I think that transparency could be healthy at times so here goes (but this is uncomfortable to type because my nails are hella long)
During the 1940’s Claudia Jones, a Trinidadian born woman introduced ideas that promulgated the visibility of the black woman, and threatened white male patriarchy in America. She was a strong supporter of communism and an ally to Karl Marx. As a result, in 1955 she was deported from the United States to Britain.
She coined the term “superexploitation of the black woman” as it related to the black woman’s oppression in the work force due to capitalism. See, I have no qualms with capitalism, being that it has worked in my favor. So my interpretation of super exploitation is different from hers, but still inspired by her discoveries.
As a black woman, I face super exploitation because I stand behind (or next to, if we’re being progressive) a black man. In addition to the black woman facing disparity in the labor force she faced emotional disparity. See in the 1940’s white patriarchy emasculated the black man, called him “boy”, denied his innate rights, lynched him etc. It’s interesting…one could shake their head at the ideas of racism in the 1940’s and scoff at how absurd, preposterous and anachronistic…
I said anachronistic (my bad) something can’t be anachronistic when it’s still present. See in 2014, black men are still emasculated, denied rights, and instead of lynching we now have gun shots, police officers and Zimmerman’s who never face punishment.
But back to the super exploitation.
In 2014, I feel super exploited, solely because I am a black woman, and I know the implications of being with a black man. If we go to a nice restaurant in the city, I see the glances as we walk to the table. I understand that in order to catch a cab I, (the unsuspecting woman) will have to do it because no one will stop for him. I have seen women shift closer together and tighten the grip on their Michael Kors bags when said man and I walk near them. I have to wonder if my brother or father is going to be killed whilst walking down the street, or reaching into their pockets for their wallets.
Is it hard to believe that there are young black men, that are educated? Black men who have obtained multiple tertiary degrees? Black men who are doing well enough to frequent restaurants that caters to a crowd that is not used to his unkempt dreadlocks?
One may think that this shouldn’t bother me, because we enjoy the same privileges regardless, and they don’t look at me with a slightly squinted eye. In actuality, it does affect me… see him and I are reflections of each other. So in these situations, where do I stand? Do I pretend not to see the looks? Do I acknowledge his discomfort? Do I feign composure in the midst of silent rage at other people’s judgements of him? I must reckon with his feelings, whilst trying to process my own.
So when MIke Brown happens, I too am shot, because as a black woman, I am there-I am his backbone, so I feel his pain and I feel mine too. I am super exploited. Granted, this is not to detract from the senseless and egregious murders of black men. Rather, this is for me to deal with my emotions and better understand why I become so extremely affected whenever a black man without reason or cause for suspicion is extinguished. I think it’s because of super exploitation and double oppression.
In biblical times, the Egyptians feared the growing population and ordered all the newborn sons of Israelite women to be killed,( this is the story of how Moses floated to the queen in a wicker basket) Anyway, I feel as though black mothers may have to do the same, they may have to kill their sons, to spare them from living only to be killed by the police, or Zimmerman or whomever ( hyperbolic, but you get the point).
Post racial society?
This weekend, me and about 18 people shot a film. Everyone keeps asking me how I feel, and honestly I’m scared a little bit. I guess the hard part is over? I feel like it’s only begun.
But it was awesome though. We had an entire brownstone in Clinton HIll, and so much positive energy. The food on set was good too, I’m talking jerk chicken, stew chicken, mac and cheese, rice and peas, scrambled eggs, salad, kale, coleslaw errythang…and I got it all for free. Like I literally asked restaurants to donate, and didn’t stop until every meal for 18 people was covered.
But it isn’t all sunshine and free food, I’ve never faced as much rejection as I did whilst trying to make this movie…but I did it anyway. Because I’m ambitious, naive, unrealistic and sometimes people like my imagination.
Now I just have to get people to fund it. So if you’re reading this, and you have money…hey zaaadyyyy.
I’m shooting my film next weekend.
I can not believe this.
How did this happen?
Like I’ve never written a film before.
Sometimes I feel dumb and vulnerable during this process.
Then other times I’m confused, like “why are these people working on this with me?
At the end of the day, I just want to make art, with people I like..but like how did I get Panavision and Kodak behind this?
You gotta understand, nobody showed me how to do this. I literally read books and taught myself how to write for screen..I went to school to learn how to act, I do yoga, I lay on the floor and pretend to be a banana…not this.
But it’s happening.
Tonight the stylist and I went to my friend’s store in Brooklyn to get clothes for the actors (shout out to Kid Super) and we were just sitting in his studio talking about this journey.
A journey of a year and a half. Of emails at 1:21am, of excel spreadsheets, of spending 80% of my time alone
l o n e l e y.
Not to stunt or nothing, but like yooooooo I’m a week away from filming a short that I wrote.
Also, I don’t have enough money in our budget for our shoot next weekend…but like it’ll come from somewhere, it has to.
In other news I promised my baby sister I’d take her to get her nails done…so I’m leaving NY for the weekend.
One last thing: shout out to you if you uplift those pursuing their dreams…and if you don’t then you go’n be mad forever.
Today, I was on the phone with my mom-she’s writing a book. She read me some of it, I couldn’t actually take it seriously, because whenever my mom reads out loud, it reminds me of childhood. So all I heard was “See spot run” even though that’s not anything close to what she said. Before my mom was writing said book, she was studying to be a naturopathic doctor…but she’s over that. I think my mom’s finding herself.
I’m making a movie. A short film actually. I’m souped. I’m drained. I’m putting HELLA money into it. That’s when I knew I was serious, but I’d rather invest in my own dreams, than perpetuate someone else’s. I look at the people around me and it’s so uninspiring. They’ve accepted complacency. Granted being an artist is hella difficult (I’ve started saying hella, but I think I’m about 3 years late, but I can’t seem to stop). I don’t want to be like normal people you know? So I work, I stay up late at night, I go out and party but even if I’m hungover I sit down and I write, or sneak into the ____library if I’m in the city, and send emails at 2 in the morning, or make excel spreadsheets ( and I hate excel) because I’m too afraid. Afraid of not making art, afraid of being regular, afraid of closing my third eye.
But this short film is quite intense, it also shows who’ll be there when you need them, and who’ll be there only when the rest of the world notices you. It’s a beautiful thing though. I’ve started saving emails and screen shotting text messages, and I put them in a certain folder, so I could remember. Remember how people treated me when I was the underdog, when I couldn’t pay them, when all I had was a script, technique, and drive.
On another note, I’ve started dancing again last week. My boss (I have a job… like a real one) said I could come to work after ballet. I kinda teared up when she said I could go to Ailey, then come to work. There’s no way that happens in corporate America. But back to dancing, I don’t know if I really want to do it that much anymore…
I’m in the process of rewriting and editing my play OUTCRY, which is incredibly difficult because sometimes I have to THINK SO MUCH, it just makes my fingers spazz. Like I’m supposed to be working on it now… But when it goes up again, it’s gonna be crazy, I’m being pushed and challenged to make it better, and honestly I’m grateful that others have taken a vested interest in producing my work.
I wonder if anyone is going to see this post? Sometimes I feel like I’m being twatched, or like ghost watched.
I called my grandmother today. She said “but l say yuh forget mih!”
Anyway, I wonder what this summer is going to be like? For the first time, I’m not just frolicking and traveling or having fun all the time. But I don’t want to either…I want to feel like I earned it, and I haven’t yet.
Idk if I’ll actually post this…like who besides me even reads anymore? Well I guess my mom since she’s writing a “see spot run” book.
Wooden chimes, grape fruit juice, coconut bake and salt fish, sorrel, pineapple, grapes and strawberries (I asked for bananas, but oh well). I’m sitting at the island in the kitchen. The sun isn’t all the way up yet, so there’s a cool breeze bouncing off of the walls. My hair is piled atop my head. Belly full. Trying to decide between the sorrel or grapefruit juice. I choose the juice. It tastes better than Aunty Earlen’s which I never thought was possible. I’m so happy its not too hot, I hate when my thighs stick to the chair.
I hear a rooster crow, I smile. The breeze blows the curtains, I sigh. The wooden chimes behind the house clink gently. I hear children playing cricket outside. I look out the window…blue skies with wisps of cotton speckled throughout. Today feels like a beach day. Yesterday, I stayed in the water so long, I almost turned into a fish. When I came out, the man who rents umbrellas told me he could take a picture of me and put it on a post card. I’ve been staying in the sun, to see just how black I can get.
This morning when I woke up, I snuck out onto the verandah. Our house over looks the caribbean sea, or maybe its the Atlantic…I always forget. Below me I can see the goats by the gully. I pick up a stone and throw it at a tree, I wanted to hit a tree, but I’ve got terrible aim. It falls through the bush, snaps through branches and probably settles in the moist soil.
I take my hair down, and the breeze blows it to the west. I’m wearing a tank top and my mother’s shorts. They’ve now become mine and subsequently his favorite. We have a jeep on the island. One of those ‘95 Wranglers that Cher drove in “Clueless”. It’s champagne colored and really awesome. We shipped it from New Jersey.
Today, I want to go to the beach, but I also want to visit my uncle’s stable. Wouldn’t a horse ride be super cute? I think I’ll wear a dress, I do love riding…in dresses.
He’s stirring in the kitchen, guess I’ll go pick some mangoes for us now.