Bright Black Broadcast #2: Sojourner Truth

Thursday Nov. 20th at 7pm Eastern Time

Screen shot 2014-10-31 at 8.38.15 PMThe Brilliance Remastered Bright Black Broadcast Series is an opportunity for contemporary black intellectuals to glean lessons from black intellectuals during the era of US enslavement.  Anti-blackness and structures of exploitation continue to impact the lives of black intellectuals in the United States.  With guest experts, poetic activities and archival information the intellectuals gathered will support each other in imagining intellectual freedom in our time.


Broadcast #2 is dedicated to Sojourner Truth arguably the first black public intellectual in the United States.  We will look at Truth’s practices as an itinerant intellectual, an artist and a thinker actively working to end slavery and live free as an inspiration and a guide for how contemporary intellectuals can navigate speaking out, survival, sustenance and (not) being for sale in an information economy.


Bright Black Broadcast #1: Benjamin Banneker

BannekerThe Brilliance Remastered Bright Black Broadcast Series is an opportunity for contemporary black intellectuals to glean lessons from black intellectuals during the era of US enslavement.  Anti-blackness and structures of exploitation continue to impact the lives of black intellectuals in the United States.  With guest experts, poetic activities and archival information the intellectuals gathered will support each other in imagining intellectual freedom in our time.

Broadcast #1 is in honor of Benjamin Banneker and occurs the week of his birthday.  Looking Banneker’s mathematical, poetic and astronomical work as an oracle for freedom now, this broadcast will invite participants to map the stars differently and claim the power of a bright black universe.

There are 8 spots for live participation.  You can participate in one session or the whole series. Reserve your spot for session #1 on eventbrite here:


The Quality of Light: Brilliance Remastered Webinar Participants Pursuing Magic!

wingsoflifeLast night 21 people called or logged into the Brilliance Remastered informational webinar The Quality of Light: The Poetics of Entering Graduate School.  We had a great conversation about:

  • remembering our purposes for going to graduate school and our accountability to the communities we love
  • the steps to identifying an intellectual community you WANT to be part of for the next phase of your life
  • distinguishing your application from the record number of applications graduate schools are receiving this cycle

This group poem reflects the values and priorities of this wave of community accountable intellectuals that participated on the call who are committed to accessing their intuition and remembering what their lives are about while making the many small and significant decisions that surround applying to graduate school.

The Quality of Light

 By the participants in the Quality of Light Webinar on the Poetics of Entering Graduate School

“The quality of light by which we scrutinize our lives has direct bearing upon the product which we live, and upon the changes which we hope to bring about through those lives.   It is within this light that we form those ideas by which we pursue our magic and make it realized.”

-Audre Lorde “Poetry is Not a Luxury”


the quality of magic, community, power, fire and voice

the quality of rootedness

the quality of healing myself, my beloved families, my ancestors, my children

the quality self-care, loving kindness and joy

the quality of meaning-making transformation and happiness

the quality of intersection, overlap, partnership and collaboration

the quality of community intentionality and presence

the quality of broken bread

the quality of words exchanged and silence shared

the quality of connection to those whose lives I reflect and the life I see given back to me

the quality of defining your own worth and deepening yr magic

the quality of my analysis and my growth and my respect for my ancestors

the quality of so much LOVE getting to share community and life with brilliant women of color!


*If you missed this webinar and you want some advice about your process of applying to graduate school this winter feel free to sign up for virtual office hours or check out the Belly Blessing PhDoula offerings for personal statements and writing samples!



uh huh: enduring affirmations from the Spill Webinar Participants


Last week’s Brilliance Remastered Webinar (the Spill Intensive) was miraculous.   We investigated our long-held narratives, decisions we had outgrown, and systems of oppression we had internalized and addressed them on intellectual, creative, and on the deep level of what Audre Lorde calls the “non-european consciousness” (sometimes also known as the subconscious).  We also found enduring affirmations, core sources of inspiration and boundless power in our spiritual and community-activated practices and beliefs.  I am so excited about the intellectual lives these brave visionaries are living and I am honored beyond words to be part of what sustains their work!   Really I don’t want this intensive to be over, but the praise dance of what it felt like is staying with me always!  This last collective poem of the Spill Intensive outflow includes the realness we are taking with us into the future and the ancestral chorus says uh huh!!!

uh huh

enduring affirmations from the Spill Webinar Participants


daily practicing of heart attunement

(uh huh)  (uh huh)  (uh huh)

listening to what love demands

(be still)  (be still)  (and know)

my heart is open and speaking

(yes) (yes) (yes)

gardenias in the hands of my grandma

(alright) (uh huh) (enough)

our boundless creative life force

(uh huh) (amen) (ashe)

i am enough. we are enough

(amen) (ashe) (say that!)

sistering is on purpose!

(mmhmm) (uh huh) (oh yeah)

directed by desire!

(amen) (ashe) (all the way)

water and wishes everywhere

(uh huh) (that’s right) (that’s right)

dancing the freedom into being

(mmhmm) (uh huh)  (ooowee)

soul stirring songs in my heart

(uh huh)  (that’s right) (amen)

full belly breathing

(uh huh) (uh huh) (at last)

when we laugh we laugh all over

(oh yes) (oh yes) (oh yes)

alive all the way through my cheekbones

(YASS!) (uh huh) (that’s right)

Fannie Lou’s courage in my mouth

(uh huh) (amen) (amen)

joy in my hair follicles, bliss in my pinky toe

(that’s right) (that’s right) (uh huh)

letting this animal body loves what it loves

(mmhmm)  (uh huh)  (all day)

remembering that we are stardust and using that magic moment by moment

(again) (again) (again)

conspiring with the ancestors to let the writing flow

(amen)  (ashe)  (do that!)

the embers of houses built on fear burned to the ground

(yup) (yup) (yup)

miracles and magic in the mundane

(uh huh) (alright) (okay)

love is the ultimate lifeforce

(amen) (uh huh) (ashe)

Why Be Content?: Divine Discontent from the Spill Webinar Participants

20849_1600x1200-wallpaper-cb1275419114Last night the Brilliance Remastered Spill Webinar participants let it all go, decided how we wanted to feel, and invited divine guides to lead us on our way.   One thing is for sure, we are not settling or half-stepping in this lifetime!

Why be content?

Divine discontent from the Spill Webinar Participants

After Hortense Spillers: “Why be content with the lightning bug, when you can have the lightning?” (“Ellison’s Usable Past, 65)


why be content sometimes when you can have always?!?!?


why be content with fear when you can be free?

why be content with critiquing when you can create?

why be content with vagaries when you can have vision?


why be content with promotion when you can have possibilities?

why be content with colleagues when you can have community?

why be content with jumping through the hoops when you can live your LIFE?


why be content with time management when you can have eternity?

why be content with interns when you can have intuitive alignment!

why be content with costumes when you can have closeness?


why be content with the answers when you can have the sweet taste of endless mystery?

why be content with advances when you can be a prophet?


why be content with labels when you can have spirit?

why be content with borders when you can have life?


why be content with habits when you can have healing?


P.S.  To read/hear Alexis read the “Why Be Content with the Lightning Bug When You Can Have the Lightning” excerpt of the Spill manuscript in process check out the queer issue of As Us:

How I Got Ovah: Future Memoirs by the Spill Intensive Participants

Screen shot 2014-09-02 at 10.04.22 AMLast night the Spill Webinar participants, shared dreams, got embodied, mapped strategic decisions (and others) and stomped three times hard enough to unshackle somebody.  This poem is made up of the titles of memoirs that we will be able to write based on the changes we are making in our lives right now.   Brilliance Remastered. Forthcoming :)


How I Got Ovah

Future Memoirs of the Spill Webinar Participants

(with gratitude to Carolyn Rodgers, Melvin Dixon, Essex Hemphill, Joseph Beamand more!)


How I Turned Excellence Into Excess

How I Said Yes When the Universe Asked Me to Dance

How I Got My Life in the Life

How I Stopped Proving My Genius to White People (co-authored with Phillis Wheatley)

How I Started an Organization to Save My Own Life and Yours

How I Made Family Through Radical Intellectual Conversation

How I Made a House a Queer Home

How I Let the Ancestors Dance Forever

How I Brought Mindfulness to Writing

How I Created Space for Intergenerational Healing

How I Let a Love Blossoming Through Tumblr Change My Life

How I Learned to Sing Like Fannie Lou Hamer

How I Learned to Be the Value of My Time

How I Became Present for the Broadness of My Vision

How I Got Ovah



Turning Paper into Food: Alchemy from the Spill Webinar Participants!

Screen shot 2014-10-22 at 6.39.59 AM
Last night Brilliance Remastered‘s Spill Webinar for sustainable strategies to build an intellectual life that exceeds the boundaries of the academic industrial complex continued. We worked with our dreams (as in intentions) and our dreams (as in the layered picture show that happens while we are asleep) as resources informing each other.  We looked at what is at stake ancestrally in the way we structure our intellectual lives.  We claimed our power as alchemists to turn what we have into what we need by bringing our transformative questions to the table.   This is the poem that we created together to describe the changes we are here to see through to reality.

turning paper into food

by the participants in the Spill Webinar


how do we turn fear into love?

how do we turn worry into wishes?

how do we turn attention into attunement?


how do we turn hope into happiness?

how do we turn concern into courage?

how do we turn care into creativity?


how do we turn today into a portal?

how do we turn our bodies into magic?

how do we turn shame into a wholehearted embrace?

how do we turn walls into bridges?


how do we turn thought into action?

how do we turn caterpillars into butterflies?

how do we turn promises into pages?

how do we turn bravery into blessings?


how do we turn fixity into movement?

how do we turn jobs into journeys?

how do we turn one into we?


how do we turn the ocean into words?

how do we turn words into the ocean?


how do we turn markets into communities of accountability?

how do we turn gatekeepers into prophets?


how do we turn training into underground railroad stations?

how do we turn survival into a promise?


how do we turn proof into possibility?

how do we turn righting into writing?

how do we turn teaching into truth telling?


how do we turn interventions into invitations?

how do we turn novelty into knowing?

how do we turn talking into drumcall beating hearts?


how do we turn boxes into breathing?

how do we turn birth into being?


*note: if you be asking yourself these same questions…you must be a Brilliance Remastered kindred spirit.  Put yourself on the email list right here.


My Best Idea Yet: Quirky Conceptions from the Spill Webinar Participants

Screen shot 2014-10-21 at 6.32.22 AMLast night was the first session of Brilliance Remastered’s newest and most experimental webinar intensive: SPILL.  We experimented with sinking in, visualizing what we are immersed in, releasing, remembering the ground, examining lit candles that have already burned out on altars to our fears and more!   The participants in the Spill webinar are going deep together and designing alternative intellectual projects and they are bringing along what Audre Lorde calls “the non-european consciousness” (some other people call it the subconscious mind) to transform everything.   All of the activities in the Spill Webinar are based on an oracle text of freedom scenes I wrote, drawn from Hortense Spillers’ asides in the crucial literary critical text Black, White and In Color.  Our closing group poem last night draws on the phrase “quirkiness of conception” from her introduction to her enduring book of essays.   What if you were having your best idea yet all day long?

quirkiness of conception

(excerpt from Spill by Alexis Pauline Gumbs)

the first time i thought of you, you were swimming, towards you, through me.  first time i thought i was drowning in a world that needed you in it or it would disappear. first time i knew you existed the rest of the history of the world popped like a bubble unready unworthy and my body wanted only future, only you.   the first time i felt you move we were deep underwater under something built to keep us under and i couldn’t see anything but i understood there was something above everything.  above everything despite everything i would find fresh air and breathe again.  above everything despite everything i would free you.  my best idea yet.

my best idea yet

by the participants in the Spill Webinar


waking up when i wake up, my best idea yet

letting happiness lead, my best idea yet

daring to hope, my best idea yet

curious my best idea yet

seeking spirit guidance, my best idea yet

believing in believing, my best idea yet

experimenting with being present, my best idea yet


loving this being, my best idea yet

appreciating being alive and in this body, my best idea yet

listening to my body, my best idea yet

full belly breathing, my best idea yet

being well, my best idea yet


sitting on the floor, my best idea yet

dancing, my best idea yet

praying before responding to emails about money, my best idea yet

listening to the whispers of ancestors, my best idea yet

choosing, my best idea yet


touching the water, my best idea yet

hugging my loved ones, my best idea yet

nurturing intimacy, my best idea yet

allowing myself to be understood or mysterious my best idea yet

honoring my brilliance and everyone else’s my best idea yet

surrendering to the creative processes, my best idea yet


writing what I want to write, my best idea yet

teaching who I want to teach, my best idea yet

learning, still, my best idea yet

cultivating my ability to stay if i want to, my best idea yet

leaving if I want to, my best idea yet


making time for pleasure, my best idea yet

going to sleep when I am tired, my best idea yet

Quality of Light Webinar: The Poetics of Entering Graduate School

Photo 80

“The quality of light by which we scrutinize our lives has direct bearing upon the product which we live, and upon the changes which we hope to bring about through those lives.”

― Audre Lorde

7pm Weds Oct 29th

This is an informational webinar with Alexis Pauline Gumbs especially for people who are applying or considering applying to graduate school THIS WINTER.   Our conversation will include the crucial aspects of:

  • remembering your purpose for going to graduate school and your accountability to the communities you love
  • distinguishing YOUR application from the record number of applications graduate schools are receiving this cycle
  • the steps to identifying an intellectual community you WANT to be part of for the next phase of your life

Reserve your spot for free or with a donation here:

Sista Docta Alexis Pauline Gumbs was admitted to several of the best graduate programs in her field with full funding.   She chose to get her PhD in English with certificates in African and African American Studies and Women and Gender Studies from Duke University.  She was able to deepen her relationship to the intellectual traditions that informed her and the communities that created her during her time in graduate school by fostering meaningful and supportive relationships with her faculty mentors, student colleagues and local community.   Today, she balances writing influential  intellectual work on black feminism and Caribbean women’s writing with public scholarship and the ongoing creation of her own intergenerational and intergalactic educational initiatives Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind and The Mobile Homecoming Project.

The Spill Intensive: Exceeding the Boundaries of the University System (October 20-24)

The Spill Intensive: Sustainable Strategies for Exceeding the Boundaries of the Academic Industrial Complex   Webinar October 20th-24th 9pm EST

Rodney Ewing, My Country Needs Me by Hortense Spillers
Rodney Ewing, My Country Needs Me by Hortense Spillers

Coming out of the insights of the recent Shape of My Impact back to school webinar, The Spill Intensive is an experimental space for those visionaries who want to honor the ways their inspiration, spiritual imperatives and accountability to oppressed communities EXCEED the boundaries of the University system.

Using an innovative curriculum based on Sista Docta Alexis Pauline’s decade of work on the brilliant excess of the language practice of black feminist literary critic Hortense Spillers, the Spill Intensive invites 9 webinar participants to

  • inhabit scenes of stolen freedom
  • interrogate internalized capitalist default practices
  • and activate practices that make tangible space in our lives and in the world for the unruly brilliance that our ancestors and our communities demand!

The intensive will meet online every night for 1 hour and 30 minutes at 9pm EST Oct 20th-24th. Fee: $200  Reserve your spot with an email to explaining what you hope to get out of the course and your $50 deposit: