The Ballroom Scene: A New Black Art


Over the past month I have been writing on the good and bad of “The Ballroom Scene.” Now I want to take a moment to explain more about the rising underground dance, that is becoming one of the new “black arts.”  If homophobic, masculine idolizing, intolerant schools like Morehouse would be a little more open minded, maybe our black community could learn to accept things that are different. (Making a reference to Morehouse’s new anti-gay dress code)

Some are disgusted when they observe this new black art taking place. I would assert that people are still afraid of anything different. While, I cannot vogue and have many criticisms about the scene, I still know to respect both the Art and the people who choose to be in the ballroom scene.

Today in Post-Race History: No Homo

I’m having trouble embedding the video in question.  Please view it here.

Remember last year when all the white gay people were mad at black people because Prop 8 passed in California?  Well, it wasn’t a fluke.  We’re still their whipping boys (er, bois?).  Last week, my internet boyfriend AC (again, the only man I’d ever seriously consider marrying), sent me a link of the above video, where Current TV contributor, Bryan Safi learns us about the phrase “No Homo.”   Most of the commenters loved this piece and deemed it “genius.”  Me?  Not so much.

The Ballroom Scene: Family Life

blog #17 gay house church

A week before I returned to University of Chicago for my second year of college, I encountered what I like to call “an incident.” My brother, on this particular day followed his normal pattern of entering the basement room of my mother’s house in a drunken state. His drinking problem is one thing, but his homophobia mixed with intoxication is not a good combination. My brother chose to make comments about my friend and I, as we passed him on the way to my room.

“Why are these fucking fags in my house!?! Maybe if I bash their heads in they will stop coming! I hate these gay ass niggas, its nasty, and they’re nasty!!” (My brothers actual words)

Homo-phobic Fam insert here blog #17

He went on for 30 minutes in a nearby room, yelling every homophobic obscenity his slurred vocabulary could muster.

She's Gotta Have it: What, Exactly, is "Rape Rape"?

I’m still on IR trying to get this chapter draft to semi-embarrassing level.  (Which, frankly, would be a pleasant surprise to my committee since, you know, I rarely have anything to show them–and when I do it’s some incoherent mess about black people and geography. Yes, I mortify the race with every word I type.) So, I have to give you video you’ve probably already seen.


You Gon' Be All Right: On Maia Campbell and (More on) Tyler Perry

Note: I know this post is mad long.  I’ll be more succinct in the future.  I know you have better things to do.

Last week, I didn’t take the opportunity to blog about Maia Campbell, something that I had fully intended to do.  Instead, my only significant output was a blog about Tyler Perry taking over command of the for colored girls film.  I worry that not allowing myself time to post my thoughts about Campbell was an implicit, unspoken participation in the suppression and dismissal of her situation, her struggles.  I want to correct that.  Further, I want to make a connection to both events, which is something I haven’t seen folks do, but I find especially necessary at this juncture.

Roy G. Whiz

Uh oh.  It’s a code red (black and green).  The bat signal is out.  bell hooks has started spelling her name in all CAPS.  Call up your elders, pray to your ancestors; conjure up your inner fairies, spirits, and goddesses.  Tyler Perry is turning your favorite play, excuse me, choreopoem into a movie.

Oh No He Didn't . . . Tyler Perry Gone Do What?

It was the news heard around the world, heard in every black café, posted on every Facebook mini feed, screamed in abject horror in every black theater class, whispered in body stealing tones in every black feminist mind that Tyler Perry also known as Medea also known as He Who Has Oprah’s Seal of Approval meaning it’s safe for white suburban soccer moms will direct, produce, and perhaps even star as the woman in red in a film adaptation of Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf.

When I heard the news a part of me laughed and said, “Seriously you’re kidding right. How can a black man who always portrays black women as prostitutes (i.e. Madea Goes to Jail), drug addicts (i.e. Diary of Angry Black Woman), controlling spouses (i.e. Why Did I get Married), abused women, psychopathic black mothers (i.e. Family Reunion), and emasculating black women (i.e. Daddy’s Girls) direct and produce a film about black women finding and owning their voices?” And of course, the answer to my question is that unless he works with Julie Dash or Aishah Simmons his work is doomed to silence black women.

Okay, I will admit I’m no saint. I’ve watched some of Tyler Perry’s movies because I can’t afford HBO so I watch TBS the home of all things Tyler Perry. And sometimes family gatherings entail a Tyler Perry’s Marathon where my great aunt proclaims in her best evangelist voice, “You can talk about my Jesus, and perhaps my momma, but nobody better talk about my Tyler Perry.” I say all this to say I’ve seen his movies to know their limitations. Meaning, I cannot fathom let alone imagine how Tyler Perry can cinematically enrich Shange’s play whose very origin was a critique of black male violence against black women.

Perhaps, he has not read the play therefore he’s unaware of this critique or perhaps he has read it and assumes that the character, Madea, can throw hot grits on all the violent black men in Shange’s play and that will end violence against black women. If it was only that easy then Quaker Grits would be in every domestic violence handbook around the world. So, once again I ask the question, how can Tyler Perry produce and direct a film that speaks to the souls of black women? And the simple answer is he can’t. To say the least, I am pissed. Furthermore, I find myself ruminating on how he will adapt my favorite line from the play, “I found God in myself and I loved her I loved her fiercely.” Perhaps, it will become Vickie Winans’ gospel song, “I found King Jesus and I don’t need nobody else.” Perhaps it will become, “I found da lorde in dis good black man and I loved him, I loved him fiercely.” Or, perhaps it will become, “I did not find enuf in myself as a colored girl so I committed suicide.” Yes, the last translation is wee bit dramatic, but given Tyler Perry’s track record it seems quite probable. So, for those who love the play, For Colored Girls what are your sentiments about Tyler Perry producing and directing the play?

So, I decided to end this blog with pictures from various performances of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Sucide When the Rainbow is Enuf to show how powerful this play is and how Tyler Perry cannot do it justice.

Who will Sing a Black Girl Song.

"Who will Sing a Black Girl Song."

Speaking Revelations

Speaking Revelations

Woman in Blue

Woman in Blue

1977 Performance of For Colored Girls

1977 Performance of For Colored Girls

Today in Pre-Race History: Mad Men as Race Men?

I like Mad Men. It’s a good show, well-written and -acted. All of that. I’m not turning myself into a Mad Men avatar like other fans, but I get the allure. (Besides, there’s no maid’s uniform.) The world of Mad Men is sleek, shiny, colorful; it totally messes up my “the only colors available in the olden days were black and white” argument. I probably think this way because I am, like, totally generation neon. As good as it is, MM is also very white–whiter than, say, a drinking game at your local frat house. But I value MM for what it is, which I suppose could be described as privileged white people being their privileged white selves.

"Skinny-Bitches are [NOT] evil"




In 2001, Mo’Nique in Queens of Comedy came to the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis. She enters from a rotating pyramid. As she steps on the stage, she gives Memphis its props, and then says to all the “fat girls”  “…stand y’all fat asses up and take a motha-fuckin’[sic] bow.”

She goes on to exclaim:

“Godt-dammit[sic] big women,  Alright big girl  you’d better represent it godt-dammit[sic]. You’d better do it, ya [sic] fat ass. I love ya baby-girl, you handle yo[sic] shit. Fuck you skinny bitches, Na! Fuck you skinny anorexic bulimic motha-fuckas [sic], what?!….Look at ‘er[sic] shakin’, bitch cause ya hungry…Skinny women are evil and they need to be destroyed, baby.”