‘We Need To Be Rethinking Our Response To This’: An Interview with dream hampton

Days after clinching the U.S. presidency in November, Donald Trump appointed Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions as his pick for Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice. From stating he was once “okay with the Ku Klux Klan” until he learned they smoked marijuana, to prosecuting Black activists in the decades following the fall of Jim Crow for registering people to vote, Sessions’ past, like Trump’s, is filled with controversial, biased and racially-charged rhetoric and action.

Civil rights groups around the country have begun mobilizing against his confirmation and urging senators to reject him. I spoke with longtime filmmaker and activist dream hampton about her efforts, in tandem with the advocacy group Drug Policy Alliance, to block Sessions’ confirmation as U.S. Attorney General.

Coming Out Stories: On Frank Ocean

I’ve spent the last week treading in the liquid of a queer-flavored ambivalence, trying to determine why the Anderson Cooper and Frank Ocean coming out announcements mean less to me than other people. I have seen enough episodes of Coming Out Stories and foolishly subjected myself and my partner to the awkward anti-climax of telling my father about my sexuality to know that helping folks who somehow don’t know how to use context clues with declarations of same-gender-lovingness is supposed to make one feel liberated, free, authentic. I know that my role is to stuff this blog entry full of words, symbolic pats on the back of Anderson, of Frank. Each paragraph should serve as a swell of applause for their bravery, I suppose. But there are enough of those posts already. And I try not to be disingenuous. So, I have spent the last week avoiding being pummeled by all of the congratulatory remarks for several reasons: 1. I needed to put words to my own feelings of ambivalence with as little outside influence as possible, 2. I read two responses to Frank Ocean’s apparent coming out and knew that something was terribly awry, and 3. Although I had treated both “announcements” similarly–that is, I made snarky remarks via Twitter and Facebook–I was also told that Frank Ocean’s coming out was more important than Anderson Cooper’s.

Pause.