All posts by noirdelacreme

black femme mom trying to discover my identity while navigate the complexities of parenting •aspiring poet/historian of local LGBTQ+ stories• she/her/they

We Outside: 2021 Music Festival Guide

Summer 2021 promises to bring what last year could not : in person music festivals! Here is a short guide to the in person music festivals that will be occurring across the USA this year.

The Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash on August 21, 2021 located in Chicago, IL – tickets go on sale Friday May 7th and can be found Here.

Bonnar Music & Arts Festival : dates September 2nd- 5th, 2021, located in Manchester, TN . Tickets can be found Here.

Rolling Loud : dates July 23- 25th, 2021 located in Miami, FL . Tickets can be found at Here

Life is Beautiful: dates September 17- 19th 2021 located in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada . Tickets can be found Here .

I hope this guide was help to you enjoying a safe and music filled summer ! Catch us outside !

The Untold History of Black Massacres in America

As we are now in these final moments of the U.S. election and await the highly anticipated presidential results- I’ve been in conflict with myself on how I want to use my voice at this time.

Regardless of how the results of the election go, all of me is concerned deeply on the immediate safety of Black people in this country. We have been living in a constant state racially fueled violence with an alarming uptick since May of this year . We have been demanding justice for the lives stolen from us by the police state while guard ourselves against white people empowered by 45’s calls to them to stand back and stand by .

In the wake of all this , I took a step back and spent needed time with Ancestors. They know better than the living the histories kept from us. They have the vision now on how to preserve us alive in this moment, guiding us onto liberation.

America’s dark racist history is often left muddled because of the lack of accurate teaching of it in our educational system. United States of America likes to hide the ugliest parts of its history with inadequate one sided record keeping or lying to cover up the truly heinous crimes that have happened. We can see this especially during the Reconstruction Era and the time shortly after. Former confederates resented the freedom of Black people and white supremacy reached new heights as poor whites now had to compete for jobs in the same economy as Black people. In fact, the extreme racist fueled violence of the Reconstruction Era ushered in The Great Migration, one of the largest migrations of a people’s to be recorded on this land . And yet that migration didn’t save Black people from racism that had been embedded in the illegitimate creation of this nation. The first documented race riot turned Massacre occurred in New York in 1863.

I was able to research and compile for y’all 24 histories of Black Massacres that happened in America. I am sure there are more instances that I missed , and once I come across I will add to this list . My goal was to provide other Black people out there with some truth about our history that was kept from us. I wanted to honor the Ancestors that deaths were never recognized and names left unknown. I recounted briefly the stories surrounding these massacres and included reference articles after each for people who would like a deeper dive into these histories.

1. New York City | July 13, 1863

New York City Draft Riots , image from History Channel

The first ever Draft had been established for the civil war and had finally reached New York by the year 1863. The wealthy whites were able to pay the fine for avoiding being drafted into war , but the large Irish population (mostly poor) were unable to . They also were now competing with newly free Black people for employment.

On the evening of July 13th, 1863 when a crew of disgruntled Irish firefighters known for their volatile temperament set their own fire engine on fire a mob formed . These firefighters led the angry mob to destroying the properties of businesses known to employ Black people, the homes of abolitionists, and set the mental hospital for children of color on fire . It is estimated that over 660 people were killed after the three days of riots . Of those only 120 death were recorded, 109 were Black people. The New York City Daft Riot goes on to be one of the Bloodiest unknown massacres that happened in the north .

Reference Article

2. Memphis, Tennessee |May 1-3, 1866

Memphis riots of 1866 , image from Wikipedia

The Reconstruction Political climate of Memphis was similar to New York City, yet different. Memphis was captured by the Union in 1862 and became a haven of sorts for free Black people to migrate to . By 1866 poor Irish men and people who were formerly confederate, had the same feelings as the whites people in New York and acted upon them .

“When the rumor of the black-on-white crime spread, Fort Pickering’s commander, General George Stoneman, confiscated black soldiers’ weapons and ordered them to their barracks. That left a nearby black neighborhood and an African American refugee camp unguarded”. Left unguarded a racists mob led by local police and firefighters went into the Black Camps and Black neighborhoods rampaging killing men, women and children. All crimes we’re committed for the next three days , from theft to rape and murder . there is no definitive number on the amount of deaths from this massacre although their are estimations , multiple homes and buildings were destroyed. No arrests or criminal action was taken against those who participated in the three day Massacre.

Reference article the Atlantic

3. New Orleans | July 30, 1866

This image from Harpers Weekly depicts Confederate veterans opening fire on the crowd in New Orleans. The placement of the US flag in the drawing served as a reminder to readers that some former Confederates had not yet accepted the outcome of the war. Library of Congress

New Orleans Massacre happened just two months after the Memphis Massacre. New Orleans Mayor was a former Confederate sympathizer and was fiercely opposed to Reconstruction Era . Tensions between the Mayor and Radical Republicans came to a head when the Radical Republicans held a convention for their delegates in New Orleans on July 27 1866. Upon learning that the convention would resume again , New Orleans Sheriff- who was also an Ex- Confederate General, began deputizing former Confederates and other racist in preparation to disrupt when the convention resumed. On July 30th , 1866 twenty- five delegates along with 200 Black freemen marched in a parade to the convention hall , along the way they were harassed and fights began to break out . When the Sheriff and his mob made their way to the convention hall they began firing into the crowd of Black men . 34 people were killed and 119 wounded. Over 200 arrests were made .

New Orleans Massacre Reference article

4. St. Bernard Parish , Louisiana |October 25, 1868

The 1868 St. Bernard Parish Massacre , image from New Orleans Jazz Museum

On October 25, 1868 at a rally for a Presidential Democratic nominee, Horatio Seymour, the violence began . A Black man was observing the rally passing by when white participants got bold. They approached the man and got in his face trying to encourage him to shout for Seymour. When the Black man refused , the white participants attempted to stab him and failed . The Black Man then reached for his pistol and began firing as he feld the scene , he was shot in the head . A week of racial fueled violence ensured once news spread, a group of Black people killed one white man. On the other hand the white mob broke into Black people’s homes killing whole families, executing Black people on the street and stealing items like voting registration from Black people’s homes . The white mob killed those who tried to stop them including an police officer . The Exact number of fatalities is unclear , no arrests were made other than over 100 Black men for the death of the one white man .

Reference Article

5. Camilla, Georgia | September 19, 1868

Image from Zinn Education Project

On September 19, 1868 “The Original 33”, the first 33 elected Black Legislators in the Georgia State Assembly, held a march and rally after being unjustly expelled from the Assembly by racists Democrats. The march began in Albany , Georgia and planned to end in the town square of Camilla. The march grew to about 300 armed men, Black and white by the time they reached Camilla. Camilla’s Sheriff threatened the protesters with violence if they did not disarm themselves, which they did not . In response the Sheriff deputized whites who had gathered in Camilla ahead of the rally, sent them into storefronts and when the March was going through the town the new sheriff deputies began firing at them from all directions. In the weeks that followed white people went into the outskirts of Georgia hunting down Black people , beating them up and threatening them about voting in the next election . 15 were killed , 40 wounded- no arrests made .

Reference Article

6.Opelousas, Louisiana| September 28, 1868

Image from Smithsonian Magazine

A crew of white supremacist that called themselves Seymour’s Knights , named after the Presidential Democratic nominee sparked things this time . A white Republican writer and teacher from Ohio wrote a scalding article in the local paper about the violence incited by the Democratic Party . In response to this article Seymour Knights beat him so terribly that he fled the town and was on the run for three weeks. The Black Republicans after hearing this and not being able to confirm if their comrade was alive , took up arms in retaliation. The Seymour Knights and allies outnumbered and out gunned the Black freemen . What was shaped to be a war turned into a bloodied massacre . Black Republican leaders that surrendered were executed publicly , others were captured to be killed later. An estimated 150 people were killed , actually number unknown. No arrests made.

Reference Article

7. Colfax, Louisiana | April 13, 1873

Image from Smithsonian Magazine

An all Black Militia took control over the Colfax courthouse after the split ballot result in the Louisiana governors race in fear that the white supremacist would try to overtake the election. 150 KKK member and other white domestic terrorist showed up outside the occupied courthouse with a cannon . And fired the cannon into the courthouse. The Black Militia stood their ground until they ran out of ammunition. When they surrendered they were shot and hanged. The exact amount of deaths is unknown , it’s estimated between 60 to 150 deaths . 97 arrests were made of the white supremacist, only 9 were charged with crimes .

Reference Article

8. Eufaula, Alabama | November 3, 1874

Image from Equal Justice Initiative

It was an Election Day on November 3, 1874 . An argument broke out at the polls between a Black Republican and white Democrat over an underaged Black voter. The white man stabbed the Black man in the shoulder resulting in other white democrats in the area to take arms, which they had stashed in strategic spaces around the polling station. Black people retreated , as they were encouraged by Black leaders not to come with weapons out to not instigate any violence. white men mostly did the shooting , killing approximately 8 people and about 80 were injured . Only a dozen of those were whites people . After the polls closed, an armed mob led by a democratic official broke into the polling place. They fired at the judge and his son who had vow to stay until morning to protect the ballots , ultimately killing the son. The mob stole the ballot box and over 700 ballots from the Black area of the district and burned them. No arrests were made.

Reference Article

9. Vicksburg, Mississippi | December 7, 1874

Image from historycollection.com

Peter Crosby, a formerly enslaved person and a Union Army veteran, was elected as the Vicksburg Sheriff. After calls for his resignation began he reached out to the Republican governor and Black community . The governor sent an letter urging the white supremacist groups to stand down , which they ignored . The Black community however, mass mobilized and hundreds marched in solidarity with Crosby on December 7, 1874 . They were met by white liners , a local group of white supremacist when they marched into Vicksburg. The whites began firing first and ultimately ran off the surviving Black people . For 10 days the white liners joined by other white supremacist from Louisiana hunted down, killed and terrorized Black people in and around Vicksburg. Peter Crosby was captured and forced to resign. It is estimated that anywhere from 70 to 300 deaths happened during this massacre. No arrests were made.

Reference Article

10. Clinton, Mississippi |September 2, 1875

Image from BlackPast.org

The Republican Party in Mississippi planned a series on rallies to encourage voting in the upcoming election that year in November. About 1,500 people were in attendance at the rally held at Clinton on September 2, 1875- of those 75 were white liners . To ease tensions, the Republican Party suggested a debate between the two parties . When the Republican representative went to counter the democratic, they were met with booing and heckling from white liners . A Black State senator made an urgent plea for peace then violence broke out . The white liners began shooting, killing 5 Black people and two whites . The mayor of Clinton made a call for assistance after hearing a rumor of retaliation, bringing in hundreds of white liners into town . They spent the next days searching for and shooting down Black people . On September 13, 1875 the president of USA adopted a policy of nonintervention in Mississippi in response to the pleas for federal assistance . It’s is estimated that 30 to 50 Black people were killed , actual numbers cannot be confirmed . No arrests were made.

Reference Article

11. Thibodaux, Louisiana | November 23, 1887

Image from BlackPast.org

10,000 Black sugar cane cutters all went on strike during the harvest season of 1887 in an effort to unionize for better pay and fair treatment. Sugar cane growers fired unionized cutters and denying them their demands sparking the strike . The strike went on for three weeks effecting four plantations, thus being one of the largest farming strikes in American history. The planters were able to influence the governor to unleash all white state militias into Thibodaux were they essentially went door to door killing suspected unionists and strikers , stopping and killing people on the streets resulting in many running to hide in the swaps and others areas. It was estimated 60 people were killed . No arrests were made.

Reference Article

12. Wilmington, North Carolina | November 10, 1889

Image from Time.com

On November 10th, 1889 a mob of white people engaged in the first successful coup d’Etat on a local government level in America. The mob burned down The Daily Record, the only black owned newspaper, destroying hundreds of stories and records of the Black community in the city before they began their killing spree. By the evening the two newly elected officials were thrown out of office and replaced with white supremacists . It is estimated that 40 people were killed . Immediate Historical records of the domestic terrorists that executed this coup were held up as heroes , which makes this massacre especially difficult to determine credibility around.

Reference Article

13. Atlanta, Georgia | September 22- 24, 1906

Image from Georgia Encyclopedia.org

On September 22, 1906 multiple rumors of Black on white violence spread throughout Atlanta through false reports in various newspapers. By sundown a mob of white supremacists gathered in downtown Atlanta. They began destroying the properties owned by Black people and that employed Black people , they attacked Black people they found on the street beating them to death. The mob went into Black neighborhoods but retreated after 2 am when a huge rain storm began to pour from the sky . The next day federal militia were dispatched to curb the growing violence, while Black people secretly armed themselves in preparation for another day of violence. Over 250 Black men armed themselves and met in secret in Brownsville to discuss how to protect the community, when the state police heard of this meeting they gather all the militia groups to gather outside of the secret meeting place . A shootout happened where one officer was killed. The Black people were disarmed and the next few days white supremacist were able to make their way into some Black neighborhoods despite the police presence. Atlanta’s Black community suffered greatly after many businesses were destroyed, burned and rob propelling them into an economic depression. 25 to 40 deaths were estimated. No arrests were made or any acknowledgement from the city of this massacre.

14. Springfield, Illinois | August 15, 1908

The aftermath of the Springfield Massacre, Image from NPR Illinois

This massacre like the previous was started by a rumor of Black on white violence, this time two Black men were accused of harming two white women . The Springfield police quickly arrested two Black men and moved them to an undisclosed location before the mob of white people arrived . Upon arrival the mob demanded the men be handed over and lynched for the rumors that spread earlier that day . And when the police informed the mob that they would not do so and that the men had been moved , the mob grew even more enraged causing them to catch the first Black men they came across and lynch them . These two killings did not satisfy the mob, they continued into Springfield destroying and looting Black owned businesses and businesses that patronized only . The mob also spread their violence to surrounding Black community near Springfield. Black people that attempted to defend themselves were shot at. Many Black people fled the city. Six Black people were shot and killed in addition to the first two men that were hanged. 150 white domestic terrorists were arrested, the whites who were not intimidated and threatened people out of testifying.

Reference Article

15. Slocum, Texas | July 29, 1910

Clippings from news articles about the Slocum Massacre Image from Zinn Education Project

Slocum, Texas was a maroon community , a town occupied by mostly Black people with Black owned businesses . Tension from whites living in surrounding areas that did not approve of the Black township came to a head on July 29, 1910 . Groups of mobs moved around the county hunting Black people . The mob chased Black residents out of town and killed them as they tried to escape through the woods . Exact numbers of death are unknown , it is estimated 8 to 22 based off of reports yet the actual number is thought to be significantly higher according to the special Sheriff’s findings in the aftermath . No arrests were made , in fact efforts were used to cover up and keep this massacre a secret.

Reference Article

16. East St. Louis, Illinois | July 1, 1917

Image from BlackPast.org

On July 1st, 1917 Black people providing protection in East St. Louis accidental killed two plain clothes police officers. They mistaken a car’s model that had been doing “white drive-by” in a continuous attack on their community , and shot the motorist immediately . Over the next three days white supremacists terrorized the Black community in retaliation. The mobs of white people beat, shot and lynched men, women and children . They set houses and businesses on fire . It was recorded that 39 people were killed, yet it is believed that the actual number of deaths was more than 100 and the amount of damages was in the thousands.

Reference Article

17. Washington, D.C. |July 19, 1919

Image from Associate Press

On the evening of July 19, 1919 a mob of angry whites swarmed Washington’s streets after allegations of a Black man harming a white woman . The man and his wife were attacked and beat on the street , they ran home . When the mob arrived to the couple’s house their neighbors and friends were outside armed ready to protect. What occurred over the next four days was white violence and Black people defending themselves. The federal government dispatched the military on the fourth day . The massacre became apart of a time period know as “The Red Summer” , 4 to 38 were recorded to be killed and 100 injured .

Reference Article

18. Elaine, Arkansas |September 30, 1919

Image from Smithsonian Magazine

This is among the worst massacres of Black people in this country. On the evening of September 30, 1919 at 9pm Black Cotton sharecroppers held a meeting in their church discussing whether to Unionize, what lawyers to work with and other maters . At 11pm a white mob formed outside the church and began shooting in, they shot back killing one white man. News of the white man spread through the night across the river and by morning the story morphed into that Black people in Elaine had formed and were acting out an insurgence . October 1st : over 1,000 whites supremacists swarmed from all across the state and from Mississippi in retaliation and began the massacre. October 2: The Governor and veteran of Arkansas, Col. Issac Jencks, along with a machine gun battalion and 583 soldiers arrived to Elaine . Them along with the white supremacists that arrived a day prior terrorized the town for five day burning whole plantations and homes with families inside, killing , and capturing every Black person within 200 mile radius of Elaine. 122 Black men and women were arrested and found guilty of all types of false crimes , 12 Black men were hanged for the deaths of trigger happy white men that accidentally killed each other . The histories went on to tell the false story that the insurgence was forming that warranted this violence. The number of deaths cannot be accurately known due to local officials lack of records of the events , 25 to 853 are estimated to have been killed in this massacre ending the Red Summer .

Reference Article

19. Ocoee , Florida | November 2, 1920

July Perry , The Godfather of Black Ocoee Community, Image from Zinn Education Project

On November 1, 1920 Black residents in Ocoee went to their polling station to exercise their right to vote. They came despite the threats of Klans men who rode through neighborhoods threatening violence if they showed up the next morning. Each Black person was turned away after being threatened by the same Klansmen that now were camped outside their polling places and/ or the poll workers not being able to find any of their names on the voter registration rolls . One Black man who was turned away went to Orlando to seek counsel with a judge on the matter . The judge instructed the man on how to exercise his rights and how to file a lawsuit against their county. When he returned, he organized with other Black voters that were turned away and they all went back to the polls . They demanded that be let to vote and the Klan response was kill those 50 Black people in one night, one of them being July Perry The Godfather of the Black Ocoee community.

Reference Article

20. Tulsa, Oklahoma | May 31,1921

Image from the Washington Post

On May 30, 1921 a young Black man was accused of assaulting a white woman in downtown Tulsa and was quickly arrested. A local newspaper reported that he raped her and lynching was going to happen that night , in response to that article armed mobs of Black and white men surrounded the Tulsa courthouse. The armed Black men stayed at the courthouse to protect the young man inside from any harm while the white mob instigated violence, by night fall they got what they wanted . An argument turned shoot out broke out between a Black man and a white man , leaving the white man dead . The white mob began their counterattack on the Black people assembled there and continue into the Greenwood district, a well know affluent Black neighborhood also known as Black Wall Street. The white mob grew to include heavily armed veterans . They terrorized the Black community for two days killing anywhere from 30 to 300 people. The mob burned multiple homes, looted properties and injuring hundreds more with bombs they dropped from airplanes. There was thousands of dollars of damage and many Blsck people left displaced after the violence ended. The Tulsa Massacre is one the most known of Black Massacres despite it being left out of the taught histories in this country.

Reference Article

21. Rosewood, Florida | January 1, 1923

The last house left standing in Rosewood, Florida after the massacre; Image from BlackPast.org

Rosewood was a small predominantly Black township in Florida. A four day massacre began on January 1st , 1923 after a white woman from a neighboring town accused a Black man of rape . Many Black people escaped within the first two days through the swamps. Some were able to catch a train out of Florida, while others were hidden by allies in surrounding communities and cities. By January 6th, 1923 seeing that no Black people were left in Rosewood the mob of over 200 white men retreated leaving a single home and business standing after the massacre. They had destroyed the town of Rosewood. Six deaths were documented although it is believed to be far more . No arrest or charges were made, yet in 1994 Florida gave $150,000.00 to the nine survivors of the Rosewood massacre.

Reference Article

22. Detroit, Michigan | June 20, 1943

Firefighters respond to burning cars , Image from Walter P. Reuther Library

The Detroit Massacre started as a race riot after rumors of Black on white violence spread across the hard color line of Woodward Avenue. Both the Black and white communities began to retaliate which prompted the immediate response of the Detroit police to the east side, where the Black people lived . That evening the massacre began as police officers beat Black residents, shot up and looted their homes , and killed them in the streets . On the other side of Woodward Avenue, white vigilantes gathered into a mob beating any Black person walking along that color line. They stopped the cars of Black drivers coming down the street, dragged them out and flipped their cars over . The mayor and Governor instituted martial law the next day, and a military to disperse the white mob without any gunfire. The police retreated from the east side after arresting several Black people. Of the 25 Black people killed in this massacre, 18 of them were shot by the police . Hundreds were injured and thousands of dollars of damage happened to the properties in Detroit.

Reference Article

23. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | May 13, 1985

The three blocks destroyed by the fire.
IMAGE: BETTMANN/CORBIS

MOVE, a Black Liberation collective that lived communal in west Philadelphia were deemed a terrorist organization by the city’s mayor and police commissioner. On May 13, 1985 police came to issue warrant for the arrest of five MOVE members when the violence began . MOVE member defended their home-base shooting at the five hundred police officers that had surrounded the front and back of their headquarters. The officers discharged over 10,000 rounds of ammunition for 90 minutes. The mayor approved the police commissioner command to bomb the MOVE house . Once the bomb was dropped firefighters were told not to put it out but to let it burn – resulting in 60 other row houses catching flames and burning. Police waited in the back alley to catch any MOVE members trying to escape the fires. The only MOVE members to survive were one woman and one child . 11 people were killed, 5 of which were children. The mayor or police commissioner were never charged for bombing the home of MOVE and allowing a neighborhood go up in flames .

Article Reference

24. Charleston, South Carolina | June 17, 2015

The nine people who lost their lives in the Charleston Massacre, Image from BlackPast.org

On the evening June 17, 2015 a congregation of Black people were gathered having bible study at AME Church in Charleston when a white man appeared at the church doors . The people inside welcomed him in, unaware that he was an armed white supremacist. Once inside the white man shot and killed 9 Black people . He fled the scene but was later caught and charged for his crimes .

Reference Article

The Red Summer | April – November 1919

Durning the period known as the Red Summer, an estimated 24 “race riots” turned into white led mob violence occurred all across the country. Ending with the massacre at Elaine, Arkansas.

Reference Article: https://www.history.com/news/red-summer-1919-riots-chicago-dc-great-migration

“Conflicted” Movie Review

Thick grey clouds hung in the sky as the sunset on an intimate crew gathered outside a discreet DIY venue. Westside Gunn Day was winding down to a close and it was here I had the pleasure of attending a private viewing of the long awaited and highly buzzed Griselda movie “Conflicted”.

Conflicted is  a crime drama movie that occurs in some fairly present time in Buffalo, NY . I LOVED that this film was told by Black voices and captured through the lens in which they were experienced. Conflicted was directed by AK. Reed  stars and was executively produced by Benny the Butcher, J Holiday, Adiyon Dashalon and Michael Rapaport- a mostly Buffalo crew y’all !

Conflicted does contain violence/ harm against Black Men and Black Women – please be advised as you read further . I will not, however divulge details as I don’t want to give spoilers!

Conflicted pays homage to a history of storytelling that is uniquely done by Black Men. In the 90s and early Millennia , many rappers crossed over into film telling their own stories on the big screen . Conflicted is giving me early Master P and Cameron film maker , Belly, Juice type of vibes .

In “Conflicted” we follow the lead character , Hunter as he re-enters society after serving five years in prison . I appreciated the choice of direction of Hunter’s first 24 hours back to Buffalo. The sequence of these scenes incited feelings of warm nostalgia in the audience that could be felt as people laughed and agreed with the characters on screen . “Conflicted” addresses topics we, Black people , in our own community experience and aren’t ready to talk about yet . There was the gun violence yes, yet they went the additional layer to how PTSD affects not only the victim and their families.

It is so important that we hold this truth about how the trauma of gun violence transforms our community when we are actively working to build a future that is a systematic alternative to the police state we are currently living in. In the film the police nor state address the emotional distress or safety concerns of the characters. The characters do not express any desire for them to do so either. In fact, they devise resolutions to situations each exposing more about their beliefs of justice. This film brought back familiar questions I’m often left toying with like:

 ‘How Do we define justice?’

‘How do we hold people accountable when harm happens?’

And “How are we healing ourselves?” 

Silence fell on the audience at the accurate depiction of Rape Culture perpetuating itself in an all too familiar scenario. The portrayal of the events , or women in this film for that matter- depicted how society has influenced the ways in which Black men have learned to be in relation to Black women. And the desperate need for that to change.

I found myself desiring more from the women in the film, who often served as comic relief or comfort. I felt their characters came off two dimensional leaving much of their personalities to be filled by the imagination of the audience.

Buffalo culture seeped through this film so effortlessly. I enjoyed the sprinkled cameo appearances of Buffalonians throughout our the film. And yes, a hilariously accurate La Novas scene, well placed to interrupt the serious tone and showcase some of that Notorious Buffalo culture -Something that I am excited for so many Buffalonians to enjoy!

I feel deeply honored to have been able to experience a Buffalo story on screen in our hometown . And proud that Buffalo Kids are now on a platform to be seen and heard by all .

Conflicted soundtrack drops on January 8, 2021. A virtual premiere of Conflicted is set for January 15, 2021 – you can preorder now so you can get access in the virtual theater Here .

A Change is Gonna Come : A Movement Culture Callout

I feel deeply saddened and betrayed that things had to come to this , yet here we are .

I have always believed that silence is complicit to wrong doing . And for every time I shrunk myself in fear of being left behind , every time I plunged my teeth into my tongue and clenched my jaw , every time I became reactive – I made room for more harm (and I carry deep shame around this).

I will not be silent anymore.

There are people who Look like us that are Not fit to lead this Sacred Work. People who are well educated and versed in the ways of old capitalism and how white domination operates, that have themselves and families been subjected to these violent systems.
People who are fierce objectors of the police state yet actively and vehemently police Black Bodies . People who speak of healing and are still in an unhealed hurting state and frequency .

It pains me that greed can corrupt Anyone, and power lust can crush even the most revered and hopeful among us. It pains my spirit and soul that leaders so knowledgeable, so intelligent and empathetic can be soured by malice and hatred and take on the old tired shape of our oppressors .

This all cuts so deep and I promise this isn’t to be messy , to stir any pot but to invoke what (this city) Culture really is in need of :

Radical Honesty , Love and Compassion .

I judge no one for their actions . I ask for the sake of accountability Genuine Repentance and CHANGE of Behaviors.

I want to share my experience for the youth :
the baby organizers, the yg’s in the streets , now this Message is FOR YOU :

DO NOT MARTYR YOURSELF FOR THE MOVEMENT.

Anyone that romanticizes your Work. Anyone who fetishizes your Ashé, your Power. Anyone who exploits your Labor. Anyone who will sacrifice You – IS NOT FOR YOU !!!

Do Not Accept Any Harm from Anyone who treats you outside your Inherit Dignity .

As 2020 has taught us , transition and adaptation are essential to continue on in this world . It is with a heavy heart that I am announcing I will be stepping down as community organizer and member of Black Love Resists in the Rust.
Though this news may come as a shock to some of you , I want to remind us all that break ups and departures are a part of nature . As Adrienne Maree Brown said it helps to release attachments to how things should go and embrace when breaking up happens.

I am grateful for the political home I found within BLRR at such a crucial moment personally and nationally . I feel privileged to have been touched by truly talented community organizers that saw me fully and encouraged my growth that led me to becoming the Black Abolitionist I am today. I am thankful for their embodiment of freedom, that they were as passionate about their liberation as they were for the collective of us all. I will carry with me the experiences, numerous trips, lessons from all the teach- ins, political education salons and workshops I was blessed to share with Just Resisting and Black Love Resists in the Rust as I continue my journey towards achieving liberation.


Black Love Resist in the Rust has shown me what is possible in the types of inclusive spaces I, as a queer differently abled Black Person can find solace in this city. I am still committed to continuing building with the communities in this city to define justice and seek it out for themselves.

The way we get free is by freeing ourselves with love and valuing ourselves whole FIRST then let that overflow into our interconnected webs of community.

I love us all . We won’t taste freedom if we keep sacrificing ourselves- That isn’t Liberation.

Liberation is Life Giving and long lasting .
Never forget this .

I look forward to carrying on this movement work with you all.

The Healing Powers of Bondage and Rope Play

Did you know that masturbation and femme self pleasure does not have to be penetrative?! As obvious as it is I recently came to this realization. Partnered or alone, penerative sex has long been my norm- that is until I challenged my pleasure practice to intergrate new sensations. I used to limit my pleasure to one area of my body, which was limiting myself from feeling the depth of pleasure when I engage my Full body. Now I can bring myself to orgasm without penetration in its place the power of sensation of touch and noticing of my body. I’ve learned how to do this through Bondage and rope play.

At the intersection of my Healing and Pleasure journey exist Bondage. I am in the month nine of practicing this sensual art form. I became interested in BDSM culture by FKA TWIGS. Six years ago I was obsessed with her and the visuals she was dropping were deeply inspired Bdsm , so I like to say that’s where the interest began to show interest in BDSM because it was the first time I saw a Black Woman doing it in a way that seemed to be for her pleasure too.

FKA Twigs , Pendulum (Video 2015) image source imbd.com

Then three years ago, an artist from California I follow instagram went to an event and the person hosting it was a Black woman . So now I was shook that Black women in the states are doing this ! And yea it went from there. So then I began following @mediumsofhealing , the Black Woman Host from the event on instagram.

Her practice is centered on using BDSM as a tool for Healing Trauma while also engaging the body in pleasure primarily on Black Femme bodies. After following her for some months, I paid for a phone consultation that changed my life for the better. Through our conversation we discussed many things – who I am, my interests in kink, and my health both physical and mental. From that information she gathered, she assessed what type of play would be best for me. I was fortunate that my kinky interest for BDSM play aligned with what she believed would fit my personal needs: Rope play and bondage!

Rope play and bondage is soothing for folk that experience anxiety and depression because when tied properly it simulates the same comfort as a newborn being swaddled. @mediumsofhealing explained to me that us humans never grow out of that need of being held to help ourselves calm down and rope play brings about those comforts. She then explained to me steps to follow as I began my journey into Rope play and bondage . First step was learning the Ropes, Literally.

@mediumsofhealing suggested the best rope length to begin with and for me to learn them intimately.First, I had to get used to tying them around my limbs and body (with surgical scissors always handy!) before allowing myself to be anyone’s lil rope bunny. As I tie the ropes she invited me to breathe. I make it a practice to notice my breath with each movement my hands make with the ropes in them. I let my mind focus on what I am doing- how tight or loose I am tying them and any adjustments I need to make, in real time.

Although her suggestion was for me to practice my ropes alone without partnered play for the first three month of play , I am now at nine months of solo play. In this time I have found ropes to be a useful tool for when I feel a range of emotions from anxious, overwhelmed, sad, and sexy. I play music for myself, burn incense and begin my personal session: I mediate in my ropes. I take sexy selfies and videos when the mood strikes me. I feel and touch all over myself and ropes everytime ensuring it is always enjoyable. In those moments I feel deeply powerful to know that I can grant myself both peace and pleasure with my Ropes and my own two hands.

Update!

I am now a year and some change in my bondage journey. Since originally writing this piece I have explored partner play with someone I care deeply for. I have held space for interested Black and People of Color to experiment with Bondage and I am so excited to share more with y’all on this budding community! Stay tuned and stay Kinky!

2019’s Top 10 Femme Rap/ Hip Hop Artists You Need to be Listening to

As many of our’s Hot Girl Summer come to a close, I felt it would be best to recap the music we have been blasting this past season! Here is a countdown of the some of the best femmes that dropped songs within the year. If you missed out on the festivities this summer, don’t even worry – I included dope femmes that give us music for all four seasons !

Pap Chanel

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Rapper Pap Chanel, Instagram

This young lyricist brings the punches on her tracks . On her latest EP released across platforms she unleashes the whiplash crazed tongue of hers in songs like freestyle and more- Listen here!

Sampa the great

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Sampa The Great, Instagram

Feel the gap of the vast Black Diaspora close listening to this rapper. Sampa infuses sounds of her home in Zambia , Africa Traditional Religion , speaking power of matriarchy with a flow that is a modern twist if Erykah Badu was a spokenwordsmith. Listen as she invites listeners to breathe, to dance, and to move into Action.

Desiree Kee

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Desiree Kee, Instagram

she is a personal fave ! this Buffalo Based Rapper lyrics encompasses her journey through mental health , love and navigating life as a Black femme in a male dominated society. Her content isn’t the only thing of value- her artistic take with beats and visuals are an additional treat. Stream her music here!

Creatrx

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Creatrx, Instagram

self- described as “high priestess of sounds. who create ratchet spiritual, channeling ancestors, fall into some higher spiritual dimensions.” Listen here! !

Megan Thee Stallion

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Megan Thee Stallion , Instagram

Creator of thee Hot Girl Summer Playlist does not shy away from stating her worth is not for negotiation. and that her goals are for her to obtain. She does this all while giving us bops to twerk until our knees give out – give her latest album a Listen here!

Tierra Whack

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Tierra Whack, Instagram

Think Weird kid mixed with mad scientist typa vibe and you get one Whacky World. Tierra’s mastery of lyrics over dizzing beats will have your ears begging for more! Listen to her latest single!

Saweetie

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Saweetie, Instagram

Saweetie channels unapologetic Black Girl vibes as she plays with fun lyrics about what she likes and how she is seen. Give her a Listen!

Oshun

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Oshun, Instagram

This magical duo of conscious rappers focuses on their spiritual path intersecting with the current movement for Black Liberation. Become filled with nostalgia as they mix vibes reminiscent of Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu with their own unique sound. Listen to their beautiful journey here!

Doja Cat

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Doja Cat, Instagram

Doja playfully dabbles with different beats and her flow giving us new flavors of music to move to. Listen to her latest music here!

Rapsody

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Rapsody, Instagram

I had to give a honourable mention to OG femme rapper Rapsody who released this ode to Black Women.  It would be a great injustice to us if I bypassed her latest star studded album, Eve. Listen to her as she uplifts the memories of famous Black Women with songs like Sojourner and more !

What Mary’s Hands Made

Kelila came to my room for the uptheeth time that night, extra fussy. It was 11:30 pm. I walked her back to her room when I noticed what was on her bed. I looked over at Zaire’s long sleeping body and smiled. Before Zaire drifted off to sleep, he extended the best comfort he knew he could to his baby sister. I felt the warmth of pride from that. I held Kelila’s hand as she climbed back into bed. 

“Do you know who made this?” I asked her.

She shook her head to each side rattling barretts against her pillow case. 

“Grandma Mary ..”  I lay next to her and pull Zaire’s quilt up over us. 

“Grandma Mary is papa’s mom. She’s my g’ma . wanna hear a story about her ?”
Kelila shook her up and down as she cuddled more into me, pulling my arms around her body .

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I told her stories about the Alchemy of Grandma Mary’s hands. How she carried in her muscle memory cultivating the ground to bring forth life from South Carolina  into the backyard of a new northern city. She passed on gardening to her children and grandchildren like me. Grandma Mary raised all seven of her children with those hands and generations followed up after that.

 

. When the majority of us Grand children had children of our own , we gathered at Grandma Mary’s house for a special ceremony .Each family  contributed food that we cooked for this gathering. We stuffed ourselves of dinner and dessert then gathered into the living room.We crowded into the room until our  bodies overflowed onto the stairs and into the dinning room to see the Grand unveiling. Grandma Mary sat in her arm chair placed in front of the television facing everyone with cloth bags stacked beside her. She had been working on quilts for all her Great – Grandchildren and this was the day she gifted those creations to them. She called each Great Grand Child – from oldest to youngest by name up to come sit on her lap. She unfolded each quilt and placed it around their bodies then held it up for everyone to see. Each of us parent snapped photos to capture this special moment. For every child and grandchild that came after she made quilts and afghans for us . All of us in our homes still had our first quilts . We knew that regardless of our beliefs these blankets had powers. The cloth was held in her palms as she wove her love in  with each stitch and thought of us personally. 

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Zaire and I with our Quilts 

 “When you pull this quilt over you, you are covered by Grandma Mary’s protective energy . No harm can find you, nothing scary can come get you. Because what Grandma Mary’s hands makes grows and lives free, as long as it is under her protection, and within reach of her energy.” I told Kelila. I kissed her cheek good night as she relaxed and  drifted off into a sound sleep. 

 

Meet Van Life Voyageurs Jennelle Eliana and Alfredo !

Last month I stumbled across the cutest duo:  Jennelle Eliana, an adventurous Woman of Color and her pet snake Alfredo, a spunky black eyed leucistic python. On her nineteenth birthday Jennelle made the decision to pursue van life to avoid the high rental cost in California and live a tiny life style that she had long been envisioning. On her YouTube channel where over 2 million subscribers tune in to watch her videos that last no longer than 20 minutes each Jannelle captures her daily journeys to a dope soundtrack.

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Jennelle and Alfredo on their Birthday

I first came across Jennelle through a Black Girls Who Love Anime Facebook group. When I saw her decked out van equipped with a living space layout, I was intrigued enough to check out her youtube. I quickly became obsessed after watching her first two videos and am now devoted watcher and subscriber.

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Jennelle in her cozy van home

What I love most about Jennelle is her bubbly personality. I enjoy how she opens and closes each video  in her own unique way and the incorporates humor into the climatic moments she encounters. I admire Jennelle’s willingness to be vulnerable and open with us her audience about her past struggles and current triumphs- she doesn’t shy away from being emotional . I was also drawn in by her humility as a young person who is trying to navigate life as an adult with all of it complexities and wonders and opportunities it presents. I find her and her channel an inspiring snapshot of what life has evolved  into for us a People of Color and as Womxn: Exciting and scary. The fact that Jennelle is honest about the time she felt unsafe as a woman traveler and the means she takes to protect herself is a testimony of how Women and Femmes of Color must navigate our lives in this world.

Whenever I need a quick mid-day or night pick me up I turn to Jennelle and Alfredo so, if you haven’t caught on to watching – I invite you to do so Now! Signing off in the words of Jennelle “Toddles!”

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How I Learned to Take Ownership of My Mental Health

This piece will contain explict content about living with mental illness and self harm. This is my warning, to you as a reader, that this content may be triggering.

I have a testimony I want to share with y’all about depression and suicidality.

The week of my 26th birthday, I made the difficult desison to receive a mental health check up that resulted in a 10-day in-patient hospital stay to treat my mental state. It was at this time I was diagnosed with Major Depression Disorder and Suicidality.  Suicidality is a condition that when triggered results in a person having obessive complusive thoughts of self harm and suicide. These are conditions I have lived with for all of my adult life that have gone untreated by medical professionals due to my own fear.

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To understand my fear of medicine and medical facilitates, we have to time travel back to my youth. When I was sixteen healing for the first time from sexual trauma, I made two attempts on my life that resulted in me being heavily medicated for a time on antidepressants. Now, at sixteen my brain was not fully developed. The medication I was being prescribed intended purpose was to stablize my moods, and treat my suicidality. Yet the side effects made me feel numb and like a shell of a person. This experience with medication was traumatizing to me. I developed a fear in my adult life of receiving medical attention for the depression and suicidality. For a long time I self medicated with smoking weed and eating edibles to mellow out my intense mood swings and quiet the thoughts of self harm when they got too loud.

I spent my birthday alone in bed sick with a viral infection trying to get to soothe myself with a blunt when I realized that living in this way did not feel useful or helpful anymore. I am grateful for the relief weed gave me intermediately and for the awareness that I was in need of something more. Getting admitted to the hospital felt scary and embarrassing. I admitted to my mother that I felt weak and incompetent. She, like all great mothers, reminded me there is No Shame in receiving mental health help- in fact it required a considerable amount of strength. She was right. It will be one week since my release and going on three weeks since I have been on mediciation treating my mental state.

Within the first twenty four hours I felt the first wave of mental clarity – it was Ah- Mazing ! The relief of being on antidepressant and antipsychotic does come with a cost. Due to my weight and biological make up I have felt all the the side effects at one time or another intensely. After completing simple task like cooking a meal, washing dishes, or bathing my children I feel completely wiped out physically. I get dizzy and this interferes with daily life as well.

In the span of the past few weeks my life has shifted. I learned the importance of priortizing my own care. Being hospitalized I was forced to sit my busy ass down and face the darkness within myself. I have been trying to distract myself with organizing, performing and other community based activities than face the reality that I am lonely.  And that loneliness is a direct result of when I self isolate when sad. I have for a long while found comfort in retreating inward, and for a time that was what was safest to do. At this current moment in my life I have had to sit with how not being expansive, and projecting my fears is actually limiting myself.  I am leaning into challenging myself to expand my comfort zone by sharing my story with y’all.

Healing is messy work. It requires that we be present while doing it. There is no right or wrong way- but there is trial and error to see what is best useful for you. Let my testimony inspire you to take charge of your mental health wellness. I invite you to stop for a moment and Breathe with me. Give yourself a gentle loving touch and say this with me :

(while you breathe in) I am Grateful for the Gift that is this Day .

(while you breathe out) I release all my shame to be transformed into compassion. 

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Remembering Jose

On this day one year ago Jose Hernandez-Rossy was murdered by police officer Tedesco. Jose in death was crucified by media outlets whose platform feed the city lies about who he was and the actions leading to his untimely death. Jose was driving home enjoying the final break in our temper mental Buffalo seasons when he was stopped by the police. The traffic stopped turned violent when one officer reached into Jose’s car causing him to hit a street pole. Jose attempted to leave the scene by getting out of his car to run when he was shot and killed by officer Tedesco. That day and the ones that followed the media reported that he shot a police officer (which was false), that he had a criminal record, that he was smoking weed. The local media’s stance to discredit Jose, the victim of a heinous crime, that by 2017 had played out once in this city before in the case of Meech and dozens of time across this country was an eerie reminder of how American society treats the death of men of color as criminals first before human.

I saw him as human. I saw him in the face of his daughter who still didn’t understand why her father was not returning home as he always did. I saw him as a family man in videos that his cousins’ shared on their social media as they mourned their loss of him. I hear his humanity and his loving kindness in the stories from his brother- in- law of how he helped support him and his sister’s family. I see the strength of him live on in his sister and mother as they fight through a crooked judicial system with lawyers that have other agendas yet they still hold true to their convictions for justice. I have had my heart and soul break open with his family at the place of his death, as we held direct actions and in frustrating meetings.

One particular moment that stays burned in my mind and body’s memory was the day of his memorial at the site of where he was killed. I felt my body shake with sadness, anger, and grief and overwhelmed with hurt when I looked down to see my son crying beside me. Zaire cried because he too felt the overwhelming emotion of when the immediate family came to the pole on the corner of the street where Jose’s car initially crashed and the ground felt radiant of Jose’ blood that was still visible on parts of the street. There was a sad chaos in the street when his mother cried terribly before her body gave way and the male family members had to hold on to her. When the fire department and ambulance pulled up and Zaire began to cry more I decided that it was time for us to go. He asked me why he died and who killed him in the car ride home, I told him because of the color of his skin and by officers that said they were scared of him. My voice trembled as I said this as I felt guilt for exposing this harsh reality to my children. I let it hurt just enough before remembering that taking him and Kelila to Jose’s memorial did not make me a bad parent opening my children up to trauma. I am a parent that is exposing my children to what is happening in our community so that we may heal together and build better sustainable communities for our future.

Now today a year later we will come together once again to remember the life of Jose. We still hold the rage from the not guilty verdict from the Attorney General case in our bones as we reclaim this memorial site. Our emotions are raw on this day and we honor the unspoken power of them that has fueled us this far in our collective journey. My heart is still full despite the pain and I am sending out love in these words, in prayer, and in healing vibes to the survivors of state sanctioned violence.