Shawty Got Skillz2Share!:Cyberquilting/INCITE Radical Women of Color Media Skillshare

Cyberquilting/INCITE Radical Women of Color Media Skillshare

We are ready now!!!! We have everything we need.  So at the 2009 Allied Media Conference radical women of color (cis and trans) and gender queer people of color from different places of different generations will be sharing our amazing skills with each other!  From quilting, to urban foraging to online broadcasting and video production this session, facilitated by the Cyberquilting Crew will be a whirlwind experiment in how we can use our various media skills to:

*Enact Media Justice

*End Violence Gendered Violence Against People of Color

*Nurture Energizing Connections Between Women of Color and Genderqueer People of Color

*Envision a New Day

Here are some of our amazing presenters!

Alexis Pauline Gumbs will be documenting the session by doing some desktop online video production magic.  Come sit with Lex if you want to learn the urgency and art of everyday video-making.  Here’s an example.  She made this one morning before her day started:

Gwendolyn Long Robinson will be introducing us cyberquilters to for real for real old-school-keep-us-warm- nimble-and-aesthetically-rich quilting!!!

Quilting creates a bridge from my great, great, great, grandmother Gammah, both grandma Janies, my mom Inez Rush Long and to my sister Hope Long Weldon and me.   I  am passing it to my daughters and their yet unborn children.

I came home from school to find a quilting “bee” taking place in my mom’s den; where she and neighborhood women worked cooperatively to join pieces and finish with a top stitch.   The result could belong to any of them.   That picture evokes such warm memories as these scenes occurred in winter when warm quilts were necessary to keep cold air, which invaded uninsulated, unheated and drafty spaces, at bay.   A quilt extended the life of a worn out garment.  The bee served the greater purpose of social outlet for women who had no cars, telephones and who otherwise spent long days alone.  They visited, shared lunch and sometimes made a common pot from which each household’s evening meal would come.   They shared woes and celebrated triumphs, exchanged gossip and church news.

After Hope, my sister/best friend brought me back to quilting, I discovered its ability to illustrate my artistic aspirations.  She and I accomplish remarkably different products from the same historical and psychological prospective.   We both see it as a way to preserve and reuse; we both consider ourselves artists and consider that it provides us a special family connection.   She refreshed in me the techniques learned at the feet of my matriarchs.   With quilts, I create canvasses and legacies, send messages of comfort and congratulations or use them in fly new pieces of fashion which women literally beg for as I sashay down the street.   I feel tremendously blessed and extremely thankful that I was chosen for such a gift.

Moya Bailey our own cyberquilting diva and co-founder of Quirky Black Girls is going to show you how to make your own social network on like she did for Quirky Black Girls!

QBG blk n white

In her own words: I’ve always been a quirky black girl. Nose in book, varied musical tastes, and a penchant for strange dances at random moments. After some time of wandering solo, I arrived at Spelman college and met other such girls  who dared to follow their own path and chart their own course in a conservative and sometimes hostile environment. This looked like having piercings, tattoos, fishnets, and high platform heels. It sounded like Q’uranic Prayer, soul stirring poetry, and southern crunk music song with Operatic cadence. It felt like Michael Jackson dance battles on the Metro on the way to the March for Women’s Lives.

These women, events, moments, stayed with me and the uniqueness of it all in a place where folks thought everyone was the same was radical. And since then, I keep meeting black girls who did their own thing who looked, talked, walked, lived in ways that weren’t reflected anywhere. I met fellow QBG kindred Lex and when our powers combined this space came to be. And we began to pull ourselves towards each other through parties and picnics, through socialnetworking and media sites and a synergistic creativity that knows no bounds. Ning’s the thing that helped us form the pattern that holds all of these amazing sisters, united in uniqueness. What can ning do for you?

09FUFA_logo_72description byby Allie Pates, Females United For Action, with adult ally help from Manju Rajendran

Harnessing the Hype is when you take a big news story that’s focused on a specific issue that impacts your community and then you spin that story to get people to talk about the story further, but in a way that tells the truth about what’s really going on. It’s about taking wack media stories about us and our people, and using them as opportunities to get our voices heard.

This spring FUFA members were disheartened by the media coverage of alleged intimate partner violence between pop singers Chris Brown & Rihanna. We felt like the media blamed the survivor. We were concerned that the media questioned Rihanna’s decision over whether or not to leave Chris Brown; and we were angered over media that presented young women of color as unintelligent or uncaring about what was going on.

AMC imagine imagine

In response, two FUFA members –  Allie Pates and Ace Hilliard – co-authored an article.  The FUFA members presented the case in the context of the epidemic of dating violence in this country, and challenged the media to present a more positive view of survivors and of youth.  The article, “Beyond Chris & Rihanna,” was published by the Chicago Tribune on the Race Matters website; by Teen Voices magazine; by Turning the Tides magazine; and on several websites.  In a sea of negative media coverage, FUFA was the one place to hear from young people who were actively engaged in anti-violence work.

Youth groups and schools across Chicago are still using the article to promote discussions about teen dating violence and media coverage of issues of violence.  In addition, we have heard from groups around the country that have used the article, including groups in Atlanta, GA; White Plains and New York City, NY; Durham, Chapel Hill, Greensboro, and Raleigh, NC, Washington DC; Knoxville, TN; Minneapolis, MN; Boston, MA; Oakland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; Vancouver, WA; Philadelphia, PA; and Detroit, MI.  Youth Noise Network, a media justice group in North Carolina, used the article as the basis for a radio show on the issue.

We used this story to get everyone talking about the not-so-new issue of domestic violence. We not only got people talking about it but they were talking about it as it relates to people of color. We also chose to refer to the victim as a survivor. We think that it is a big deal to survive from abuse of any kind.

Alecia Green CirclesAlecia will be showing us how to use photo activism and online chats to reclaim the media and sustain relationships.  In Alecia’s own words: I am a black, disabled gay wimmin.  here at Wayne State, I am a graduate interactive student who has a special focus on the integration of social justice and technology.  I learned my skills from an undergraduate degree in electronic media and working as a Media Community Organizer with ACORN.  In 1995 I completed National Leadership Training in community organizing with the Gamileil Foundation. So I apply everythng I do into a community empowerment focus.  But the main reason I do what I do is because I am a “pissed the fucked off womyn” who is tired and sick of our world not meeting my/our basic needs to live as human beings with dignity.  So I decided to make change or die and to me, dying would be giving up. Hence, Hell to da Naw.

Stephanie L. Jones will also be joining us sharing the skill of self-publishing!!!!!
Author, Speaker & Sexual Abuse Victim Advocates
One in 3 females and 1 in 5 males are molested! Are you one of them?

Essence Magazine and Bestseller
Listen to an audio clip from Chapter One:

baw1Joyce Angela Jellison will be sharing her strategy of writing as a way to heal from and combat gendered violence.  Joyce is the Author of Where Everything Fits Beautifully, Black Apple and Shhh…the secret language of black women (to be released this winter).

A media justice activist, Ms. Jellison is the founder and director Write Out Loud: Transforming Our Lives Through Writing Our Truths –

Ms. Jellison is engaged to be married next year and lives in the Boston area with her daughter Stormi and their cat, Biggie.

“I do what I do because I must, there is no other choice for me,” says Jellison. “I am uneasy with injustice and this is the way I have found to right so many wrongs – teaching others to write the truths of their lives and to learn to read between the lies.”

“I do what I do because I must, there is no other choice for me,” says Jellison. “I am uneasy with injustice and this is the way I have found to right so many wrongs – teaching others to write the truths of their lives and to learn to read between the lies.”

4278_529165396184_4302497_31400022_8037439_nBeatrice Sullivan of the New Jersey 4 solidarity crew in the Bay Area will be teaching us how to make our own amazing buttons.  Come fly, leave flyer!!!

Zachari Curtis will be teaching us to find what we eat and eat what we find.  Before there was freeganism there were wise women of color who knew the names and uses for the plants around us.  Zachari is one of these.   Zachari describes herself as an urban forager since she was knee-high to a grasshopper. lomographer. lover of veggies and griffin.

Julia Roxanne Wallace founder of Queer Renaissance multi-media movement will be showing us how you can use LiveStream to make your own internet broadcast channel.  Learn more about Queer Renaissance and Julia’s plan for world transformation here!

In Julia’s own words: I am a multimedia consultant artist theologian and meaning-makerbecause I seek peace and liberation for all people everywhere. The tools I use to pursue this peaceful and liberated world that I imagine
are multifaceted (simple and complex) storytelling tools. Tools that give more people access to a message intended to enliven and inspire the potential in us all to do our passionate work and be our most liberated selves. I began to communicate through poetry and music, but as I learned how to use computers and digital audio, video and
animation tools I discovered and envisioned many more possibilities for communicating. As an undergraduate, I designed an individual B.S. degree in Multimedia Computer Science. As a graduate student, I
pursued a Masters in Divinity aimed at understanding how we make meaning across different identities and belief systems. Now, I am a part of a media-movement and have created Queer Renaissance as a means
to create a peaceful liberated world, one community at a time.

Summer McDonald is going to share the fine art of “haterism” as she helps us hone our inarticulate critiques into biting, hilarious and effective breakdowns of power.  For example, click on the photo below to check out her recent blog post on the race and class blindspots in the coinage of the term “blipster” to describe the so called rise of the “black hipster.”

In her own words: “Misomaniac” is a really sexy synonym for “hater.”  I use it when I want to describe what I “do” in obnoxious and important-sounding terms.  “Rigorous critique” is also a good one, but it doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as nicely, and that’s really important when you want to impress people.  Either way, what I do is write criticism and analyses of popular culture and other social events in an effort to uncover other, more complicated matters that get lost in our desire to ingest these issues in overly simplistic ways.  My interests often lead me to blog about subjects that make problematic assessments about blackness and black women.  I use my blog as an opportunity to expose those often hidden assumptions, and inspire discourse and action that is committed to rigorous (self-)evaluation—a process that hopefully allows for the intricacies at work to manifest, thereby enabling more intelligent and responsible thinking and action.
Essentially, I hate (on) everything, and I write about it.

Shira Hassan and the Young Women’s Empowerment Project

will be running a zine-making station that will allow us to document all of the ways we transform our communities with our amazing skills!  Come make your page and strut your skills!

4658_529765418734_4301666_31424891_5088740_nH. Y. Griffin is a word nerd, Octavia Butler fanatic, elementary school teacher in training, dream interviewer, artist and musician who prefers run-on sentences and lists to pronouns. After seeking routes to social justice as a student and staff person at Oberlin College and a neighbor/co-conspirator in the commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia, Griffin is investigating what might happen when communities foster their strength (emotional, physical, political, material) through health and fitness in Fit Collectives.

Griffin will be remotely teaching us about the technology of dream interviewing and fit collectives!

July 15, 2009 at 5:49 am 1 comment

Love Letter to Transform Hip-Hop

This letter was written by Nia McLean, a member of The Saartjie Project, in response to a Hip Hop song called “Hot N Tot” by Sir Will. To listen to the song and watch the performance, click here: “Hot N Tot”

This letter was written by Nia Mclean in response to a Hip Hop song called “Hot N Tot” by Sir Will. To listen to the song and watch the performance, click here: “Hot N Tot”

The Saartjie Project is an artist collective that is exploring the fascination with the black female form.
Open Letter to Sir Will and the producers of “Hot N Tot”

Dear Sir Will,

Your MySpace page has a banner that says “Stop Whack Hip Hop”. As a lover of hip hop I totally agree with you. I often question “why is Hip Hop in such a dismal state?” At any given time I can’t listen to the radio for 15 minutes without feeling like I’m nothing more than my sex and more specifically how good I am at it. Misogyny and objectification of women – particularly black women, has run amuck within the culture that you and I care about.

Your MySpace page initially caught my attention because of your song “Hot N Tot”. Sir Will there is a LOT of painful history behind that term, much like the word Nigger. I am hoping that you and your producers are just ignorant about its history and not just ignoring it.  I am a part of The Saartjie Project, an artist collective that is exploring the fascination with the black female form and bringing dignity and light to the legacy of Saartjie (Sarah) Baartman, more popularly known as the Hottentot Venus, the same term you reference in your song.

In the early 1800’s as a young South African woman, Saartjie Baartman was paraded around Europe like a freak of nature by a white man, Dunlap to show off her “Hottentot”, her “Jungle Booty” as you put it in your song. People were so fascinated with her behind that they paid money, not just to stare and gawk, but also poke and prod w/their hands, umbrellas, or whatever they had available. Upon her death, her “Hottentot” was dissected in public, put in a jar of formaldehyde and displayed in the Musee de Paris, as if it were a medical oddity – up until the 1970’s! All because she was seen as erotic and exotic, which denied her (in the eyes of those who exploited her) the ability to be anything else (ex. Smart, loving, maternal, strong).

Sir Will, please don’t dismiss this letter by thinking that Saartjie’s story is one in a million. Her tragic legacy is alive. Today, almost 200 years later we are still being exploited and reduced to nothing more than body parts. You and I both know this. We also know that much of hip hop profits from expressing tired myths about black male and female sexuality.

Know that I write out of frustration, but also out of love. Love for myself, Saartjie, all the sisters I am writing on behalf of and for artists like you.  Sir Will you clearly have talent; yet you are taking the easy way out by rhyming sexist lyrics over catchy beats.  There is a consequence to this. The demand to demonize the black female body is what gave Saartjie her unfortunate career and it killed her. The next time you perform “Hot N Tot” think about Saartjie Baartman. Learn more about the woman your song is named after. Consider the “video vixens”- the ladies dancing on your YouTube video – who are presumed to the interchangeable with cars and other material trappings of success. Who can say for sure why these women have chosen such a station? Perhaps to validate their beauty and the prospect of living the “good life”? Consider the young black girls who misguidedly look to these vixens for cues on who to dress, act, and present themselves in the world. Saartjie was also mislead, she began her journey believing that it would bring her a better life, not lead to her private parts swimming around in a jar of formaldehyde.

My point is, there has to be more. You can do better. Instead of condemning you, I am challenging you to do just that. I challenge you to make good music that responsibly speaks of women, glorifying the whole being, not just parts of her.

So if you really care about hip hop (and I hope, Black women) dare to be different. Dare to break out of the cookie-cutter mold of entertaining at the sake of your sisters, your mother or your partner.

Words are so powerful. Use yours wisely.

Thank you for reading, Sir Will. The Saartjie Project would love to hear your thoughts.

Nia Mclean

The Saartjie Project

October 31, 2008 at 4:45 pm Leave a comment

Make Your Own Media

from BrokenBeautiful Press

Summer of Our Lorde:

Because it is better to READ! This Summer BrokenBeautiful Press presents Summer of Our Lorde: Radical Study and Intentional Healing. Summer of our Lorde is a study group/community building project inspired by the work of black lesbian feminist mother warrior poet Audre Lorde. Read along!

Quirky Black Girls: Because Audre Lorde looks different in every picture ever taken of her. Because you make up your own meanings of “black” and “girl” every day by living. Make a profile, join the conversation and bask in the bright brilliance of Quirky Black Girl Productions!

Letters to Audre Lorde: Born in an Africana Women’s Studies course at Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, this is a love movement across space and time inspired by your favorite black lesbian feminist mother warrior poet.

Audre Lorde and Elizabeth

SPEAK: Action Alerts from Radical Women of Color Worldwide– Updated action alerts from Radical Women of Color all over the world. Get involved with announcements about direct actions as well as online mobilizations.

What it Look Like?! -The world we want is already here. Can you see it? Watch these inspiring videos of community in action and add a video that shows the beauty and brilliance of your community!

workin’ on it!

SpiritBloom: An Overflowing Space to Meditate on the Intersections of Religion, Spirituality and Progressive Organizing


Love Production: Sustainable Autonomous Youth-Led Community Building

(A Project of the International Black Youth Summit)


Kitchen Table: Women of Color Pressed to Express

–In honor of the radical feminists of color of the 1970-80’s this page features insight from misbehaving colored girls past and present.

bhopal image

Impulsive Acts: The Art of Community Healing

— Activities, Workshop Curriculums…choose your own anarchist moment of possibility.

pressed for knowledge

Photosynthetic Poetics: A virtual writing group!

Participate in weekly love letter exercises and read ours!


I am from NOW!: Building community by re-writing and re-writing one poem.

Heart Map

Where you at?

The Listening Project: A Poetics of Relation–A Visual Model of Learning as Love.

moment of arrival

To Be A Problem: Outcast Subjectivity and Black Literary Production A Free Online Course

to be a problem image

Such a F**king Problem: Conflict as a Point for Conversation

This site is an experiment in the possibility of self-expression without the safety of norms. Created by a decidedly UN-likeminded team of bloggers led by POMK, this site even has a space for you to deposit your ignorance! The perfectly imperfect place to practice your bravery. Start now!

Official Procrastination Stations:

BrokenBeautiful Press on Myspace!–You Know You Want to Be Friends With Us!

BrokenBeautiful Press on Facebook–Making Time to Procrastinate Since…

Mindful Blog Browsing: Radical Women of Color Blog Ring:

Radical Women of Color Bloggers
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July 10, 2008 at 12:12 am Leave a comment

What is Media?

from Aaminah Hernandez on

Square One: What is Media?

10 04 2008

Talking about media justice doesn’t get too far if we don’t even know what media is or we think our contribution and work isn’t part of media. A friend recently asked in a forum if her work with theatre even counted as media or if it was something else. I felt sad for her that she would discount her own work. If a silly sitcom counts as media and can be deconstructed to reveal how it plays into materialism, sexism, racism or how it instructs against such things, certainly theatre can and does serve the same function. Perhaps even in a more personal way. So I thought I would share some of my thoughts about what media is.

I create media with words. Because words are what I am (argueably) good with. Words are the media that is taken for granted, but many people think that the only words that “count” as media are articles, non-fiction books, and other “serious” matters. Preferably written by an expert, but as we witness in the cases of memoirs and many other genres people with no expert or authentic knowledge at all are often listened to… just because. I would like to argue that everyone is an expert. You are an expert on your own life and experiences, and you are an expert on the things that matter to you.

I would also like to argue that fiction and poetry and any other form by which words are used (even stand-alone words) to convey a story is media. Because media is getting the story out there. Preferrably in an accessible form. And for many people fiction and poetry are more accessible or interesting than an academic tome.

But I’d like to challenge us to consider other forms of media. I think most people agree that television programming, movies and magazines are media. In fact, there are many blogs that discuss those forms of media. We often neglect theatre as a form of media, though, and I wasn’t so successful googling to find blogs that discuss theatre in such terms.

A friend of mine creates buttons. This is a form of media.

Another friend of mine makes jewelry and clothing that are a form of media.

As a token of appreciation to those who have donated to my AMC fund, I have been making and sending out bookmarks with thoughtful quotes, including my own words. That is media.

My ex-husband owns 7 or 8 Che Guevara t-shirts and when not in his work uniform, he is wearing Che. Unlike alot of young people today who don’t know what their t-shirt means, the Nica knows. He studied Che’s words while living in the mountains with an M-16 as his companion, and spoke/trained directly with people who had worked with Che. This is his quiet way of telling his own story of revolution. This is media.

Painters, photographers, printers and other artists are creating visual representations of media in many different forms and styles, some of which incorporate multiple forms of media.

Musicians create media in many forms including stunning videos to go with the work.

There are many different forms of media. Some things are not recognized for their contribution to media and I would challenge us to be creative and open minded in our definitions. I would challenge us to use whatever means we create to make media and to imbue it with value as such.

What is media? Media is any means that you use to tell your story or to give agency to someone else to convey their story.

What is your definition?

July 9, 2008 at 11:23 pm Leave a comment

bell hooks says

Fierce critical interrogation is sometimes the only practice that can pierce the wall of denial consumers of images construct so as not to face that the real world of image-making is political - that politics of domination inform the way the vast majority of images we consume are constructed and marketed.