Blog Post

"Black Girls Are From the Future"

"Black Girls Are From the Future"

It’s been a whirlwind of conferences and speaking this semester and it’s not done yet! I’ve been invited to several conferences and asked to prepare talks, which have all been excellent! Y’all junior scholars are the business!

In trying to makes sense of the seemingly disparate academic spaces I’ve been attending and the writing I’ve been doing, I’m reminded of Renina Jarmon’s aphorism “Black girls are from the future.” It’s actually the best way for me to sum up my research and life interests. “Black girls are from the future” is why I attend academic and non academic conferences including the Allied Media Conference, ThatCamp CHNM, most recently Queerness of Hip Hop and ASALH, and in my future, ASA and MLA.

I’m invested in the survival and thrival of black girls and all of my academic work ultimately serves that end. This may seem a narrow focus but as the Combahee River Collective statement says, “If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the systems of oppression.” My work has involved teasing out the ways that controlling images and language impact our collective survival.

Through an analysis of medical school curricula, my dissertation, "Early Images: How Representation Informs Pedagogy- A Study of Representation of Black Women Patients at Emory School of Medicine” examines how black female bodies are represented in the multiple texts medical students engage in their training. By examining Emory medical education, I build a foundation for understanding how medical training informs doctors’ decision making about black women patients.

At the Queerness of Hip Hop Conference I offered a new term for specifying dynamics I noticed in hip hop culture. In wanting to name the particular homosocial behavior of black men in hip hop culture, I offer the term homolatent: "homo" to foreground the same gender orientation of the behavior and "latent" to foreshadow the "pathological" potential of queer desire's rupture into the real. Additionally, Octavia Butler's Patternist Series hosts characters with supernatural powers that are activated through a painful transition process. For those who are unable to transition successfully, their "latent" powers manifest as a penchant for violence and destruction waged on those in their path. The violent nature of homolatent interactions sets it apart from traditional nomenclature used to describe same sex attraction. Unlike "queer", "homosexual" or "same gender loving", homolatent attempts to address the abjection of desire.

I’m still giddy from my talk last night at Scripps College where I spoke on Digital Alchemy: Women of Color’s Transformative Social Justice Media Magic. By refashioning existing social media platforms like Youtube, Twitter, and Tumblr, gender marginalized folks of color are creating the changes that they want to see in the world. Innovative web series, projects and initiatives proliferate on the web as those of us whose genders and sexualities are labeled deviant within white supremacist capitalist heteropatriarchy, find more autonomous room online. But even within the "democratized space" of "teh interwebs" the same systems of oppression operate, pushing new digital media makers to grow new strategies that fit a rapidly shifting digital ecosystem. I talked Antoine Dodson, Quirky Black Girls, #Twiitergate, #girlslikeus, The Azolla Story, CFC &(vs.) ABG, Project Offspring, the Lost Bois and more in an effort to highlight the vastness of WOC SJ magic!

So this is what I imagine I’ll be bringing to HASTAC, a deep love for the palimpsestic time that animates my quirky black girldom and a queer analytical lens that draws me towards the representations of marginalized people and our continued efforts to reimagine, remake and transform(DH)!


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