We are The Blaq Agenda and we’re reporting live from an intergalactic vibration to help you kickstart your new year with 2020 vision. For those of you new to the way we get down, TBA is a social experiment rooted in the radical examination and indexing of Black queerness facilitated by Mycall Akeem Riley, Felton Kizer, and Elijah McKinnon. We exist on a spectrum of Blackness and queerness that has brought us together to remind our fellow non-binary baddies and beautifully-melanated siblings that they are extraordinary. Today, each of us has a confession to make, so fasten your seat belt as we travel to a land of decolorized pleasure.
A new decade is upon us. It is no longer acceptable (nor necessary) to carry around colonized pleasures that have been passed down to Black, queer, trans, femme, differently-abled, and/or phat communities. Supremacy culture has conditioned us to believe that marginalized folks’ desire spectrums only exist to attract and pleasure the white, cis-het gaze – and we’re here to tell you what happened when we challenged ourselves to unlearn these toxic patterns.
1. I read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me three times and sat with this text until I transcended:
“You are growing into consciousness, and my wish for you is that you feel no need to constrict yourself to make other people comfortable.”
― Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me
2. I reframed from perpetuating silly, yet harmful prejudices against Black men and masc-of-center individuals such as “Black men aren’t attracted to me” or “Black men are aggressive”, and, my personal favorite, “Black men can’t commit”.
3. I took a year off from intimate relationships until I was able to connect with and unlearn the parts of myself that were insecure. After that, I reemerged as a full-on heaux, exclusively to Black queer folk (and life has been grand ever since).
4. I read books and watched films that better demonstrated the power of Black queer intimacy as a form of radical transcendence and political resistance.
Books: Just Above My Head by James Baldwin, Pleasure Activism by Adrienne Brown, and Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde. Films: Brother Outsider, Anthem, Portrait of Jason, Naz & Maalik, and Looking for Langston.
5. I reminded myself (and continue to do so) that whiteness is the product of supremacy culture and systems specifically designed to erase the decades of joy, imagination, liberation, passion, and wisdom that my Black ass, queer ass, femme ass body carries — and we just can’t have that!!
1. Understand that deconstructing desire & desirability is for many (and you, too, beloved) the final frontier. It is HARD but ultimately incredibly rewarding work.
2. You’re not alone! There are others who have worked through this. Revisit the works of others: Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, Alice Walker, Mia Mingus, and ADRIANNE MAREE BROWN alllllll engaged in this. Get comfy in their words.
3. Decolonizing is a life-long process. You can’t do it quickly. No cheat codes provided. Sorry, not sorry.
4. Get a decolonizing desire journal. Make note of every time you lean back into the hegemony (truly, that yt gay with the cool nose ring isn’t that cute) AND every time you resist. Celebrate your growth and honor your areas of concern.
5. Let’s get messy. James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Bayard Rustin, and many other Black queer heavy-hitters of the past also dated white folks. I don’t share this to say that dating white people isn’t something to note (it is). I remind you of this because desire is complicated and humanizing heroes allows for a dismantling of pedestal culture. They weren’t perfect and you sure as hell aren’t either.
6. Keep that critical lens on! Are the spaces you frequent, which claim to follow a queer policy, only safe for white cis-het gays? Are there only masculine-of-center “fit”, able-bodied bodies at the sex party? If the answer is yes (and it probably is) the next step is a dialogue with promoters, curators, etc. to make the party more inclusive. Don’t shrug it off as, “Well, that’s how it always is” or “There’s nothing I can do about it” – because you can.
7. Decolonizing desire is more than not dating white folk. Think through all the hegemonic markers we’ve been programmed to center.
8. TALK IT OUT. Journaling and self-reflection are paramount but, finding a community who you can discuss these things with makes this complicated, life-long process a lot more enjoyable.
1. Having sex with white men gave me a taste of privilege. I held onto their bodies, hoping to use them as human shields.
2. I never considered my attraction to whiteness as anything other than ”attraction” – colonization never crossed my mind.
3. I used to tell myself that “Black men didn’t like me because____”. In reality, one Black man doesn’t represent all men. We are not monolithic.
4. I preferred to “top” white men because I felt as though they were “softer” and more “submissive”.
5. I stopped swiping right on white men.
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