Notes after Fifteen Viewings of 'The Fifth Element'

I suppose there are certainly more problematic films that I could have chosen to fall unabashedly in love with. Of course, that’s little comfort. I’m essentially saying that sometimes I want to look the other way, to pretend cultural oppression and enforcement aren’t an integral part of mainstream film…. read more

Nina Simone’s Gun

All I’ve ever wanted to do was create and witness art that might save my life. And, thus far, it has. Art has pulled me back from the edge of myself more times than I can count. I’m sure that’s true for many of you as well, but, lately, it hasn’t been enough…… read more

All the Pretty Ones

 “I don’t trust beauty anymore / when will I stop believing it?”                        – Reginald Shepherd To pretend that a conversation about beauty isn’t, in fact, a conversation about privilege is an act of privilege. When an emerging writer pens an essay praising Anne Sexton… read more

Watching 'Pariah' with Audre Lorde

The irony, of course, is that Pariah is a fairly straightforward coming-of-age tale. The pathos is one of hard-earned familiarity. As Audre Lorde would say, “There are no new pains. We have felt them all.” Even still, to see those growing pains honored is a radical offering…. read more

Over Coffee with Melvin Dixon

Queer mentorship is more than a good idea, or the right thing to do; it is a radical act of community building/re-building.

Supporting oneself as an artist is difficult, at any stage. And so it is with deep gratitude and more than a bit of awe, I reflect on writers who, in the midst of their day to day grind, invest time in raising emerging artists…… read more

What We Talk About When We Talk About Langston

Two years ago, I wrote about Langston Hughes’s sexual identity and what I have come to call “closeted poetry.” Here’s an excerpt from the catalyst for that line of thinking: Last week, I told one of my 9th grade students that Langston Hughes was gay. The student stood up, panic-stricken, and pleaded, “Please don’t say… read more

Queering Poetics, or “Werking” It

Queer (adj) 1. strange or odd from a conventional viewpoint; unusually different; singular. 2. of a questionable nature or character; suspicious; shady. 3. not feeling physically right or well; giddy, faint, or qualmish. 4. mentally unbalanced or deranged. 5. slang: homosexual; effeminate; unmanly. It was a delightfully confusing conversation. While discussing graduate school possibilities with… read more

The Ferocity: Fierce Manifesto

FIERCE—Middle English: from Old French fiers ‘fierce, brave, proud,’ from Latin ferus ‘untamed.’ Compare with feral. The word “fierce” is in danger of being defanged. Somewhere in between Tyra Banks throwing “fierce” around like used fake eyelashes and President Obama campaigning as a “fierce advocate” in spite of his galling ambiguity (and that’s a rather… read more