“Salma Hayek walked up to me — who I was super in love with because of “From Dusk Till Dawn” with George Clooney — and said the craziest shit: “You know your brothers and sisters are dying over in Africa because of all this jewelry you’re wearing.” Because I guess we had those big ole watches they gave us on, and these platinum necklaces. So I was like, “What?! What are you talking about? I don’t have no brothers and sisters in Africa!” And like that, Salma Hayek killed my hard-on. I just went limp. I told her it was nice meeting her and walked out away from that.”
I saw these kids, 2 sisters, having a play fight. While striking their favorite Power Ranger poses, one of them declared:
“You can’t touch me! I have super powers!!”
“What super powers?” asked the other.
“I’m Wonder Woman!!“
Unfazed, the other replied:
“Well…I’m an AFRICAN Wonder Woman so you can’t beat me!”
I was Floored. Never in my life had I seen such a powerful assertion, spoken so matter of factly, from a child no less. To see such pride taken in her people, to see African-ness wielded like a weapon superior to any Superman, Batman or Wonderwoman cemented within me our responsibility to teach our children a profound love and reverence for our culture, for African-ness. What also resonated with me was this child’s understanding that this reverence for our culture serves as a power source to strengthen us and is key in our fight for liberation. She understood that African-ness is something to be revered as well as weaponized and used to fuel out struggle. She understood that African-ness is a super power and she is our African Wonderwoman. Kudos to their parents because these babies are a shining example of a conscious subversion of the white supremacist ideals our children are bombarded with the moment they enter the world. This is what we need to foster in our children, an unshakeable pride in their skin. It starts in the household. Ofcourse, before we can nurture it in our children, we have to nurture it in ourselves. African-ess is a grounding, self-affirming energy to imbue within our selves and a weapon to wield against our oppressors. Its a reminder of our African, radical tradition of struggle and perseverance. It’s an evocation of the enduring strength of our ancestors, an inextinguishable spirit that burns within us today. We all have this superpower; we just need to activate it
Even While The World Suffers, Investing In Science Is Non-Negotiable
“Although our space program seems to lead us away from our earth and out toward the moon, the sun, the planets, and the stars, I believe that none of these celestial objects will find as much attention and study by space scientists as our earth. It will become a better earth, not only because of all the new technological and scientific knowledge which we will apply to the betterment of life, but also because we are developing a far deeper appreciation of our earth, of life, and of man.”
Every so often, the argument comes up that science is expendable. That we’re simply investing too much of our resources — too much public money
— into an endeavor with no short-term benefits. Meanwhile, there’s suffering of all kinds, from poverty to disease to war to natural disasters, plaguing humanity all across the country and our world. Yet even while there is suffering in the world, investing in our long-term future is indispensable. This story is nothing new. Back in 1970, shortly after the first Moon landing, a nun working to alleviate poverty in Africa, Sister Mary Jucunda, wrote to NASA, and begged them to stop this frivolous waste of resources, and instead to use their funding for the benefit of humanity. The letter made it all the way to Ernst Stuhlinger, then the Associate Director of Science at NASA. Stuhlinger’s response was all at once compassionate and convincing, and helped convince Jucunda — as well as skeptics everywhere — of the value that science has to offer.
Audre Lorde, a self-proclaimed “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” was a writer, feminist, womanist, and civil rights activist.
For Lorde, writing proved to be her powerful weapon against injustice. Painfully aware that differences could provoke prejudice and violence, she promoted the bridging of barriers.
Lorde began writing poetry at age twelve. She was inspired by poets such as Keats, Edna St. Vincent Millay and Helene Margaret. As the first Black student at Hunter High School, a public school for intellectually gifted girls, she worked on the school newspaper and published her first poem, “Spring, ” in Seventeen Magazine in 1951.
Her homo-erotic feelings began to emerge during her teenage years, through various crushes on female peers and teachers. So after graduation from high school, Lorde left her parents’ home and attended Hunter College. She surrounded herself with leftist thinkers and lesbian friends.
Audre Lorde dedicated her life to combating social injustice. She helped found Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, the world’s first publishing company run by women of color.
She was also a founding member of Sisters in Support of Sisters in South Africa, an organization that worked to raise concerns about women under apartheid.
In 1968, Lorde received a National Endowment for the Arts grant and published her first volume of poetry, “The First Cities” as a poet-in-residence at Tougaloo College in Mississippi. She began a romantic relationship with Frances Clayton that same year that would last until Lorde’s death in 1992.
As a poet, she is best known for technical mastery and emotional expression, as well as her poems that express anger and outrage at civil and social injustices she observed throughout her life.Her poems and prose largely deal with issues related to civil rights, feminism, and the exploration of black female identity.
Lorde won international acclaim for her poetry and prose, and was Poet Laureate of New York state from 1990 until 1991.
As a lecturer in 1970, Lorde engaged diverse student bodies on the interlocking identities of class, race, and gender, with history and culture.
Lorde reached audiences with her numerous writings. She published 15 books of poetry and prose, including 1984′s “Sister Outsider,” which is often included in the curriculum of women’s studies programs. In 1983, “Zami” hit the shelves. Lorde referred to it as a “biomythography,” but it was essentially her autobiography.
In addition to poetry, Audre Lorde was a powerful essayist and writer. In terms of her nonfiction work, she is best remembered for The Cancer Journals (1980), in which she documents her own struggle with breast cancer. Having undergone a mastectomy, Lorde refused to be victimized by the disease. Instead, she considered herself—and other women like her—to be warriors. The cancer later spread to her liver and this latest battle with the disease informs the essay collection, A Burst of Light (1989). This time, she chose to pursue alternative treatments rather than to opt for more surgery.
Dying on November 17, 1992, on the island of St. Croix, the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Audre Lorde spent a lifetime exploring the pleasures and pain of being a black woman in America. Lorde’s was an essential voice in African American literature.
As a lesbian woman of color Lorde asserted, “I have a duty to speak the truth as I see it and to share not just my triumphs, not just the things that felt good, but the pain, the intense, often unmitigating pain.”
Eduard Frankfort - Self portrait with pipe - c. 1900
Eduard Salomon Frankfort (21 June 1864 in Meppel – 19 August 1920 in Laren) was a Dutch Jewish painter during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Frankfort was born to Salomon Simon Frankfort and Dine Bendien-Frankfort. He was the youngest of eight children. His father was a devoutly religious merchant, and Eduard’s upbringing reflected his father’s strict religious beliefs. When he was eleven years old, his family moved to Amsterdam, where Salomon Simon Frankfort hoped Eduard would eventually take a municipal job.
Eduard, however, showed an early interest in painting. From ages eleven to seventeen, he underwent formal training at Atelier Bing to become a visual artist. In 1887, he studied under master painter August Allebé at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten (the Royal Academy for Visual Arts) in Amsterdam. Afterwards, he studied painting for several months at the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen (the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts) in Antwerp, Belgium.
Eduard Frankfort remained in Amsterdam until 1905. Many of his paintings featured Jewish religious themes. Like other contemporary artists, Frankfort was drawn to Laren. In 1903, he was awarded a gold medal by the Royal Art Society “Arti et Amicitiae”. He was highly regarded at that time and was asked to teach at several schools. In 1905, he followed his sister to South Africa, where he toured and painted portraits. One such portrait he did during this time was of Esther de Boer-van Rijk.
After his tour of South Africa, Eduard Frankfort returned to Amsterdam, where he married Klara Kloots in 1911. The couple lived on Beethovenstraat in Amsterdam and had four children. Eduard Frankfort was a member of several professional societies, including “Arti et Amiticiae” and “Pulchri Studio”. He was awarded the Diploma of the Royal Academy of Holland, the Royal Gold Medal of “Arti et Amiticiae” and four medals from the Academy of Holland at art exhibitions in Paris, St.Louis, Arnhem and Barcelona.
Eduard Frankfort continued to paint and lead a distinguished career until his death on 19 August 1920, at age 56. A magazine called De Vrijdagavond published an obituary that said “he was still young”. His family’s copies of his work are now on display at the Joods Historisch Museum (Jewish Historical Museum) in Amsterdam. Other works by Eduard Frankfort continue to be sought by collectors.