A Review of “We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85”
When the Combahee River Collective gathered in 1977 for their annual retreat, the Black feminist thinkers, writers, and scholars decided to write a statement of intentionality. The exclusion of women of color from Lesbian Art and Artists, a feminist art journal organized by the Heresies Collective, prompted the response. The collective’s statement explored the erasure of Black women in the Women’s Movement and the Black Liberation Movement. More importantly, the Combahee River Collective pushed for the visibility of Black women.
“We have spent a great deal of energy delving into the cultural and experiential nature of our oppression out of necessity because none of these matters has ever been looked at before,” the collective concluded. “No one before has ever examined the multilayered texture of Black women’s lives.”
Forty years later, Black women are still fighting to be seen. That’s the theme woven throughout “We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85,” an exhibit currently housed in the Brooklyn Museum. It’s one of the final parts of the museum’s “Year of Yes,” a year-long commitment to exploring feminism through art. The exhibit, like Solange transforming lives at the Guggenheim, allows Black women to center ourselves in spaces that pretend we don’t exist. “We Wanted a Revolution” also serves as a course correction. A sign at the entrance of the eight-panel exhibit states that many of the artists included aren’t feminists because of the movement’s exclusion of Black women. The dovetailing of second-wave feminism and the Black Arts Movement merely serves as a historical map of the figures and organizations at the forefront of the exhibit.
It’s a push to make Black women visible. For instance, Emma Amos, the sole female member of Spiral, a Black artists’ collective, is featured at the beginning of the exhibit. Flower Sniffer (1966) is Amos’ self-portrait, which shows her looking at a couple who are in mid-embrace. She’s in the photo, but not of the world it inhabits, a clear indication of how Black women were positioned at the time. We were peripheral, invisible, and overlooked. Invisibility continues to be a theme as the exhibit progresses. Artist Faith Ringgold is prominently featured throughout the eight-panel exhibit. In 1970, she and her daughter, Michele Wallace, forced the Whitney Museum of American Art to include two Black women artists—Betye Saar and Barbara Chase-Riboud—in their Sculpture Annual for the first time.
Now, the Brooklyn Museum is honoring Ringgold’s struggle for equity. Her oil painting For the Woman’s House (1971) shows an array of women at work. Female inmates at Rikers Island used to be able to purchase the painting, though the jail later banned it. Just as she advocated for Saar and Chase-Riboud, Ringgold created the painting to honor Angela Davis, after she was arrested for a crime she was later acquitted for.
“Angela Davis was in jail at the time, and I was very concerned about her,” Ringgold told the New Yorker in 2010. “I thought, One thing’s for sure: I’ll have a captive audience.”
The ways that Black women have historically fought for each other shows up in the exhibit, like the inclusion of Carrie Mae Weems’ photo series Family Pictures and Stories (1978–1984). It depicts Black people in Portland, Oregon, to combat the 1965 Moynihan Report, which suggested that Black women were responsible for the destruction of Black families. Betye Saar’s Liberation of Aunt Jemima: Cocktail (1973) is also featured. It places Aunt Jemima imagery on a Molotov cocktail as an illusion to the bottling of Black women’s rage. “We Wanted a Revolution” also includes Saar’s Colored Spade (1971), a painful video that shows tropes of Black people transformed into imagery of Black empowerment.
There’s also a glass case full of classic magazine covers and newspaper clippings, like the iconic conversation between Audre Lorde and James Baldwin, a copy of Toni Morrison’s seminal 1971 New York Times Magazine piece, “What the Black Woman Thinks About Women’s Lib,” and a profile of Shirley Chisholm during her historic presidential run. The entire exhibit positions Black women as cultural deities deserving of recognition and respect. We should no longer be invisible when we’re in museums.
Catherine Morris, senior curator for the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, told TIME that was her goal for the exhibit. “An exhibition like this is years in the making, so over the course of producing the exhibition, the pertinence and necessity of it seems to have only increased. It certainly speaks to the need people have to talk about the contributions Black women have made to our culture.”
Our contributions are innumerable, immeasurable, and, certainly, not to be disregarded.
“We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85,” will remain at the Brooklyn Museum until September 17, 2017. It will then move to the California African American Museum in Los Angeles from October 13, 2017 through January 14, 2018; to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York from February 17, 2018 through May 27, 2018; and at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston from June 26, 2018 through September 30, 2018.
Update 7:35 E.T.: A Marvel representative reached out to say that the nature of the relationship between Danai Gurira’s Okoye and Florence Kasumba‘s Ayo in Black Panther is not a romantic one and that specific love storyline from the comic World of Wakanda was not used as a source.
Whether or not he had the approval of Disney when he did so, Beauty and the Beast director Bill Condon caused quite a stir in the April issue of Attitude—both of hopeful expectations and of conservative pushback—when he touted Josh Gad’s character LeFou and his “exclusively gay moment.” Though Condon surely had his heart in the right place, the phrase overpromised on what the film ultimately underdelivered: the moment comes when LeFou ends the movie by dancing, briefly with a man. O.K. However, early footage of Marvel’s upcoming Black Panther screened for journalists Monday night movie promises much more.
The scene in question features Walking Dead star Danai Gurira dancing on a boat with her fellow Dora Milaje, i.e., Black Panther’s personal female bodyguards. These women—first introduced to moviegoers in Captain America: Civil War— are the warriors who watch over Chadwick Boseman’s royal family. In Civil War, Uganda-born actress Florence Kasumba made an instant impression on audiences as one member of the select group when she curtly ordered Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow to “move” aside for T’Challa.
In the rough cut of this Black Panther scene, we see Gurira’s Okoye and Kasumba’s Ayo swaying rhythmically back in formation with the rest of their team. Okoye eyes Ayo flirtatiously for a long time as the camera pans in on them. Eventually, she says, appreciatively and appraisingly, “You look good.” Ayo responds in kind. Okoye grins and replies, “I know.”
This quick moment between two warrior women on their way to T’Challa’s coronation leans into a current very popular run of the Black Panther comic. A 2016 spin-off called World of Wakanda by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Roxane Gay, and Yona Harvey is all about the relationship between two members of the Dora Milaje. The official description:
A Wakandan love story—its tenderness matched only by its brutality.
You know them now as The Midnight Angels, but in this story they are
just Ayo and Aneka, young women recruited to become Dora Milaje, an
elite task force trained to protect the crown at all costs. What happens when your nation needs your hearts
and minds, but you already gave them to each other?
Other footage from the film screened early for reporters centers more closely on T’Challa, including scenes of a traditional and elaborate Wakandan ceremony, and a shoot-out in a South Korea casino featuring Andy Serkis’s Claw and Martin Freeman’s Everett K. Ross. For fans of Lupita Nyong’o, there was also a pair of scenes showing her character dancing (she gets her own boat) and taking out several armed guards.
The costumes in Black Panther—especially the ones worn by the Dora Milaje—are truly dazzling, with a lot of bright colors and elaborate patterns. Angela Bassett, as T’Challa’s mother and Queen of Wakanda, sports a jaw-dropping coiffure of snow-white dreadlocks. According to the production team, director Ryan Coogler was interested in giving Black Panther—the star of which debuted in Civil War—an updated look that was more faithful to the current run of comics. And though Marvel didn’t screen any footage of Michael B. Jordan in costume—he’s playing villainous Erik Killmonger—concept art tacked to the Marvel office walls revealed a fearsome mask compete with horns and mane.
In other words: even if Marvel and superhero fatigue is setting in, rest assured that Black Panther isn’t going to look like anything you’ve seen from them before.
Black Voices’ associate editor Taryn Finley and senior culture writer Zeba Blay sat down with Murray, who was also joined by Buzzfeed entertainment reporter Sylvia Obell, to share her perspective as an entertainment insider.
Here are five women Murray said should be on your list of Hollywood up-and-comers to watch in 2017:
1. Gina Prince-Bythewood
Best known for her 2000 romance film “Love and Basketball,” starring Sanaa Lathan, Gina Prince-Bythewood is no Hollywood newbie. Prince-Bythewood will be directing the upcoming fictional Fox series “Shots Fired,” which is centered on police brutality in South Carolina. Lathan will also star in the series.
2. Dee Rees
In a $12.5 million deal, Netflix recently bought director Dee Rees’ critically acclaimed film “Mudbound.” The film, which follows soldiers returning home from WWII, stars Carey Mulligan, Jason Mitchell and Mary J. Blige.
3. Stella Meghie
Stella Meghie’s name may not ring a bell just yet, but the Toronto native may soon be at the center of Hollywood’s attention when romance film “Everything, Everything,” starring Amandla Stenberg, is released this May.
4. Jessica Williams
Former “Daily Show” correspondent Jessica Williams should have been on your radar yesterday. One half of the “2 Dope Queens” podcast, Williams will be starring in Netflix’s “The Incredible Jessica James,” about a young playwright living in New York City.
5. Yvonne Orji
Yvonne Orji is everybody’s bestie as Molly in “Insecure.” But Orji really won our hearts with her realness when she opened up to “The Breakfast Club” in November about being a virgin at 32 years old and having experienced bullying when she was younger.
Look out, Hollywood. All this black excellence ain’t here to play.
“Bruising for Besos” looks at an abusive lesbian relationship
If you’ve watched more than just “the classics,” you know that some lesbian films need a minute or 20 to find their groove. That’s certainly the case for new film Bruising for Besos, the first feature-length effort from writer-director Adelina Anthony, who also stars in the movie. If for nothing else, you should consider watching this film for what makes it unique: the LA Latina lesbians at its center, and its willingness to tackle domestic violence in the lesbian community.
Anthony plays Yoli, a butch Xicana lesbian who’s as playful with her art as she is with her women. She may not be the best girlfriend, but she is a good friend. Lucky for her, because it’s at her surprise birthday party that she meets and falls for Daña (Carolyn Zeller), an intriguing Puerto Rican nurse. But Daña’s heard of Yoli’s reputation and she’s not having any of it. At first.
While Yoli comes off very strong with the flirting (like really laying it on thick), eventually she does wear Daña down. After an intense car makeout session that a cop interrupts (ugh, buzzkill!), they end up in bed together, as they will multiple times throughout the film. This definitely isn’t a movie that shies away from passionate lesbian sex scenes, even if they don’t necessarily move the story forward. Hey, I’m not complaining!
Their chemistry aside, after their first night together, Daña panics. It turns out she’s really religious and has a lot of issues around shame. Yet for some reason, she thinks she and Yoli can just be friends. Yoli’s willing to go along with idea, no doubt because she thinks she can change Daña’s mind. And she does–at least momentarily.
By this point, Yoli is falling for Daña, but she hasn’t completely lost her old ways. For instance, there’s her hot new coworker who constantly flirts with her, her ex who’s still somewhat in the picture and the woman her friends actually wanted to set her up with at the party. The most complicated of all, however, has got to be Carmela (Natalie Camunas), girlfriend to her best friend, Rani (performance artist D’Lo), and a former flame of hers.
Yoli’s just a complicated person in general, though, which is absolutely understandable given her history. She spent most of her early years in an abusive household, having lived with a father who beat and cheated on her mom. Several of these memories are recreated in the film through Yoli’s puppets, which she’s working on for a competition. But for the audience, they serve a much more important role: they’re a view into a past Yoli is trying to but can’t run away from.
Daña has her own daddy issues, but they’re very different. Her dad’s always been deaf and has long since had a rough go at things. Now older, he has some serious health problems. As a result, Daña’s even more reluctant to come out because of everything he’s been through.
Still, that doesn’t stop her from admitting she’s falling in love with Yoli, or Yoli from doing the same. But there’s a lot of insecurity and jealousy there from both sides and things do eventually come to a head.
When Daña’s dad has another health scare and she gets distant, Yoli goes to her, only to find a male nurse at the house. She confronts her somewhat aggressively in tone, but it’s Daña who hits her. In an instant, all that family history races through Yoli’s mind.
Are there apologies? Of course there are. Is the violence only physical? Of course it’s not. Theirs is a volatile relationship, not all that unlike many in our communities. The difference is Bruising for Besos dares to talk about it.
Now, who’s willing to listen?
Source – AfterEllen
Friday, June 10, 7:30pm
Satuday, June 11, 3pm
Wages of Injustice
Saturday, June 11, 7pm
Encuentros Con Amor
Sunday, June 12, 2pm
Sunday, June 12, 6pm
The true story of “Spotlight” and the queer woman left out of the film
|This year’s Oscar for Best Picture went to Spotlight, the true story of a group of editors and writers at The Boston Globe who reported on the attempted covering up of sexual abuse within the Catholic church. While the film was well-written and expertly acted (winning Best Ensemble at the Independent Spirit Awards, among others), it turns out that this “true story” is not as honest as has been portrayed. Specifically, it completely left out queer news editor Susan Ryan-Vollmar of The Boston Phoenix, where the real investigation began with her reporter, Kristen Lombardi.
photo via FacebookAs Btchflks reports, The Phoenix was the first to tackle the case of the sex-offending priests, but the film doesn’t credit them at all.
Tom McCarthy, the co-writer and director, did interview Lombardi as research for the script, but he decided her role wasn’t important enough to include in the final cut of the film. Instead McCarthy decided to focus on white-guy, mainstream newspaper mythology, and that focus not only makes the film untrue, it renders it dramatically inert.
In 2012, Susan penned a letter to air her grievances with the Globe‘s taking credit without any hat tip to the Phoenix and their original reporting. She notes:
The Globe’s work on this story was phenomenal, and they deserve perhaps 90 percent of the credit for blowing the sex abuse story wide open. But they continue to insist on taking 100 percent credit. Not only does the Globe today fail to credit former Phoenix reporter Kristen Lombardi’s work, but it seems to take credit for the swarm of other stories on clergy sex abuse that popped up around the country.
She also shared this comment with Boston Magazine last year:
Until the Phoenix’s reporting, no Boston outlet had pulled together the full extent of the horror taking place within the Boston Archdiocese: Law’s knowledge of the abuse and his decision to keep pedophile priests employed, and the fact that it wasn’t the case of one bad priest, but many. The Phoenix’s reporting was so solid and convincing on these points that the Boston Herald took the extremely unusual step of calling for Law to come clean in an editorial, and cited the Phoenix reporting in its piece. The late David Brudnoy did the same on his well-regarded radio show. To say that Kristen’s reporting merely raised suspicions without proving anything shows a rather astonishing level of ignorance about her work.
Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Brian d’Arcy James, Michael Keaton and John Slattery as “Boston Globe” journalists in “Spotlight”
Susan also reported on issues relating to the church and the backlash it faced after the Globe‘s pieces (as highlighted in Spotlight) enlightened the public to what was going on with their local Catholic Archdiocese. In a 2006 story, she wrote:
It was one thing to edit the Phoenix’s coverage of the clergy-sex-abuse scandal as a Catholic. It was something else to edit the paper’s coverage of 9/11 as, well, an American. But it was another thing entirely to direct the paper’s coverage of the story of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. For me, a lesbian raising a child with my partner of 20 years, the story of Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health was personal in a way the clergy-sex-abuse and 9/11 stories weren’t. I was deeply engaged — and enraged — by the first two stories. But the story of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts changed my life.
Since leaving the Phoenix, Susan worked as the editor of New Engladn’s LGBT publication, Bay Windows, and has even contributed to the Globe, including a piece last summer on how American policies on LGBT rights directly affects how LGBTs are treated in other nations. Susan now works in consulting and has worked with several LGBT clients including the Family Equality Council, GLAD, and MassEquality.
Is Spotlight a great film? Yes. But does it oversimplify the events of what really happened and fail to credit two women who played a large part in the ultimate take down celebrated in the Oscar-winning piece of, ultimately, fiction. Considering there is only one woman in the final product (played by Rachel McAdams), it seems like one giant missed opportunity.
Source of Article AfterEllen