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February 2004
This Month On . . .
The E-Zine And Web Portal For Lesbians Of Color
Last Updated Thursday, February 12, 2004

Celebrating Black History Month

Leaders & Legends

Mandy Carter

Mandy Carter is one of the nation's leading African American lesbian activists. An extraordinary political activist, Carter has organized the grassroots in almost every major region of this country over the last 30-plus years. 

Mandy grew up in upstate NY Born November 2, 1948, in Albany, NY where she was raised in orphanages and foster care. She arrived in NC via San Francisco.  Mandy's early political activism includes her work with the War Resistors League. Mandy was an early director of NCPRIDEPAC, and helped found SONG--Southerners On New Ground -- at the Durham Creating Change Conference in 1993. A noted speaker, Mandy has traveled extensively, educating audiences about LGBT rights in a broader social justice movement. A winner of the prestigious Stonewall Award, Mandy Carter has enough energy for an army of organizers, and she never fails to maintain her sense of humor. Mandy is an articulate and non-confrontational doer, who get things accomplished by her motivational mentoring and by exemplary and tireless activity. She has forged strong and indelible ties between the natural allies that exist in the African-American, religious, and LGBT communities. Mandy is unforgettable as a symbol of what organizational skill can mean to the development of a movement and the centering of a culture.  [Read More]


A.D. Odom

Butch Mystique


Some women come into "the life" through many doors.  She may walk through the doors of a gay and lesbian center, or a gay and lesbian organization while in college.  She may walk through the door of a lesbian club after circling the site for days or months before entering.  She may walk into the life of another woman and fall in love.  Later, when the heat of the relationship grows cold, realize she is who she is and will seek out other women like herself.  She may walk through the door of a good friend and find herself in her good friend?s bed, discovering her bisexuality and later, realize she is a lesbian.  She may walk through the doors of a swinger?s club where both men and women cohort together and soon discover she really does prefer women to men.  She may even walk through the door of an instructor?s office, like I did, and find herself being introduced to women who do not identify as lesbians, but as women who prefer the company of other women.  [Read More]



Gay Marriage and African Americans, Part 2

Wednesday, Massachusetts legislators debated whether to amend their state's constitution to ban same-sex marriages. NPR's Tavis Smiley talked to Jasmyne Cannick with the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, and Keith Boykin, a long-time gay rights activist and president of the National Black Justice Coalition.

»  Listen to Gay Marriage and African Americans, Part 2

» Gay Marriage and African Americans, Part 1

If the listening links above fail to work, go to site here: http://www.npr.org/rundowns/segment.php?wfId=1670553
Keeping History
The Black Gay and Lesbian Archive
by Sidney Brinkley (Blacklight Online)

Steven G. Fullwood is a collector of Black Gay history. He is the curator of the Black Gay and Lesbian Archive, developed for the sole purpose of documenting Black Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Same Gender Loving cultures. BGLA officially began in 2000 and presently holds hundreds of items. ?I have books, magazines, journals, flyers, music, film/videos, and other related files that so far measures twelve linear feet,? he said. ?Actually the archive started before I started it, meaning that much of what I owned as a collector inaugurated the archive.?  [Read More]

Love and Blessings:
A Moment with Me'Shell Ndege'ocello
By Ronda Racha Penrice (Swirl Magazine)

Me'Shell Ndege'ocello can not be categorized and the gatekeepers of the industry hate that. How many times have we read that Me'shell doesn't sell records because she is gay. This is despite the fact that she refuses to classify herself. "I don't really care," she says. "Whatever. I just like to go play, have a good time." And that's what pisses them off.

She's bold. Unlike other new artists, she came into the game irreverent. "If That's Your Boyfriend (He Wasn't Last Night)," her first single from Plantation Lullabies, shocked many with its audacity. In 1993, affairs were discreet, especially on the part of women. Listening to today's records, female singers are still not in confrontation mode. Amazingly, over the years, Me'Shell hasn't lost that fire. She still does not buck down to anyone.  [Read More]

On The Web

Kimberly "Q"

Kimberly "Q", is Artistic Director and Co-Founder of ToDaz Woman Productions.  She is an actress, singer, writer, has performed in numerous award winning productions such as, The Children?of the Night, winner of 3 NAACP awards, and a GLAAD award; Shakin The Mess Outta Misery, winner of an OOBR; and is a six-time AUDELCO award winner, ?Best Supporting Actress? in 1998 for Gertrude Jeannette?s Gladys? Dilemma and ?Best Leading Actress? in 2002 for her one-woman piece entitled J?ai Deux Amours? A Journey With Josephine Baker and four AUDELCO's including Best Dramatic Production in American Menu.

"Q", as she is so affectionately called, has been hailed by the Los Angeles Times as a " high-steppin actress with drop dead looks" and by the New York Times as "a convincingly, satisfying actress". "Acting is life; life that changes and grows and if you don't live it?you're not in it!" Know your past, because it is the key to your future!"

Her most recent production, J'ai Deux Amours...A Journey With Josephine Baker was written and Performed by Kimberly "Q".
J'ai Deux Amours...A Journey With Josephine Baker, takes you through the life and career of Madame Josephine Baker. From her start as a street performer to her taking Paris by storm; her stance on civil rights, to her undercover days as a spy for the French Resistance; her motivation to adopt 12 children to her eviction from her precious Les Milandes and right back to her triumphant return to stardom! A spectacular and inspirational story that will leave you saying "For what I may have known of Josephine, I've learned even more."

Discover ToDaz Woman and other productions on their website at:  http://todazwoman.org/index.html

Playing This Month On Black Starz

Sisters In Cinema
Director: YVONNE WELBON 2003
Synopsis: Filmmaker Yvonne Welbon goes off to Hollywood in search of African-American women directors only to make some shocking discoveries along the way.
Copyright: © 2003 OUR FILM WORKS
Preview: Preview


Time (et)



Sun, Feb 8

Black STARZ!

1h 01min.

Mon, Feb 9

Black STARZ!

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Thr, Feb 12

Black STARZ!

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Thr, Feb 12

Black STARZ!

1h 01min.

Wed, Feb 18

Black STARZ!

1h 01min.

Wed, Feb 18

Black STARZ!

1h 01min.

Mon, Feb 23

Black STARZ!

1h 01min.

Mon, Feb 23

Black STARZ!

1h 01min.

Sat, Feb 28

Black STARZ!

1h 01min.

Sat, Feb 28

Black STARZ!

1h 01min.

Sun, Feb 29

Black STARZ!

1h 01min.

Sun, Mar 14

Black STARZ!

1h 01min.

Sun, Mar 14

Black STARZ!

1h 01min.



BUTCH MYSTIQUE gets personal and political with the stories of butch, black lesbians revealed in bold, lucid interviews.

Butch Mystique
Debra Wilson,
34 min, dv, color

Playing On Showtime's Black Filmmaker Showcase: Butch Mystique
February 4, 2004

Butch Mystique a film by Debra Wilson (USA)

BUTCH MYSTIQUE is a documentary by Debra Wilson that exposes the rules, thoughts, passions, and concerns of African American butch-stud, identified lesbians. Women from varying backgrounds-as mothers, activists, and artists - share raw, powerful and intimate thoughts on being outside the norm, being powerful butch identified women and being themselves. 

Air Date:  Showtime Black Filmmaker Showcase:  February 4, 2004 @ 8:00 p.m.
Butch Mystique (Color/34:52)

Other Sheduled Showings: 
February 14, 2004:    12:15 p.m.    Showtime Too
February 15, 2004:    12:00 p.m.    Showtime
For more info, visit Showtime

Ms. Wilson is an award-winning filmmaker whose most recent work, Butch Mystique, opened to critical acclaim at the San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival.

Butch Mystique
Debra Wilson,
34 min, dv, color


Thursday, July 31, 2003

Pride Foundation to Fund Programs in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community in Northwest States

Deadline: August 22, 2003

The Pride Foundation ( http://www.pridefoundation.org/ ) is a community foundation working to strengthen the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Pride funds a wide range of projects, primarily in Washington State and extending to the four neighboring states of Oregon, Montana, Idaho, and Alaska.

In keeping with its mission, Pride has announced its Fall 2003 Granting Cycle, during which the foundation anticipates granting $80,000. The foundation will strive to balance funds awarded to projects in education, advocacy, and outreach; HIV/AIDS; arts and recreation; youth and family services; lesbian health; and other health and community services.  [Read More]

5:35 am pdt

Monday, July 28, 2003


An Open Forum To Bridge The Gap Between The Straight and LGBT African American Community On Saturday August 2, 2003 -- Los Angeles.

Due to the overwhelming response from the article printed in the Wave Newspapers entitled "Black, Out and Gay," Earl Ofari Hutchinson (KPFK, Liberation Radio) of the National Alliance for Postive Action has called a "round table" meeting in the African-American community for Saturday, August 2, 2003 in Los Angeles at Coley's Restaurant to discuss tolerance in the African-American community as a whole with LGBT people of African descent.  [Read Announcement]

Read Wave Article Here (on FemmeNoir)

Coley's Caribbean-American Cuisine
300 East Florence Avenue
Inglewood, CA  90301

More on Earl Ofari Hutchinson
3:52 am pdt

Thursday, July 24, 2003

But For The Grace Of God Go I

This past weekend, I had my hair braided, again.  I chose to return to the woman who has braided my hair since I first decided to have my hair braided some five or six years ago.  When I first met her, she was working out of a salon and I believe it was her first or second day.  When I took my braids down later and wanted to return to her, I found she had been “let go.”   Fortunately, she gave me her pager number just in case I had problems with my braids and I took a chance and paged her, she called me back and she’s been doing my hair since. 

I have followed her from broken down houses in the heart of Watts, efficiency one-room apartments, to tiny little rooms in transient hotels.  There have been many times over the years when she has been out of work (minimum wage jobs) and has had difficulty keeping up with her pager service.  During these times, her hair clients cannot contact her and as a result, she often has to leave her tiny little rooms to move into a shelter until she can get enough money to move into another tiny little room in another transient hotel.  She only charges $60.00 to braid my hair and I always give her double that or more because I know, but for the grace of God go I. 

Friends have often asked me why I continue to go to someone who “does not have her life together.”  My response has always been a Biblical one, “a student can be no greater than his/her teacher.”  The teachers in her life did not and do not live any better than she is now living.  What I have learned from her over the years is the second part to the above answer; she has never had anyone to come into her life and substitute teach, or pitch hit, to show her a better way of life.  In some small way, and I mean small, I try to serve as a substitute teacher by telling her about my life and where I’ve been.  We talk and share experiences and I’ve tried on many occasions to get her to see her own self worth but, after many years of believing this is the best she can do, sometimes my reality appears as a non-reality particularly when everything around her says it is not possible.  I do not judge her, condemn her, or try to change her into my own self image, because, but for the grace of God go I. 

Another comment I often hear is she doesn’t try because she doesn’t want to try.  That statement irks me to no end because I truly believe everyone wants to do better.  I do not know a single soul who does not want to do better.  There is a little joke about millionaires who make millions, lose millions, and come back and make millions again.  Everyone says he or she is lucky; they make it look so easy; or they were able to do it because they have friends in high places.  The truth is they have already been down the road to wealth; it is not hard to get back up or down that road once you have been there, particularly if you have made some good contacts along the way.   If you run a mile and break the world record, everyone will focus on your world record; they will strive to beat your world record; and will do any and everything needed until they are able to beat your world record.  You became the focus, your world record became the focus, and you became the new teacher. 

I can go on and on about this, and tell a story of what I obsevered from students at a junior college I attended one semester.  A friend and I ended up at this school one semester and learned the teacher and head of the department was taking the equipment meant for the students at that inner city school and was shipping the equipment, at the beginning of the semester, to another school located in Downtown Chicago.  What she left for the students at this school, the school that needed this equipment more, was pitiful, but the inventory (which she hid and my friend found) was impressive -- where was it?  My friend and I tried to rally the students to fight against this injustice but we were the outsiders from "elitist schools," and not trusted.  Finally, during one of my passionate outburts, my friend asked me how do you motivate a people?  I thought he was crazy but asked how?  He said you lead them without them knowing they're being led. 

We changed our strategy and let each student know what they did not have and if they aspired to attend either of our "elitist colleges," they would need to know this, this, and this.  By showing them what we knew and learned at our schools and telling them they were being denied a proper education to get into either of our schools, they got mad.  They got plenty mad.  When I showed them what was expected of a transfer student at my college, and told them they were ill prepared to get into my college, they were mad.  When we showed them the path to success and let them know they were not being adequately prepared for that path, they were angry.  They each stormed into the Dean's office on a platform that demanded they receive an education that would enable them to enter the schools we came from.  That got the ear of the Dean who knew what should have been at the school.  An investigation was started, that teacher who was also the head of that department was fired, and the equipment came marching in -- too late for that semester but the students were able to see what they missed. 

We, the ones from the so-called "elitist college" realized that our folks weren't getting into the colleges we attended, not because they didn't try or didn't want to, it was because they were not prepared at the junior college level.  They were never taught to create a portfolio of their work because what they needed was downtown.  They were never exposed to 4x5 view cameras because the camera was downtown.  They never developed 4x5 negatives because that was downtown.  They were not exposed to color because that too was downtown.  The students ended up applying at our schools and being denied acceptance because they were ill prepared.  The students downtown were getting in, not the students at the inner city school.  When we dropped the propaganda about the "White woman ripping you off" and moved more along the lines of "this is the path to success and you are ill prepared to travel along this path unless you have this," they listened.  History had them believe they could not fight against propaganda, or it was a no win situation and that caused them to withdraw from our argument along those lines.  When we focused more on the personal, that made a difference.   

When the equipment returned, one gentleman told me his experience was the most important thing he had ever done.  He said he never believed his voice could change anything and if he did nothing else in his life, he would always be very proud of himself for standing for something.  I did see him again one year later at Columbia College.  The first words out of his mouth were "my portfolio was kicking!"

Tonight, as I pulled onto the lot of a service station to get gas, I noticed the usual guys who often stand around this particular service station were absent.  A sister came out of the door, approached my car and asked if she could do my windows.  Her enunciation and diction were flawless and I realized this was an educated woman.  I was not shocked by this because my initial shock came several years earlier, while in Chicago, when the media highlighted the number of educated homeless people living in the subways, particularly, the husband and wife, both White and both with Ph.D’s, living in the subway out by O’Hare Airport – that was a shock to me.  So, as I looked at this sister, I realized she has had a fall on luck.  Unfortuantely, I could not offer the sister any money because I do not like pulling money out of my pockets late at night.  I also do not like encouraging people to do something they would not have considered doing had it not been for me flashing money late at night, on a quiet street, causing their brains go to places they don’t need to go.  So, I don’t do it and I don’t mean the sister standing there with me, I mean anyone who might have been standing in the dark parking lot across the street.  She stood there with me anyway, quietly, as if to keep me company and as I approached my car and got in, the sister smiled at me, waived and said goodnight.  It was then I realized she was the same sister I gave $5.00 to a few nights earlier and all she could say then was “God bless you sister.  God bless you.” 

The five was all I had in my pocket that evening and as I approached her, she was asking another group for money.  They treated her as if she was the most disgusting thing they'd ever seen.  These folks knew nothing about her, do not know where she has been, her experience or education, and they could find themselves in her shoes one day.  Treat people with dignity is my moto, it comes back to you.  God don't make junk, it takes guts to do what she does daily, she deserved what I had in my pocket that day.

I do tend to always give more to women I run into on the street than the men and I think it is a woman thing.  I believe this is also the reason why I stay with the same woman who does my hair.  Sure, I could go to an air conditioned salon and I can certainly afford the women in these salons, but sisters in situations like these have a greater need and sometimes they help me refocus my thoughts from the somewhat selfish to being more giving.  The other day, the woman who does my hair was very excited about buying a fan at the Salvation Army for $5.00.  I have been fussing for the past few weeks about buying a portable air conditioning unit for my home office that costs $600.00 – I can live with my fans and give more money to the sisters on the street.  I can also get up off my butt and give some of the things I don’t want to Salvation Army or Disabled Vets, or some thrift shop because someone will be very happy with what I give away, instead of me throwing it away.  As for the sister tonight who found a well lit place to camp out where she could attempt to make a little money and, at the same time, feel safe, I too can learn to stop cursing the dark and light a candle. 

As I drove home tonight remembering, I thought about the woman who does my hair and thought I too need to be glad for the simple things in my life.  To find joy in life's little and simple pleasures.  The woman at the station taught me to not be so apprehensive when I meet new clients because I'm actually doing what she does everyday on the street asking for money.  The difference is I'm going into corporate offices asking and the only thing they can say is yes or no.  Whatever the answer, I keep moving on to the next one.  The students at the school taught me to find pride in every accomplishment, no matter how great or small.  That man's posture one year later was 100 times greater than one year prior. 

I know what it is like to live in run down, roach infested hotel rooms with a toilet and sink fitted into a closet.  I know what it is like to hear men outside your door doing God only knows what.  I know what it is like to open a window and bring my head back in just in time to miss the surprise package flowing from the mouth of the drunk one floor above me.  I know what it’s like to want to take a shower and know I cannot take a shower because that means going down the hall to an open room and yes, someone did leave the fire escape door open meaning anyone can enter the floor and there are no phones in any of the rooms.  I knew my experiences were only temporary because my mother locked me out of the house.  I knew I would return home soon.  But, for the women who stay in these places, this is their life and I'm no better or worse than they are.  But for the grace of God go I. 

6:05 am pdt

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Water, Water, Everywhere! Or, So It Seems.

Since Christine’s passing, I find I have become a different person.  I find I also share a special kinship with those friends who share the same experience of watching someone die.  My friends and I talk a lot about changes going on within our souls or spirits – we have changed.  Time and space has become irrelevant for us.  The feelings of see it, want it, get it, are gone.  Appointments are often broken and conversations go far beyond the superficial and penetrate several veiled layers we typically wear or display.  In some sense, we have found a passion and zest for life far greater than what we felt prior to our shared experiences.  We may appear a little self indulgent, but a little self indulgence is necessary if you want to learn anything from life's great teachings.  It also greatly aids the healing process.


I do not mean to harp on death with some morbid fascination or disturb folks with the macabre.  No, life takes on new meaning when you witness “lights out in three,” three years, three months, three weeks, three days, three minutes, three seconds and then boom, lights out.  Life, at that moment, takes on new meaning and you find the things you once thought important are no longer important to you. 

For the past few weeks, I have promised myself I would get out of the house and go to poetry readings, parties or some cultural events but, I have found myself driving up the coast instead, along the Pacific Ocean, stopping only to hear the sound of the ocean waves.  Other times, I started out one way only to turn around and head up to Mount Wilson to sit under the stars and watch with amazement the lights of the various cities one can see from way up there.  It was on one of these trips I rediscovered something within, a great love and passion for art, photography, music, light and shadow.  The other night, instead of going out, as I planned, I sat listening to Kathleen Battle’s pitch perfect voice and felt myself transcend into another world.

The tree of knowledge, even if it seems to have rather bitter roots, brings forth the sweetest possible fruit. Let them remember too that there will never be too much of this fruit because there is never enough. (Meditations On The Soul: Selected Letters Of Marcilio Ficino, p. 77)

For many years after arriving in California, I have wanted to build yet another darkroom but ran into some surprising stumbling blocks, all of them having to do with water.  I was equally stunned to find, with all of the water in the Pacific Ocean, why no desaltification plants to filter salt from the water?   It is amazing how you can easily take something like water for granted.  Hollywood, the place of movie stars, rolling lawns surrounding multimillion dollar homes, Rodeo Drive, the “beautiful people,” expensive hideaways and exclusive shops and stores is short on one of life’s necessities– water.  However odd this may sound, it is true and I cannot wash down the driveway like I could in Chicago, which would be a waste of water.  The water here comes down from the mountains from the melted snows or from rainfall.  If there is a drought – and we are often in a drought – water is sparse.  Needless to say, I pretty much gave up on the darkroom idea.  It would cost too much to build a darkroom with a water recycler, a heavy-duty filtration system and a laundry list of other items needed just to develop film and make prints for my own pleasure. 

One night, as I sat in the dark and quiet stillness of my backyard, listening to a male mocking bird lacking a mate, the confused rooster crying “is it time yet, is it time yet,” and the horses whinnying in the distance, I thought “go digital.”  It was their awareness of a new day dawning that made me focus on the dawning of new experience.  Okay, so I will have to give up on the old way of taking pictures and the excitement I once had about developing my own film and making my own prints.  Photo labs here often ignore my ± 1-2 stop instructions.  The HP Photosmart system was nice but the printer failed miserably and the negative/slide/print scanner produced sometimey results.  I also need to stop rebelling against the new and make a place for both the old and the new to coexist in my life.  It is a new day, I need to move on, and I need to catch up with the tour. 

As I sat in my backyard that morning and waited for the sun to peak over the horizon, I looked toward the mountains in the distance and thought “yeah, I can capture Los Angeles like I did Chicago,” and by the way, I lost all of my negatives of Chicago in a flooded basement in Chicago.  All I have of those negatives are the prints I made.  At least now I can burn them onto CD, DVD, or Zip drive. 

Yeah, I’ll spend more money on cameras than I did previously, but that would be the money I would have spent on enlargers, lenses, condenser and dichroic heads and I will not need the Jobo processor I carted out here from Chicago to do Cibachrome work (that dates me).  I’ll have to replace some of my old Cannon and Nikon lenses with new autofocus lenses.  I have had to unlearn many things in my life and sit at the feet of truth to learn new things.  This is no different as I will have to unlearn some old techniques to learn new ones like “white balance,” something I learned doing video work but not still photography.  Stretching the dendrites is a good thing and I look forward to it. 

The other day, I talked with a friend and was telling her how excited I was about the new technology and what I planned on doing.  She said “you’ve come home.”  She then told me how she has started painting again.    Funny, life can throw you such a curve ball and in the end, you find it wasn’t so bad after all.  In the pain, the agony, the suffering, and the tears, there exists a personal blessing.  Christine is no longer bound by gravity, she is free.  I am no longer bound by the things I once thought so important, I am now free.

I have been a lot of places and done a lot of things but, I have never been to me it seems.  I somehow got sidetracked by bright lights and many superflous thoughts and ideas.  I am also glad I did not go to the places I planned on going.  I am glad I spent the time alone, with myself and in the company of those who understood and understand; no outside influences, just the words of my soul speaking its truth to me.  I am actually excited about walking the streets again taking pictures.  I am also exciting about seeing again.  Maybe I’ll put batteries in my scanner and do spot news again.  Maybe I’ll go to Iraq or Africa and return to the days of documentary photography.  Maybe I’ll do some exhibitions or shows.  Maybe I’ll finally publish that book I promised my high school teachers, Ms. Patterson and Mr. Johnson, I would do.  The maybes are now endless.

From the past learn the present. In the present, as far as you are able, look about you at individual things and discern their end. You ought never to launch upon anything that has to be said or done in the present until, as far as possible, you have discerned its future. Nor ought you to do or say anything for which you are unable to give a valid account. Finally, when in each action you have committed yourself humbly to God, and done everything in the light of reason and according to the counsel of the wise, live at peace; and whatever follows accept for the best. (Meditations On The Soul: Selected Letters Of Marcilio Ficino, p.121)

3:18 pm pdt

Monday, July 21, 2003

The Essence of Aquarius With An Extract of Saturn

Late Saturday, I finally finished one of the books I have by Marcilio Ficino.  It has taken me some time to complete the book because I would invariably stumble upon a letter that would have me put the book down to contemplate that one letter for weeks.  You cannot quickly finish a book like that.  Towards the end of the book, Marcilio turns his attentions toward the planets, the stars and astrology and that stopped me briefly.  I do not have a problem with astrology nor do I condemn it in any way, the text just made me contemplate the influence of Andie and Noemieplanets in our lives.  I thought about an actress whose life parallels mine in many ways.  She and I were born on the same day.  At 23, she lost her mother as I did mine – her mother died and mine left the city and went across country wanting nothing more to do with me.  This woman started out in fashion as a model; I was a fashion photographer.  She had a painful and somewhat depressing youth as did I.  She dropped out of college like myself.  She became an actress; I was a performance artist.  Just as I was a more outgoing approximately 5 or 7 years ago, so was she.  In fact, I saw a lot of her in the early to mid-90’s and then nothing of real importance until recently when I saw photos of her at Cannes with a very attractive African-European model with gray eyes.  Odd, a couple of months ago, I too met an African-European performer/dancer with gray eyes.  The actress is Andie MacDowell.  I am sure the beautiful model with her is, for her, just as my friend is for me – just friends – but, it is still a little ironic.  What is also incredibly ironic is her friend is also a Virgo, like my friend is Virgo and so was Christine.  Are our lives similar?  Does astrology really matter?  Is it something else? 

Christine and I had interesting coincidences as well.  Christine was Virgo and her mother was Taurus.  I am Taurus and my mother is Virgo.  My mother’s mother, my grandmother, was Taurus.  My friend is Virgo, her mother is Capricorn and her father was Taurus. Is there something to this?  Again, ironically, I seem to get along well with earth signs, those who are Capricorn (my brother), Taurus (me), or Virgo (my mother).   The majority of my mother’s siblings are either Taurus or Virgo.  Are we made of concoctions produced by the essence or extract of planets for fermentation in vats while awaiting the right moment to be spirited to earth to inhabit the womb of some unsuspecting woman?  Or, better yet, were my past lives so flighty, so fiery, so free that my freedom became too costly and now, in this time, I find my legs bolted to the earth in order to see?

A friend of mine earlier this year did a reading for me.  She wanted to know what my fascination was for the French?  I never spoke about any fascination with the French so I had to grill her on her question.  She went on to tell me I have some sort of fascination with the French and went on to describe my mother naming her albino German Shepherds French names (which has nothing to do with me); the fondness I have for certain French terms; and then, there is FemmeNoir.  I told her the only experience I had, on a personal level, had to do with a French man from a dream.  In the dream, this man comes to me and wakes me from sleep (in the dream) and takes me on a tour through what appears to be my past lives.  The first view presented was me as a man, the French tour guide, and he was quite the womanizer.  The next life presented was me as a woman, a very unhappy woman, who wore puffy sleeved dresses (all I can remember of her sans her grim expression).  The next was me as a man who appeared to be an Ironsmith of some sort with the same type of puffy sleeves only the sleeves were strapped across the arms.  He too was an unhappy person.  My friend then asked if I was the Marquis de Sade?  I was stunned and felt compelled to correct my friend telling her the man was a womanizer, he was not beating the hell out of women.  She dismissed me saying the Marquis de Sade wrote about these things but “we don’t know if he did any of it.”  From there she continued with my reading saying I had a lot of interesting things in my chart and the last seven years were meant to be that I might “work off some karma.”  Whoop de doo.  Couldn't I have done what St. Augustine did, roll in thorns for one year instead of catching hell for seven?  Anyway, she did say the lessons learned these past seven years, if I was successful in my learning, would benefit me in the future.  I do not doubt the truth in her statement in fact, I believe this to be true. 

I spent way too many hours exploring bookstores Sunday looking for the next series of books for soul work with the hope they will be a bit tamer than Marcilio Ficino.  I chose Thomas Moore's The Soul of Sex and the Book of Job.  I hope they are tamer but one never knows when it comes down to soul work.

Ah Marcilio, do you see what you have done to me.  My mind and soul have gone places angels fear to tread – or maybe not – maybe this soul work will make me a better “grounded” person and maybe that is precisely what I need,  not only in this lifetime but in the many lives I may yet live.  I don't know about this Marquis de Sade dude running around in my karmic book causing me to be grounded to the earth for fear I may give myself over to certain propensities lying dorment within my soul, but if he is, well, c'est la vie. 

1:31 am pdt

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Kobe, Kobe, Kobe
Kobe and Vanessa BryantWhat were you thinking and have you not learned anything from history?
When the news broke about Kobe Bryant's alleged sexual assault, it broke with a firestorm of controversy pertaining to the sheriff ignoring the "direct instruction" of the district attorney's office that there was "insufficient information to issue a warrant or to file charges," illustrating his office's "complete bias" in the case.  Kobe was arrested on the word of a 19-year old woman.  At that point, I began wondering if the 19-year old woman was White. 
In our history, Black men were often accused of raping White women because it was believed Black men didn't date White women; they raped them.  All that was needed was her word -- no proof, no evidence, just her word.  Kobe is fortunate times have changed somewhat and that he is not hanging like strange fruit from a Poplar tree.   He flew from Los Angeles to Colorado, was charged, posted $20,000 bail and flew back to Los Angeles. 
Kobe was wrong, very wrong, for believing his own press and for believing he could not be touched by someone who could and would hang something foul and disgusting around his neck -- his own press.   Kobe somehow believed he could engage in unprotected sex, with a woman he barely knew, and leave her without a thought or care in the world.  What was he thinking?  Has he done this before?  What if he contracted something from this young woman and subsequently passed it along to his wife?  He knew or should have known that one day his actions would place in among the ranks of a Michael Jordan, "Magic" Johnson and other high profile men in sports. 
I do believe in innocent until proven guilty and I will hold judgment on Kobe's guilt or innocence.  As for the woman, I don't know and cannot say if her story is true or not.  There are many women who have been raped by big named stars in sports who told them "go ahead, tell, no one will believe you because I'm a star."  These men can afford high-powered attorneys to ridicule and harass the woman or hand her a wad of money to keep her quiet as if she was some sort of prostitute. 
There are other women who run around after every athlete, singer or rap star they see with a goal of becoming impregnated by these men with the hope of suing for paternity.  There are others, the more gullible ones, who have a fantasy these men will fall in love with them, leave their wives and family and marry them.  These women don't expect the hurt of being treated like "chicken heads" or "road whores" when the men say "get up, get out, I gotta get some sleep."   
If the Sherriff's actions were based on disgust for the crime, that's one thing.  If the woman is an African American woman, well then, times have certainly changed.  If the young woman is White and the Sheriff's actions were based on racism, that would mean Kobe took a stroll down memory lane and is fortunate to live in these times. He could have been a strange and bitter fruit for the crows to pluck, for the rain to gather, for the wind to suck, for the sun to rot, for the leaves to drop.  He could have been one more strange and bitter crop.
2:34 am pdt

Thursday, July 17, 2003

More Changes To Come
The Entertainment Guide is now up along with a new Annoucements and Organization News site.  If you would like to post an annoucement or provide info on an upcoming party or event, drop me a line at .   Black Pride 2003 is now in the Entertainment Guide.
4:10 am pdt

Monday, July 7, 2003

All of the Leaders & Legends are back online.  The Arts & Entertainment Section is back online.  More archived articles from the old FemmeNoir are back online and more Commentaries have been added.
Bridgforth and PerrymanCheck out the new CD, amniotic/flow from the mother-daughter team, Bridgforth and Perryman.  Bridgforth and Perryman have come together to create this 14 track cd that: articulates the experiences of lesbian mother-straight daughter/urban raised southern Spirited Black American wy’mn/growing; blending music and vocal styles-both sung and spoken; innovating a word based music driven jazz/story; using the personal/to articulate and examine the spaces between and connecting autobiography and mythology/memory.  [Read more]
4:27 am pdt

Wednesday, July 2, 2003

New Additions and Updates
The Annoucements section is back and I'll be adding more grant and position annoucements soon.  I've also posted a new article in Rants & Raves on aging and have added more poets to the poetry section.  Enjoy.
5:05 am pdt

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