Reading came first: how I journeyed from hotep to Black queer feminist

By Myles E. Johnson

“Solitude can be a must-be-desired condition. In silence, we listen to ourselves, and in the quietude we may even hear the voice of God.” – Maya Angelou

The search, as it were, began in wanting to deep-dive into something that was about me, and it began early. I wanted a nappy-headed God. I wanted a history dipped in tar, baby, and I wanted to know about political leaders with Jackson 5 nostrils. This history was not being served to me anywhere, so I reimagined my middle-school classes as spaces for me to find this new world where I was the sun, where I was centered. While my teacher taught the day’s arithmetic, I was slowly, quietly being radicalized by the contents of books. With each page turn, a bomb exploded, and a window was being opened, and nobody was any the wiser.

The authors that I discovered–including Alex Haley, Frederick Douglass, and WEB Dubois–are part of what guided my 13 year-old brain into the place it is currently, and where it is developing into. However, I had a desire for something that made sense of the world I was occupying the way religion does for a new initiate.

What our fixation on Michelle Obama’s hair says about the space we give Black women to breathe

I can probably count on my two hands how many times I’ve seen my mother’s hair outside of its headwrap. For modesty’s sake, she has religiously worn the garment almost every day for as long as I have been alive. To my mother, hair is an intimate experience, to be let down only in intimately personal moments–and she has always had far, far too few of those in a world that demands she give all her energy simply to survive.

On the Job While You Chill: The Profit of Oppresion

Let’s talk about empathy. Why? Because intersectionality–this concept that all isms have the same perpetrator and depend upon each other to oppress various groups/identities–never struck me hard until i thought critically about this erroneous course in sexuality I’m taking. Granted, I disagree with most of my professor’s outdated perspectives, i still give partial credence to my professor for making me play the opposition (perceive my position as a member of an oppressive group, men). Having to defend the intentions of masculinity, and thereby seriously embodying an emblem of manhood, brought me to a more intimate proximity with the grievances of a womyn’s experience. The final acknowledgement of subversive interactions with womyn, that rarely is the object of contemplation, strengthened my advocacy for an intersected approach to deconstructing an exploitative system.