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.