#womenwithgoals June 2018 Success Feature – Rhonda J. Lowe of BuffaLowe PR, Flagrant City + Rhonda Jane [Interview]

Screenshot-2018-6-20 June 2018

Thank you to Women With Goals for selecting and interviewing me for their June 2018 Success Feature.  Sometimes it’s hard not being recognized for you efforts and strides in your career field, mines being journalism, entertainment media and PR.  It was extremely refreshing to be highlighted and acknowledged, in addition to being able to share my experiences with others.

To view the full interview, please take a moment to visit the #WWG website here: https://women-with-goals.org/sf/rlowe/

-BuffaLowe

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MaDamn Noire Reclaims the ‘Angry Black Woman’

On March 31st at the closing ceremony for FREE AGENT, MaDamn Noire strolled up to the stage with a white Barbie doll on a leash in tow. I was eager for the performance as I already knew that it would be the representation of MaDamn Noire frustration of whiteness. In preparation MaDamn Noire , Obsidian, Curtis Luvell, and I held a ritualistic ceremony where each of us gave a blessing over MaDamn Noire and her performance. I’ve come to love and cherish my relationship with each of these beauitful black femmes, we poured that love over her as a reminder that her life long dance career aligned with her knowing her fullness in her idenity that she was more than ready for this. It was scared, intimate and healing space that we held just for ourselves among the others preparing for the show.

As the music started so did she, MaDamn Noire was the embodiment of the rage black women feel and the liberation from letting it free not afraid of who may see. On the stage she moved fiercely with a sexiness that felt natural to the raw anger energy. Over the music and the crowd roaring their delight of consuming her vibrant dancing, her body screamed its disgust from the treatment that white folks have put her through. Challenging major Grace Jones vibes she bites then spit out the head of the Barbie in the face of a woman in the front row that sent the crowd into a louder uproar. In that moment my heart swelled with pride for her boldness and it ached for her sacrifice she had made performing this in a predominately white space.

Black folks in the audience knew that with each twirl MaDamn Noire swung that Barbie above her head represented what she really wanted to do after every unwarranted hair grab by a white woman that just wanted to feel it. Black folks knew that with each shake she gave that Barbie was for each time she was harassed by a white coworker that went unnoticed, for each condescending comment made to her face and every stereotype that had been nailed to her back. She danced for every slight and large injustice, mircoagression, and hidden racism that black femmes face daily that looks at us with thin lipped smiles and eyes that willingly go blind to black violence. She danced to communicate that we will not idly play along with your games. We will not entertain without forcing you to see what you have done to me, to my people, and our collective ancestors. We will disrupt all aspects to your lily lives as ours has been until you work to correct the harm that we are currently in.

She trotted off the stage and out the door giving the perfect end to the event. I felt joy of her releasing so much of the pain we suffer through, I felt her soul being free as she let her artistry channel who she was physically. I felt healed watching her reclaim what I had been told until now was some far off mythology of liberated black femme sexuality.

Photo cred. @pjeightyeight/instagram.com

Black Girl in Om: Healing the woman I am within

I wanted to create space to speak a mini testimony of what has been a successful practice for me to manifest greatness and appreciate the greatness in my life : listening and being inspired by black women/ femmes.

Last January I was struggling to find my voice as writer, how to become an active part of the change I wanted to see in my City, and finding, loving me. For each challenge that I stumbled through somewhat blindly there was a black woman there to help guide me back on to my path.

My Writing

My dear friend and talented poet, Eve routinely sent me invites to poetry events, readings, her featured shows until I began to show. Listening to her truth spoken boldly and feeling that connection to her spiritual left me in tears many of time and inspired to honor my own truth through my voice. As our relationship grows she challenges me to improve my writing in ways I didn’t know were possible. Im so grateful of having that experience of someone in my same medium. Some months into 2017, one of my closest friends, Taylor suggested me to a mutual friend that owns a site called FlagrantCity that was looking for bloggers, which led me to Rhonda. Rhonda has provided me the creative freedom to express on a platform while also giving me advise on how to build my own brand,and I deeply grateful for this. From this experience had led me to my most recent accomplishment of being hired as a freelance writer for Vocally!

Organizing & Self Awareness

I was in awe of Shaketa’s leadership and Natasha’s strategy: their combined efforts is black girl magic to me. As I continued working with them and growing closer to them; the experience of their patience, their love, their ability to see me in my fullness in a way I had yet to see in myself was affirming for me which led me to BOLD Praxis .BOLD was an experience that shifted my inner narrative of my life. This past Friendsgiving I shared the experience of how BOLD affirmed my worth, dignity, abilities. How, in the future, I wanted to carry healing our traumas and self care through words/ art into my organizing when Linda asked if I had listened to Black Girls in Om, it was a Chicago based podcast run by black women, that centered self care – she strongly suggested that I listen to it.

Black Girls In Om

From their first episode Lauren’s soft voice over subtle instrumentals speaking BGIO’s mission: “To promote holistic wellness and inner beauty for women of color, encouraging self care, self love, and self empowerment for communities of color” was an affirmation of the exact mission I have been envisioning. To the present with the episode number 30: “Intentional living with Roe of Brown Kids” .

There were several things that Roe said that resonated deeply with me. On creating a capsule wardrobe, a wardrobe that can be carried throughout the year and importance of buying quality clothing . Coming home from my experience at both Bold and Just Resisting retreat, I have come to terms within myself that I did not feel up until then worth period – Let alone luxuries of expensive clothing . After twenty four years of living in Buffalo, NY I did not own a down coat or bought good winter boots in at least five years, because I did not think I was worthy of those new things. I realized that stemmed from conditioning: my parents treated shopping as a reward and growing up in generational poverty. As an adult when I did splurge on anything self indulgent it was lingerie, something super sexy, maybe a casual thing – but never my essentials that would actually care for my body.

What Roe and Lauren spoke to about living in a limbo state is something I have been struggling within my own space. Since my breakup a year ago with my daughter’s father, I struggled financially that constantly left me questioning where my family will be each month. Now as I gain stability I’m adjusting to how to have a functional and comfortable space for a toddler and school aged child. This episode like the previous connect with me on levels that I am actively trying to unlock within myself that leaves me amazed each time. Lauren’s work with partynoire as a yoga instructor grounded in spiritual awareness and Deun’s creative works rooted deeply in spiritual gratitude strengthens me daily to continue on with my current collaborative projects with H.E.A.L and Black Magnolias.

If you have not listened to Black Girls in Om, I very much suggest that you give them a listen!

*The top two that I have on repeat currently are episode #29 and #18 (Five Challenges in Creative Entrepreneurship) and strongly advise all black women and femmes listen to #1, #13, #27 and of course the latest #30 .

“She’s Gotta Have It” – Review

Cover Art from Spike Lee’s “She’s Gotta Have It” Netflix Series

I started this Sunday Binge watching ‘she’s gotta have it” the original movie and the new Netflix series. I enjoyed its ingenious way it portrayed relationships, romance, budding into black womanhood & manhood. It did not try to hide any flaws of our inherit Bad behaviors but, laid them bare exposed to the audience. Each character suffered some form of emotional immaturity as well as misogyny and patriarchal beliefs.

Reflecting on that has me questioning my own dating history- communicating and honesty have been the downfall to all my past relationships. As well as cheating. I feel it connects back to the societal mindset the monogamy is the only acceptable relationship status, the proper way to love and be loved – I challenge that theory. I’ve lived it’s contradictions and have crossed paths with folk that prove its falsehood.

At a dinner party a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of being in conversation with two of my black femme friends that both happen to be involved in polyamory/ open relationships. One is planning to marry her partner whom she’s been with for several years and the other has newly been introduced to polyamory through a partner who has a live in partner already. Both women shared their experiences and I shared my story of an open relationship gone wrong from a few years ago. My friend shared her own wisdom and gems she’s learned over the years- what works and what doesn’t. I’ll boil it down two main vital components: honesty and communication.

She explained there are “rules” boundaries that must be set at the onset with all partners. Her partner that she has been with the longest she stressed the importance of the strength of their communication- discussing everything so that nothing is left to question. If there is no doubt, in whatever capacity the relationship is, makes it so much easier to show up as our full selves in. Imagine for a moment airing everything out openly and being able to be in relation with no fear of the unknown lurking.

Also something that stood out most from the conversation was how she interacts with possible new partners, who either show interest in her or if she feels the vibe is mutual. Once that interest is established she explains that she is in an open relationship and would like to kick it or hang out and do something(taking sex off the table as the first interaction because it’s Not about the sex)- explicitly making it clear that she is not the girl that will be in a serious relationship with them – but that all other areas of relationship are open outside of that. With doing that she gives the person the opportunity to entertain that relation or leave if it doesn’t fit their needs.

From my experience and listening to the experience of others, polygamy is more about respecting folk’s autonomy and communicating properly,and less about that possessiveness that commonly shows up on monogamy. Yes, sex is apart of it- just not the myth that folk believe is All of it. “It’s that open door, that if something is to happen or happens it’s okay, not necessarily encouraging it but being accepting of whatever happens” (I may have not quoted my friend verbatim, but y’all get the premise of it).

“She’s gotta have it” failed to break that myth, instead it acted as kindling fueling it. Too many times did Nola, Greer, Jamie, Mars, and Opal deny each other mutual autonomy over bodies and beliefs.

Nola was honest about her partners but not boundaries, which is where problems in the storyline occurred from. She cherry picked what and when communication would happen which also added even more to those problems. I completely get, I understand the story it’s telling – relationships are messy and hard and most of the time we go in unprepared with the right tools to navigate them. At the same time I’m pained to see the myths of what polygamy is portrayed this way. I crave to see the stories of black women/ femmes in their full power of autonomy, I can guarantee drama and great storyline can still come from these.

It was also interesting to note that despite her relationships /friendships she desired to have children of her own one day – which could possibly require the audience to question the “normal” family/ community dynamic. She ends the movie saying that she is not a ‘one man type woman’, and I wonder what a black woman in an open relationship with a family would look like.