Author: Latoya Peterson

February 1, 2016 / / film

Ball gives life.

Explosive energy, fierce fashion, and a strict, family focused culture all hallmarks of the ballroom social scene.

Featuring the lives of Chi Chi Mizrahi, Christopher Waldorf, Divo Pink Lady, Gia Marie Love, Izana “Zariya” Vidal , Kenneth “Symba McQueen” Soler-Rios and co-written by Twiggy Pucci Garçon, KIKI is a joyous and energetic look at the next generation of unwavering LGBTQ self advocacy in the face of a hostile world. The artist’s description of the film is full of affirmations and vision statements, revealing the core idea underlying the documentary:

In this film collaboration between Kiki gatekeeper, Twiggy Pucci Garçon, and Swedish filmmaker Sara Jordenö, viewers are granted exclusive access into this high-stakes world, where fierce Ballroom competitions serve as a gateway into conversations surrounding Black- and Trans- Lives Matter movements. This new generation of Ballroom youth use the motto, “Not About Us Without Us,” and KIKI in kind has been made with extensive support and trust from the community, including an exhilarating score by renowned Ballroom and Voguing Producer Collective Qween Beat. Twiggy and Sara’s insider-outsider approach to their stories breathes fresh life into the representation of a marginalized community who demand visibility and real political power.

Read the Post Sundance Pick: KIKI

January 26, 2016 / / The internet

I’m absolutely addicted to Vine.

The six second microvideo platform debuted to great fanfare in 2012 and as quickly adopted by all kinds of different artists: stop motion enthusiasts, comedians, and singers quickly found purpose and fame. Less than three years old, Vine is a major site for brands and sponsorships having snapped up the coveted 14-20 year old youth demographic. Still, with around 40 million registered users (compared to Instagram’s 300 million), Vine is still searching for its identity.

With the recent news that Twitter may be facing a hostile takeover and the departure of five major executives (including Jason Toff, the head of Vine), it is clear that change is coming to Twitter and that the future of Vine may hang in the balance.

While Vine may end up being the social media version of the Motorola Two-Way Pager, I think it’s important to document this particular moment in history – a moment where Vine’s various identities (like Twitter, before it) gave rise to separate, powerful subcultures with their own norms on the same platform.

But to term this phenomenon “black Vine” would be a gross oversimplification of the social dynamics at play.

Read the Post Do It For the Vine: Race, Performance, and Microvideo

January 18, 2016 / / Racialicious Reads

It must be emphasized that non-violent resistance is not a method for cowards; it does resist.

If one uses this method because he is afraid or merely because he lacks the instruments of violence, he is not truly non-violent. That is was Gandhi often said that if cowardice is the only alternative to violence, it is better to fight. He made this statement conscious of the fact that there is always another alternative: no individual or group need submit to any wrong, not need they use violence to right that wrong; there is the way of nonviolent resistance. This is ultimately the way of the strong man. It is not a method of stagnant passivity. The phrase “passive resistance” often gives the false impression that this is a sort of “do-nothing” method in which the resister quietly and passively accepts evil. But nothing is further from the truth. For while the non violent resister is passive in the sense that he is not physically aggressive toward his opponent, his mind and emotions are always active, constantly seeking to persuade his opponent that he is wrong. The method is passive physically, but strongly active spiritually. It is not passive non-resistance to evil, it is active nonviolent resistance to evil. Read the Post Dr. King’s “An Experiment in Love”

January 4, 2016 / / Racialicious Reads

Happy 2016 Racialicious Readers!

A New Year is full of promise, hope, and potential. And there’s no better way to start the year off than by reading a productivity guide meets advice memoir from the woman who owns Thursday nights?

Shona Rhimes is the powerhouse creator of Shondaland, featuring her mega-hit shows Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. After an enviable career of penning hit movies and shepherding projects through the fickle whims of television, one would think Shonda had it all. But few people knew that underneath the amazing professional achievement, Rhimes struggled with feeling comfortable in the public eye. Year of Yes is the story of what happened after Shonda’s sister made an offhanded comment (“You never say yes to anything”) that became the driving force for 2014. Rhimes pledged to say yes to the opportunities that came her way, regardless of how terrifying – and also, learned how to say yes to herself.

*Some Spoilers Ahead*
Read the Post Start off 2016 with ‘Year of Yes’

December 7, 2015 / / links

A Photographer Turns Her Lens On Men Who Catcall [Codeswitch]

Price’s process went like this: Someone — a man — would catcall her, and she would either snap their photo at that instant or she would ask to make their portrait.

Price says that taking photographs of the catcallers was a way to address and confront the people who catcalled her. “I’m in the photograph, but I’m not. Just turning the photograph on them kind of gives them a feel of what it’s like to be in a vulnerable position — it’s just a different dynamic,” Price says. “But it’s just another way of dealing with the experience, of trying to understand it.”

2.7 Million Kids Have Parents in Prison. They’re Losing Their Right to Visit. [The Nation]

Going to prison is often an isolating event. It is assumed that once a person is incarcerated, their former life will simply vanish. But for the kids they leave behind, it doesn’t work that way: That prisoner remains a parent. Among the many collateral consequences of mass incarceration is its impact on children, and the number who are affected is staggering. According to a 2010 study (the most recent data available), 54 percent of the people serving time in US prisons were the parents of children, including more than 120,000 mothers and 1.1 million fathers. Over 2.7 million children in the United States had an incarcerated parent. That’s one in 28 kids, compared with one in 125 about 30 years ago. For black children, the odds were much worse: While one out of every 57 white children had an incarcerated parent, one out of every nine black children had a parent behind bars.

Misogyny on the Mag Mile: A Turning Point [Radical Faggot]

As organizers began to address the crowd, several well-known Black elders forced their way to the front, pushed youth organizers back from the mic, and one man actually began elbowing a young, Black, queer woman in the face. Minutes later, when one of the heads of BYP confronted the elder, he swung on a second Black woman, shouting sexist and homophobic slurs, and a small scuffle ensued. Read the Post Link Love – 12/7/2015 – #YouAintNoMuslimBruv, Parental Prison Visits, H-2 Visa Fraud

November 18, 2015 / / Quoted
November 10, 2015 / / Racialicious Reads

I’ve been a fan of Marjorie M. Liu’s work for years. From her work on the Hunter Kiss novels to The Astonishing X-Men, Liu’s masterful and inventive storytelling creates deep, expansive worlds that consume the reader.

Liu’s latest work is no different. Teaming up with Japanese artist Sana Takeda, Monstress is a lush, art deco influenced exploration of war and power. In her own words:

MONSTRESS is the story I’ve wanted to tell for years, a dark epic fantasy about a young girl who has suffered tremendous loss and who isn’t quite certain how to put herself back together — if that’s even possible. To make matters worse, she fears something else is living inside her: a monster. And she’s right to be afraid.

My other motivation for telling this story is that powerful women are always imagined as monstrous.  Bringing women, monsters, and power together — setting this in a world that never was, and could be — is something that speaks to my heart.  Every single girl in the world has had to fight to have herself heard, to have space and a self in societies that try their best to deny them all three.  Every single girl, whether we want to recognize it or not, is a warrior.  And me writing about a young warrior woman is less a fantasy than a reflection of what it means to grow up a woman in societies like ours.

From Marjorie M. Liu's Monstress.
From Marjorie M. Liu’s Monstress.

Set against the backdrop of an alternate 1900s Asia, Monstress blends steampunk and kaiju to tell deeply personal story about loss, war, and jihad.  In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she explains the core questions underlying the work:

“What does it take to hold on to one’s humanity when you’re forced to suffer the long, continuous, dehumanizing experience of war? Is it just strength? Is it something in your character? Is it the kinds of friends you surround yourself with?” — which is one of the key themes to the series. “Other questions I’ve wrestled with, both in this book and others [are] what it means to be of mixed race, what it means to straddle the borderlands of two cultures,” she added.

“The world of Monstress is one that has been torn apart by racism, slavery, by the commodification of mixed race bodies that produce a valuable substance that humans require like a drug. Even if you look human, you might not be safe. It’s a familiar story to people of color in this country, and in the last four or five years I’ve found myself deeply immersed in the study of identity and race, especially in the Asian American context.”

Check out the whole interview, it’s well worth the read.   

If you haven’t picked up a copy, there are 500 signed editions at Midtown comics in NYC. (Not the Grand Central location, as I found out the hard way yesterday. They will get them in a few weeks.)

From Marjorie M. Liu's Monstress
From Marjorie M. Liu’s Monstress

If you have read the comic, after the jump, I’ll talk a bit about female characters and darkness, particularly around one particular scene in Monstress. There are light spoilers from Monstress.

HERE THERE BE SPOILERS, CLICK WITH CAUTION.

Read the Post Marjorie M. Liu’s Monstress Explores Our Inner Darkness

November 6, 2015 / / activism