* i was googling some info about Alvin Ailey, and this post was one of the links! fair warning: this post has NOTHING to do with Alvin Ailey. However, it is as relevant today as it was the day i wrote it.
its quite funny the way the spirits work.
friday night before i headed out to dance, i got caught on tumblr in a conversation with howtobenoladarling. we briefly discussed the way in which skin tone, colorism, and antiBlackness operate in conversations surrounding the “valuing” of “light skin” and the humorous nature in day-to-day rhetoric focused on standards of Black beauty. i took a somewhat defensive tone in the conversation because of my own “light skin” and my experiences in spaces where whiteness is the pinnacle of beauty (the world) and light skin could be used as an ?advantage?… not quite the argument adrian piper makes surround the notion of “passing,” but something similar in nature. and here i pull specifically from my experiences in queer and hipster spaces.
so, last night i was out dancing again! it was a hipster club down in wicker park. the DJ was spinnin’ right and the whiskey had me actin right! i was standing in line waiting for the bathroom when i was approached by a hipster white man, late twenties, who had been on the arm of what i am assuming was his partner. he breaks from his other white hipster man, walks up to me and slurs, “i thought you were so cute until i realized you were Black”
i wasn’t really caught off guard in the situation, i think there were only about five Blacks in the room of about 200, so a racist comment was bound to be either uttered at some point, or wrapped in an awkward stare or two. i just thought it was so interesting that it would come bound to notions of beauty and passing, right after i just had a conversation with someone about that very issue.
unaware that i even had the option of passing, i was outed as Black at some point in this man’s mind and he just had to tell me! how dare i be cute and Black and in this space! and what was a drunk utterance for him, was a painful reminder of the weight of this world (his world) on my body. *warning: moment of tooting my own horn coming* perhaps my bomb ass body, and cute face (im laughing at me too right now) rival the european standard of beauty. and just maybe my keen sense of style, which is largely a product of my class privilege/ambitions, allow me to navigate certain spaces Black people just don’t belong in (flash to an Alvin Ailey piece in which the chant “Black people dance at home” replays in the background). however, “i thought you were so cute until i realized you were Black,” 12 quick words, brought in the truth of positions, he could make claims in me that i could never make in him. my body was open to his use until he ruled it non-beneficial, or the world wouldn’t allow it. of course i could easily walk up to white people and say “i thought you were cute until i realized you were white” (and perhaps i should, might offer momentary giggles and smiles to spring from me), the BIG DIFFERENCE is that his words really matter. they mean something. they have thousands of years of violence behind them, and an access to the state that would qualify his statement as a valid emotion. how dare i be cute and Black and in this space!
and there is where the dilemma arrives. i can dance and drink whiskey as much as i fuckin want, but when are we going to start producing the violence that would defend me in a situation where Blackness is tossed in my face like a brick across my head? and if my “community” can’t get over this light v. dark battle, perhaps when i open my ‘for Black by Black’ gun-shop, ill put a tanning bed in the back!
youottercomeagain asked: Just saying hiiiiii! Haven't seent u on my dash!!!
I’ve been getting lost in the best possible ways. And I’m slowly coming to realize I don’t know shit about being Black and queer. To be a Black queer, queer and Black, queerly Black or even the Blackest queer. But it’s lovely and a great revelation to come about as I slowly but surely realize what it means to be an adult, financially (ir)responsible, independent, and in/out of control. And it’s okay and a great adventure to go through in a new city where cold winds blow and make me want to stay in and write my heart away. Where I question, what do I write about? Not prose on where’s the revolution, but who, or perhaps what, is my revolutionary subject? Not a new thought process, especially for you who offers me so much love and encouragement when I write things here on negrosunshine, but like I said, I’ve been getting lost. Here are some rambles on the matter:
I recently moved to the Southside from the far Northside. And I couldn’t make it up if I tried: the first day after I moved in, I was coming off the train (the redline at 35th-Sox) and an older Black woman made eye contact with me. She began to inform me about how they don’t care about us. Her attention turned north to a view of the downtown Chicago. I nodded my head in agreement, though unclear about what exactly she was referring to. She exclaimed, “they call us crooks and heathens, and there they are, just as crooked as the devil,” she pointed toward the skyline. I began to laugh and nod along in full agreement. It was a nice beginning to my stay on the Southside, which I must admit is an adjustment from my comfortable Northside living over the past year and half. I’m quickly learning how difficult it is to access the city (where I work and tend to play) from the South. Public transportation is not the easiest to navigate with infrequent bus routes and inconvenient walks to train lines. A difference of night and day compared to where I was before. But I adjust, and find comfort in the fact Black folk standing on street corners will proclaim their frustration to the city.
I had a conversation with a dear friend, one of those conception-shattering conversations that happen unexpectedly and linger in your thoughts long past the initial interaction.
I struggle with gender pronouns, which is a shame because I find myself not only hanging around, but especially attracted to trans individuals. And this is what the conversation centered around.
Shortly after I moved to Chicago I met this person; someone I read as female, but fit a masculine aesthetic that I had grown attracted to (considering my last “relationship” before leaving California was with a trans-man in which we were able to explore sexualities and desires with, though in the end I found it too short-lived and somewhat unfinished). Though, when I got to Chicago, “She” and I vibed immediately, and one lovely night the whiskey got to working right and our energies connected and we almost ended up home together. *pause for thoughts on the greatness that could have been.* But we’ve both agreed, not going home together was for the best because of the great friendship that has been born out of our interaction. I learned my friend is two-spirited and I should refer to them outside of normal gender constructions. I struggle with it: assigning female pronouns every now and again, hearing it roll of my tongue unable to capture and contain the violence of assigning and normativity. But I work on it.
We talked about sexuality, and what it means for me to have a genuine attraction to somewhat masculine presenting queer females, or more specifically what I have referred to in the past as “Bad-ass Black lesbians.” And yes, I have had a few sexual encounters with some, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.
I have a somewhat feminine spirit and my friend admitted that that is what probably attracted them to me in the first place. *pause for how queer things can get.* But what does it mean for me who identifies as male, and positions my political framework largely behind a banner of a Black man whose primary love interest is in men? I’ve always proclaimed the fluidity of sexuality and been able to hold conversations to the affirmative, but I’m finding more and more, in the fluidity there is mystery and vagueness. A mystery and vagueness I am learning to humble myself before and proclaim: I do not know.
I’ve been working for the past two with an old friend from high-school. He’s a choreographer in New York, currently in town setting a piece of original work at the Joffrey Ballet. He told me his piece was about Black women, my interest peaked. A ballet choreographed by a Black dancer (queer Black man) about Black women? He quickly changed to “women-of-color” due to the lack of Black dancers at the Joffrey. Disappoinment filled my sense of what was going on. I soon realized he knew very little about Black women, or Black feminism, or the particular plight of his soloist, the sole Black dancer in his cast. I stepped in, and have been having wonderful conversations with him about Blackness and what it means for him to be doing this piece at the Joffrey, and why there is such hostility. I have been pushing him to really comprehend and identify the subject of his piece, and question why he chose Black women, what is the focus?
Subsequently I’ve gotten a side job writing for him. He allowed me to write his program note, press release, and I’m working on a poem for him about his piece. Rest assured, it’s about to get real Black at the Joffrey Ballet.
I’m still here my friend. Thank you for reaching out. I’m still Black, queer, and exploring. Sometimes I just need to experience before I pick up my writing.
people often ask me if i’m religious or spiritual. i lean toward the latter, but in truth i believe whole heartedly in the healing properties of “Send It On” by D’Angelo.
earlier this evening i was riding the bus home, and “Send It On” popped up on my shuffle. about half-way through, my shoulders began to shrug on their own accord, my eyes rolled back, and my head began to sway side to side. i think my leg even began to quiver.
it wasn’t until the song was over that i realized what was going on. to anyone riding the 147 north tonight up Lake Shore, no i was not having an orgasm, or a stroke, “Send It On” by D’Angelo was playing. it was a spiritual experience.
— Warsan Shire (via hanonchalant)
your wind wraps me like one of those quilts our foremothers stitched
words perusing my body insanely yet calmly like ancient bantu chants
whispers and moans turning chimes. breathing tones
spirit making. body taking. love making in its simplest form
your sunshine inviting cool scenes of serene
prying me to lift my soul beyond anywhere i’ve gone
resting at meadows and lakes till loves dawn
bodies entwined like roots and shapes of old oak trees
skins of chocolates and caramels kissing in a cool breeze
your touch melts me like the sugar in mamas lemonade
bouncing around. we hop from shade to shade
tender. true. love like the nile blue
eyes gazing back and forth of browns and tans
sounds of your laugh pushing and pulling like drums of our past
i stand still with you. attentive to you
your shape. your groove. like a warrior of the zulu
possessing time and space like the riches of a great coup
my breath. my hips. my lips. my finger tips belong only to you
like a sacred. spiritual. lift me up type song
my body warms. my cares are gone
when you wrap me. like one of those quilts our foremothers stitched
Anonymous asked: could you make a video so we can hear what your voice sounds like?
ill seriously consider it.
actually, the last piece of writing i posted here “Lingering Nights” i considered making an audio post. it has a certain flow in my head that i want people to know.
unmedicatedinsanity asked: whats #1 on your to-do list of life?
inspire people to revolutionary thoughts.
thecakeisnotalie asked: Havee you ever wanted to be a ninja?
not that i can recall. but that may be a wine haze right now. i’ve attempted moves post-sex that could be considered ninja like. as in the way i remove myself from beds and apartments once day breaks.
Anonymous asked: Negrosunshine, summarize your life in three words without the vowels i or a or e.
— ask negrosunshine a question
i went over to his place. he mixed me a drink with citrus and tequila. frank ocean was playing. i’m not stupid, i knew what was up. it’s an easy game to figure out. and he was playing real nice. standing in the kitchen tossing smiles and jokes, keeping my cup always filled, never weak, just right. we danced a game of words and gestures that wouldn’t reveal too much. it was one of those spaces where vulnerability is unsavory; keeping cool and collected is everything to hold on to—and i was holding all mine. staying calm despite raging hormones and close proximity to his bedroom. we sat at the counter collecting stories amidst riffs of channel orange, mixed with scents of cologne and the freshly cut limes on the kitchen counter. the peaches and the mangoes.
we talked until the drinks had us right. well enough to venture out. together. it was new and exciting. potentially delicious, like the drinks he mixed or the balm he put on his lips. i imagined what that tasted like. the peaches and the mangoes. we dressed for the cold night, slipping on shoes, jackets, and scarves. layering, or building obstacles to overcome later. my mind raced as we started for the door, would i be back, later? on kitchen counters, beneath sheets, hallway floors, and, or, behind bathroom doors? a bit presumptuous of me, i paused and found calm, cool, and collected as we walked down the steps and hailed a cab. no smell lingered in the backseat except the scent of him—his hair, his lips, his breath. sweet. rewinding on my mind next to the limes and fresh mint he garnished over our drinks. i glanced out the window to avoid vulnerable eye contact. lights and shapes rolled back and forth between glimpses of his reflection. he was staring at me. i was staring at him. or his delicate reflection in the window.
we stood in the crowded club as hundreds of people passed. i was lost. somewhere in his boisterous whispers pressed against my ear. he leaned in to tell me about europe and his plans to see rome and barcelona, paris and london. the music pulsated through his body and was felt in mine at every reach for my arm or touch to the small of my back. we walked the floor, to the bar and back. shots and drinks. smiles and nods to the others in the room. moving in and out of packed spaces it was easy for me to lose sight. lost between the smiles or side eyes, fragrances and chatter, i followed his scent. the peaches and the mangoes. we eventually found the dance floor. we swayed and reached for each other, lingering at appropriate distances for a first date, but never too far, never out of touch. in step. real tight and nice, until my bottom found its way to his belt-line, as we began to grind in unison. hands held as fingers interlaced and we got lost in the music. in each other. spinning around i found his eyes, staring into mine, as his hands learned the grooves and shapes of my body. i tasted his lips, and the room fell silent or empty. cool, calm, and collected we stood in our space, just me and him. kissing and licking. grinding the way we would do on kitchen counters, beneath sheets, hallway floors, and, or, behind bathroom doors.
we grabbed our coats and stepped into the night. hailing cabs, his south, mine north. my fantasies, which became his fantasies signaled by wandering hands, of going back to his place stopped as we hugged and said goodnight. so good, no wasted night for an awkward morning and rushes to hasty acts. his scent lingered in my ride home. the peaches and mangoes. i could taste on my lips and feel on my neck.
would he call?
— Real Talk with negrosunshine.