This is my 46th Read This Week feature! If you’re new to Gradient Lair, each week (though I’ve missed a few) I post essays, articles, journal articles and/or papers of interest to me that I think will be of interest to you, based on your interest in my blog. Below are good reads:
Violence Against (Trans)Women Today by CeCe McDonald herself is an important read. She has faced a gross and disgusting injustice, where once again, self-defense was not applicable to a Black trans woman. This essay is an important read.
Sister Assata - This Is What American History Looks Like by Alice Walker is an important read! She has met and spoken with Assata Shakur on more than one occasion. She speaks to the psychological warfare, capitalism, imperialism, racism and misogynoir involved in Shakur being labeled as a terrorist in this country, someone she is NOT. Best believe that this labeling and two increases in the bounty in the last decade is psychological warfare against Black women in this country.
Framing The Panther: Assata Shakur and Black Female Agency [PDF] by Joy James is a fascinating read. She examines the similarities between Harriet Tubman and Assata Shakur in terms of rejection of the State and also examines how not being anchored by or known in relation to a heterosexual male partner that was also “icon,” impacts perception of her.
We Cannot Have It All Because We No Longer Have Dreams by Flavia Dzodan on Tiger Beatdown is an exquisite essay. She went IN! She writes: “I do have to bring up my disillusion with most of mainstream feminism. I do have to denounce this hegemonic feminist discourse that promotes success without questioning the very context in which said success is supposed to take place. I do have to protest the increasing promotion of corporate participation as a measure of “feminist achievement” and women’s prosperity. Because for as long as we do not question at whose expense we are succeeding, we are going to continue creating a deeper gap between those women who are allowed to succeed and those who never stood a chance to begin with.” READ THIS.
I’ve mentioned this before, but it needs to be mentioned again, hence the suggested read below. We must STOP placing Black women in patriarchal binaries, and then calling such placement “feminist” if we worship the “positive” side of the binary. Respectability politics plus benevolent sexism are NOT feminism. In fact, they can quickly become misogynoir.
Queens of Consciousness & Sex-Radicalism in Hip-Hop:On Erykah Badu & The Notorious K.I.M. [PDF] by Greg Thomas is a good read. He explores the “consciousness without sexuality” versus the “sexuality without consciousness” binary (or in other words “queen” versus “females/bitch” binary), revealing that listeners and fans NOT the artists themselves type them as one or the other. Erykah’s music reveals a connection to the erotic just as Lil’ Kim’s music reveals thought and exploration on a variety of topics. A must-read before EVER comparing two Black women in music ever again.