The politics of pleasure as a public performance, delivered in the middle of the night, by a complete boss. Beyoncé’s presentation of the erotic is evidence of her lived experience of a sexual trust and intimate safety that is the true fantasy. The freedom to be filthy, to be submissive, to be in control, to be contemplative, to leave or to stay.
Romantic and sexual relationships are as complicated as there are possible configurations: of gender, of gender and sexual expression, of sexual identity, of levels of commitment. But being in a monogamous, heterosexual marriage doesn’t make sex and romance and love straightforward.
We have focused on the pleasure of seeing Beyoncé's entire ass on a table. But she also sings about distrust and insecurity. She sings about power dynamics that skew towards men, even when you're rich, beautiful and can relax into a back bend. In long term relationships there are the ecstatic moments of synchronicity and trust, and those moments when you consider packing your partners' luggage and leaving it on the other side of a closed door. There are moments of betrayal and seething and deep sighs into complete comfort and bliss.
Beyoncé’s other long time relationship is with the public. The mindless adoration, the baseless evisceration, the love, the hate, speculation, the projection, the pedestal. They are the rent she pays for her place in the constellation. That Beyoncé chose to set on fire that lease, that contractual agreement about what is respectable or feminist or pop enough, is radical. That it has become the year’s biggest success was never a sure thing. What we do know is that she is a grown, changed woman, and it is deeply satisfying to witness. Dirty 30’s indeed.
Nelson Mandela was labeled a terrorist by the United States government.
Nelson Mandela was a political prisoner.
Nelson Mandela was at the helm of a revolutionary organization.
It is so easy to wax poetic about his heroism after the tide of history has turned. But to stand in the tradition of Mandela is to embrace justice when and where power opposes it.
I am grateful that the anti-apartheid and divestment movement was part of my coming of age because it allowed me to cultivate through my own experience a critical gaze and to find footing in a radical tradition.
We need those spaces to flourish for our young people today, and for those who will come behind them. I feel like tonight we should rededicate ourselves to courage and truth-telling rather than mere sentimentalism.
“It would be a mistake to promote the idea that I am a woman against veiling or pro-veiling. The veil is more profound. more complicated. I’m interested in the veil and the notion of boundary—how physically when a woman is embraced with fabric, her sexual, psychological, political, emotional relationship to the outside world changes.”—Shirin Neshat
“I have folded my sorrows into the mantle of summer night,
Assigning each brief storm its alloted space in time,
Quietly pursuing catastrophic histories buried in my eyes.
And yes, the world is not some unplayed Cosmic Game,
And the sun is still ninety-three million miles from me,
And in the imaginary forest, the shingles hippo becomes the gay unicorn.”—Bob Kaufman
“One of the problems with the idea that America needs a ‘Conversation On Race’ is that it presumes that ‘America’ has something intelligent to say about race. All you need do is look at how American history is taught in this country to realize that that is basically impossible.”—Ta-Nehisi Coates (via theatlantic)
I was criticized for my letter to Frank Ocean. My ally privilege was showing. Criticism often stings, but I grew from it, heard what was being said. It’s easy to dismiss criticism as an attack. But often, when a woman is criticized, she has to deal with her lesson in isolation. Men, on the other hand, can hardly hear the lesson for all the (often female) bodies piling on to protect him. I’m post infantilization. But that’s just me.
“Something within her refused to grow. Something endless, eternal. Something bold. Something warrior-like. She looked up at the stars, she could feel, she felt as if she could pluck them one by one and send them spinning into the world, like small beautiful elastic mercurial weapons. Now too, the time is coming.”—Patti Smith’s beautiful tribute to Virginia Woolf, who took her own life on March 28, 1941. (via explore-blog)