The Evidence Intensive: Futurists Beyond Fear

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  Thurs-Fri, December 8th and 9th 6pm-9pm Eastern

The last online intensive of the year is especially for those of us brave enough to envision a visionary liberated future during a time when the present seems bleak. Based on her short story “Evidence” from the collection Octavia’s Brood, Sista Docta Alexis Pauline Gumbs will facilitate a guided intensive that allows us to vision seven generations into the future and to grapple with the time we are living through now:  the time of the silence breaking.  Using meditations, letter writing, listening, ancestral and futuristic connection and legacies of earlier Black feminist futurists including June Jordan and Audre Lorde, we will close 2016 with the energy of multitudes, with a profound connection to those who have crossed over during this time and with revolutionary availability to the future generations are calling for from us.

Reserve your spot with a $50 deposit here:

The full tuition is sliding scale $175-225. Payment plans are available.

Email brillianceremastered@gmail.com with your intentions for the course by Tuesday December 6th.

P. S. If you live in or around Durham, NC attend an in-person Evidence workshop on December 10th:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/evidence-a-writing-workshop-for-futurists-in-durham-tickets-29817401651

What We Know. What We Have. Foundations for Visionary Daughtering.

tumblr_lmsyk9bpo11qefrmxo1_1280Last night’s Kakuya Collective: Visionary Daughtering Webinar was pure love.  We dedicating our daughtering forward, backwards and through, beyond biology, death time and into the unknown. We identified and described the prisons that exist between us and the people we daughter. We shared witnessed and experienced the liberation of our clearly and bravely stated desires.   We broke the unspoken with our speaking.  We held newborn possibility with our listening.  We gave the permission we needed.  We laughed and lit each other up.  We are not nearly the same.

Below is a group poem we made about what we know we have and what we know we have to do with the freedom seeking clarity of our visionary daughtering.   As you will see we experienced awe, gratitude and revelation.  If you want to tap into the love check out next week’s webinar Sister is a Verb: An Online Intensive for Revolutionary Collaborators. 

What We Know.  What We Have. 

by the participants in the Kakuya Collective: Visionary Daughtering Webinar

“this is the age of the daughter as sage”

-Kali Ferguson

i know i have it

i know i have love

i know i have been loved

i know that i have to show myself what it means to love and be loved on my terms

i know i have home radiating out of my heart

i know i have space to be human and heal

i know i have hands supporting me

i know i have oceans in me

i know i have a world to protect within myself

i know i have more than surviving in me

i know i have hope

i know i have to hope

i know i have a body

i know have to dance

i know i have to run

i know i have to rest

i know i have to sleep especially to dream

i know i have to dive deep to be satisfied

i know i have to give up my anxiety

i know i have to let go of my restlessness

i know i have to relax to love

i know i have to love my body and my dance!

 

i know i have to call my nana more

i know i have to listen

i know i have to listen more

i know that i have to envision myself more powerful than ever before

i know i have things in me i have never seen

i know i have a myriad of choices at any moment

i know i have a portal to the possible

 

i know i have to practice authenticity in everything

i know i have to share everything, EVERYthing, somehow

i know i have my own standards and I have to keep creating and honoring them

i know i have to stop censoring my feelings and share authentically

i know i have to reach out when I think I am alone

i know i have help

i know i have to vocalize my desires

i know i have to let myself grieve for all of us

 

i know i have strength in other women

i know i have ancestors helping me

i know that i have ancestors watching and claiming it as good

i know i have their wisdom all around me

i know that all is well and everything is working out for my highest good

i know i have safety and desire to give it to those who do not.

i know i have the transformative power of anger

i know i have things they call flaws and I have to call them beauty

i know that i have to live consciously

i know i have FOMO yet need to honor the space that is meditative and healing

i know i have the power of presence

i know that there is a time for all things, now is my time for me to make my voice heard

i know i have real power and that makes the patriarchy afraid

i know i have the power to make worlds i’ve not imagined yet (because i know i have us)

i know i have the powerful love of the matriarchs before me

i know i have wisdom to share with my daughters if I choose to sit still long enough

i know i have the ability to continually develop compassion for myself and others

i know i have to open in order for them to open

i know i have to love my mother better if i want to love myself better

i know i have to leverage my freedom in honor of her

i know i have to trust that my mother and my grandmother’s freedom is as real a possibility as my own

i know that seeking my freedom will in many ways give them permission to seek their own

i know that what is for me will be mine as long as i continue moving to make it so

 

i know i have been here before

i know i have been changed

i know i have a soul full of purpose

i know i have to let myself begin

i know i have been chosen

i know i have what it takes

i know i have us, the future we

i know i have to trust us

i know i have to write it

i know i have to do it

i know i have to live it

i know i have to follow through with it

 

i know that we were all specially designed to be here in this moment

i know i am complete and that feels real, especially tonight.

i know i have co-created something real out of the previously unspoken with y’all

i know everything will be OK because there are such intelligent and deep women here who are the next generation

i know i have never thought of daughtering as so powerful and important before tonight

i know that each of you have something really special to share and that i am changed by this knowing

i know that i am thankful to be here with you all

i know i have to do this more often!

i know i have learned so much from my sister-daughters here tonight

i know that we are the ones that we have been waiting for

Sister is a Verb: An Online Intensive for Revolutionary Collaborators

tumblr_inline_nebbtdvlu11rfds44November 21-22nd 12pm-3pm Eastern

Building on the success of the 2013 Brilliance Remastered Sistorian Webinar and drawing on the intellectual work of Cheryll Greene, Farah Jasmine Griffin, Toni Cade Bambara, Hortense Spillers, Phillis Wheatley and Assata Shakur, the Sister is A Verb Intensive is a space for revolutionary collaborators to clarify and nourish a lifetime of intimate, transformative, capitalism-ending action.

Through two days of collaborative writing, facilitated reflection and sacred black feminist text activation, we will explore the challenges of our existing sistering contexts, deconstruct and reconstruct our definitions of sistering and investigate the possibility of being sisters through a shared chosen intellectual and activist lineage.  This intensive is open to people of any identification who are committed to the possibility of sistering in a black feminist revolutionary context.

Reserve your spot with a $50 deposit here:

and email brillianceremastered@gmail.com with a description of your hopes, dreams and intentions for the course by November 19th.  The prices for the entire intensive is $120-$200 and every imaginable payment plan is available.  Just let me know.

 

Kakuya Collective: A Visionary Daughtering Webinar

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Tuesday Nov. 15, 2016  6pm Eastern

Register here:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-kakuya-collective-visionary-daughtering-tickets-29081078288

They wanted Assata Shakur to spend the rest of her life in jail.  And Assata herself didn’t see any way out.  Her daughter Kakuya was of a different opinion.  Barely more than a toddler, Kakuya expressed her outrage at her mother’s imprisonment and her belief in her mother’s power.  “You don’t have to stay in prison.  You just want to stay in here,” she screamed.  According to Assata Shakur in her autobiography, this was the determining factor in her decision to escape prison.   And Kakuya won.  Thanks to a coalition of brave freedom fighters Assata Shakur escaped prison and eventually moved to Cuba where she and Kakuya could be together.

How often do we think about the fact that one of the rare success stories of the Black Liberation Army or of the effective escape of a political prisoner is at it’s heart a story of black mother/daughter rage and love?  This webinar is for self-identified visionary daughters who are committed to the freedom of their mothers.  Sometimes the freedom we see for our mothers is beyond the freedom they have imagined for themselves.  Sometimes the freedom we seek in honor of our mothers is happening after our mothers have left this plane.  Sometimes the freedom we are asking of our mothers is in service of our own impossible freedom.

Sista Docta Lex has created an online session specifically for visionary daughters based on Assata’s description of her daughter’s anger and the first interview with Assata Shakur after reuniting with Kakuya in Cuba, which was published by Lex’s mentor and chosen Cheryll Greene in Essence Magazine.

This session is for anyone who identifies as a visionary daughter (regardless of gender or background) and will be a participatory space that will draw on our ability to support each other with the collective power of visonary daughters.

*Gratitude to artist, librarian, healer Ola Ronke for sharing this beautiful photo of Assata and Kakuya via social media.

Free to Be Anywhere: Bereavement and Black Boundlessness

img_20161021_100941“Now here I am, and there I am, and all I am, free to be anywhere at all in the universe.”

-Toni Cade Bambara, The Salt Eaters

A couple of weeks or so ago I said the universe speaks to me in death.  I was talking about the death of the brilliant Gloria Naylor whose writing has had a major impact on my work.  I was processing the death of my grandfather who died a few days before she did.   Gloria Naylor’s first book was published the year I was born.  She died exactly one month before the release date of my first book.   This week, as I continued my process of rereading Gloria Naylor’s books and tried to write poems about my grandfather, my father died.  I didn’t know what I knew.  Can that be true?  What I should say is that words are as powerful as they have always been.  And it’s a power greater what I can understand in any given moment.   To honor Gloria Naylor I have been in the process of designing the Black Boundlessness Intensive which begins on Monday.   It doesn’t feel like mere coincidence to me that just at the time where my heart is breaking and suturing itself again, when I am screaming and crying and vomiting, when I am laughing and rejoicing and remembering.  Just at the time that I am grappling with how to relate to my father, who has left behind the boundary of his body…I am also sitting here crafting word portals for us to access black boundlessness, time travel and space ellision.

Black Boundlessness.  How can it not feel like abandonment?  In a society that seeks to constrict and constrain and contain black bodies forcefully and unrelentingly, what have I learned?  How can I not resent my father for his freedom to be anywhere at all in the universe?  How can I understand and honor his lifetime of imperfect but lasting attempts to somehow be with me?  In Bailey’s Cafe, which I am rereading right now, Gloria Naylor works with the distinction between the edge of the world and the end of the world.  They are close.  I can feel how close they are right now.   Here, where it hurts to breathe through tears.  Here, where I have no appetite.   My father’s illness and death line up with systemic racism, what Ruthie Gilmore explains as the production of early death for black people.   A cruel pattern in our health system (can we call it that? a health system?) where most Black men don’t know they have prostate cancer until it has spread far beyond the prostate.  Where the type of testing that could cause early detection isn’t usually covered by insurance, and where my father didn’t have health insurance for decades.  When he was finally covered by the affordable care act, there was cancer in his bones.

My father, who used to dance awkwardly and often to all the music of the Caribbean, was limited to a hospital bed.  And like countless physically disabled people he used his computer and his phone to still be everywhere.  Truth be told, even when he could still walk he spent more time on facebook than anyone his age I know.   He used poems dedicated to loved ones and to strangers as an intentional practice of attempting to move beyond his own body, beyond his own history into someone else’s experience. Interestingly enough, he still ended up writing about systemic racism and sexism in almost all of those poems.  Not that long ago, as he explained to me the relationship between a poem he wrote for me and a poem he wrote for my grandmother, my father explained that he thought of life as a cosmic dance floor.  Earth was a very small part of it.  All of our energies, the living now and the living ever were dancing, improvising, responding to each other’s movements.  In the picture at the top of this post I am holding my father’s hands on a literal dance floor.  And now what was his body is ash and dust and I am responding to spirit.  This is a difficult and strenuous part of the dance, black embodiment, palpable loss.  And a worthwhile one.   So I am continuing to design the course.  I am qualified to design this course, in which I am also a student.  And I am offering praise and gratitude to one of my most important teachers.

*Free to Be Anywhere also refers to the title my cherished mentor Farah Jasmine Griffin’s 1996 essay “Toni Cade Bambara.  Free to Be Anywhere in the Universe.”  The way she honors her father in her work on Toni Cade Bambara, and in general, guides me.

 

Even Now: Beyond Optimism at the End of the World

lucille_clifton-collage-300rezLucille Clifton has a poem about “the feels everything woman.”  Quiet as it’s kept, that’s me.  I am feeling revulsion and outrage that people within and alongside of my communities are aligning themselves with explicit racism and sexism.  I am profoundly triggered by the many people in and alongside of my communities who are actively protecting and justifying rape culture. I am devastated by the profound betrayal of our planet that our entire species has enacted evidenced by the announcement that the Great Barrier Reef like most of the coral on our planet is dying.   All of the healing work that I have done, all of the rigorous work that my community has supported me to do, to move past my numbness, to live beyond my coping mechanisms and to live in my body instead of only in my brain means I have no where to run.  I am part of all of these communities.  I am connected to this planet.  I feel everything.  And today feels especially apocalyptic.

Lucille Clifton is one of the prophets that I reach for at times like this.  Clifton did not sugar coat anything.  Not child sexual abuse, not racism, not sexism, not dialysis, not cancer, nothing.  And she has a group of poems called “Message from the Ones” which we reviewed in last month’s Soul Talk: Legacies of Black Feminist Magic intensive where she hear very clearly, in the 70’s no less.  That humans are no favorite child of the universe.  That this world is not the only world.  That we will one day drink the poison that we release onto the planet. That we cannot hurt anyone here without hurting ourselves. That if we are intent on destroying ourselves the universe will not stop us.  And yet.  That same reality, the humbling reality that human beings are neither the center nor the pinnacle nor even a middling example of what life actually is, devastates and liberates in the same moment.  What if all the selfish, scarce, fear-based, divisive, harmful things we do to protect our fragile human sense of who think we are lose their illusion of value.  What if it’s not even about us.   What if there is, as Clifton suggests, a limit to what we can destroy.  And that’s ourselves.  I don’t know about you, but today is a good day for my ego to die. Today is a good day to listen for possibilities beyond what I think I can do.

Towards the end of her series of poems Clifton offers:

“there is a star

more distant

than eden

something there

is even now

preparing”

the historical “even now” that Clifton was talking about was the end of the 1970’s the horrifying time (before I was born) when Ronald Reagan rose to be president.  When corporations got free reign to abandon workers and to pollute and extract everything from the planet.  When the United States used it’s military and local police power to target and destroy revolutionaries of color around the planet.  In Grenada, Nicaragua, Greensboro and more.  When technological resources were focused on making Nuclear war more possible more quickly.   And we need the perspective Clifton offered ESPECIALLY NOW. At least I do.

This is the poem that we, as participants in the Soul Talk Webinar created for this moment of presence and preparation.  May it sustain you.  Release you.  Transform you.  I am strong enough to feel everything if part of everything is loving you.   If you want to participate in the next Brilliance Remastered online intensive (next week) check it out here.

With love and all the feelings.  Even now,

Sista Docta Lex

 

even now

 

by the participants in the Soul Talk: Legacies of Black Feminist Magic Intensive

 

“there is a star

more distant

than eden

something there

is even now

preparing”

 

-Lucille Clifton “Message from the Ones”

 

even now spirit is speaking

even now black women love themselves

even now we create freedom

even now we gather for mutual healing

even now the moon can hear us

 

even now stars are birthing darkness

even now darkness is birthing stars

even now the alchemists are busy

even now, god still looks out and calls it good

even now there is plenty of time

 

even now we are activating our purpose

even now we dance and shake loose our chains

even now we cry without shame or apology

even now we laugh without abandon

even now love finds everyone

 

even now our spirits flow between planes

even now we dream in real time

even still we are our ancestor’s living dream

even now we must dream of future generations

even now as it’s scary to do

 

even now we embrace the resilience of the young

even now we are invested in our own healing

even now there’s prayer in every breath

even now we listen to the frequency of hope

even now the song is uploading

 

even now I am visible

even now I have my own story

even now I am still standing

even now the ocean rises to meet me

even now this blessed body arches toward love

 

even now we create beloved community

even now I take the risks to expose oppression

even now the Cherokee ancestors are proud of us

even now the birds understand

even now the moonlight shines on us all

 

even now I breathe in the scent before it rains

even now we are the sweetness of honey

even now sweetness sustains us

even now our capacity for love is growing

 

even now the universe calls to us “yes!”

 

Black Blessings (Practical Magic from the Soul Talk Intensive)

sonia_sanchez-collage-150rezThe recent Soul Talk: Legacies of Black Feminist Magic Intensive was the blessing I needed I as navigated hospitals and funerals at a powerful moment of transition for my families chosen and given.  In conversation with Akasha Gloria Hull’s Soul Talk and Sonia Sanchez’s 1982 play “I’m Black When I’m Singing, I’m Blue When I Ain’t” we used words, sound and movement to get at our breakthroughs, our powers, our areas of necessary growth and connection.  We were honest about the pain of what we have witnessed and are witnessing at this time and together we transmuted that pain into clarity of vision for what we are part of creating.  We worked through the differences between what fear teaches us to say about ourselves and our people and the spells we need for the presence and future we deserve. We exuberantly hailed the emergent revolutions of our lives with a loud black “I SEE YOU!!!!”  Most importantly, we witnessed each other without judgement and blessed each other with black generosity and grace.   Together, inspired by Sonia Sanchez and Toni Cade Bambara, we created this invocation of Black Blessings. Use it.  I am using it to send light to the spirt of our sudden new ancestor Gloria Naylor (join me tomorrow online at  Place: A Homegoing Ritual for Gloria Naylor if you want to partake in that blessing process).     I recommend speaking these blessings out loud.  Use it to reclaim your workspace.  Use to reset the energy in your home.  Use it call and response style with your comrades at the beginning or end of your next session.  Use it some other way and let us know about it!

Black Blessings

 

by the participants in Soul Talk: Legacies of Black Feminist Magic

 

“I will rock you in blackness so you will grow to love yourself.”

-Sonia Sanchez (in the play “I’m Black When I’m Singing, I’m Blue When I Ain’t”)

 

“Black Blessings” (at the end of letters to Octavia Butler, June Jordan and other black feminist writers)

-Toni Cade Bambara

 

black blessings

ancestral magic

black blessings

resilient spirit

black blessings

queer abundance

black blessings

collective brilliance

black blessings

prismatic expressions

black blessings

heart connection

black blessings

willing hands

black blessings

nurtured pathways

black blessings

infinite journey

black blessings

alchemic expansion

black blessings

observant historians

black blessings

collective victories

black blessings

open faith

black blessings

writing transcending

black blessings

passing down wisdom

black blessings

foundational rhythm

black blessings

community dance

black blessings

breathful joy

black blessings

the telling of our stories

black blessings

piercing insights

black blessings

embodied memory

black blessings

hurt unearthed

black blessings

harmers apologizing

black blessings

lovers holding

black blessings

queer safety

black blessings

possibilities opening

black blessings

flamboyant universe

black blessings

tended love

black blessings

wild babies

black blessings

welcome ancestors

black blessings

emanating energy

black blessings

unstoppable laughter

black blessings

black blessings

black blessings

 

Homemade Field of Love: Redefining Kinship

Fannie Lou Hamer photo by Louis Draper

Fannie Lou Hamer
photo by Louis Draper

Homemade Field of Love: Redefining Kinship Intensive

October 20+21, 2016  3pm-6pm Eastern

In honor of the (re)birthday month of Fannie Lou Hamer (and just in time for the time of year where navigating chosen family and family of origin gets real) this intensive draws on Sista Docta Lex’s research in Fannie Lou Hamer’s archival papers as a resource and precedent for movement mothering, revolutionary kinship and unstoppable love.  Fannie Lou Hamer, a survivor of a pattern of coercive sterilization against poor black women, practiced mothering without permission.  We will work with artifacts from Fannie Lou Hamer’s organizing and correspondence, family materials,  unpublished tributes to her after her death and the case-study of her mothering and mentorship of June Jordan as primary texts for our own exploration of intentional kinship.  This intensive is for anyone who believes that love beyond biology and the law is a revolutionary imperative in their life.

Registration is limited.  Reserve your space with a $50 deposit here:

registration for the whole intensive is sliding scale $185-250.  (Installment payments available upon request.) Email brillianceremastered@gmail.com and let me know your goals for the course by October 18th.

Place and Social Space: In Memory of Gloria Naylor

naylor2In response to the unexpected death of crucial author and thinker Gloria Naylor due to heart failure, Brilliance Remastered is offering a special series on her work in the month of October.  This is a guided opportunity to reread some of Naylor’s work or to learn about her work before engaging it for the first time.

Place: A Homegoing Ritual for Gloria Naylor  Thursday Oct. 13th 6pm-8pm Eastern

Best known for creating interconnected ecologies of Black life including the intersectional urban community of Brewster Place, the surburban sacrificial scene of Linden Hills, the time travel enabled landscapes of Mama Day’s sea islands and Bailey’s timeless Cafe, Gloria Naylor has now taken her place among the literary ancestors.  This one-night session will draw on Naylor’s enduring works as we (all of us who have benefited and continue to benefit from the black women’s literary renaissance of the 20th century) to lift Naylor’s spirit into an elevated space and to clarify our own relationship to our place in black communities at this time.  All are welcome.

Register here.

Revolutionary Class Suicide: Linden Hills  Monday Oct 17, 12pm-2pm Eastern

In 1985, just as the beneficiaries of the first Affirmative Action generation were having children (Sista Docta Lex is one of those children) Gloria Naylor had the nerve to write about Black surburbia, and the hard-won homes and gardens of a new Black professional class, as hell, through the structure of Dante’s Inferno.   This is a one-day seminar for those of us who have with our own lives, killed the dream of a certain form of Black middle and upper-middle class respectability.   I first heard the term “class suicide” from the college-educated daughter of college-educated professionals who chose to use her educational and class privilege in service of a social justice movement that does not provide the relative financial stability she could have potentially accessed.   This seminar activates Gloria Naylor’s brave work about the costs of assimilation into the American dream as a resource for those of us who dream and live otherwise.  This webinar is healing and transformative space specifically for black folks. 

Register here.

The Black Boundlessness Intensive:  Monday Oct 24-Tuesday Oct 25 3pm-6pm Eastern

Drawing primarily on Gloria Naylor’s Mama Day and Bailey’s Cafe, this intensive activates land memory and time travel as crucial resources for contemporary Black life and operationalizes Naylor’s magical realist, speculative historical work as a basis to inquire about how we remember, how we time travel, we we become unwound and how to get unbound.   Participants do not have to have already read Mama Day and Bailey’s Cafe (though you will definitely want to once we are done!).   Come to this intensive ready to interrogate your own boundaries, remember the storms that precede you and clear out the back alleys of your spirit.  This intensive is specifically for black folks. 

Registration is limited.  Reserve your space with a $50 deposit here:

registration for the whole intensive is sliding scale $150-225.  (Installment payments available upon request.) Email brillianceremastered@gmail.com and let me know your goals for the course by October 20th.

Revolutionary Class Suicide: Linden Hills

6636424-m  Monday Oct 17, 12pm-2pm Eastern

Register here.

In 1985, just as the beneficiaries of the first Affirmative Action generation were having children (Sista Docta Lex is one of those children) Gloria Naylor had the nerve to write about Black surburbia, and the hard-won homes and gardens of a new Black professional class, as hell, through the structure of Dante’s Inferno.   This is a one-day seminar for those of us who have with our own lives, killed the dream of a certain form of Black middle and upper-middle class respectability.   I first heard the term “class suicide” from the college-educated daughter of college-educated professionals who chose to use her educational and class privilege in service of a social justice movement that does not provide the relative financial stability she could have potentially accessed.   This seminar also takes seriously (as does Naylor’s text) the reality of literal suicide within the Black middle class. This seminar activates Gloria Naylor’s brave work about the costs of assimilation into the American dream as a resource for those of us who dream and live otherwise.  This webinar is a healing and transformative space specifically for black folks. 

Register here.