Radical feminist, artist, and media activist Alexis Pauline Gumbs calls herself, "the cybernetic dream of a one room black reconstruction schoolteacher." She spreads knowledge, healing, and empowerment through web-based projects like MobileHomeComing, a traveling "intergenerational community documentation and education project" that challenges our culture's heteronormativity, and BrokenBeautifulPress, which "lifts up black feminist practices throughout history and transformative community models in the present." Gumbs was named an Utne Reader Visionary in 2009. Keep up with her at Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind.
Last night was the first session of the Beyond the Feel-Good Webinar on Sustainable Erotics of Community Accountable Scholarship. And oh my goodness did we go beyond! The Brilliance Remastered process never ceases to amaze and reawaken me!
As Audre Lorde says in her essay Uses of the Erotic: Power of the Erotic, “We have been raised to fear the yes within ourselves…” Not
at all coincidentally when we are out of touch with that YES within
ourselves we are also more easily manipulated, bamboozled and led astray
by the external maybes of capitalism, especially within the academic
marketplace. Our first step as a community in touch with our
collective erotic power, our passionate purposefulness and our deep love
for our communities is to reclaim YES and affirm YES in each other.
Here is our group poem. Feel free to read along (best articulated
through grunts and screams).
YES!!! to acting on the impulse inside
YES!!! to defining the erotic as strength
YES!!! to claiming what we know deepest inside us as KNOWLEDGE
YES!!! brilliance remastered means brilliance unchained visible everywhere NOW!
YES!!! to our deepest desires
YES!!! to our power
YES!!! to being love
YES!!! to being me and not caring
YES!!! to being embodied in our classrooms and not being ashamed of that eros
YES!!! i tell my story. a black girl story without apology
YES!!! YESSSS to not apologizing!
YES!!! to facing fears
YES!!! to living in the moment and embracing all it brings
YES!!! to feeling even if it hurts
YESSS!!! to feeling
YES!!! i will create
YES!!! i will write. i am an author.
YES!!! my body knows and share its magic in my dance
YES!!! music and poetry, I will write and sing, play and work and dream a new world with you
YES!!! i will find the language to write within my community and not simply at my community
YES!!! to flying free and teaching others to soar
YES!!! to knowing that i don’t know if y'all don’t know
YES!!! to creating together!
YES!!! to blurring and even better erasing boundaries
YES!!! to you in me and me in you and US!
YES!!! to learning and teaching!
YES!!!! i don’t know if y’all don't know!!!
YES!!! to the communities to which we are called!
YES!!! to creating community wherever we are
YES!!! to love that circulates!
YES!!! to risking to love without guarantee or compromise
YES!!! i will love me even when I am pushed not to
YES!!! i love her even when its dangerous
YES!!! i will love the work even when it is difficult!
YES!!! i will embody my faith, even in the face of institutional judgment
YES!!! to knowing we were never meant to survive BUT thrive we must!
YES!!! love is life force and I am meant to LIVE!
YES!!! to growing
YES!!! to conflict
and YES!!! to being angry
YES!!! to kicking ass
YES!!! to entering the room as a full being and when the door is too small for that, to break it down
YES!!! to bleeding….a cleanse
and bless the blood that has already been shed! YES!!!
YES!!! to new soil not stained in blood
YES!!! to imagining
YES!!! to exploding the closed circulation of capitalism with love that circulates
YES!!! to open not closed economies, yes to there being ENOUGH for everyone
YES!!! To knowing that there is NO ZERO SUM GAME, you are not required to die so I might live
YES!!! to loving and being loved
YES!!!! to LIFE!!! YOUR LIFE, MY LIFE, OUR LIVES!!!
YES!! to FAITH in YES!
Images: Audre Lorde, Meridel Lesueur, and Adrienne Rich, 1980, by K. Kendall, licensed under Creative Commons. Alexis Pauline Gumbs, photo by Sed Miles.