friends give you advice, not answers. they’re just as confused as you are.
ayeeyo (g’ma) & long talks
re: Lady Gaga wearing a niqab
"The thing about this appropriation of the burqa that people need to understand is that people like Lady Gaga haven’t done a thing for the communities [here and abroad] that wear, live and breathe the garb who are subjected to harassment for doing so. The words “appreciation” and “admiration” are painfully hollow when you take a piece of clothing from a community and strip it of its intent and the consequences that come from it. Lady Gaga makes millions and taxes subsequently take a huge chunk of those millions. Therein, a quarter of her taxes are used to ravage Muslim majority populations. Has she spoken out about this? Has anyone orientalist who bastardizes our garb done so? Where were they when the Sikh tragedy happened? Where are they now when Newsweek posts a horribly offensive article on Muslim rage, aggressively written by their puppet Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who I’m ashamed to call my fellow Somali? Do they come to our defense when we’re expected to kneel over and apologize on behalf of extremists, who funnily enough kill us as well? If I wear a burqa, niqab.. or hell even a fucking hijab, I’m a stupid, brown savage who has no capacity to think for herself. But when Gaga wears it, its revolutionary and fashionable. People love to scream equality and colorblindedness when such an event arises, but such a world is completely theoretical until we fix these the caricatured perceptions about Islam. The power dynamics here cannot be ignored.”
I want to live the rest of my life, however long or short, with as much sweetness as I can decently manage, loving all the people I love, and doing as much as I can of the work I still have to do.
I am going to write fire until it comes out of my ears, my eyes, my nose holes - everywhere. Until it’s every breath I breathe. I’m going to go out like a fucking meteor."
RE: “Knowles no role model for young women”
I responded to a letter with a letter regarding Beyonce, Solange and her most recent cover on NOW Magazine:
The initial complaint:
Knowles no role model for young women
That’s quite a cover photo of Solange Knowles last week – a young black female performer looking provocatively into the camera while sitting on a stack of mattresses (NOW, February 21-27).
The Knowles sisters have always been a classy operation. Beyoncé earned millions performing private shows for a Middle East dictator when she wasn’t taking millions from Pepsi to push their sugar water to young kids. Did you mention any of that in your article? It started by talking about Beyoncé.
Why NOW feels compelled to perpetuate the Knowles agenda is beyond me. Am I happy thinking about young girls checking out your magazine cover? Hell, no.
I think Nick Winter’s assertion that the Knowles sisters are bad role models for young females was an unreasonable claim.
Critiquing Solange based on her sister’s unique “political” choices throughout her career is impartial and biased as it takes away from Solange’s individualism as an artist. I think as an individual who is marginalized as both a woman and a person of colour, Beyonce shouldn’t be blamed for utilizing career opportunities granted to her in order to generate income and expand her publicity. Much like Viola Davis shouldn’t be blamed for making the decision, as an actress, to play a role in a very problematic film like “The Help.” Don’t hate the playa; hate the game.
Let’s also not forget that although Beyonce’s work is rather banal, her entire career revolves around enforcing female empowerment, embracing femininity as a tool, independence, work ethic and self-love. I admit that some of her political choices in her career have been problematic, such as participating in black face or responding back to Harry Belafonte’s criticism of her not advocating for issues within the black community by referencing her humanitarian work for 9/11 (with the assumption that it was a suitable rebuttal). However, I don’t entirely expect political consciousness from a commercial, pop artist. It’s also increasingly more difficult for a marginalized artist to incorporate politics into their work and still achieve a commercial level of success.
Lastly, critiquing NOW’s choice in displaying a “provocative” image of Solange; a woman of colour (who is alas at the peak of her career with new found individualism) is entirely unfair. Provocative imagery of women in the media is a nuanced issue – but to see a woman of colour, front page and displaying a non-conventional form of beauty (for instance, her posing with non-processed hair is a political statement in itself) is directly valuable in many ways to young, coloured females in particular.
It’s also fierce, honey.