Links of the Week 02/09/2013

1. The Power of Michelle [ For Harriet]

Messages that decry my value as a black woman and elevate the status of whiteness are non-stop. Black womankind is reduced to a gyrating rump on prime time television, a cluster of conniving welfare queens with no ambition.

Despite criticisms about her “work,” I believe our First Lady has advanced women’s interests in a powerful way. Simply by being who she is, where she is, Michelle Obama is disrupting reductive narratives about what it means to be a black woman in America today

2. Turning Fairytales into Reality [The Simply Luxurious Life]

If happily ever after is depicted as finding our metaphorical Prince Charming, perhaps what it literally means is not that we should all aspire to find that one person to complete our lives, but to dare to dream grand, wildly amazing dreams that surpass even our own expectations. A life that is rich with travel and endless new experiences – it can happen. A life lived as a well-paid writer/graphic designer/designer – it can happen. A life that involves owning your own boutique selling beautiful independent designer garments and accessories – it can happen. 

3. New web series, ‘African Time,’ focuses on individual experiences of Africans living in the United States [Africa is a Country]

The lightheartedly named African Time is a lovely new web series produced by the Waave + Dada artist collective.  Each short episode consists of a different individual discussing their individual experiences as Africans living in the United States.  There are no frills to speak of, with subjects speaking directly to the camera, usually in front of a black backdrop.  Yet, many of the characters and their anecdotes are captivating enough where it doesn’t seem to matter how bare bones the whole production is.  This is especially true for the episode (video above) entitled “Smiles and Popcorn,” in which the mother of one of the series’ creators, Mawuena Akyea, discusses her confusion with what she calls the ‘cut-and-paste smile’ of white America and the absurdity of the buckets of popcorn (and refills) available at American movie theaters.  More than anything else, Mrs. Akyea provides viewers with a unique and subtly biting analysis of some of the nuances of American culture.

4. Some of us are fierce. [consciouscypher]

We are not represented for all that we are, not to mention that historically white feminists have had a lot to gain from our misrepresentation. We were simply collateral damage in their search for liberty/equality with patriarchal white men.

And as a young black woman, seeing her on stage, singing songs such as baby boy or single ladies with Destiny’s Child gave me more pride in being a black woman.

So for you to tell me that Beyonce was out there objectifying herself is just a no no. Especially because she was up on that stage refusing to objectified. Everything about Beyonce and her all female band screams FIERCE. Partly because they completely defy the prevalent male and white gaze. They were unapologetically powerful while revelling in their femininity at the same time.

5. A Defiant Dance of Power, Not Sex: Beyoncé, the Super Bowl and Durga [David Henson]

Because Beyoncé’s performance Sunday night in New Orleans wasn’t about sex. It was about power, and Beyoncé had it in spades. In fact, her show was one of the most compelling, embodied and prophetic statements of female power I have seen on mainstream television.

That a Black woman claimed and owned her power during the misogynist, consumerist celebration known as the Super Bowl only highlights Beyoncé’s brilliance and boldness.

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