October 7, 2014

See Also

http://susiehatmaker.com/

for new writing

May 14, 2014

The Inactivist Manifesto: Part 1, Duration

I've been thinking of writing this for a very long time.

I take that back. I've been thinking of writing something like this, and now I am writing it. And now I've written it and it's not what I expected to write at all.

The very long, or very short duration of time unfolds as it feels.

It feels like a very long time since I scratched this mosquito bite. It stretches my skin taut in a purple and dark red swollen mound, the hard mound encircled in a blood red ring. I limp because it's on my calf muscle and is filled with so much fluid, the histamines rushing to the scene of the mosquito's salivary entrance into my body, that when the muscle flexes it hurts. The pain overrides the itch throughout the day, leaving me aware only of a bodily swelling that I long to ice. But at night, when I try to sleep, when I pull the covers over my legs, heat builds. The blanket gently presses into my skin a heightened awareness of the subtle roughness of woven cotton. A frantic itchiness moves my body into action. I don't register this, only wake to find myself already scratching my skin raw. My hand's reaction began before I regained consciousness. Now awake, I go to the bathroom and apply a cooling spray of generic benadryl, topped with a pain relief and anti-itch cream, also Rite-Aid brand, and finish it all off with a cool compress to soothe the whole situation. It goes on like this for days.

In those nighttime moments, after the applications of the spray and cream and ice, I try to not touch it anymore. I try to allow these medicines to do their work. I hope they work fast and effectively. I hope they do their job well. I hope they deliver on their promises. It feels like a very long time.

Also, there is never just one mosquito bite. I have seven like this. Calf, ankle, foot, forearm, back, other thigh, all bitten in multiples. Later this summer, in another city, I would be bitten on the sole of my foot.

The female mosquito slips its mouth onto my skin, punctures my flesh, sucks out a tiny feast of blood to ingest the proteins needed to make bug babies: more mosquitoes which will come out of the puddles and wet places in the hot times and interrupt the pace of my life, or yours. With these painful, itchy, ugly welts that always leave a scar, I am reminded of my permeability. To do my work and keep up with the pace of my tasks I depend on a medicine cabinet shelf full of concoctions to soothe the reaction of my body to its environment.

The time of the mosquito bite is a hot time, a time of sweat and easy lethargy. I'm in the South trying to work, but at the end of the day, when all my running around has only served to increase the swelling, and now I can't sleep through the night, I realize that the world outside my body is trying to tell me something: just recline.


January 28, 2014

Dancing Shoes



















The shoes hold the stories of a birthday and a wedding. I fell down at each, but only once. Bounced right back up and carried on with the drunken abandon, in celebration of life and love. Now they are scuffed-up treasures, worn with the dirt and soil and sweat of these occasions.

December 18, 2013

Worthwhile: Beyoncé Theory pt. 2

The knowledge began when my mother lost her mind. I was 8 years old. Beaten throughout her life, in childhood by the white woman who picked her up in Korea, as an adult, by boyfriends after the divorce. This violence inflicted irreparable damage. She almost died earlier this year of ammonia poisoning as the result of the modern pharmaceutical cocktail unchecked by the revolving cast of fresh-out-of-school psychiatrists and social workers that work at the free clinic serving those on medical/medicaid.

I am an abuse survivor, too. In the way that mothers and daughters so often both share in the experience of abuse due to the patriarchy. I live a happy life and thrive, but every once in a while I have to contact a crisis hotline. 

Because of this insanity during girlhood, I was an angry young woman. I inflicted self-harm. But I found a sisterhood in college, and in sharing our experiences about having vaginas and all that this genital configuration entails, we formed lasting bonds out of what was for me, a life changing experience. We moved from girlhood toward womanhood together in grieving and bawling and then coming to the light and the love of mutual support. 

I mention all of this to make but one point: I am not taking this topic lightly, being dismissive, or making excuses for misogyny, patriarchy, or violence against women. These are actually the things I hate the most in the entire world.

When Jay Z referred to himself as Ike Turner, and that scene, I was caught off guard. But because of the overwhelming beauty of the encompassing work, I had no trouble at all continuing to take in the entire work. Enlightened, blissed out of my mind, exuberant for the message as I described it in all its values in the previous Beyoncé post, I went to bed happy, excited and alive.

The next day here on the internet, I genuinely hoped we were all feeling this thing so deeply we could have honest and open exchange without hate. But the first thing I encountered was a post over the Ike line, and hundreds of people coming out of the woodwork to tear Beyoncé down as a person, a woman, a black woman. At this point I've seen some of the nastiest, dirtiest, most vile ways that people wanted to use this Jay Z lyric to discredit her as a person, a woman, a black woman. I've also seen and taken seriously that for some women, this lyric triggered powerful hurt feelings and touched raw wounds. I respect this. 

Taking a pause to think about a provocative/controversial rap lyric can be a very useful exercise. Don't forget, a sad, surely dying culture of white normativity wants us to shame black men for their words, clothes, language, and existence at every turn.

Like Bey, I am a grown woman. That means no blind acceptance of things that may be unacceptable. In the case of Jay Z's lyric, I am not only at peace with it, but have come to appreciate it more because of this analysis.  I enjoyed thinking these thoughts. They made me even more certain the text is relevant. It compels. I appreciate Beyoncé more, because it's layers go deep, and it allowed for this thought-strengthening exercise.


---


Let's begin with Jay Z, as a man, as a person. Because he is speaking. Not Beyoncé. 

I refuse to hold a woman accountable for what the men in her life say. I would be horrified if I, or any woman I know, was to blame for the shit that comes out of their husband's/dad's/brother's/uncle's/boyfriend's mouth. So this is actually going to be about Jay Z.

Recently some white male friends described to me their experiences walking alone through the city at night, and the instinctive knowledge that some women become suddenly afraid as they detect the male footsteps behind them.

These men suggested, in tone and demeanor, that they sympathize with this in a real way and get from it a feeling for the female experience. They get to feel in those moments, in their bodies and minds (at once) the real weight of violence against women. They are not exempt from this kind of intrinsic consciousness.

They are husbands and dads and boyfriends and uncles and cousins and brothers and friends with abused women. 

Jay Z is married to Beyoncé, whose sister Kelly released "Dirty Laundry" earlier this year, a raw, scarred, aching track about silently facing abuse while believing that Bey's superstardom meant she was alone with the abuser. She talks friend jealousy and how the wrong man can only enhance it through manipulation. She talks about calling "them people" on her man. Kelly talks about reconnecting with her girlfriend after getting out of this situation. Additionally, Jay Z just had a little girl. So I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt that he, too, shares in the kind of intrinsic consciousness described to me by my male friends. 

Consider that Jay Z exists in a world that already categorizes his body as a violent menace, a threat, and a beast. He exists in a culture that features faces like his every night on local TV news reports on whatever crime. In higher ed, where I work, the university sends me emails with his physical description in every university campus "safety alert" about petty theft. Yet, I never get any email about the white frat boy rapists. I never got an email about the doctor conducting a clinical trial that allowed a schizophrenic research subject to die and who was paid by pharmaceutical companies to use vulnerable people as test subjects. All I hear in regards to my "safety" is a steady, almost weekly it seems, stream of warnings about, in each instance, an approx. 6' tall black male with a puffy jacket, always wearing a hoodie. 

If we consider that this is a condition of life that Jay Z carries in his being every day, then we can begin to contextualize and empathize with his words.

He knows full well what he is doing, with words. It is his profession, and he is very successful because of his ability to renegotiate the meanings of words. This is what happens in all of his songs.

Maybe he wants us to have a pause, to think about why on earth he would say it. On the most obvious and easy to understand surface level he's just talking about sex. He begins the verse softly, "I'm nice." He is chill, casual, bragging that sex with Beyoncé is the shit (duh). He takes care with his voice to enter softly. He evokes tenderness in his tone, and moves on to evoke the raw sexual tension of the moments when we test boundaries during sex. Let's just go there with the Anna Mae moment, because anyone who has ever performed oral sex on a man knows there is almost always a moment where let's just say, there may be some tension around the shoving into the mouth. And that actual Anna Mae moment in the movie is nasty. It is morally reprehensible. Is it possible that Jay Z is acknowledging that this very real thing that happens during sex, and is not necessarily a problem at all, does make him feel in some subtle way conscious of the violent history of male power?

Does the moment when Beyoncé turns her face away (as most of us have at some point within a fully consensual, feminist, sex positive experience), cause Jay Z to in some way recall all the ways that he is always already painted as an Ike Turner, regardless of his own actions?

Is it possible that Jay Z wants us to acknowledge that no matter how loving, how tender, how positive and peaceful he is in everyday interactions with his wife of more than a decade, that he is still under suspicion in white supremacist minds as a deviant violent criminal? 

Is this a way of 1) pointing out how despite his relationship status with one of the most in-charge grown women of the world, and their obvious love and happiness, that he's still a black man in America with all the baggage that entails, and then 2) softly and with all the love he and his wife share, shoving this image of the black male in all of our faces so that he can subvert its meaning for himself, to remind us how he will always be perceived by a white supremacist culture as violent anyway, and to liberate himself from that baggage? 

To take something ugly and recontextualize it into something beautiful and enjoyable is precisely the kind of thing good art does. It puts the ugly up front and makes you confront those often hidden, but always right under the surface, aspects of culture that evoke deep pain. Some people will only ever choose to see the ugly as reprehensible. I see ugly as valuable. I spend time with ugly, until I find its beauty. 

Beyoncé is a feminist statement on the full spectrum of the experience of life as a grown woman. And what would a full-length statement on womanhood be without any mention of violence against women, really? This is something wives, sisters, best friends, mothers, and daughters are all forced to confront, all the time. Just as men are forced to confront how because of this, women are haunted by the specter of misogynistic violence... when they walk down streets at night, as privileged white men. When they exist, every day, as black and brown men. 


---


As Beyoncé says, "Perfection is so... Mmh." She also says we wake up flawless. 

An imperfect flawlessness. 

Just the kind of paradox that keeps me excited to learn and think and write. 




December 16, 2013

What I Am Here For

I just had the best sex of my life Saturday night after watching the entire new Beyoncé album with my husband. 

And it was a political act.

We laid in bed and talked all night, restless, sleepless, eager, alive. We talked until 5 in the morning. We woke to each other's beautiful smiles, and embraced. We touched each other gently. We were delicate with one another's love. We knew we could go deep. This knowledge has been growing in our marriage. But this is a moment of togetherness that is also about the embrace of ideas, concepts, beliefs, and values inspired by the way music can touch your soul and deliver you, through its poetry, into a higher realm of understanding. We got taught new things by Beyoncé. We loved the learning. And it brought us closer in love.

I asked my husband the next gorgeous morning, if, having gone through the full spectrum emotional experience the night before -- including tears shed for our struggles with lost family members (lost to greed, selfishness, personal insecurity, and fear, which causes them to treat us poorly) -- if he gained a deeper respect for women through Beyoncé. He had.


----


Beyoncé just gave the world a new treasure. It is the highest art, because it gives to humanity a piece of the human spirit. It renews faith in what is good and what is right. It is all we hope art to be, and to do. (And I would know, I have a degree in studying art.)

It's important that we recognize that some people have more authority than others. For instance, I do not have any time for people who don't understand that what we grown folks are talking about is a work of high art. And that it is the art that we should be discussing. Its transcendent qualities, what it does for our era, how it reflects and enhances the time in which we are living.

I know Picasso was a dick. But I can stand in front of a Picasso sculpture or sketch in Paris and know intuitively at the core of my being that Picasso was after the higher truth. And his personal life choices, what he said when he was young or drunk or tired or angry or just lost and confused and hurting, or who he fucks, or what he wears, or what he borrowed/stole/appropriated from Africa to make his best art (notice the patterns) or WHAT HE DOES WITH HIS RICHES, that HE got because HE is an ARTIST, a FACT that no one with half a brain would ever THINK TO QUESTION... that none of that has anything to do with my experience of the sculpture, really.

However, it is relevant to talk about the personal life, as it comes to bear on the Art Itself. As it helps us understand the material conditions of creation.

Which, in the case of Beyoncé, only serves to enhance the Flawlessness of it all.

The material conditions. Of her newest, and best, creation. Of art. Are what I am here to talk about, because they resonate with my understanding and experience of the world and All That Is Right.

I should not need to tell anyone that Beyoncé is filled with the highest level of performance art. That the dancers she puts on are the best in the world. That she deeply respects the dance and performance art traditions, which course through her being, having been passed down to her from her dance ancestors, elders, teachers and spirit guides to help her advance in her artistic expression.

I should not need to tell anyone that she writes poetry in her songs, when she bares her soul, and calls on us to see the world in new, better ways.

Beyoncé is poetry that shows us a better way to live. She asks us to enter into social life from a place of profound love, beauty, and grace.

I need you to understand that this is Art before we can move on. So I will trust that by this point you've watched and listened to and watched and watched and studied and read and listened to and danced to and cried to and laughed to and danced some more (so much dancing) and smiled with and searched for your own humanity with Beyoncé.


----


Now, let us get into it!


The internet is where we now have our most important conversations. When it comes to popular culture, it seems that people tend to forget their manners. People are so deeply conditioned, already on the internet, to expect a kind of half-serious viciousness. People also seem to think that their keyboard somehow imbues them with the power to sit in judgment of other human beings who they do not know personally. Or even, to sit in judgment of people who share their most deeply personal values and ideas and fantasies and visions with us, as a generosity to us.

This is actually not how art criticism works. The important kinds of questions are those that talk about the place the work of art has in the world, based on a deep understanding of the contents of the artwork. We ask what this thing does. What does it put into motion in the world? What bodies does it move, and in what ways? What forces does it flow into and out of, and what worlds does it draw together? What connections does it make amongst concepts, histories, stories, memories, myths, dreams, desires, and everyday reality? How does it ask us to imagine differently? How does it renegotiate the terms of our difficult time? How does it renegotiate the terms with which we confront our own self-image? Our soul?

These are the kinds of questions I am interested in, in general, in my own life's work.

The reason I'm going in so hard for Beyoncé is that it gifted to us, in the most generous gesture of our time, the unique opportunity to hold together and better understand so much at once. 

Beyoncé transcends representation and critique. She gave us her all, and that is unfuckwithable, especially when it looks and sounds like this. When it DOES all of THIS. When it IS a MOVEMENT - a physical swelling up inside our bellies that changes our brains and our behaviors. It redirects the thrust of our time. When we are empowered, we can do everything. Our dreams suddenly become attainable. They had faded and slipped out of the light, and we had struggled. But our hustle won't stop. Can't stop. We are renewed in our resolve. We will, because we can. There is so much soul in this album that any review is irrelevant. Either you experienced it as a profound shift of consciousness or your didn't, but if you didn't no one really cares what you have to say, Okay? Go somewhere else. This is our space now. You're on our time.


---


I have no place trying to judge or analyze the content of the art, I just feel it and know it is real. But what I do for a living is to try to tease out the connections, across space and time, and put them more plainly so that we can really get together about our deepest feelings and understandings of just how serious and important this shit is. Beyoncé just gave us a new text that tore through the social fabric so that we can all find each other and continue to grow together. Here are some of my thoughts!


On Materialism and Economics 

People hate on Bey because she gets paid for working as hard as she does. It seems to bother some people that she and her husband enjoy going to the beach, after working very hard at their jobs. I've seen people talk shade about her dressing in the nicest clothes, as if the biggest superstar in the world should shop exclusively at Savers and refuse nice gifts from the world's most talented designers - people who tirelessly work to advance their craft based on new understandings of the relationship between bodies and movement, materials and society, how women feel.

As if the clothing and adornments, or lack thereof, aren't also a part of the art of Beyoncé.

I know that people, when they talk shade about Bey based on this deeply flawed read of her place in a capitalist consumer society, love to lump her together with her husband. Ok, sure, it is both their yacht.

I've been raging internally at the p fork review of Jay Z's latest, because, um, racism. The diss happens right away. They give it a 5 something. Because music can be measured to the tenth of a point, right? And so I read this thing, god knows why. And I find that in a very convoluted way, the dude is basically taking up valuable internet real estate to make the point that Jay Z is silly because he makes a lot of money at his job. I heard about foolishness like this before. People like to shit on Lil Wayne and Jay for creating new businesses from scratch, with their own labor, employing many, growing into new markets, investing, and then going on vacations. This is called "bad values" by white men. The same kinds of white men that would have me believe that Bill and Melinda Gates or Steve Jobs or Warren Buffet are "oracles" or "visionaries" who have done a Lot for Humanity. With their work, and their pity-guilt charity. These guys are Very Historically Important! Job creators, money makers, successful, smart, hard working men!

I'm sorry, but I could name at least 20 Jay Z bars that, with his delivery, mean more to me, Historically Speaking, than a thousand charities to save dirty brown kids of the world that are poor in the first place because white men took all their resources. Or charities which, in the case of the Gates Foundation, are funded by the private prison industry.

To read online music "criticism," as if this is even in these college white boys' realm of authority, is to see Jay's latest work, his performance with Marina Abramović, his art collecting, his interest in good design, his lyrics, his art, all written off as but a farcical tale of someone who will never be more than "hood rich" - a buffoon of a man who doesn't know what's best for him. Which, um, where have I heard shit like this before? Oh, right, everywhere. Because, the American tradition of racism.

This review literally concludes that they don't think this album is worthwhile because Jay Z has strong business management skills. Nevermind the song with Frank Ocean that is about sailing across the Atlantic and feeling the weight of the slave trade on the waters, on their shoulders. The same Frank Ocean that harmonizes with Beyoncé on "Superpower" about the racist and classist conditions of the world, and the fact that the people of the world are rightfully smashing shit because of ongoing marginalization and oppression across the borders. (And I can't be the only one that lives for Jay shitting on white heroes when, in reference to the colonization of the Americas by columbus, says, "The only Christopher we acknowledge is Wallace. I don't even like washingtons in my pocket.")

And nevermind that Jay Z is a source of inspiration for young men of color still in the hustle, like my youngest brother who put me onto MCHG riding around in his lowered, candy painted, fake-Versace fabric-lined interior having, car. That he works on in the garage with his big brother (the middle child who reps #paraplegic and whose wheelchair features gold wheels - "like Larry Flint" - he built by hand) as a form of community building, skill development, and artistic expression. To go leisurely ridin around when he gets the chance in between other obligations. (See relatedly: the video for "No Angel") This is the pleasure to counteract the fact that he spends all his hours either at work in customer service for no pay, serving rich people with a running fetish, or paying his way through community college while trying to transfer into a science program at the state college. I saw him getting his life to Jay Z, with the bass turnt up, and so, because I love both my brothers before all else, I needed to know more about that whole album. Because I care for them, and want to know them deeply, I picked up something I otherwise would have slept on, and took it seriously, to try to understand it from my brother's perspective. To know and love him more deeply. To appreciate him as a person. That shit, is more powerful than a white boy with a writing spot on the internet. And that is the way I heard about Beyoncé, too. From my best friend, word of mouth.

Trust and mutual respect among loved ones from marginalized backgrounds led me to both these works.

But yes, don't bother listening to Jay Z anymore, you guys. Because he's rich now. They like it when black men stay poor. Their music is so much more fun when they are still poor, with their cookouts and "ratchet" hoes and whatnot. That's white people's favorite. This man, who was slated for death in the projects, who comes from a margin of our society that was long ago cast off as worthless, and who watched his friends and peers mostly die or go to prison, he doesn't matter. Pay no attention to him. Bring us another new, more recently poor one to consume.

When did it become OK to stop paying attention to someone because they start making money doing what they love for a living? 

Anyway, meanwhile, Jay Z don't care because he's just eating tacos on the beach with Beyoncé Giselle Knowles Carter, the Most Important Black Woman In The World, who has a goddamn thing or two to say about all this nonsense herself. Herself, also being the CEO of a business. A business that employs some of the world's very best jazz brass players, a drummer that kills it, a guitar player who shreds, a gorgeous pianist, the best dancers, choreographers, video producers, etc etc etc - the vast majority of whom are women and people of color.

Seriously, name me ONE other major american corporation that employs this many black women at the very top tier. 

So yes, Beyoncé gets paid. But not just Beyoncé is getting paid. And that is important. She's worked harder than most people will ever work, to build the world around her that she wanted to see. She manifested a black feminist dream in a material way, not just as a leader and a passionate bearer of The Truth, but as a highly lucrative business. She did this, importantly, after she fired her father as her manager, because he was so overtly focused on money and productivity.

When, after the album and the good sex, my husband and I needed to both wind down, but also continue to live and breathe Bey's art, we decided to put on Life Is But A Dream. (Seriously worth a post-Beyoncé revisit. Actually, that is a necessity.)

And what happened bears note in this extremely tl;dr essay. Within the first ten minutes, as Bey talked from her gut about how hard it was to fire her dad, I could see my husband shook to his core, again, for at least the 7th time in one night, by this beautiful angel of a woman. He clearly saw what he needed to do to take care of his own self in regard to his eerily similar father situation. And from there we talked about fathers who hustled to get a piece and how that has both a beauty, because it taught us the value of hard work, but also, how they risk losing their spirit and true knowledge once all they can think about is the fight, the fighting, for the piece. How this is one way, with so much focus on the individual as the one who must struggle to get ahead, that we lose so many of the people we love. We become divided along the lines of what we truly value.

Beyoncé said, I don't care if I sell one more album. It's about so much more than that. She knows she is assisting in something bigger than herself, and that she needs her people.

At one point in Life, she is expressing frustration with her managerial duties. Her hairdresser tries to help find her words, and says to her that she just needed to do it by herself, right?

Beyonce didn't react well to this. She retracted her face, her body language and her voice spoke. She said, No. That is not the case At All. I can't do this by myself. I need others. I need help.

Precisely.

Beyoncé expresses communal beliefs and the values of post-individuality. Because as we deify her as The One, which she is because she is a beacon of the light, she is also sitting there telling us: SEE these OTHERS, see that I am not alone up here on this stage, that I am not one, that I can't do this by myself, that I need a whole community, of friends and family and lovers and fans and mentors and role models and heroes, to help this voice reach out into the world.


On "Superpower"

A very important thing happened with this track and with this video. Both of them together as an audio-visual expression, and also as a standalone track to be listened to with your eyes closed.

This song is about the marginalization of difference around the world, about the global power structure, and how it presorts and decides "what goes sky" versus "what falls." It's a super power.

She sings, "I thought the world would move on, without us, without us, without us." I will admit I cried at this. She felt it too, the doubt of one's own self-worth in a world that tells people that look like us or believe in what we believe in, that we are of less value.

Beyoncé is talking to us about agency, y'all. And she doesn't have the perfect answer either! (No one does!) But she's asking this highly philosophical question, about how power works. Just like, you know, Foucault or whoever.

In beautiful harmony with Frank Ocean, prefaced with a slow throbbing doo wop beat, Beyoncé takes her place at the front line of a global revolution. Her sisters are there, and her people. They look like my people, too.

She emphasizes her need for solidarity in the opening lines and images. She tells us that she feels differently when she holds the hand of another, than when all she has are her own two hands. She's scared, and she knows we are scared, too. She hopes she's "spared."

Because, she knows that there is a lot of Tough Love being dished, globally, in the uprisings to which she is paying attention. And she knows it's righteous, to be smashing this shit up, because it's too much to bear. Revolution is in the air, "even the babies know it's there."

But despite the super power of the world, she knows that we have got plenty super power ourselves. She knows because of who her family is, and where they come from.

So instead of being like "hm, agency! so interesting! such question!" She just comes in with a "YES WE CAN" moment.

And she reps la gente so hard on this album. In "No Angel" and in "Blue," we see Beyoncé's view of the beauty of the world's people. We see her casually playing with the kids of Brazil, or riding around with Houston's finest thugs. She always did say she wanted a soldier. These aesthetics are so beautiful, and respectful, and everything we talk about when we talk about the portrayals of marginalized people in the media, and hope for something that could just show the people of the world how we see them. As beautiful.


On Womanhood In All Its Beautiful Manifestations 

I am not quite sure how much I need to get into the feminism. Surely it's being bantered about in a theater near you. And I'm not an academic feminist. My feminism is of the Ms. Jackson, if you're nasty variety.

So when I saw this shit... BLOW, fucking blow. Fucking Partition. Fucking, Our Beautiful Bodies grindinguptheclub... surfing on this good good. I MEAN.

I just had to dance about it!

I got to feel my flawless self. I blew out this hair. I stomped these streets. I got hollered at and handled it like a grown woman. I got served breakfast and dinner in bed and got that skittle tasted. I'm just saying.

The riddle, it has been solved.

I've never seen my dirtiest thoughts look so clean.

And yes, we will be having a baby.


On Beyoncé, Its Values

We are about...

loving yourself
loving your body
being comfortable in your skin
loving your fatty
loving your family
loving sex
loving oral sex
getting oral sex
loving the long stroke
loving your own ass, literally. taking pleasure in bouncing your fatty around freely.
loving other people who don't look like you or think like you or dance like you or like the same shit as you
embracing what other people love and learning from it
spending your life in a process of growth
analyzing your life, trying always to learn its secrets and lessons
being down for the revolution
knowing the revolution will be best if it's based on love and not anger
knowing the revolution will happen by embracing one another in our shared humanity
understanding the collective consciousness
humbling yourself before powers that exceed the self
taking the time to care for people delicately
taking time to thoughtfully grieve loss and accepting, even embracing, the ensuing pain for the ways you can learn and grow from it
finding peace
seeking to maintain peace
grace
honoring motherhood as the miracle of life that it is
spending your life as a spiritual seeker
finding the truth within and outside of yourself
realizing the fragile nature of your being
allowing others to teach you and hold you up, accepting influence with gratitude
putting others on when they deserve it

and perhaps most importantly for this discussion,
using your WORK as a space to manifest ALL of the above
consciously using your space in the world to make it a better place, working tirelessly, giving all you can when you sit down to do your work, to create new art, because it's so fucking hard to survive.
and we all need love.

Beyonce announced this album by saying "I'm just gonna make my best art, and put it out when it's ready." I, for one, am going to do same.


And then,