Author: The Tenth

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][ultimate_spacer height="90" height_on_tabs="50" height_on_tabs_portrait="50" height_on_mob_landscape="50" height_on_mob="50"][vc_column_text] ESSAYS | SUMMER '21 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] WHY TUSLA CAN'T FAIL [/vc_column_text][vc_column_text] POST-PANDEMIC REFLECTIONS ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF BLACK WALL STREET, JUNETEENTH 2019 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] WORDS and PHOTOS by KHARY SEPTH [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="12px"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]*MONEY*   On a flight to Tulsa this past Summer, I decided to binge the caricatured Killer Mike’s Netflix series, Trigger Warning, in which he performs a rather crude, doomed-to-fail experiment. For 48 hours, he buys Black for his most basic needs: food, shelter, transportation, and weed, thus illustrating for all the fools watching that there is no way to make America work for Black folk until it gives us our economic independence. For the non-fools who know and live the shit—not only do we know something ain’t right; at the core, we know we are owed.  In one commonly cited statistic, which a Howard University fact-checking project debunked in 2017, “A dollar spent in the Black community stays there for only six hours” versus days, if not weeks, for White, Browns, Reds, and Yellows. In a recent series of The New York Times articles highlighting “The Gaps Between White and Black Americans,” the disparities in all material living standards (housing, employment, and even intergenerational wealth transfers) reveal a cruel and cruddy truth: of all the cons of being Black in America—from the overlapping crisis’ of poverty and police brutality, it’s the economic injustice that is the worst of them all. Consider, for example, the story of Tulsa—Black Wall Street—where in the early 20th century on the old Indian and Oklahoma Territories, Black folk who’d migrated from the Deep South and beyond to the Bible belt boomtown, set up shop on top the biggest known oil field in the world at the time. Just two generations out of slavery, they built an extraordinary amount of wealth: “two Black schools, 13 churches, 2 Black movie theaters, a Black public library, Black-owned shops, Black-owned hotels, a Black-owned newspaper.” I arrived on a crisp Saturday morning and strolled along the legendary Black Wall Street to see it for myself. A crowd of Black Tulsans were setting up for the annual Juneteenth Celebration. Music was going, press conferences were being held, and a Black queer brother, Nehemiah Frank, whose people walked to Tulsa from Tennessee way back when, joined me to introduce the story—not the myth—of his ancestors. “My family was the third wealthiest Black family during that era,” he shared as we sat to chat in the sanctuary of the Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church (the only structure still standing from the Historic Black Wall Street era). “Fur coats, pearls, they had it all. We had it all. We had the best schools which produced the doctors and the lawyers and the pilots…the minds that would go to Tuskegee and learn to become Red Tails...

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][ultimate_spacer height="90" height_on_tabs="50" height_on_tabs_portrait="50" height_on_mob_landscape="50" height_on_mob="50"][vc_column_text] REFLECTIONS | SUMMER '21 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] LESBIAN IS NOT A DIRTY WORD [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] WORDS by TIMINEPRE COLE [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="2756" img_size="large" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]I worked for a corporate law firm in Lagos, Nigeria for about two years and stood out like a sore thumb because my gender expression was quite different from traditional ideals about how a woman should look. This meant there were whispered debates about my sexual orientation where the word lesbian was thrown around as some form of slur. One day the Ellen Show came on TV whilst a few of my colleagues and I were seated in the conference room. One of my colleagues said she was impressed by Ellen’s charitable deeds but was disappointed that she had to taint her reputation by being a lesbian. It felt like a personal attack on me. I felt the need to speak up in defence of Ellen, of me, and every other person who uses the label lesbian. I asked her what about being a lesbian automatically made a person who helped others despicable. She spat the words sin, abomination and unnatural at me with so much venom. In the heat of the conversation, she asked if I was defending Ellen because I was also a lesbian. I stood frozen for a few seconds before walking out of the conference room without saying anything else.  With at least four legislations criminalizing homosexuality in Nigeria, being a member of the LGBTQ+ community here means that most of the time we keep our identity buried to avoid any form of discrimination or violence. With the negative connotation attached to most of the labels, it is difficult for people who identify as LGBTQ+ to claim their identity—especially in public spaces. This incident made me recall the first time I was asked questions about my sexuality. I was in my first year of university, and a boy who had persistently asked me out for months with no luck getting a date started telling people I was a lesbian. He was conceited enough to assume that any woman who would say no to his advances was a lesbian. At this time, I was blissfully ignorant about my sexuality; I was fourteen and uninterested in romantic relationships. It felt unnecessary to question whether I was attracted to men or women. People often conflate gender presentation and sexual orientation. As a result, I have never been able to hide the fact that I am a lesbian. Even before I discovered my sexuality, they would look at me and all the ways I presented as masculine and assume my sexual orientation immediately. More often than not, this exposes me to high levels of harassment and violence from homophobic Nigerians. Most times when I get stopped by the police, and they realize I am a woman and not a man as they had initially suspected, they question why I am dressed in a masculine manner and independently reach the conclusion that I am a lesbian. I liked to think that as a fourteen-year-old I was liberal enough to not care about a person’s sexual orientation. As an adult, I attributed how I interacted with my identity to the fear of harassment. Now, looking back at all the effort I put into explaining to whoever confronted me then that I was not a lesbian, I am forced to interrogate my discomfort with the word. The first time I heard the term lesbian I was in secondary school. One of the prefects found two girls kissing and she reported them to the principal. I remember this day because we all stood quietly on the assembly ground under the scorching heat of the sun. The smell of sweat mixed with dust hung in the air as we wondered what offence was serious enough to interrupt classes. I could see the disgust in the principal's eyes as she looked from one girl to the next. She said, “You dirty lesbians, we are raising god-fearing children in this school and we will not tolerate this kind of abomination.” It was on this day I realized two women could be together sexually in the way that a man and a woman could. As I heard the girls cry out with each stroke of cane that landed on their buttocks, I unconsciously registered the word as the worst thing a person could be. After the incident in the conference room at work, I talked to my friends about it. Three out of four of them admitted that they found the term lesbian flinch-worthy and uncomfortable, but they could not really articulate why they refused to claim the label as their identity. I realized then that my experience was not that different from theirs, and I wanted to talk more about it with people who could relate to what I felt on a personal level. In these conversations with other lesbian women and non-binary lesbians, I found that a lot of us had and still have this aversion to the label. Panini, a non-binary lesbian says they have always felt weird about the term because it has always been used in a derogatory manner. "Even though I am more comfortable calling myself a lesbian, especially because I have made more friends in the queer community, I still feel hurt and ashamed when a stranger calls me that." Growing up in Nigeria, I was well aware of the old colonial homophobic laws still legally enforced in the country as well as new laws which criminalize the existence of sexual minorities. I often sat through religious sermons that reinforced anti-LGBTQ+ ideas, and at some point, I tried to make sense of these ideas. I understand how vital these laws and religious beliefs are in shaping perceptions and opinions where sexuality is concerned. L.Y., a masculine-presenting non-binary lesbian, recounts growing up in an extremely religious home with catholic parents. "The religious messages portrayed queer people as sinful, morally corrupt, and unacceptable. This made me develop low self-esteem. I would isolate myself from others [because I was] worried that they could tell. I was scared of my friends and family rejecting me." Just like L.Y., I was raised in a religious home. Most of my family and friends were Jehovah’s Witnesses, and my greatest fear when I started to embrace my sexuality was losing my family and friends. I never came out to my friends, but once I became visible in online spaces as lesbian their interactions with me gradually stopped—as if to say I had become infectious. “Even if homosexuality was decriminalized in Nigeria, a lot of people would still feel shame identifying as lesbian because of their religious conditioning,” Panini said when reflecting on how religion affected their experience. Lesbian as a word has also been used to ridicule and spew hate towards people who do not fit into neat feminine boxes, women who are fluid in their gender expression, masculine-presenting, or androgynous women, and non-binary persons who identify as female aligned. These standards, which are set by the patriarchy and sustained in all aspects of our society, are easily weaponized against people who look like me. For instance, Alex, a non-binary lesbian says, "presenting the way I do in Nigeria automatically means that people assume I am a lesbian, and as a result, proceed to discriminate against me. I remember when I was in secondary school, there was a clampdown on lesbianism because it was an all-girls school. My name would always come up on the list and I was punished for it. At this point, I wasn't even aware of my sexuality. My only crime was that I am masculine presenting. There is a constant anxiety that comes with living the way I do.” Though the experiences of femme-presenting lesbians are different, some still have an aversion to the label.  Mariam says, "It is easier living in Nigeria presenting as a femme because I 'pass' as a heterosexual woman. I do not suffer as much of the violent homophobia that masculine-presenting lesbians may have experienced. However, the fetishization and unrealistic expectation on femme lesbian women to perform for the male gaze still makes it difficult for me to identify as a lesbian in certain spaces.” When I was still dating men, it was a bland experience I endured in a bid to perform compulsory heterosexuality. I met nice men I could laugh with and hold conversations with, but the absence of passion or any form of sexual attraction towards them was obvious to me. I wondered if romantic relationships were supposed to be so unsatisfying. When I finally fell face-first into the world of loving women, I remember actually feeling something for the first time. It was like rain after a long drought. It was also ironic—I laughed at the memory of my fourteen-year-old self telling my coursemates, “I am not a lesbian, I am  just not interested in relationships.”  For a long time, I questioned whether or not I was bisexual. Later on, I eased into describing myself as queer. I discovered that so many others found it easier to identify with vague and ambiguous terms like queer as opposed to lesbian. Toby, who now lives in Canada where she is free to express her love for other women, said she remains averse to the word; "To be very honest, even though I am a lesbian, I would rather refer to myself as queer. I went to an all-girls catholic secondary school where we were constantly told that lesbians go to hell.” The first time I was brave enough to call myself a lesbian I was coming out to my younger sister. She asked if I was bisexual because she knew I had dated men before. I said “No, I am a lesbian. I feel no form of attraction towards men.” Then she said, “Okay, cool. This changes nothing.” It was that easy; It was just another random word like pineapple, flip flops, or balls. I realized then that I was only uncomfortable with the word because I grew up hearing people say it with disgust. Earlier this year I moved to London and it has been quite a freeing experience. On my first date with someone I was getting to know at an outdoor restaurant in Brixton, a random man walked to our table to start a conversation. He soon stopped to ask if I and my date were lovers, and fully insisted that we were even without a response from us. He was uncouth, but I felt joy in something about our interaction with each other—maybe the way my laughter poured out in deep appreciation of the person before me, or the way their eyes held mine with complete focus. It was the first time I had been out with someone I was romantically attracted to without being worried about how everyone else perceived us. [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="2755" img_size="large" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]These days, when a man asks me out I tell them in clear terms. Most times they are upset or even disgusted. They try to convince me that their penis can change me, but it has taken an entire lifetime and two boyfriends to come to a full realization about my sexuality. I am the kind of lesbian women unintentionally refer to as 'sir' and then blush when I respond in my soft voice. The kind older, religious, Nigerian women stereotype and stare at like some form of apparition. I am okay with all of these impressions. I no longer think of lesbian as a dirty word, instead, I associate it with all the things about myself that I love: short hair, flannel shirts, boots, leather jackets, and the kind of beauty that exists outside of patriarchal standards. It also pleases me to find that my experience is not one...

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][ultimate_spacer height="90" height_on_tabs="50" height_on_tabs_portrait="50" height_on_mob_landscape="50" height_on_mob="50"][vc_column_text] ESSAY | WINTER '21 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] SOUND[ING] BETTER A READING OF GAYLE THROUGH THE ISLAMIC JURISPRUDENCE PRACTICE OF TAQIYYA [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] WORDS by NKGOPOLENG MOLOI [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]I grew up believing in the efficacy of speech as a tool for resolution. First of all, that everything could be (re)solved, and second of all, that speech was the way to get there. You’re angry? Talk it out. Hurt and confused? Express yourself. You don’t like something? Speak up. Speak out. Speak boldly. Speak openly. Speak frankly.  In some ways it is easy to understand speech’s allure; the very mythology of existence is grounded on the power of the spoken word— “Let there be light.” And there was light!  Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years. And let them be for lights in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. (1) This is how the spoken word became the originator of any and all things (or so we are told).  But as I get older, I’m drawn towards an exploration of silence, non-verbal vocal emphasis, and other unvoiced ways of speaking. I’m thinking through powerful and perhaps more subversive ways of communicating. My sense of fatigue with “speaking up” is largely brought on by the loudness of social media and how that noise is translated, or not, IRL. We’ve become well versed and articulate in political correctness and woke politics—saying the ‘right things’ at the ‘right times’ and saying them loudly. The currency is in your thunderous voice and the sound it emanates, but of course, one (wo)man’s sound is another (wo)man’s noise where noise is simply thought of as unwanted sound. Impulse noise. Background noise. White noise.  My unwanted sound is speech that is rhetoric and a form of propaganda—it is too obvious, it lacks imagination, and at the worst of times, it is violent and deadly. Wherever speech exists (if it must), I’m interested in its undertones, the variations in pitch, the depth of lung capacity required, and the circularity of breaths between each word.  I’m interested in how each of these underscores social justice, and thinking about liberation through the sonic; sound [ing] better—where ‘sound’ is about pressure waves but also about resonance, energy, and the auditory impressions we have on each other. sound [ing] better. sound [ing] together. Genesis 1:14-15. King James Version.  [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="2673" img_size="large" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="70px"][vc_column_text]In her book, Listening to Images, Brown University professor Tina Campt explores the idea of frequency as a site of possibility. Taking inspiration from British historian Paul Gilroy, Campt theorizes sound as an inherently embodied process that registers at multiple levels of the human sensorium where sound need not be heard to be perceived (2). Both Campt and Gilroy offer a framework of understanding life (particularly Black life) through sensory registers of sound that manifest a different kind of futurity. Here, I see the possibility of spoken language, in its gestural and aesthetic form, to respond to cultural, political, and social realities. Languages of subversion and resistance have existed and evolved in various parts of the world through responding to different moments in human history. Whether it is Fanakalo, spoken by mining workers from different parts of the African continent in South Africa’s mines. Or Camtho, which was spoken mainly by urban youth in the west of Johannesburg between the 1940s and 50s. Or the long-dead Polari, used within the British gay subculture. Language can offer political agency and obscurity in its performance, beyond the essence of facilitating communication. One such language is Gayle, which is a codified vernacular combining English and Afrikaans through an  arrangement of traditional female names carrying specific meanings.  Priscilla - police.  Shiela - rubbish.  Wendy - white gay man.  Dora - to drink/ drunk. (3) Believed to have originated in the hairdressing salons of Cape Town’s District Six, Gayle was largely used by the ‘coloured’ (4) gay community during the 1950s and 60s. It is considered a ‘gay’ language where “the term gay embodies a group of people who have adopted a particular perspective of reality which goes way beyond the bedroom” (5).  Although underground and hidden at first, the language has reached broader societies in different geographies and made its way into popular culture. It has evolved in form, content, and usage. Gayle is imaginative and performative and was a conceptual but also palpable argot of resistance (during and around the time it was conceived). It allowed members of the gay community to communicate, protect each other through passing information secretly, and to gossip. Its ability to facilitate gossip is largely as a result of its precision and characterization of humour. And of course, in most communities, especially so in marginalised communities, gossip is a key practice of pleasure that allows strong bonds to form. Gossip is also a form of knowledge production and distribution.  In the seminal book Afro-Fabulations: The Queer Drama of Black Life, Tavia Nyong'o writes about the conditions of contemporary Black artistic production in the era of post-blackness. He notes that “gossip is the one true living archive.” Gossip is not just merely malicious truths, extemporaneous intensifications, and manipulations. Rather, it can be “deployed against hegemonic demands for legibility and transparency that so often simply expose and endanger minoritarian lives.” Similarly, one could argue that the use of Gayle in its entirety, over and above its function for gossip, is the employment of language against hegemonic demands for legibility and transparency where the typical insider (read white, straight, rich male) / outsider (read black, queer, poor) dynamic is inverted. Gayle, therefore, is an elusive strategy fundamental to survival. It situates comprehension and maybe even truth (a kind of truth) away from formal taxonomy and places agency on the speaker’s lips. The testimony is in the body where differences between language and body, subject and object, and fact and fiction exist in a single utterance (6). Priscilla is a girl’s name. Priscilla is also a warning to seek refuge from police who, through a long global history of police brutality, are to be feared and avoided. 2. Campt, T. 2017. Listening to Images. Paul Gilroy 3. Excerpt from gayle dictionary provided as notes in the 2018 exhibition “Kewpie: Daughter of District Six”. 4. Mixed race communities were classified as Coloured under apartheid laws. This categorisation is largely still in use to refer to mixed race people. 5. Cage, K and Evans, M. 2003. Gayle: The Language of Kinks and Queens : a History and Dictionary of Gay Language in South Africa. Jacana Media. [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="50px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="2672" img_size="large" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="50px"][vc_column_text]In an audio essay titled Contra Diction: Speech Against Itself, presented at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin) in 2016, Lawrence Abu Hamdan contemplates the workings of speech, truth, and silence in today’s all-hearing and all-speaking society by introducing us to the concept of Taqiyya. Taqiyya “is an old piece of Islamic jurisprudence practiced only by esoteric minorities that allows a believing individual to deny his faith or commit otherwise illegal acts while they are at risk of persecution or in a condition of statelessness.” (7) Taqiyya allows one to speak untruths by sounding words differently—the pronunciation of the word is what determines the truthfulness of a statement. So it is possible to denounce one’s faith (by uttering the words) without actually truthfully denouncing one’s faith (because the truth lies in the sounding of the words). I find the principles of this practice to be quite instructive and useful in thinking through language as a tool for survival.  “Truth lies in the ears of the beholder”, notes Abu Hamdan,“Taqiyya is never the expression of one clear position but a multitude of statements that all emanate simultaneously from one voice. Each of its numerous truths is forged by and for the ears of its listener.” Within this practice, one speaks to listeners based on the level of their readiness to listen, and on their knowledge of hidden meanings.  Abu Hamdan notes further; “Taqiyya is not unlike the freedom of speech. It is the right for free expression. But it is more like the freedom of the speech itself. Rather than the freedom to speak it is the freedom to use your voice to mimic and mutate to dissimulate in order to navigate the sometimes hostile terrain of those ears that prey upon your voice.” In both Taqiyya and Gayle, freedom of speech means the freedom to remain opaque. Secrecy is camouflaged by words which allows humans who exist in environments of precarity to create spaces of freedom. 6. Paraphrased from Abu Hadman. 2016. Contra Diction : Speech Against Itself. 7. Abu Hadman. 2016. Contra Diction : Speech Against Itself.  [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="50px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_separator type="normal"][vc_empty_space height="60px"][vc_column_text]NKGOPOLENG MOLOI is a writer and photographer based in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa and is excited and intrigued by history, art, language and architecture.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="60px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="10px"][vc_single_image image="675" img_size="full" alignment="center" onclick="custom_link" qode_css_animation="" link="https://thetenthmagazine.com/"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row]...

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][ultimate_spacer height="90" height_on_tabs="50" height_on_tabs_portrait="50" height_on_mob_landscape="50" height_on_mob="50"][vc_column_text] REFLECTIONS | WINTER '21 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] HOW TO MAKE A FRAGRANCE: SADE [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] WORDS and RECIPE by JORDAN BRYAN ILLUSTRATION by JACOBI MYLES [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]As QTIPOC individuals our ideas aren’t always valued and our work not always fairly compensated or credited. Even when this is the case, our bodies are rarely considered or even shown within our own work product. I’ve lived this in group uni projects, in bar and office jobs, in brothels waiting in the lineup, and on set for fansites and studios. It doesn’t matter where, and even in my role as a perfumer these days, I see no exception. The ads I see for my industry are invariably qwhite interesting. Whiteness in perfume is a lie (just ask the Himba, and definitely ask the NGO). More likely than not, it’s a lie in your industry too. We need to stop chasing crumbs—it is not in the interest of whiteness to (meaningfully and immediately) change a system that benefits itself—and build our own systems, proving we were here and that we mattered as ourselves without anyone's permission to matter. So I will teach you and I will teach you honey, to make your own perfume at home inspired by QTIPOC icons who have advanced our cause. Which is why I’m starting with Sade—because, who else embodies the Sweetest Taboo? SADE SOLID PERFUME (STARTER RECIPE)* INGREDIENTS 1 drop Rose Water (or 1 half cap rose water) 1 drop Nutmeg Oil (or 5 ml nutmeg powder) 1 drop Cinnamon Leaf Oil (or 5 ml cinnamon powder 40 ml Talc or Cornflour Cotton pad EQUIPMENT 50 ml glass jar with screw-on lid 3 x glass or plastic pipette 1 x powder brush or glazing brush INSTRUCTIONS Place the cotton pad flat inside the glass jar Add the Rose Water to the cotton pad Repeat with Nutmeg Oil, and then Cinnamon Leaf Oil (if using powders, premix and then pour in) Add the Talc or Cornflour Shake well, turning and rolling the jar as you do. When you open the jar, you should see an even colour, and smell the ingredients evenly blended together. Using the brush, dab the powder then apply lightly to pulse points (neck, behind ears wrist, inner elbow, inner knee) [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]*Above is just a starter recipe. Experiment with the scent proportions and add your own powders and scents in your cupboard, until the scent is right for you. Good places to start would be Vanilla/Almond Essence, Cardamom powder, and Ginger powder.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="2648" img_size="large" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]To state a harsh truth of our chosen queer icons, regardless of their amazing contributions and allyship (Sade’s son is trans, and she supports him), the truth is that those whom we champion, revere and defend most, often need it the least. Because they have privilege within our community, or are simply born above it in the context of our wider social strata.  Very rarely do we, our community, accept and advance QTIPOC unacceptable to Whiteness. The poor, the non-conventionally attractive or able-bodied, the flamboyant, those unable or unwilling to ‘pass’ in appearance or manner. We need to question and unpack that, in context of shame and socioeconomic survival. That is the entire point of this column, so I’ll leave this here. Now, back to Sade. Born Helen Folesade Adu, known and beloved for her mystique and her trademark quiet storm sound. Nigerian and English, and asked to sing in her first band because she was black. She is now a respected Black Briton: a phrase breeding contention in the UK, but she has the OBE. Releasing their first album in 1984, Sade (the entire talented band) have since sporadically released 6 albums over 26 years. But it all began with ‘Diamond Life’. Specifically, the first song the band ever recorded and first single ‘Your Love Is King’ (though most people will know the breakthrough third single, ‘Smooth Operator’).[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="50px"][vc_video link="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1ljpLQ1V6Y"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="50px"][vc_column_text]Released February 25th, ‘Your Love Is King’ is one of my favourite songs. Its smoky melodies, neutral grooves and husky vocal tones lead my mind to peace and my nose to a scent in the Amber family. I wanted to capture something defining Sade’s (the legendary frontwoman) ‘earned’ place (and I’ll get to that soon enough) in Black British history. The top notes in any fragrance are the first to evaporate in horizontal perfume, diffusing to reach the smell receptors in your brain. They “open your smelling experience of the perfume. To me, Rose is the opening for this song: structured, gentle and complex. This perfectly captures Sade’s musical style and, as a known symbol of England, acknowledges the band’s iconography. The open is the first 20 seconds with the rush of the hot high sax, calming down to a refined drawl.  And for those with darkness in their skin, the symbol of Rose is more jingoistic, something to be earned while somewhat feared and resented. This captures the tension of the term, “Black Briton” and how this “title” must be endlessly “earned” no matter your nationality. By making herself unknowable, Sade “earned” her Black Britishness in the minds of white Britons. Precisely in being unknowable, she challenges the idea that black people “owe” something or must be as others say. People can project their ideas of her, including myself, but never onto her.  This affords her a clean slate in the eyes of the public. That refusal to be known by all, and therefore to owe, is the point of this series and the reason Sade opens this column. She releases albums when it suits her, not the hourly demands and changes of the white-led music industry. Her simple, plaintive musical style doesn’t tick the boxes expected of a black female singer. Nor did it musically tick the boxes of her early era’s bawdy Brit or slickly produced American sound.  As for the “middle” notes, the main body of the perfume you’re wearing, the ingredients I have chosen would also differ from the pungent scents that littered the eighties. I have chosen Nutmeg instead. For one, ‘Your Love Is King’ was and sounds like a winter song. In husky deep vocals, controlled and unshowy in a musical era of vocal powerhouses, a simple ballad is sung about a lover. The emotion is felt, but so is a sense of craftsmanship. When I play this song, I feel quiet and warm against the cold. The Fender Rhodes piano is played painstakingly in phase with the live piano. Like Nutmeg, the song is a gentle spice to warm your heart against the bitter cold. Behind the restraint of Sade’s vocal delivery lies a timbre that is plaintive. This is not unlike the history belied by the tingly Nutmeg. It is known for its association with the VOC in medieval times, where slaves would work the ruthless Bandra monopoly on the supply. This again speaks to the perception of the term “Black Briton.” The bottom or “base” note is the last to be detected by your smell receptors. With the heaviest combination of molecular weight and intermolecular bonds, these notes linger longest. It is wise in perfume design to keep these understated. In ‘Your Love Is King’, this is the steady staccato groove of the bass guitar. It permeates the entire song, complimented by shakers and drum in a slow one-two step. That’s why I’ve chosen Cinnamon. Like Nutmeg, Cinnamon is warming. Unlike Nutmeg, Cinnamon has a more intense aroma and storied history. For a long time its origins were guarded most jealously, and its price fixed due to tall tales around the production. Cinnamon’s history underscores my point made six, thirteen and sixteen paragraphs ago: we cannot and should not exhort others to see our value. I love perfumery. In the crudest sense, I put smelly oils in alcohol, then doll it up and hike the price to flog it to the public. I speak no lies, and your faves all do the same, but there’s more work and nuance than that. Yet, no matter how much work goes into it, the art and science of perfumery is always centered around whiteness, and it’s not very likely as a QTIPOC individual, that my work will be truly seen or appreciated.  That’s why I’m writing this series, sharing these starter recipes, sharing these examples of great QTIPOC/ally rulebreakers. To ask that we all demand more. [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="50px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_separator type="normal"][vc_empty_space height="60px"][vc_column_text]Jordan Bryan is a UK based writer who is the founder of Celie & Couch - an independent perfume house, supporting self-care and self-love. Bryan creates each scent by exploring memory and queer identity. Jacobi Myles is an illustrator whose imaginative use of color and balance provide a unique gaze into the black, queer heart and mind.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="60px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="10px"][vc_single_image image="675" img_size="full" alignment="center" onclick="custom_link" qode_css_animation="" link="https://thetenthmagazine.com/"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row]...

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