   TOO LATE- someone with a clue purchased the hashtag last night during the Twitter fight. If "the work" is monetizing, then you should have already have announced a book deal. The moment the hashtag blew up, you should have been contacting agents if they weren't contacting you first.  UPDATE: My sources indicate that book deals were offered/discussed, but have not been accepted. UPDATE to my UPDATE: No book deal ( source, you're on my list naughty list!)



I can bet $1000 someone is writing a book called Solidarity is for White Women - right now---while you're fighting on Twitter over a hashtag. So what exactly is "the work" associated with a hashtag once it has been created?

I've been called CRAZY plenty of times online, so I ought to know... Y'all CRAZY!

UPDATE: I woke up this morning and bought the domain name for a hashtag I frequently use- I also checked the availability of solidarityisforwhitewomen.com and it looks like someone out of the UK already purchased it this morning.



The time y'all spent castigating Feministing.com should have been speant passing a collection plate to protect "the work."

UPDATE: NOW NYC just responded as well:

In response to NOW-NYC's recent event referencing the hashtag #solidarityisforwhitewomen:

On October 22, 2013, NOW-NYC's volunteer Activist Alliance hosted the event, Activist Night: 'What is Solidarity for Women of Color,' an event inspired by the recent conversations relating to the hashtag#solidarityisforwhitewomen started by Mikki Kendall. The panel discussion explored how feminist Women of Color navigate their experiences within a society where solidarity has been commonly defined by White women. Event information can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/465994880174466/

At the event, the hosts clarified that the event was not intended to reapprorpiate #solidarityisforwhitewomen, but that Mikki Kendall's hashtag was inspiration for the conversation. You can view the first hour of the discussion here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgczM5z6Fkc&feature=youtu.be.

Activist Alliance members invited potential panelists by tweeting at them directly or emailing them when an email could be found in connection to their work. Mikki Kendall was invited via Twitter from the onset of outreach. Alliance members reached out to many other influential speakers through the same initial tweet but received a response from only a handful. 

We would also like to clarify that this event was not hosted by Feministing. A representative from Feministing was invited to speak on the panel, who then referenced the #solidarityisforwhitewomen hashtag in her recap of the event on the Feminsting website. 

We hope this helps to clarify the event's production and intentions, and does not detract from the efforts to engage in a critical dialogue.


Update of the Update: Here is video of the panel and the first thing out of the host's mouth is that Mikki Kendall started the hashtag. 

Update of an Update of an Update:

The hashtag creator isn't writing a book because it would be controversial and she thinks it wouldn't sell. #GurlStop! #You'reNotSerious 


And one more update:

Maam. You have ridiculous sense of ENTITLEMENT. And are seriously detached from reality. In SEVEN years of blogging- I have never gotten pre-clearance to blog about whatever-in-the-hell I want to blog about. And I'm not going to ask permission from you NOW! Get a grip! Your supporters are cheering you right over a cliff. #YouDontWantNONEofThis. Go back to whining to feministing. 


Evidenced-Based Alliances: When Black Men Can't Use Their Words

For those of you who don't know a Black woman who is a prominent blogger and university professor was attacked last week at a panel hosted at the Brecht Forum. In addition to being doused with water by her Black male attacker, she was lunged at and eventually the water-throwing knee grow was removed from the room. She indicated that this has happened to her on several occasions - the Black male physical aggression when challenged on a panel. You need to go read Brittney Cooper's account over at The Crunk Feminist Collective. I can't truly capture the insanity. 

There are also reports that this Black male "freedom fighter", a former employee of the Brecht Forum,  has a history of violent uncontrollable explosions that he manages only to direct at Black women. 

Kazembe Balagun left the Brecht Forum this past summer… before we moved to Brooklyn. So he is no longer an employee of the Brecht Forum. Several times in the past he has “moved” on Sisters or “went off” or stormed out of meetings. The Brecht Forum Board had strongly suggested that he seek help for his periodic individualistic and ofttimes chauvinistic meltdowns. We as a board of trustees were liberal with our tolerance of his behavior… even after we have talked with him to seek some counseling because it appeared that he was working on his “snapping out/rage” issues.

Other Black women thought leaders who come out from behind the keyboard and speak at events indicated that they have also experienced physical assaults ( that's what they are) when they've been on panels with manChildren as well.

I had a similar experience in 2008 at Georgetown University at the NABJ Watergate conference when the Black male moderator that I scattered smothered covered diced and chuncked onstage flew into a yelling screaming rage and physically menaced me as I was speaking with another panelist afterwards. It's not a good feeling to go to an event thinking you are going to be using your brain and be confronted with having to use your fists.

I learned about Brittney's experience on Twitter. The only thing I saw was the title On Black Men Showing Up for Black Women at the Scene of the Crime. I immediately rolled my eyes "Here we go again!"

Her post concluded with the following thought:

On the long train ride home, and in these days since, I have been reminded that this is not the first time that I have been subject to a man in a movement space using his size and masculinity as a threat, as a way to silence my dissent. I remembered that then as now, the brothers in the room let it happen without a word on my behalf. Why? Is it so incredibly difficult to show up for me – for us—when we need you? Is it so hard to believe that we need you? Is solidarity only for Black men? As for the silence of the sisters in the room, I still don’t know what to make of that. Maybe they were waiting on the brothers, just like me. I do know I am tired. And sad. And not sure how much more I want to struggle with Black men for something so basic as counting on you to show up. Crunk Feminist Collective

By the time I was through reading her account, I was angry, not with He Who Throws Water When Angry, but with Brittney. 

After writing about Black women being raped, tortured and killed for almost seven years, I'm a cynic. I don't expect Black men to show up. I expect nothing out of them at all. The idea of Black Unity sits right up there with the Easter Bunny, Jack Frost, and Big Foot. After experiencing my own episode of He Who Cannot Hold His Temper When Challenged, I charged it to the game and focussed on everything I did wrong ( I shouldn't have excepted the invitation, when I found out he was involved I should have declined, I should not have gone to the event alone, I should have brought backup with me-) The truth is I did nothing wrong - he's a grown Black man, he's in charge of his own emotions. And the NABJ Owes me an apology. 

The fact that Brittney responded with tears instead of stoicism annoyed me. 

- Didn't she know that's what" they" do?

- Why on earth would she expect them to show up- they don't!

- of course the audience just sat there- that's what they DO!

I was angry with Brittney for having hope. How dare she be hopeful! How dare she expect fidelity, comraderie and a defense from Black men! How dare she accept an invitation to go speak in a public space and not expect to be physically assaulted.  These things wouldn't keep happening to her if she abandoned all hope!

As someone pointed out on Facebook, that's absolutely absurd. 

Despite the fact that I have no hope that Black men will show up, they keep showing up. These men are my allies- the ones that show up. My alliances with all people- are not based on hope. They are based on evidence. Evidence of a shared interest. Evidence of a shared vision. Evidence of good faith - none of which can be determined by looking at someone or listening to the professions of "solidarity."

What is clear is that Black women thought leaders cannot retreat from public spaces. We must maintain their right to fully participate in public discourse even if we have to organize groups of professional Black women to attend these publc discussions armed with a cell phone in one hand ready to dial 9-1-1 and a a sock full of quarters in the other hand ready to roll up on a brother  to assist him in managing his anger.

 We have to purge these temperamental manCHILDREN from the mainstream and public spaces. If they can't control their emotions when a Black woman disagrees with them in public, then the must be banished from public spaces. Let his petulant behind go throw a tantrum on the street corner. 

This isn't a case of  uppity negresses who didn't show teh' precious the respect that was due them. This is part of a national problem of Black men who run out of words and move quickly towards uncontrollable rage.  But they don't unleash this uncontrollable rage on everybody- just Black women. And before you start yelling "But But But But White men do it too!" Yes, they do, but Black men do it at FAR. HIGHER. RATES!

The overwhelming majority of homicides of black females by male offenders in single victim/single offender incidents in 2011 was not related to any other felony crime. Most often, black females were killed by males in the course of an argument—most commonly with a firearm. In 2011, for the 383 homicides in which the circumstances between the black female victim and male offender could be identified, 87 percent (332 out of 383) were not related to the commission of any other felony.

Nearly two-thirds of non-felony related homicides (200 out of 332) involved arguments between the black female victim and male offender.  When Men Murder Women

Why? I don't know, but part of it has to be the Black community's acceptance and permissiveness of Black men wilding out  on Black women whenever they feel their apparently fragile manhood has been pricked. The idea that Black women can't be victims. That you can do to us whatever you want to - and clearly that's reinforced by a community that makes excuses for their bad behavior. 

Even in the aftermath of this event, the conversation and concern has shifted off of the woman and towards the attacker. And it doesn't matter that the  attacker didn't actually hit her or that mine didn't manage to get his hands around my throat - tell that to your body that's awash in adrenaline and God knows what other chemical the brain released as it prepared to fight or flee. It is not easy being a bold Black woman. And by bold, I don't mean loud. I mean willing to say things that challenge the current power structure within the Black community. Lot's of people have a list of tasks that Brittney needs to complete to make THEM feel better right now - Call the police, buy a tazer, engage in "transformative" justice, stay strong, keep speaking out lots of suggestions are rolling in from people who probably have no idea of what it's like to fear for the physical integrity of your body even for a second. After reading her post several times, what sticks out to me is that Brittany says she is tired. You don't owe the world anything- not even an explanation. Take care of yourself and rest.

And to the Brecht Forum - your actions on that evening are absolutely ratchet. You employed this man for years as he attacked Black women in YOUR SPACE. You invited him back where he showed his @$$ again, because he KNEW you would let him. Then instead of calling the police to cart off  He Who Throws Water When Words Are Not Enough- you brought him BACK into the room with his victim.   You suck in so many ways.

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