Fashion

[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]...

[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] FROM BRIXTON, WITH LOVE [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] WORDS by NEMAR PARCHMENT [/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="2628" 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]Many viewed Brixton as a spec of dirt to be ignored on the map of London—muddied with unscrupulous characters. When letting people know you were from Brixton, their faces would often scrunch up like a used piece of paper, their aversion to the area caused a physical reaction they could not control. It was defined by outsiders as a dangerous area riddled with crime and poverty. If you ever had the misfortune of visiting, grasping onto all personal belongings and avoiding eye contact were necessary to ensure your safety.  Growing up in the south London district allowed me to see past its bad reputation and truly bear witness to the beauty that resided within. Brixton was a beautiful place illuminated by rich Caribbean culture. A true sense of community lived within the residents, while the sweet scent of hard dough bread wafted out of First Choice Bakers and filled street corners. It was a flamboyant area with one of a kind characters where self-expression and individuality were celebrated. The place where my love for fashion was conceived. As a young boy I would spend hours getting lost in fashion books inside the rust coloured cocoon of Brixton Library. Books and papers laid scattered across the table where I resided in the back of the building sitting on a miserably uncomfortable black seat. Still, I would sit and read book after book after book, until my body paid the price. I began sketching my own designs and using them as a vessel to tell my own stories. Drawings of extravagant ruffles and oversized lapels represented my flamboyant nature. Bright yellows and greens became an expression of my Jamaican heritage. I felt free getting lost in the limitless realm of fashion; it felt natural, innate. I made a subtle pact with myself to forge my way into the industry, not knowing it would be a journey that the young boy consumed in the fashion books never had the courage to foresee.  You see, the imagination is a wonderful thing that allows you to create realms that have yet to take form in reality. Despite this as a child, I found it hard to dream of a reality outside the sand coloured blocks that made up my Brixton Hill estate. I never saw full thighs, broad shoulders, round stomachs or rich mahogany skin while trawling through those fashion books. As a person who possesses all of these underrepresented characteristics and is a signed model, five years into my career, it feels like a fairytale no-one was brave enough to write. Gracing the pages of fashion magazines, appearing in TV commercials and having my face plastered on large billboards has done more than just filled me with joy. It has given a voice and visibility to a demographic of people that are often forgotten in fashion. In many ways, looking back, my presence as a person with a large body who viewed himself as beautiful was needed at that particular moment in fashion to respond to the call for change in the industry. This call  would harken a new generation of shoppers and scrollers to buy into the belief that the fashion industry had become a more accepting and tolerant space. [/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="2626" 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]Even though a shift in representation created an exterior that appeared more welcoming, internally navigating the industry as a big bodied black man has not been the easiest feat. My 4B crown has often been met with hairstylists poking and prodding at it like a suspicious package, nervous to touch it, and brushing waves backwards against the grain. For makeup artists, my rich hazel skin would cause panic. Face beaters rifled through bags trying to find a colour to match my tone, often to no avail, sometimes bringing out face paint sets or telling me that my skin was “great” and did not need anything as their brushes caressed the faces of white models. For the wardrobe stylist, my body triggered a loss of interest which caused them to direct their attention to the smaller models. My sparse clothing options would hang lonely and isolated against the rail of  bountiful “straight size” garments. Often, I’d be asked to cram my body into clothing that was not my size, and those experiences are echoed by my model peers. In spite of this, being able to tell my story, and the story of an overlooked group of people through my work reminds me of the Brixton characters that inspired my love for fashion. Brixton was full of unique personalities with senses of style to match. People from Brixton played by their own rules and used clothes and style as a roadmap to tell the stories of their culture, thoughts, and beliefs. My mother was one of the greatest storytellers. As parents flooded through the ocean blue gates of my Church of England school, “Your mum is so cool” would often resound through whispers quietly cascading through the air. Oak trees stretched towards the sky and casted shadows over the playground as I walked like a little king drowning in my indigo blue school jumper toward my mother. It was typical for me to walk myself home, so to see her was a shift in scene and a glorious one at that; golden light fit for a queen filled the playground.Her long locs cascaded past her shoulders—a show of her strength. Her wrists were adorned in layers of glistening gold bangles etched with swirls of paisley, and her fingers were engulfed in precious stone rings—an expression of her honest spirit. There she stood—a rebellious African Queen residing in the body of a young Black woman born to Jamaican parents in post-Windrush London. There I was—taking it all in. The emotional quality of the stories that her clothing told came together so seamlessly. She was the storyteller, with a deep emerald cape swept across her body and stacks of gold bracelets resting on the bend of the wrist. I was the student, with a crumpled school book bag, and soot-coloured trousers with loose tattered hems which were an inexpensive fix for my recent growth spurt. How I wished I had the same pen to tell my own stories and express myself the way I wanted. [/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="2627" 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="100px"][vc_column_text]My mother was not the only storyteller I knew. On my Brixton Hill estate we had “Pops,” the resident elder, fountain of wisdom, and occasional disciplinarian. He had high cheekbones, rich onyx skin, and a wool trilby often sat upon his head concealing his short, tight curls. He would tip his hat ever so slightly when greeting you, inadvertently letting you know he was a man of tradition. He donned an authoritative blazer in a bleak, closely woven fabric that made it clear he was a figure to be respected. His hard bottom shoes were always in pristine condition and freshly polished.  The Brixton Dancehall Queen Pinky from the early aughts also had a pungent sense of style. She would weave together elaborate tales detailing the culture behind Dancehall music using only the colour pink. Her pink wigs, over-embellished jewellery, and pink mini skirts were all nods to the dancehall culture and the empowering sense of self-representation it promotes. After school my best friend and I would walk through the colourful Brixton streets with our ties loosened and blazers off feeling free from the shackles of our dull school uniform. We thundered down to Brixton Market to buy the latest Dutty Fridaze or Passa Passa DVDs, hoping to get a glimpse of what pink concoction Queen had chosen to adorn her body in. It was an event that never failed to disappoint. Whether it was her rose coloured finger waves, her bright pink bantu knots, her orchid colour cowboy boots, or her hot pink shorts, she exemplified what it meant to be fearless and unapologetically yourself. No place on earth has illuminated my soul, fed my mind, and left an everlasting impression on me in the way that Brixton has. My fellow Brixtonians taught me lessons about being proud of who you are by constantly celebrating our distinctions. Its vibrant streets and colourful characters created a unique space unlike any other. To the South London gem, thank you. The people that have resided there over the years bestowed upon me life lessons and exposed me to experiences that have made me the person I am today.[/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="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]Nemar Parchment is a UK-based, Bright Black Young Thing—full of energy and conscious of minding the gaps of a mainstream cultural conditioning that says, “Black man, stand down.” Making that model money may pay the rent, but Nemar’s creative pursuits as host of Another Space Podcast and  contributing writer at The Tenth suggests that his dream will take on all types of shapes and forms on his journey. [/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="50px"][vc_single_image image="675" img_size="full" alignment="center" onclick="custom_link" qode_css_animation="" link="https://thetenthmagazine.com/"][vc_empty_space height="10px"][/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] INTERVIEWS | WINTER '21 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] M+O [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] TONYA HEGAMIN INTERVIEWED by GABRIELLE LAWRENCE ART by TONYA HEGAMIN [/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]I was introduced to Tonya by the Director of my MFA program a couple of years ago, just  before I started putting together my thesis. We connected over our love of art-making,  particularly the use of paint to connect with our inner creative child. It’s something we can  turn to when the heaviness of our daily responsibilities feels suffocating. It’s one of the ways  we find play. I thought that be great context for our interview and time together. For this  paint N’ chat, we talked about Hegamin’s first novel, M + O 4ever.   In M+O, two small town teens from Northern Pennsylvania, who were once inseparable as  children, try to cope with the complicated realities of their emerging adulthood. Opal (“O”)  and Marianne (“M”) struggle to imagine viable futures for themselves, and despite their love  for one another, they can’t seem to find that perfect fit anymore. Or perhaps, the world just  seems bigger and more complicated, especially when you’re forced to live for yourself. As  Opal’s colorful support system rallies around her to help ease the weight of sudden loss,  fittingly, we learn about Marianne, our tragic hero, through the love-soaked lens of Opal’s  flashbacks. At the time, this story of two young black lesbians trying to determine the kinds of  lives they want to live was not mainstream. The book was buried, and didn’t receive the same  publicity or marketing efforts as titles that featured white narratives.   The Tenth Magazine, myself, and Hegamin came together to make space for this conversation  because we felt that Marianne and Opal’s stories hold something for us in the present. Tonya  and I talked about being an outsider, the complexity of black womanhood, the legacy of black  poetry, reigniting curiosity about creativity, finding new ways to take risks, the ways the  publishing industry fails black queer people, and more.  [/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="2605" 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]GABRIELLE LAWRENCE: I think I'm going to try and use one of these today.   TONYA CHERIE HEGAMIN: Oh, yeah. Sponge brush?   GL: Yeah, to cover some kind of ground or something. It'll be my first time using it  on a canvas, though. So we'll see.   TCH: I had a piece of paper, and I cut out some weird shapes. I'm going to use that to  be sort of a collage, well a stencil. Then I’ll go over it in different colors.   GL: Ooh that sounds like it’ll be pretty. I've mixed series of greens, and deep, dark, bluish violet-ish colors. I'm hoping to play with some brown, just all inspired by  nature. That’s where your book took me. I felt like I was on a hike the whole  time, or in the woods exploring.   TCH: Thank you. That's what I wanted her to be.   GL: So, Opal and Marianne.  TCH: Ah, yeah.   GL: Such longing and wanting. There's that scene where Opal is desperately  wanting Marianne to run towards her, and instead, she runs in the opposite  direction.   TCH: Never comes back.   GL: It hit me so hard, but it was so relatable. Their quiet relationship, where things  are known and understood by all but not necessarily vocalized or affirmed; the  silence of it all. Can you possibly talk more about why this is one of the first  scenes we’re introduced to? Since this gives us major context and insight into  these characters and the kind of space they take up in each other's lives, what  was your intention was in writing their relationship? What did you want to  explore there?   TCH: Well, I spent a lot of my childhood in or near woods. They played a big part in  my identity early on. I used to take other friends from the neighborhood, and  do "séances". I would make everybody wear handkerchiefs around their heads  and burn candles.   I was a witch from the get. I lived in a pretty much all-white area, so I knew  that isolation and the feeling of being the outsider from very early on. I also  think I felt like an outsider around people of color, and abused in many ways by  them, because we were all in an oppressive circumstance. Not to dismiss that  or to belittle it, but to contextualize it. So in a way I knew how both M and O  felt, but also, I didn't know. That left me enough space to exercise my curiosity and my imagination.   When I was a teenager, my mom started working in Rochester, New York. We  moved from where I had grown up, where all my family was, and everything I  knew. So we would take these road trips, we would drive through Pennsylvania, to Rochester, and we would pass through, or near, Punxsutawney. I would just look out the window and imagine what people's lives must be like in those tiny little towns, where it was just the highway going through.   I was always interested in history, so thinking about the ghosts that also  inhabited those spaces sparked my imagination. Those are the spaces in which  the story was born.   GL: I love that you used to do play séances in the woods when you were younger,  and that it shows up in your work. For me, Gran serves as the spiritual anchor  in the novel. Whenever she's in a scene, I now there’s going to be some spiritual movement.   TCH: Yeah that's the purpose of her character, to serve as an anchor. I wanted the complexity of black women to be throughout the novel. There's Gran, the  anchor, whose story is very interesting. Her backstory doesn't really get told,  but we know it's going to be as interesting as she is, where she is, and who she lives with. There’s her legacy, and the mother's legacy of living your own dream  and finding your own voice. Mom comes in as a magical bomb as well. Then  there’s Hannah, and her story that guides and uplifts all of these women. They’re all black women transcending in their own ways. I wanted to show how women, in general, transcend the spaces that they have been born into or  placed.   GL: What was it like braiding all of these narratives together from a craft  standpoint? I’m thinking about the timing of it all, the end of Hannah's story, a reconciliation, Opal finds her own peace. We learn more about why Marianne took her own life and her mother’s backstory. There's a big release towards the  end, very poetic, and it’s very satisfying. I was wondering if you could talk  about how you came to that ending.   TCH: Well, there was actually an entire other half of M+O that was cut by the  editors. So that sort of Russian combination is a reflection of that. And poetry,  that's my background. So it was definitely a part of what my writing really was  at that time. My other books are less of that, and I miss it.   Originally, I wanted the novel to begin with the ad for the escaped slave and  end with Opal's graduation from Spelman. To give that sort of context for the  arc of the story and the general arc of the varieties of paths that all of these women have taken in their lives. Those are little love letters, or poems, or calls to action, in some ways too   Just thinking from where I was in my life, my bachelor’s degree was in poetry. I  studied with Toi Dericotte at the University of Pittsburgh, and then also at Cave  Canem, so my sense of language was really built around black poetry. My MFA was also very centered around poetry. My first picture book is really a long poem. So I sort of created a novel by accident, because I was in my MFA, and if  there's a time to try a novel that's what you do.   I had started a novel early to apply, but that didn't resonate with me as much  as the newer work that I put down in grad school. I sold both of those, the  picture book and M+O. One in my first semester and one in the second semester. So, it kind of took off for me. A lot of it had to do with my relationship to language, my upbringing, if you will, in the annals of black  poetry. Michael Harper sat me down one day and made me learn all the poetic  structures and talk to me about theory and…   GL: THE Michael Harper?!   TCH: Yes! These are the very early days of Cave Canem. I watched Elizabeth  Alexander breastfeed her second son. Those were the days. Nobody was  anybody back then. We were all just kids, so excited to be black and poetic, and thought about.   I definitely felt like I was a part of making history in that time. That novelty  wore off eventually. The markets became flooded, and that's beautiful. I'm not  at all sad about any of that, but the work that I was doing, became more about  story and less about language.   GL: Can you talk about the difference?   TCH: Well, I think that there's a space for marriage there, but there's a lot of  courting that has to be done to make that marriage work. That requires a lot of  time, space, and energy. Once my diagnosis happened, it became harder for  me then to be in balance of a lot of things. I lost a little of my multitasking ability. I don't want to say all of it, or that I can't bring it back, but it was  something that really changed me. The ability to sit and think about poetry,  and words, and how things are said became secondary.   GL: Thinking about how things are said versus figuring out what you wanted to say?   TCH: Well, there's the constant. I always say my disability is like having a second job. It's very time and energy consuming in ways that I would have never thought  about before. The energy of poetry is incredibly thick, from my perspective. I  think in my next book, part of my main concern was about the story I was  telling. All of the research that I did for Hannah in M+O I wanted to put to work  in a fully historical manner. So I thought of work differently, and what I was  doing was the work. It’s funny because I'm doing a talk about the play imperative actually. It’s the importance of play in our everyday lives when  we're going through especially stressful times. Poetry was that for me. It was a  lot of play when I started out. Then it kind of became a different. I viewed it  differently and I thought it was simply because of my point of view, more than  anything. The work of being an artist, and then having to also be a full time  educator on top of that was a lot of work. So I think that in some ways, my  relationship to the world changed, simply because I was trying to just get shit  done. I know it's very unromantic, but...

[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"][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] ART I 2021 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] Space to Wonder, Wildly with Jonathan Lyndon Chase [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] WORDS by MALEKE GLEE ARTWORK by JONATHAN LYNDON CHASE [/vc_column_text][/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="80px"][vc_column_text]Chase's two-part book WILD WILD WILD WEST / HAUNTING OF THE SEAHORSE demonstrates a grasp on multiple mediums. Handwritten poems, sketches, polaroids from Chase's life, and other elements create a kaleidoscopic experience. The acts of intimacy depicted are bold, autonomous, and assertive; here, figures and subjects are not pictured as marginal or performing value. Instead, they are central to the discourse, holding a space of power. The power wielded is not about dominance, but subversively about submission, the power to submit to desire, to love another. For many queer Black men, intimacy is covered by shame. We are taught that our male attraction is primarily of physical interest. The interiority and depth of male-to-male affection, either platonic or romantic, is seldom commonplace conversation. Gay and queer men—absent of rites of passage into manhood and its connection to romance—define these terms, often much later than hetero counterparts. There is an absence in our homes, and more broadly in the society of Black men loving Black men. Cultural posturings of queer Black men are either closeted or hypervisible because of their embraced “feminine” gesture.The visibility of Black queerness is always in spectcale. There is the hyper-destructive or hyper-perfect narrated in media, and now the curated social media, where snapshots are often confused with daily reality. This fixity breeds toxicity; it encourages inauthenticity, numbing, grief. There is a polarity that dismisses the in-between, where brothers left unseen occupy closets and gloryholes, finding pleasure in dark, seedy spaces.  Queer Black men are illegible at times, not meant to be read, but instead studied. There is so much nuance, both historical and contemporary, that have yet to surface in the public consciousness. As I reflect on my life, my circle of brothers, and how queer life is historicized, it appears that our queerness is "seen" only in "perfect" form. Our queerness is ready for discussion in extremes—-in dismal circumstances and statistics, or hetero-adjacent terms, often guised as "Black Excellence." As I look for spaces without performance, I find a home in Jonathan Lyndon Chase's fantasies.    Jonathan Lyndon Chase's practice is a study of Black male, same-gender-loving feelings. We seldom see men's interior lives, moments that would require vulnerability, scenes that further establish a feeling, and fragility—peering through masculinity's performance. Images of queer Black masculine bodies have a preoccupation with physicality, with the body as a medium. Often the parts of the body that are (re)-productive are most visualized, the sexual organs and muscles which exert power for material construction. In these posturings, what is given visual priority occupies a relation to consumption and capital. What is notable about Chase's portraiture is the equal, if not more dominant, posturing of butts rather than penises. It is the bottom-affirming nature of the work that I admire, the images of men who desire penetration. This penetration is not solely for physical pleasure, but penetration beyond the performative, public layer—a rawness of affection and submission into passion. [/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="2571" 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="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_row_inner row_type="row" type="grid" text_align="left" css_animation=""][vc_column_inner width="1/6"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="2/3"][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text] lucky lovers, 2020. Acrylic paint, spray paint, oil slick, glitter on canvas. 72h x 60w in. (182.88h x 152.40w cm.) [/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/6"][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/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="60px"][vc_column_text]The stylistic choices often reflect an in-between, playful undoneness found in scribble, circles, and doodle. Even in its playfulness, the work deals with the male body with a rare sincerity. Chase marks a moment, adding to the visual lexicon of portraiture an explicit eroticism. This eroticism is less concerned with the audience, but rather are private moments of tenderness and care. Men occupy intimate spaces like bedrooms and kitchens and other atypical environments in male portraiture. There is a richness and beauty to erotic scenes, a depth of spatiality that invites a narrative, a space to wonder.[/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="2573" 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="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_row_inner row_type="row" type="grid" text_align="left" css_animation=""][vc_column_inner width="1/6"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="2/3"][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text] WILD WILD WILD WEST [/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/6"][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/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="60px"][vc_column_text]WILD WILD WILD WEST, and “Wind Rider”, Chase’s recent exhibition at Company Gallery, (closed on November 21, 2020) reference family and memory. Chase pays homage to their late grandmother, to whom the book is dedicated. The book opens with "grief….as memory, as a dream, as depression, as a love letter." Grief is central to the text, and I would assert a centrality to memory for queer and gay Black men.  There is grief to half-lived lives, partly from our design. Potential is thwarted in adolescence. There is the grief of our families who require our lives to outplay their imagination. Our lives become their fantasy. There is the fear of disease, as sex was never introduced as productive and purposeful but rather risky behavior. We grieve free pleasure. We desire rawness, to be felt fully because in daily life, there are many degrees of separation. There are parts of ourselves we lost, often too young to know our negotiations consciously, not knowing what there is to lose. It is the shadows that obscure the bright potential of actualized, full selves. We look for ourselves online, and there, the troupes of engagement continue to manifest— “no fats, no fems.” We affirm ourselves through connection, to be embraced fully.  We uncover remnants of parts negotiated and tucked away each time we kiss, and for Chase, these remnants are frequently shared. [/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="2574" 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="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_row_inner row_type="row" type="grid" text_align="left" css_animation=""][vc_column_inner width="1/6"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="2/3"][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text] cum in, 2020 Acrylic paint, photo paper collage, sunflower seeds, wood door, steel. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/6"][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/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="60px"][vc_column_text]The book and exhibition commingle aesthetics but live fully as different experiences—both reference church culture, Hollywood Westerns, and scenes of submission. Hollywood Westerns, so central to the exhibition, are often the racial fantasy of conquest and domination. But in Chase's paintings, such as grandma's garden, these journeys through the West are not depicted as conquest, but journeys through and to feelings. [/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="2575" 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="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_row_inner row_type="row" type="grid" text_align="left" css_animation=""][vc_column_inner width="1/6"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="2/3"][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text] grandma's garden ❤, 2020 Acrylic paint, spray paint, marker, plastic, graphite on muslin. 84h x 78w in. (213.36h x 198.12w cm) "I was 28 years old, 78 buckets of piss." [/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/6"][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/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]Buckets of urine are sketched in the book and are sculpted in the shape of the cross in the exhibition. Urine serves as a connection, how Chase remembered the last moments with their grandmother. "She's gone, I've peed the bed in tears," implies Chase's grief, which fully engages the body. Chase's use of orifice is immensely passionate; these holes of the body are said portals into the spirit. The spirit communicates through the most extreme emotions prompting tears, urine, vomit, and semen as often uncontrollable expressions of pleasure, pain, discomfort, and connection. This bodily expression also reflects male communication's nature, often in the non-verbal, through gestures and silence. Chase, through text and figures, uses bilabial sounds to bring us closer to the subjects. This imagery widens conceptions of maleness and emotion, allowing it all to bear, as the body is witness. Mouths agape, assholes, my wildest dreams.  The scenes of eroticism, of pure male affection, are a staple to Chase's praxis. Male bodies are desirable and express their seduction. Bodies of all types enjoy pleasure.  Assholes occupy obscurity as they resemble targets, something punctured, perhaps in battle. This visual language mirrors the complexity of the sexual lexicon, which pairs pain and pleasure. "Beat it up", "tear it up", "screw", "fuck"— all are claimed to denote passion, often devoid of intimacy or aftercare. Assholes, like targets, reflect the chase, the conquest that’s the ultimate goal in the Western.  Both exhibition and book are complete experiences through grief. The familiar grief is for those lost and the realization of their support and their role in personhood. Our grandparents hold us, teach us, and participate in life in many ways that parents could not. This personal history adds nuance to stories of Black families and queer life.  The book and its related artworks invite us to wonder, wander, and be wild. We are invited to cum, to fuck, to cry, to piss it out and away. [/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="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]   Jonathan Lyndon Chase’s current exhibition “Big Wash”is on view at The Factory Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, PA.     [/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 width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="50px"][vc_single_image image="675" img_size="full" alignment="center" onclick="custom_link" qode_css_animation="" link="https://thetenthmagazine.com/"][vc_empty_space height="10px"][/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"][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 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] 2020: AN ARIA FOR STAYING THE COURSE [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] WORDS by MARCUS ANTHONY BROCK PORTRAIT by ERIK CARTER [/vc_column_text][/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="80px"][vc_column_text]This Christmastime, I am nostalgic. In my writing, and in my heart, I have returned back to nostalgia, but not in the familiar way. Nostalgia literally means a return to pain or a return to home. Yet pain is formative, pain is useful, pain is home, and I’m trying to find my way back. Taking it all together, the highs and lows of 2020 have taught me one valuable lesson: we must stay the course — even when life has not given us much reason to. Faith and hope are revolutionary aspirations. They are the railings holding us up as we steer the course. Ending one year and going into the next is a heavy reminder of things gained, but it is also a hyper-visible reminder of the many things lost.  This year is an anthem — no, an aria — on our humanity.  And the thing about our holidays, whether it’s Hanukkah, Christmas, Festivus, Kwanzaa or for the non-observant, everything comes crashing back: loss, trauma, happiness and mistakes. Once Mariah Carey’s annual jingle begins to blare so does the year in review for ourselves. There are years that I have been broke, and years where my needs were well-met. There are years I have overflowed with immense joy. There are years that have felt snaked and stolen. And there are years that have felt blessed and beholden. This year, I am simply smiling while listening to the breath in my body — and holding.   *        *        *   I must have been approaching 10 years old when, just days before Christmas, my mother’s partner stole her money. I sat playing on the floor when she tearily said, “There will be no Christmas this year.” We both cried in our rooms, simultaneously. I vaguely remember us both crying together. An apartment filled with grief and lacking smiles would populate that Christmas morning.  So many memories are vague from my childhood, but this one is not; it is omnipresent. I cried myself to sleep those nights leading up to the holiday, but on Christmas morning I awoke to some of the presents on the list I had left for Santa. I don’t know what my mother did to make sure Christmas had found us, or whether she begged, borrowed or stole, because Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings said it best, “There ain’t no chimneys in the projects.”  This year, Christmas did not come for many. The financial, physical and spiritual losses have accumulated during the coronavirus pandemic and the scars are heavy. No present under the tree, and no stimulus check, will salve those wounds, so we must look elsewhere for the endurance to weather a lacking holiday.   *        *        *   There was a year when I was down on my luck, feeling as though God had shown me a love unrequited. I had agreed to attend a friend’s Christmas party, but had no money and would not have any coming in for at least two more weeks. My Mississippi ancestry knows better than to show up empty-handed to an affair — no matter whether it’s flowers from one’s garden or the main dish in hand, you still convey your gratitude by bringing something to a house party. Unbeknown to me, however, a friend’s mother had sent me a package, which arrived  just before the party. I opened my door to discover a box filled to the brim with homemade baked goods and Christmas treats. It also had a bottle of dark rum that was perfect for my yuletide greeting. And just like that, the shame of showing up to my friend’s party without a gift quickly dissipated. And that shame ran deep.  I hated attending the market when I was a kid. There were times when my mother had money to spare, and there were times when we were broke. And in those times of depression, when money was funny and change was strange, public assistance put the training wheels back on our family. But kids don’t understand that, so asking me to run an errand to the grocery store meant I had to carry the multi-colored book of food stamps down Artesia Boulevard to Lucky’s, which was humiliating for a young me. Today, those poverty-protesting crayon-colored books have been replaced with debit cards, but there is still so much shame that comes with poverty, and I had been programmed to think I was lesser-than back then. Looking around my school, I didn’t understand why those kids had the things we did not. How was I to hold gratitude as a child for the food that would keep me healthy and alive? I couldn’t. I did later, but then I did not, so I would hurl the bags over my shoulder and drag my nourishment all the way home.  It is time I return home. [/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_row_inner row_type="row" type="grid" text_align="left" css_animation=""][vc_column_inner width="1/6"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="2/3"][vc_column_text]Got my house it still keep the cold out Got my chair when my body can’t hold out Got my hands doing good like they ‘sposed to Showing my heart to the folks that I’m close to Got my eyes though they don’t see as far now, They see more ‘bout how things really are now. -Celie, “I’m Here,” The Color Purple Musical [/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/6"][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/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] *        *        *   So here I am, back at home. The public murder of our kin has forced me to take refuge back home, back with my ancestors, and pour a few libations. I am emotional and infuriated that Darnella Frazier, at only 17 years old, was the one who captured the video of George Floyd gasping for breath. She witnessed his lungs as they shriveled and became arid. There were others present, but she held the camera. A fleeting memory for some, but an inscribed one for her. You see, it wasn’t just George Floyd; it was the culmination of it all — Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, the pandemic, isolation, violence, God, the quarantined quarters with the ones we loved, the quarantined quarters with the ones we despised, and the countless instances of anti-black vitriol that have plagued our screens since the moving image was invented — Spring 2020 pushed it all to a fever pitch. And yet, the document of the thing — the atrocity — has become ubiquitous. The crime against humanity, unfortunately, has to be given wings, and that is a tall order to replicate for each generation.  During the first week after George Floyd’s assassination, I wept every day, sometimes twice a day, and all day on Sunday. My kin-friend Cristian reached out for us to hold space with each other in the aftermath, but I could not bear to see him right away. When we did meet, we talked as day turned into night, grief-stricken, but also sharing laughter in my home and on our walk to a nearby park. At the age of 50, James Baldwin told Maya Angelou, “I’ve been writing between assassinations,” as he recounted the lost lives of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And here we are, still writing, making, living and breathing between assassinations, just as our ancestors did. As Black people, it is easy to forget the emotional labor we endure to succeed in an American cultural framework that was intended for our forced labor and entertainment — and yet we stay the course. Margaret Garner stayed the course. Andrew Saxton stayed the course. When we think of New York, we see skyscrapers, Ellis Island, Macy’s, the Astor-Rockefeller-Rothschilds, but do we think of those enslaved bodies, slain Native Americans and indentured Irish servants who turned this place from New Amsterdam into New York? What about that Queens was named after Queen Catherine? Or that the Bronx was named after Jonas Bronck and the Dutch who bought the land of New Amsterdam—for a song — nevermind its inhabitants. Resiliency is rooted within the oppressed, but like Fannie Lou Hamer, I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. The trauma penetrates our DNA, literally. The enslaved African-Americans had bones that showed the osteoarthritis of a senior in the bodies of a 20-year-old. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. Museums hold bone artifacts of the enslaved, the oppressed Jewish descendants, queers and Romani people who were forced to labor during the Holocaust. Where did all this trauma go? Nowhere. It is still there, regardless of our acknowledgment, but we have found a way to use it.[/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][vc_single_image image="2531" 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] *        *        *   Before I sat down to journey back home, I watched the remarkable Viola Davis in August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. The capture of endurance is what took me over. Gertrude Pridgett, who became Ma Rainey, was well-aware of her exploitation by white music executives, her rising  success, singing the blues and the sorrow songs, and her bisexuality were all in her arsenal. When she demanded her Coca-Cola, or that her nephew was paid his rightfully earned $25,  she did it for the culture. That’s the blueprint. The executives only capitulated to her needs when they realized she had not signed the contract to license her voice. And this is why Chance the Rapper can pull up with deadheads in the lobby if one more label tries to stop him. He ain’t studying them. She was the blueprint. Chadwick Boseman’s portrayal of Levee didn’t capitulate, nor did Boseman himself. I think he was the coup de grâce, not for himself, but for me, for us, in what has been a volatile year. He was the blueprint. Glynn Turman said Boseman’s eyes sparkled on set alongside his then fiancée, now widow, Taylor Simone Ledward. On-screen, I saw the sparkle too. And though his body had become frail, he left the magnitude of his soul, and the same gravitas of Black Panther in film history for us. He overtook Wilson’s words when he questioned God. Indeed, his endurance to play that role while his body was failing him was a gift. That is the reason we pay homage to our elders and our ancestors. We rise on trains and buses for our elders, not because they are too old to stand, but because they have earned the right to sit. There is, and always will be, a body count for liberation. The body count has come in the form of illness, suicide, war, and now a global pandemic and racial wars.  You see, the real project of hatred, racism, sexism, misogyny, transphobia, xenophobia and genderphobia is denouncing someone’s origin, their truth, their culture, their majesty so much until they too believe the lies they have been told — in effect rendering them incapable of aspirations of freedom. You cannot see it, you cannot touch it, you cannot hold it; you can only drink it, smoke it, eat it, buy it, fry it and dye it. Therefore, it does not exist. So, we need art. We need utopia. We need to dream. We need hope because without it, could any of us go on? Or in the words of W.E.B. Du Bois, would any of us have the “dogged-strength alone from being torn asunder”? So this Christmastime, you must understand, I’m not looking for any traditional gifts. I just needed to go home. [/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="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]   MARCUS BROCK is an Afrofuturist, a college professor, an attaché, a flâneur and a postmodern vagabond. A frequent contributor to The Tenth, who always maintains a Black queer view of history and offers harmonious, yet unrestrained prose to the quest for liberation.    [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][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" z_index=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="2468" 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="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] STORIES | WINTER '20 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] an excerpt of a memoir by KEVIN MAXWELL ILLUSTRATIONS by MELISSA ROBLES [/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]After a week’s annual leave, with no goodbyes, I transferred to Bootle Street Police Station, a grand old stone building in Manchester’s city centre, the headquarters for the old City Police. Moving during your probation was unheard of, except in extenuating circumstances, granted by an assistant chief constable or above. During the week off, my mum and partner supported me, but a strain started to develop in my relationship with my partner, who was now a junior doctor. I soon learnt the inner-city police was in competition with other local stations like Longsight, which covered Moss Side in south Manchester, a predominantly black area that had had its own Toxteth-like riots. My new station was called ‘Brutal Street’ by my colleagues, a reputation it lived up to. I arrived at the station’s front desk with my uniform and equipment, and was sent straight to see the sub-divisional commander, who held the rank of superintendent, in his office on the first floor. The first thing he asked me – in front of his deputy, the sub-divisional chief inspector – was, ‘Have you come to my station on a crusade, waving a gay and black flag?’ Alarmed, I said that I hadn’t. It was the Union Jack that stood proudly on my bedroom shelf back in Liverpool, along with the flags of the Commonwealth that I collected. I was not a member of any political association, staff or otherwise. I just wanted to do my job. I was placed on a patrol shift, known as a ‘relief ’. The shifts were either from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. (day), from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. (afternoon), or from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. (night). There was also a 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. afternoon shift on the weekend. There were five patrol reliefs at my station, A to E, as well as other units, like plain-clothes and the criminal investigation department (CID). My relief shift had more than twenty other constables, three sergeants, an inspector and a dog handler; my station had the biggest reliefs in the Force. I was, once again, the only black officer. There was another gay officer at the station, who had experienced homophobia and as a result was now office-based. We paraded on (i.e. they took roll call, checking who was on duty or on annual leave, etc.), and were given our duties and our intelligence briefings in the parade room, for which we could now sit instead of stand, as used to be the way. The parade room was a place of banter, complaints about ‘the job’ (‘like no other’) and easy chat. I settled into life at Bootle Street, working uniform response ‘999’ policing (i.e. attending emergency calls), but quickly realised that it wasn’t very different to Wigan. Members of the public would often turn on minority officers, especially when they were being arrested. They were very vocal when it came to race, and more so when it came to religion, which I believe worsened as a direct result of the 9/11 attacks. I was once called to a disturbance at an entertainment complex called The Printworks in the city centre. I ended up arresting a drunk man who was causing trouble. As I was placing him in the back of the police van, he loudly snarled at me, in front of my peers and the watching public, ‘Get your stinking Muslim hands off me.’ Although I was a Catholic, my dark skin was reason enough for him to assume that I was Muslim. In fact, the inner-city police could have taught the small-town police a thing or two. Manchester was policed by people from the small, predominantly white Lancashire towns that surrounded it. When we policed a white working-class area, those we came into contact with were known as ‘chavs’ or ‘scum’, those we called ‘shit-bags’ in Wigan. When we policed a black or Asian area, they were ‘niggers’ and ‘Pakis’ respectively, and in the gay area they were ‘queers’. In Chinatown, they were ‘Chinks’. Many people didn’t even know the difference between a Sikh, a Hindu and a Muslim. It all came with the territory. Sometimes this sort of behaviour could backfire. I was on the 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. weekend shift in the nightclub riot van, when our vehicle pulled up alongside a black motorist on Deansgate, outside the bars on the strip. One of my colleagues opened the van’s side door and started to berate the driver of the vehicle, though neither I nor my colleagues could see a reason why. Whatever it was, the sergeant sitting in the passenger seat encouraged my colleague, whilst everyone laughed. That is, until the driver got out of his vehicle and identified himself as a lawyer who worked with the Force. He asked for my colleague’s number and that of my sergeant’s. After my colleague apologised, the sergeant was left red-faced. We drove off in silence. One day, a white female colleague and I were leaving the station yard in a marked police vehicle when an Asian taxi driver drove by blocking our path. At the top of her voice, my colleague shouted out to the taxi driver, ‘You stupid Paki!’ Embarrassed and disappointed, I gave an imperceptible shake of the head, but couldn’t find it in myself to do more. What could I have done? I thought, as I sat next to her. She was well connected and popular, especially amongst the male officers. Had I said something to her, or to someone else later, I would have been ostracised for having challenged or reported her – being a grass, untrustworthy, not a team player. And the careers of cops who weren’t trusted by other cops would stall. This close-knit camaraderie bred some more intimate relationships. Many cops at my new station were having extramarital affairs with other officers and police staff. It wasn’t my business to question the morality of these relationships, but they strengthened bonds in the police, including between junior and senior members of staff. Some tutor constables were sleeping with their tutees. Some officers even got together with people they had dealt with as victims of crime, including domestic violence. There were officers who didn’t care that others knew, as long as their partners didn’t find out – and of course they rarely did, because of that blue wall of silence, because no one trusts a snitch. Cops ‘did’ cops because they understood ‘the job’, they said. I was privy to several extramarital affairs between those in the highest ranks down to the lowest, on duty and off duty, in police offices, toilets and cars. The safest option seemed to be to turn a blind eye, especially as some of the people engaged in affairs were dictating my career. These affairs didn’t stretch to gay relationships; I knew several straight officers who had gay tendencies – some ‘played’ (i.e. experimented) with gay officers – but homophobic attitudes still continued. For example, one Christmas, when I was working on a crime report in the station writing room, a female colleague began to complain about not wanting to go to Via Fossa, a bar in Manchester’s gay village, and deal with a theft. Apparently she didn’t want to be dealing with ‘queers’ and their ‘drama’ anymore. Within the safe confines of my mind, I challenged her, calling her out for her homophobic language – but fear kept me from actually saying anything. I did not want to make any enemies. On another night, after work a group of us went to the local nightclub, 42nd Street, which was on the same road as the police station. I went to join a circle of my colleagues, just in time to hear one of the male officers announce, ‘If a gay guy ever tried to hit on me, I would break his nose.’ His words were meant for me; it was an observation he felt it was important to air as I joined the group. This officer had tested me previously, by asking me in front of others if I liked women. My brain shouted, ‘So, just because I’m gay I’m attracted to you?’ But again, I kept it to myself. He carried on, saying he didn’t think what gay people did was ‘natural’. I held my tongue, smiled and drank my drink. Maybe he was scared that gay men would treat him like he treated women. On another night, later, Officer Don’t Hit On Me and I bumped into each other in the gay village at Sackville Street car park, when we were both on duty but working separately. He told me and my van partner that he was annoyed by ‘queers’ and their ‘problems’, having just gone to an incident in the area. His eyes were on me as he said it, and I could sense his satisfaction. He knew I wouldn’t say anything, just as I hadn’t the last time. Anytime I tried to make friends with my new colleagues and had to sit through more of this, I came away feeling isolated. It impacted on my relationship with my boyfriend, who had already felt the pressure of my experiences at Bruche, Wigan, and now Bootle Street. Sometimes my feelings of isolation were compounded by the fact that, seen from the outside, I was part of that blue wall. During the spring 2003 protests against Tony Blair, George Bush and the Iraq war in Manchester – the biggest political demonstration in the city since the Peterloo Massacre in 1819 – three separate marches converged at the city’s town hall. I was on one side of the police line, and my friends from university, including my best friend and confidant Dan, were on the other. We smiled as we pretended we didn’t know each other, to save any embarrassment.  A Chinese officer at my station was in a situation similar to my own. He was struggling to fit in, and I sat and listened as my colleagues talked about how they would let him struggle and fail, in the hope that he would leave the police and return to the chip shop in Manchester where he came from. He was tutored for much longer than was normal, and as a result they described him as useless, lazy and incompetent. He did fail, did resign, and did return to the chip shop, to their utter delight. Whilst they roared with laughter over his resignation, I just stayed silent.  I was starting to resent myself for the way I kept quiet. I wanted to scream. But what could I have done and who could I have spoken with? The sub-divisional chief already warned me about ‘flying the flags’. As the most senior officer on the sub-division, he set the tone, and the other officers, especially the most junior ones, followed. I found myself eating in the writing room during my breaks, whilst my colleagues ate in the rest room next to the gym. The rest room was an uncomfortable place, pumping with testosterone. There was a television and when particular programmes came on – any programmes to do with gay people or rap music – my colleagues would circumspectly air their views, cautious of using fully racist or homophobic words.  Once I was with a male colleague who had pulled over a female motorist on Newton Street outside the police museum, for committing a minor traffic offence. She asked why he had stopped her. He replied, ‘Because I can.’ She fired back that he couldn’t stop her for no reason, so she received a ticket for failing her attitude test. When we got back in the car, out of earshot, I told him that he was completely out of order.  ‘What...

[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] INTERVIEWS | WINTER '20 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] IMAN LE CAIRE [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] INTERVIEWED by JAMES POWELL PHOTOGRAPHS by KAMOLLIO  [/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]In the throes of this global pandemic, travel as we know it has been severely restricted. Our virtual conversations have become digital vessels to far away hemispheres. My mind was determined to go to Egypt but my soul yearned for Kemet, “the land of the Blacks” — and that is where she took me: the indomitable Iman Le Caire. To only envision Le Caire as a trans refugee from a small rural village in Cairo who escaped unimaginable vilurence would be a disservice not only to her but also the community she seeks to uplift. Hers is a story of reincarnation. Le Caire worked as a contemporary dancer and choreographer at the Cairo Opera which ultimately aided her in coming to the United States where she became a LGBTQ performing artist and nightlife fixture in New York City, Fire Island Pines, and Cherry Grove. Through her advocacy work at TransEmigrate managing Arabic Relations, she has become one of the leading activists helping transgender people relocate to safer homes. Our exchange explored stretches of loss and spiritual and mental abuse during her youth but shifted, thanks to her timely wit, to “getting back up.” The tone of the conversation was characterized by the very meaning of Le Caire’s name, “faith”— a spiritual apprehension that has not been physically seen or touched that we are still called to manifest for ourselves and those we love.[/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="2451" 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]JAMES: I think it's important for us to understand how queer identity is shaped by the landscape we're in. I'm glad the ancestors connected us. I want to talk about your Egyptian origins. Is that where your name comes from?  IMAN: Yes, the name comes from my sister Iman. She was the best sister to me as a transgender—as somebody who is different in my family. Transgender, where I come from, is something abnormal and shameful. In the village where I come from, they are killing them, and they don't want to talk about them [the murders] at all. Or some transgender people kill themselves. They get raped by the whole community and then they kill them just like what's happening to the Black trans here [in the US]. That's why I have this trauma. I did not just join the movement. The trauma hit me in my head, and that's why I’ve been in the street [protesting] because of what happens in Egypt to people like me.  But my sister was my guidance. She was always saying, “Get better, change your attitude,” and making me feel better. I get emotional every time I talk about her. My brother was trying to get rid of me by making my life a living hell because everybody was shaming him, so he was always beating me and fighting with me. Where I come from, it's hard to even move at the market because everything is in front of everybody. Everybody will know that there is a transgender person in the house. You always get attacked by people. But my sister was always protecting me. That's why I took her name. I don't think she would be happy that I did this if she finds out. My whole family is very strict Muslims. JAMES: The story is complicated, but there is so much beauty. When I think about names, I have come to understand that “Egypt" is a name that the Europeans took from the ancient Greek language. The ancient Egyptians actually have another name for Egypt. I think about your story and who gets to decide what your identity is based on the outside world. I know the LGBTQ community has a lot of hardships there—to the point where you have to remain invisible in order to survive. Is there anything that makes you proud of the culture?  IMAN: The pharaohs believed in the third gender. It's on the walls—the boy and the boy kissing. Ancient Egyptians believed in all of this, and now the current Egyptians try to remove it from the walls…to destroy it so nobody will believe in these things.  JAMES: When did you decide you were going to leave Egypt and come to the United States? What was that defining moment when you're like enough is enough? IMAN: When I was with my family I knew I was different because I used to love to do art and stuff—everything that is different, and I didn't know why they were not doing the same things. I was just wondering, “Why are these people not like me?” So everything that I looked for was in America. All the things on TV about freedom. I’d see all the drag queens and the transgender and say, "Oh my God, one day I will go there. I’ll wear my heels and I'll walk in the park, and I'll have my apartment in The Village, and I know I will be accepted everywhere, and I will tell my uncle, FUCK YOU!” JAMES: Were there any images that inspired you growing up? I was obsessed with Whitney Houston! IMAN: I was obsessed with Madonna! Back in Egypt, I had this weird dream that I was going to arrive at the airport and she would be waiting for me and I was going to vogue. Actually, I danced “Vogue” in Fire Island Pines, and that was a dream come true. This country is kind of amazing and also weird. They always say the word “freedom,” and then when you come here you just have to figure it out [what that means]. I used to dance at the Cairo Opera House where I was a choreographer and did so many things. I had this idea that I would come here with my CV and I would at least get a little bit of respect. But no, it was rejection. You get confused because you are a refugee and you want to work and to be part of the community. I think people like us bring good to this country. If we can all come together, we can build altogether. I work for an organization called TransEmigrate because they help trans people from other countries to flee, but guess what? The United States of America is blacklisted.  I lost one of my friends who wanted to be a transgender, but she could not even make it here. She was the fifth runner up in Mr. Egypt and she was doing good and well-known. JAMES: Wow! IMAN: The first thing I said was, “You're going to come to the United States,” and the woman told me, "No, America is blacklisted." I was like, "What?" They do respect transgender women in Europe. It's beyond. JAMES: It's better in Europe than it is here? IMAN: France, Germany—so many countries in Europe. I have the list on my TransEmigrate website. They send Black transgender to get asylum in Europe now, because they give you full health insurance, housing, they do all your surgery—they take care of you. They also have gun control so nobody's going to shoot you. So I wasn't going to die. I was going to live. I wouldn't be just 25. I am just going to live until I am old and lazy. JAMES: Why do you think there is such a stark difference? Americans pride themselves on being a progressive country, but from your viewpoint, and those of many trans people of color I’ve spoken with, that’s not the case. IMAN: Well, ask the white people. I think it's our Black culture too. It's how we shower our mothers and how our Black mothers shower our straight Black brothers. Egypt is Northern Africa. So we're African and we have the same mentality of transphobia and homophobia. My mom always said “You're going to go to hell if you sleep with someone like this.” This is why when they sleep with a transgender woman, they want to hide what they did so they kill them—they burn their body. I was arrested and went to jail many times in Eygpt for being a homosexual. A gay brother was an informant to the police. He would say “she’s gay, she's gay, he's gay...

[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] STORIES | WINTER '20 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] LITTLE NIGLET [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] WORDS by JOSH RIVERS ARTWORK by MICHAEL ROSS [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="50px"][/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="2407" img_size="full" alignment="center" onclick="custom_link" img_link_target="_blank" qode_css_animation="" link="https://us.macmillan.com/books/9780374538989"][/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]Dad was always muttering to himself about Little Niglet’s ashy knees and nappy hair. Always complained he was runnin’ around Atlanta looking like Jackass-motherfucking-Jones. Little Niglet ran fast. He knew you were trying to keep him. He knew his place wasn’t here, even then. He was rambunctious, and sassy, and put his hand on his hip when he was talking to you, and he was smart. Dad used to tell him to stop looking at him with the eyes he gave him. Dad thought he invented the cut eye, but Little Niglet would remind him that nobody cut an eye like he could—never before, never after. The only time Little Niglet would stop running was when he reached the end of something or when he ran into something, but never because he was out of breath. I’d watch him run and think he’d be running forever if we let him. And even when I caught him, he would scratch and claw at me like a badger. Damn near gouged my eye out once. It was the way he looked at me when I caught him. His big brown eyes, so full of wonder, so sparkling and luminous, could turn black with hatred. When I couldn’t catch him, I caught him with words. If I insulted his intelligence, he would bite back so hard he’d draw blood. He loved the smell of blood. He’d lick the tears from your face if he was close enough. And so we learned to keep him at arm’s length. To let him run around looking like he looked. In hindsight, I wish I would have tried harder to catch him. Maybe he’d still be here.  Dad was quiet. He liked being alone. He was hulking. Regal in stature but pauper in dress, when he was upright, he moved through the world as if he owned it. A cigarette always dangled from the side of his mouth as he tapped on the newest handheld, and his black lips were always stained red with wine. He was, by all accounts, a drunk, though we’d adopt more affectionate turns of phrase and often shrug our shoulders when he passed out in the driver’s seat of the car. Mom left him there when he did that. Didn’t think it was her responsibility to be “lugging no old drunk Negro around.” Little Niglet would stalk around the car when Dad was passed out in it. I’d watch from the window. He’d pace ’round and ’round, like he was thinking as if one more disappointment might make him snap. He hated seeing Dad like that. Thought he was checking out, being lazy, being mean. Little Niglet made no secret of his dislike for Dad and his drinking. He would pour all of Dad’s beers and wine out into the sink, discarding the bottles in fits and smashes on the back patio. Never did it when Dad was home, though. The one thing Little Niglet was scared of was dad’s big rough hands across his face. Little Niglet went to great lengths to make sure nobody but Mom ever touched him. Not hugs, not kisses, not nothin’, and especially not a beating. When Dad came home, boots crunching across the glass as he surveyed the damage to his arsenal, Little Niglet was nowhere to be found. He was up in a tree, down at the creek, wedged into some hole we-didn’t-know-where and wherever he was he’d stay until Dad, like clockwork, passed out again.  Mom was feisty. Little Niglet loved her more than anybody else and made sure everybody knew. If he wrote something down, only she could see it. If he was having a tantrum, only she could calm him. If he wanted to fight, only she could make him back down. It was like the umbilical cord had never been cut. They were connected and that connection was unassailable. He was savage in his love for her and in her defense and none of us were welcome or safe. If we even thought about saying something to her, he’d leap up on the table, word-knives shooting from his mouth, and cut us all to pieces. One time I saw fear in her eyes when he spoke. Once. Other than that, I think she was happy to have him as her little assassin. Dad ignored her, my sister was always nagging at her, and Little Niglet was the only person who saw her, made her feel special and needed. We learned to keep her at arm’s length too, to let them two revolve around the other’s existence. It just wasn’t worth the blood loss.  A few years later, when Little Niglet came limping home, stinking of alcohol, with a bruised eye and a face red-fresh from crying, we couldn’t get through to him. “What happened?! Little Niglet, talk to me!” Mom begged him to speak, but he refused. He bit his tongue until he started bleeding. He wouldn’t even open his eyes. He was shaking like a caught fox. “If he shake any harder he gon’ scramble his brain!” my sister yelled. He climbed into the deepest recesses of the couch and wept for what felt like hours. As each of us approached and then retreated, he wept. He wept so consistently and for so long that I thought for sure we’d wake up in the morning and he’d be dust. His trousers had been torn, half his shirt was missing and he wasn’t wearing any underwear. The thing we didn’t want to be true was the only thing that could be. I said a prayer for him. I said, “God. Don’t let him run.” Little Niglet ran. I knew when I woke up in the morning he was gone. Little Niglet had an energy and it was thick as the high-noon heat of Sunday. He pulsed. As I wiped my eyes, I nudged my sister.[/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_row_inner row_type="row" type="grid" text_align="left" css_animation=""][vc_column_inner width="1/6"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="2/3"][vc_column_text]"Little Niglet's gone." "How you know, nigga? You even been in to see him?" "Bitch, he gone. I can feel it." [/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/6"][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/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="60px"][vc_column_text]Mom was distraught. She hit all of us like we had something to do with it. She smashed a glass against the wall in the kitchen, threw a frying pan at my head and slammed my sister into a wall. I had never seen Mom with that type of rage, and all of a sudden I knew where Little Niglet got it. She was showing her teeth, hissing, enraged. It was Discovery Channel shit. The moment Dad walked in, we ducked out and the orchestra of smashing dishes and screaming became too loud to bear. Through covered ears from under the dining room table, we heard her blame him. She said it was his fault. Said he better go find Little Niglet, that Dad could zip himself up into a body bag if he thought he could return home empty-handed. Dad laughed that kind of half-laugh you laugh when someone says something so insane that you know they ain’t lying. The type of shit you say when you’re daring somebody to test you. So she popped him square in the mouth and knocked his front teeth out. I heard him spit out his teeth through the wall.  It was the one time I ever felt bad for Dad. The one time I knew he wasn’t to blame. He wasn’t there when Little Niglet limped in, and he sure wasn’t awake when Little Niglet left. He knew if he couldn’t find Little Niglet that he had no home to come back to. Mom had drawn a line in the sand, pissed all over the house. Find Little Niglet or don’t come home. Knowing Dad knew only the routes he had travelled, knew solely the roads to annihilation, me and my sister followed him to the car. He slumped into the driver’s seat, the rush of stale wine fogging up the windshield. That’s when I saw what resignation looks like, how it hollows out the eyes and discards whoever was there into the shadow where he once stood. “Thee ya round,” he whistled. He knew he was never going to find Little Niglet. [/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="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]   JOSH RIVERS Josh Rivers is a London based writer who delves into cultural and social issues related to queerness within the African diaspora. Based in the United Kingdom, Rivers is the Head of Communications for UK Black Pride and creator + host of the podcast Busy Being Black. MICHAEL ROSS is a multidisciplinary artist who currently lives in, and is a native of Mississippi. Ross uses mediums such as collage, textile, pencil drawings and paint to reflect on many years spent in San Francisco and his American southern heritage. [/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="50px"][vc_single_image image="675" img_size="full" alignment="center" onclick="custom_link" qode_css_animation="" link="https://thetenthmagazine.com/"][vc_empty_space height="10px"][/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] FEATURES | WINTER '20 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] TRANSCENDING [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] SHYANNE ESCADA & AMARRA AMOR  by PICASOO MOORE + images by KAMOLLIO [/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]The first brick at Stonewall? Of course, you’re aware. Founding S.T.A.R. and bringing food, community, and resources to trans women across New York and beyond? No doubt, you’ve read about it. That glorious smile and colorful headdress? We’ve all seen them in that immortalized photograph that gets posted on everyone’s Instagram every pride season. But beyond the speeches, beyond the vital work, beyond the canonized saint that we need her to be, but did you know Marsha P. Johnson was a person? Hold on. Catch your breath. Okay, keep reading. She was a woman, a friend, a bad bitch, and an activist, but also, a whole entire human being.  Yes, Marsha was the leader who carried us over the line but she was so much more… so much other. And yes, Marsha was in many ways the first but she was not at all the last. “I was protesting all through the summer. I got arrested,” says Amarra Rysedoph, model, musician, OnlyFans entrepreneur, artist, and certified BARB. On a break from the cover shoot for The Tenth’s latest issue, she sits in front of a bevy of vegan delights and builds a plate while I pick her brain. She is no stranger to civic engagement. “I was in the activist community back home in Omaha (Nebraska) doing certain things here and there. But when this happened (the recent Black Lives Matter inflection point), I was like ‘nobody should not be in the streets, you know?’” With perfect posture and an expertly applied smoky eye, she shares her story.   [/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="2352" img_size="full" 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 was at this protest, we had just crossed over the Brooklyn Bridge, and they (the police) started to charge a group of thousands of people and I started to record the arrests because they were throwing people to the ground. I was like, let me record because I don’t know how they were going to be treating these people, where they were taking them, and then this officer shoved me. I moved his arm off of me and I had three officers, grown men, take me to the ground! They ripped my lace front off my head and took me to jail. I was there overnight… It was a whole mess.” From just over her right shoulder comes a gasp out of Shyanne Escada, model and one of the second runners up on HBO Max’s Ballroom competition series “Legendary.” A full stop. Even in all the makeup and wardrobe, the smoldering gaze she was just giving to the camera falls away. For a moment the room is raptured. “Yeah, I know,” offers Amarra. “I have court in like a week and a half. They didn’t really have any reason to arrest me. So I’m hoping that they’ll drop the charges and give me a ticket or something. I just have to see how it goes. There are things I’m a little bit worried about, honestly, because I feel like they’re just going to make some shit up. They didn’t tell me what my charges were when they arrested me, so I’m assuming they’re just going to make some shit up. So I just have to be prepared for that.” The makeup artist signals that she’d like to touch up before Amarra slips into wardrobe and has her moment in front of the camera. As she and her cheekbones glide away, she turns and says “I haven’t really processed it yet. I’m sure it will hit me later.”  The power of that moment! It was brief and matter of fact, but undeniably profound. Two young trans girls, Black and magical as the day is long, sitting in this room and serving, not just face, but as contradictions.  Contradictions to the relentless framing of trans women, particularly trans women of color, as the featured players in the world’s most sensationalized trauma porn du jour. Most media would have you believe that our sisters spend their days battling transphobic violence and galvanizing to push back against pointed and discriminatory legislation, and they do, as those are the enraging realities of their lives, but their days are also filled with so much more. The two young women in this feature prove that. Today they have a shoot with The Tenth… let’s worry about the court date next week. [/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="2362" img_size="full" 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]Our collective attention is always shifting. We’re angry and ready to ride at dawn for Megan Thee Stallion up until Kanye says something wild about Harriet Tubman at his “campaign rally.” We can’t get over the scandal in the Pinkett-Smith household until Nene storms away at the reunion. Halle Berry is canceled for considering taking a role as a trans man in a new film until Miley announces a new record. It seems we’re deadset to swing back and forth between outrage and joy; and even with our hearts set on allyship we can sometimes drop the ball. Not these girls though. Like many of the trans women we know and love, multitasking is second nature. Yes, they work daily for their right to occupy space and cultivate autonomy, but they find time to do so much more. Call it their burden, call it their power, but just because they’re busy fighting doesn’t mean that they don’t have the time and the will to slay. [/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="2360" img_size="full" 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]Shyanne, a native of Rochester, NY, is as comfortable and competent when speaking about her experience with advocacy as she is speaking about her ambition. When asked about the recent intersectional Black Trans Lives Matter March in Brooklyn, she notes that progress is being made. “Seeing the Black Lives Matter movement in high school, I remember talking about it in class and asking would you guys care if these people that died were gay or trans or anything? and it was just quiet. They didn’t even think about it. To see so many people marching for trans lives… I’ve always felt conflicted. It felt so separated from our community, but now it’s starting to merge. It feels inclusive. It doesn't feel like I’m marching for someone who wouldn’t march for me.” Vital as that dialogue is, and eloquently as she engages, she has so much more to say.  In between touchups to her makeup and head wrap, Shyanne makes it clear that her time on “Legendary” was only the beginning. “Before the show, I told them my goal isn’t to win the show. I said my goal is to make a moment. I’d rather they remember us than win… I’m thinking in advance. ” That hands on the wheel mentality is evident even in her nonverbal exchange. “Your basic average girl, here to save the world”, reads her Instagram bio. It may be a Kim Possible quote, and it may be a bit tongue in cheek, but the look in her eye when she’s being photographed, the presence she has when she struts down the stage, and the conviction in her voice when she speaks about her career and desire to “make a moment” and “be remembered” are not to be taken lightly. [/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="2369" img_size="full" 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]If you want an online vogue class via Zoom, hit up Shyanne on Instagram. If you’re a savage but are looking for lingerie that’s more sustainable than what Rihanna has to offer head to Amarra’s page and use her PARADE discount code. From sharing their technical gifts with the world, to using their savvy to create brand partnerships, both Amarra and Shyanne shake off any and all imposed narratives and expiration dates on them. Months after our social media feeds have gone back to normal and the white gays in those ever-expanding gentrified pockets of Brooklyn have stopped professing their desire to “do the work,” our sisters actually are. In the stretch following, the historic march for Black Trans Lives in Brooklyn and the unprecedented rise in intersectional dialogue, these ladies make their desire to be more than the winners of the Oppression Olympics clear. They’re creating their own opportunities and making their own coins, and they are doing so on their own terms.  It’s encouraging and inspiring to see self-actualized young trans women transcend (pun intended) the narrative so often imposed on them. In simply living their lives ambitiously and intentionally, they challenge ideas about what their trajectory and focus can be and reveal a more nuanced portrait of excellence.[/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="2371" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][vc_column_text] ARTWORK by ZACH GREAR [/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]The momentum they’ve respectively cultivated has been deliberate and when the girls get moving there’s really no stopping them. Even in the midst of a global pandemic, you’d think that they would tire. That they’d yield to the rapidly changing landscape of media or that they’d at least push things down the line a bit, right? Wrong. To Shyanne, her continued industriousness seems only logical and her recently acquired fan base seems eager to get a piece of her where and however they can. “I was really a homebody before COVID happened. So, I FaceTime my friends every day, and we text. And because of the show, I have a bigger following now, so I get to interact with a lot of people online more than before. I don’t think I’ve had to get creative.” For Amarra, the world’s state doesn’t seem to be an obstacle either. “Since coronavirus happened, I’m obviously not going out or anything. But I’m still connecting with people through social media and meeting other creatives that way and trying to keep myself creative and productive. Creating within the house, you know?”[/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="2366" img_size="full" 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]Spending the day with Shyanne and Amarra is spending the day with the future. Two young women living life on their own terms and reshaping the molds that media and the world seem hellbent on setting them in. As they wrap their respective photo sessions and head out the door they subtly exhibit a mix of gratitude, effervescence, pride, and power. They’ve got meetings to take, shoots to head to, and collabs to manage. As I say my goodbyes and barrage them with a few more compliments for the work they both do behind and in front of the lens, I meet their eyes and feel overcome with the notion that though they offered a smorgasbord of soundbites desirable for any journalist, the most phenomenal part of the day was what went unsaid. The best part is what they and, so many other girls like them, effortlessly present as an imperative. With their confidence, wit, and drive Amarra and Shyanne make it clear that police, politics, and pandemic be damned, the girls are unstoppable![/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="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]   PICASSO MOORE is a contributing writer and all-star team player at The Tenth, who once had said on IG: "This is all Sarah Jessica Parker's fault."   KAMOLLIO BENNETT is an Art Director and photographer who's worked for every global luxury fashion & beauty brand possible, but in his independent creative pursuits, balances a stillness of hand and peace of mind, which is always transmitted in the process.   [/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"...

[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"][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] FEATURES | WINTER '20 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] Elyse Fox On Making Room For Women Of Color To Be More Than Just Strong [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] WORDS by ROYTEL MONTERO IMAGES of ELYSE FOX [/vc_column_text][/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="80px"][vc_column_text]Long before Elyse Fox was called a mental health advocate for young Black women, she called herself a filmmaker and followed her earliest passion. When she established a platform to reach the young women seeking solace on and offline, she called it the Sad Girls Club. But even before Fox was called anything, she was called to a mission that was clearly defined. It was to set out and make something of herself and make progress for a family in a new country. While the Caribbean diasporic storyline is one shared by a sizable population in the United States, its causes and effects are always varied. “From age 5 I was always told that I needed to do something that was gonna bring home the coin for the whole family,” Fox says of her earliest inklings. With one thing in clear focus, she set out to fulfill the order placed by her parents—a mother from St. Kitts and a father from the Bronx—to not only be something but to also be someone—a notion central to immigration stories.  A lifetime of effort and good grades earned her acceptance to Cornell University, which she curbed to stay closer to the city and the art she was interested in creating. By 20, Fox was Los Angeles-bound with a head start at paying her dues in show business.  By 25, she was on her way back to New York, having found the dream sooner than she expected and, with it, a slew of side effects. “I was having a great time but while I was discovering myself I was also in an abusive relationship,” she says. The relationship put several things into focus for a younger Elyse, whose early success in media did little to quell the onset of a “cloud of darkness” she had come to accept her norm. “I had my first suicide attempt shortly after that time in LA and I was feeling so low and just really trying to rebuild myself and rebuild my self-worth because I felt like I couldn’t really be happy with me until I figured out what was going on with me,” Fox recalls.  She had been gone for five years and had to adjust a few things: “ Everything was hella gentrified and the buildings I lived around were different and the people were different so I had to re-learn this other part of myself that had changed before I could even say goodbye and when I got back home I just tried to act like everything was normal and wanted to hang out with my friends, go out and have fun,” she says.  The mental health scare also gave way to a new outlet for Fox, who documented her return to New York City in the 2016 film “Conversations With Friends” combining footage from the city’s cultural scene with a candid look at her inner life. What happened next fell into place as only fate would have it. An outpouring of feedback from other young women of color around the world confirmed that she was not alone. Additionally, she was not alone in discovering her threshold for emotional hardship where the tools to do so hadn’t been offered by the mainstream outlet—or anyone.[/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][vc_single_image image="2346" img_size="full" 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]After organizing the first IRL meetup for the online community, it was abundantly clear the response was reflective of something that had been lacking largely for women like her.  “I even joke that before I started this group, I didn’t know what gaslighting was,” she says laughing. With so much knowledge to share, the young women of color that make up Fox’s growing platform are also a community that’s learned to rely on each other. Not only for resources and facts, but also the constructive blocks for growth that can be harder to come by on social media. “We don’t subscribe to cancel culture at Sad Girls Club so if there’s something that needs to be learned, or we need to be educated on, then they’ll just DM me or pull me to the side and say No, this is what we need to do,” she says.  The camaraderie at the center of the Sad Girls Club ethos is easily what keeps it evolving. It’s a culture that rewrites a narrative about Black women that so frequently discounts wellness to prioritize strength.  Fox, on the other hand, knows that wellness is a holistic pursuit and no parts should go untended. This is where the wealth of information comes to use. “I feel like just having an endless pool of lingo and language, to have that information accessible, and people being comfortable to provide it is a beautiful thing but I am learning every day without even trying. And the fact that I can share this information with my niece and my son when he gets older is just priceless to me,” she says.  The non-profit organization thrives with the support of not just its beneficiaries and followers (the Sad Girls Club Instagram page has just shy of 300k), but also the community of people offering their help and services. From therapists donating sessions to safe spaces to offering to house meetings that hundreds of young women of color have attended to find each other and provide concrete support and resources, every bit counts. What has Fox taken away from the experience?  “To not be afraid to ask for what you want, what you deserve, and what you need,” she said.  “Because if you ask for things and you’re able to speak effectively about why you need the things you need or what you’re asking for and what it’s going to bring to you or your organization, those are the things that are important to ask.”  For Fox, finding a way to approach her depression came after years of self-reliance that only delayed her treatment. While there’s plenty of discourse surrounding the triumphs of Black women in the face of multiple oppressors, Sad Girls Club creates room for a holistic approach to wellness.  “I always hate that we’re praised for the things that we bring to the table but not for our personal beings and our personal selves,” she says.  Examples of strong Black women are everywhere. In popular culture, she’s lauded for her resilience and will. Colloquially, she’s how we identify the triumph of existing- and thriving- in spite of systemic oppression. While more overtly harmful stereotypes like the Mammy, Jezebel or angry Black woman aim to be dissolved by the variety of Black women becoming more visible, the label of strong has some stronger side effects. This is because being superhuman comes at a cost and for Black women by and large, the price is mental health. With barriers like stigma, lack of resources and a cultural expectation to override intersectional oppression by sheer will, studies have shown Black women are less likely to seek help for mental health.  Is the strong Black woman trope to blame? “It’s like a bandaid statement that people use to make themselves feel better because they either don’t know how to help or they don’t wanna help so they say this person is fine. She’s a strong Black woman,” Fox says. The numbers show it: not only are Black women twice as likely to experience depression compared to their male counterparts but their symptoms are often misdiagnosed or ignored by professionals not taking cultural context into consideration. [/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" z_index=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="2374" img_size="full" 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]As she rewrites this narrative, Fox is embracing a new reality for young women of color. “To me, strength means being vulnerable,” she says with the same certainty she’d call the sky blue. If the success of her platform doesn’t already show that she’s struck a chord, her collaborations with huge brands like Olay, Nike, and institutions like Harvard University help awareness too. Through brand partnerships and an ever-growing community, she has connected countless young women of color to mental health resources and, just as importantly, to each other. Fox knows for sure that her greatest strength is also expressed through tenderness—and that comes in so many different forms.“Strength is in healing yourself, setting boundaries. I think strength comes in many different ways and that might mean something to someone else so to generalize it for Black women, you’re doing us a disservice,” she says. As the embodiment of strength in spite of oppression, Fox knows the sky’s the limit. [/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="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]   ROYTEL MORENO is a writer and photographer based in Brooklyn, New York, whose made the mainstream mediascape more inclusive in his travels about the city covering culture and its products.     [/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 width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="50px"][vc_single_image image="675" img_size="full" alignment="center" onclick="custom_link" qode_css_animation="" link="https://thetenthmagazine.com/"][vc_empty_space height="10px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row]...

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