By Andrea Plaid
You may have seen the R’s cross-postings from The Feminist Wire (TFW), that brilliant collective of mostly writers of color doing their intersectional thang on topics like Black women’s self-care in academia, forums on World AIDS Day 2012 and voting, and–in full disclosure–an interview with one of the R’s staffers. (I’m telling you–it’s a treat of a lifetime to be interviewed by one of your heroes.)
So, mutual admiration is fair play.
I got to interview the great brain behind TFW, Tamura Lomax. Her bona fides: she’s the Assistant Chair and an assistant professor of African American Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her work has been featured at, among other spaces, Religion Dispatches. She’s working on a co-authored book about the Black feminist/womanist reponses to Tyler Perry’s work and a book on Black feminism and Black cultural production. And she’s just hella fun to clown around with online, which, of course, has led to some hush-hush plans for a future academic conference.
I’ve said too much already about the event. Here’s Tamura…
The Feminist Wire is a heck of a collective of some of the best minds thinking about the intersections of race, gender. sexuality, bodies, politics, etc. How did you gather such a great group of people and, more interestingly, why and how did you start the blog?
The Feminist Wire began as a concept in 2010. Hortense Spillers and I were working on my dissertation and we thought it would be neat to write something together—two black feminists working across generations. At this time, she even referred to me as a younger version of herself. We were definitely similar in terms complexion and hairstyles and–as we learned later–personalities. Her work and writing style definitely informs my own. Our initial idea was to write some sort of peer-review essay for academia. However, when the Shirley Sherrod incident occurred, we knew it was our time to put pen to paper–or, in my case, fingers to keyboard.
We wrote the essay, “Shirley Sherrod: Open Letters Between Two Frustrated Feminists, Hortense Spillers and Tamura Lomax,” which was a critical call-and-response about Sherrod, of course, but also black women and media. We shopped the essay, hoping to get it published at theroot.com. However, no one responded. Frustrated, we decided to “create our own damn site” so that we could publish what we wanted when we wanted. Due to timing, we published the essay on my now defunct webpage, tamuralomax.com, and began charting our path toward The Feminist Wire.