Black Women’s Sexuality Documentary: Can Black Women Reclaim Deviance?!?!?!?

Over the break, I was going back over my old posts and I saw that in two thousand and eight that I wanted to make a documentary after seeing Byron Hurt’s Barack and Curtis. In fact, I stated that I wanted to do FLOTUS and Nicki Minaj.

When I met with Boss Bear yesterday and told her what I wanted to do she asked me “What was I doing that was new?”, “What was my question?”, “Why a documentary?”.

She then zeroed in on my Byron Hurt inspiration, which is here. I would never think of doing anything around a binary in terms of Black women’s sexuality, because the binary is violent in terms of how/who it erases. However, knowing what I don’t want to do, doesn’t tell me what I am want to do.

I went on to say that I was using Nola Darling y Bryon Hurt’s doc as a point of departure for my new project…She challenged me as to WHY I was centering Black men’s voices but implying the influence of Ava Duvernay, Dee Rees, Gloria Naylor….

Naming is important. Peace to Quvenzhané.

I had no defense and simply said I was wrong and that I was thinking. I clearly know better, but it is important to see how we can not be aware of our own assumptions.

I went to sleep early, because I knew that I would wake up early processing the data. Before I went to sleep I re-read some work on Marlon Riggs, and I saw precisely what I needed to do, which was be brave and follow the heat.

The lesson, be careful who you use as a point of departure because you will be caught in the framework of their logic in your work. Choose deliberately.

But first, you have to learn that their logic. You can’t be in conversation with someone that you don’t understand, or whom you haven’t read.

I am not invested in a binary system of Black women’s sexuality or Black women’s gender, in fact it is why I am addressing the fact that Black Women’s* sexuality has an asterisk, because their are some Black female bodied people who do not identify as women.

Creating a project and coming up with questions entails a lot of sifting, and lot of condescending and doing what I call “looking for the heat energy.” Like where is the heat, where is the hot shit in this work?

Beep was clowning me because she thought I was talking about making a doc, like I was making a sandwich. She has an MFA, and so I respect and understand that folks need to have their work and time invested taken seriously.  In some ways, I was on some sandwich making in that I had not thought clearly about the narrative arch, and what I wanted to get out of the data. This distinction became clear yesterday in that boss bear made a clear distinction between getting a group of folks into a room to talk being a focus group, but what I was talking about was a narrative which answers a question.

#sandwichmaking. I like that.

So, I woke up with reclaiming deviance as a subtopic.

Why did I pick reclaiming deviance? Well, with reclaiming deviance, the politics of respectability is challenged head on, and  want that, I need that. Also, in my interdiscplinary paper, I talk about “ho tapes” and I talk about how ambivalent I am about “reclaiming deviance”, but ultimately, I knew this this would be the subject for the first video because I remember the conversation that I had on my blog. I remember seeing Pariah and the Black women responding and being like “what the hell do you mean by reclaiming deviance” and I know that the “what the hell do you mean” is what I want to dig into.

The other question lurking in here is that if Black women, reclaim deviance, what are the costs!?!?!

I will still engage Nola Darling, The Steve Harvey Industrial Complex, and MSNBC’s/The Washington Post and other folks investment in our dating lives, but my point of departure will be deviance, not these otro narratives.

Reclaiming deviance is about representation, power and Black women as subjects, as contradictory dynamic human beings and I am all about that. #fuckaBinary.

#Excited.

#Scared

#StillTrying

 

On Black Women’s Sexuality

 

The way through the project is sharing it. So here I go.

I have been reading Telling Histories: Black Women Historians in the Ivory Tower because @Kismetnunez recommended it and also learning about how Black women who I admire, dealt with racism and sexism helps me to deal with racism and sexism.

Lord knows I do not have time to be reading anything that isn’t directly related to reading and teaching, but I started reading the book a few weeks ago and I picked it up again this morning and than an epiphany happened.

In reading about how Darlene Clark Hine and many other Black women scholars who do Black women’s history had to actually fight to study and write about Black women as graduate students, I began to think about how to connect my work to their work.

What is most significant to me, is that while reading about Clark Hine, I realized why my project is important and why how it is related to historical studies of Black women’s history.

I contend that Black women’s history is central to American history. Clark Hine was discouraged from writing about and studying Black women. In fact a white male colleague asked her, “why would you study the most marginalized people in society.” He later apologized. Having read this, I now see that exploring the ways in which Black women, name, see and claim their sexual selves is important because historically Black women have not been seen as legitimate subjects. Yet Black women have been  historically present in this country as reproductive and productive labor during chattel slavery, and after slavery as share croppers. Our work and the work of Black women’s children  played a significant role in creating the capital to build the infrastructure of the United States.

Lastly my work is related to the work of Black women historians who are a generation or two ahead of me, in that I am creating a space for Black women to speak for themselves about Black women’s sexuality. Creating this space is significant because of the ways in which Black women have been historically read as deviant, lewd and lascivious.

I am concerned with Black women and girls being perceived as whole human beings. I want to be seen as a whole human being. My day to day life pivots on asserting my humanity.

Because slavery required an ideology that that defined Black women as unrapeable, ready for sex, naturally made for working the field, as masculine, my project is also about reclaiming our sexuality in order for us to be seen as whole human beings.

Boss bear said the paper lacked the passion that I clearly exhibit when I talk to her about it. I think the passion is there now, no?

I think that sounds good.

It makes sense to you?

#Thoughts I had on the train.

“Who’s Afraid of Ciara Woolf?: On BET’s Tolerance of Certain ‘Freaks'”

Last week on twitter I was looking for video’s featuring Nicki Minaj that featured sexual desire for a guest lecture.

I ended up using the video “Little Freak“? by Usher feat. Nick Minaj.

I stumbled upon Ciara’s Ride video yesterday and I was struck by, well how erotic it was.

By erotic I mean conveying sexual desire, conveying feeling.

And BET is not playing it.

In many ways Ciara in the Ride video is more erotic than Nicki and Usher in Little Freak, even though Nicki Minaj is talking about how many “ho’s” she has and how she wants to steal Cassie from Puffy. [Peace MZ for correcting my typeo. #oldsnarko].

Reading these two videos against each other, it is clear that there is? sexual desire in the Ciara video whereas there is more eroticism in a? Sunday Night football game than in the Usher/Nicki video.

BET has chosen not to play the Ride video.

The main difference between the two videos is the Ciara’s largely features her dancing against a white background.

You are forced to look at her and only her until Ludacris joins her to spit his rhyme.

Whats bugged out is as soon as Luda comes on, Ciara’s body is largely reduced to being? a crotch and legs for a meaningful part of the rest of the video.

#ummhmm.

What does it mean that BET refuses to play Ride because they arguably find it too sexually suggestive?

Why is this video banned (or simply not being played) but the 5011 other rap videos with ubiquitous half nude, anonymous video vixens, and video extra’s get major rotation?

Here are some of the songs that you can vote for this week on BET.com

Bobby V. ft Plies “Phone #.”

Rick Ross “Aston Martin Music.”

Gucci Mane “Remember When.”

Is Black women’s sexuality being displayed on her own terms a threat that compels BET to react with censorship.

Wait till you See my Dick” is cool but Ride ain’t? I mean blood, the simulated orgy scene? #ummhmm. #youain’tgottaLieCraig.

Sexual double standard?