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] ESSAYS | FALL '20 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] URBAN FASHIONS OF YORE [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] ESSAY by MARCUS BROCK ARTWORK by DONOVAN EDWARDS + JON KEY [/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]Oh, what a time to be alive. The Nobel Prize-winning Gabriel Garcia Marquez captured the heaviness of living and loving in a medical crisis in Love in the Time of Cholera. And now, we no longer need nostalgia to capture history because we are now living history, living and loving in the time of corona. Not since over a century has the globe experienced a pandemic of this proportion, the coronavirus, COVID-19.  Once the World Health Organization established a pandemic was at our doorsteps on March 10, it only took seconds for so many to turn the growing need for face masks into a commodity with some cunning humans taking advantage of the ill-impressioned, with some others trying to pass the time with needle and thread for some charity due to hospital shortages, and more justly-hustling to supplement the income they would inevitably lose. And through this all, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo and elected officials like Mayor Bill DeBlasio had announced it mandatory to don face coverings outside and especially inside of businesses. Immediately when I don a mask, I feel like I’m a character in The Hughes Brothers' Dead Presidents. Or, that others see me as that. Black and brown folks have a storied history with masks, whether it’s the corner store or the plantation. I recently received a simple, black face mask that shows more of my face—that a human lies underneath. But up until then, I cautiously wore a bandana, oscillating between pink, mint green, and polka dots. With seeing eyeglasses off? No, on. I often wear top coverings, so I would never combine a mask, beanie, and the bandana simultaneously, sugarcoating the mask’s history and sugarcoating my black body so that onlookers would feel disarmed and not as though I was bearing arms. I was much more acutely aware of anti-Asian and anti-black racism, so the proper coordination was a must.  When society imaginatively forces you into the margins, you are often acutely aware, aren’t you? You’re acutely aware of what it's like to fend for survival, to resort to public assistance, to fill the soap dispenser with water to make it stretch, to make a dollar out of fifteen cents, and you may not understand solitude, but you are intimately aware of its presence. When you are a woman, black, or queer, you are actutely aware of your body being sized up, taken in, ridiculed, beaten, forced, and even made pliable by the onlookers gaze twisitng and contorting you into a shortcut in their imagination—all in the strident effort to dehumanize the vessel that stands and lies before them. And yet, still, we rise.  As my own neighborhood gentrifies, it matters to me none, because it only takes one person to remind me that I am black and that I am gay. And trust me, the world has a sneaky way of reminding us that we don’t belong, so we have to stay ready, so we ain’t gotta get ready.[/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="center" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="1580" 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]In These Streets “You must be one of them Crenshaw Mafia motherfuckers.” The late John Singleton made one of the most seminal, naturalist films ever when he delivered Boyz n the Hood to us in 1991. The film and its cast of still-admired thespians touched me then as it touches me now. I recognized myself in those characters because the vivid insight was a daily life I was familiar with in Los Angeles - it was Compton, South Central, Bellflower, Newark, Southside Chicago, and St. Louis, on the world’s stage. Tre Styles (Cuba Gooding Jr.), wasn’t one of those “Crenshaw Mafia motherfuckers.” But it didn’t matter no-how. When best friends, Tre and Ricky (Morris Chestnut), are stopped by the police, the black cop, heavily breathing over Tre at a forced pull-over haunts me every time I watch it. It’s a warm California night and 1990s streetwear with bulky tennis shoes adorn these young boys driving down Crenshaw Boulevard. Suddenly, Ricky and Tre are stopped by a black and white police officer, pointedly Officer Coffey, the anti-black black cop serves up the vitriol. Ricky looks on helplessly, while the black officer violently leans into Tre force-feeding his Smith & Wesson into his neck and face, looking him up and down like he ain’t worth a Nissin Cup Noodles, ain’t worth shit, with grit in his teeth, his face snarled and menacing. And with heavy breath, he exclaims, “You think you tough, huh? What set you from? Look like one of them Crenshaw Mafia motherfuckers. Naw, you probably one of them Rollin’ 60s.”  Tre wasn’t in either gang.  But the officer is declarative. There is no recuse or explanation. As the Smith & Wesson pierces Tre’s neck, his muscles tighten as he swallows his own saliva, gulping down his pride to silence this damn near swan song. He is unable to fight back, unable to speak, but his emotion must come out somehow from somewhere. And it does. A single tear drips from the corner of his eye and slowly moves down his right cheek. There have been times when I watch that scene, alone, and a single tear escapes my eye as well. These are the notes of a Native Son.  For some time now (all my damn life and yours), blackness—our black cool—as Rebecca Walker calls it, has been under attack. When you read colonial travel diaries such as Joseph Conrad’s novella, Heart of Darkness, you are reminded that for centuries, black people have been looked upon with an odd gaze of fantasy, fetish, and fiction since forever. No one knew what to make of the “Dark Continent” and those who have transcended from the African Diaspora. And onlookers still gawk at our bodies, our fashion, our adornment with the same malignant intrigue they once had during colonial times—they were so intimidated by our beauty and culture so they named it savage, instead. Ratchet. Non-bourgeois. And Declassé. Today, they name it fashion and commodity and fourth-quarter sales projections—oh, that’s that “Black Cool” Rebecca Walker is reminding us about. That “Black Magic” that Krin Gabbard is historicizing.  The fashion industry, particularly Anna Wintour, knew exactly what they were doing when brands fused with hip hop culture—a lifeline to revitalize the industry. Kris Kross had me wearing my clothes backwards, Cross Colours had me black and proud, canvas-clad Christian Dior purses were all the rage, and leather black Africa medallions lay clad on my cousin’s chest back in the day. We been on!   For two years, I was a drive-thru cashier in high school, and I was slick with it, bouncing from the freezer, taking orders on my headset to pulling greasy tacos from the fryer, packing a bag, counting the change, mixing a milkshake, and all while taking the next order. I toiled on my job to buy my September fashions for the new school year. The Lakewood Mall’s Up Against the Wall were where you could get your Enyce, Rocawear, Ecko Unlimited, Lugz, and Avirex. Now since my mother couldn’t afford to pop tags, I often ended up with the discounted, last season versions from Ross or Marshall’s. All good. I remember one year, my mother bought me a faux-Starter jacket; I never wore it. It stayed in my closet and I never said anything, but I’m sure it hurt her feelings. I just couldn’t think of mustering the ridicule. Later on, I stacked my paper as we said in the 1990s, or as the children say today, I “secured the bag,” and took $100 to Up Against the Wall and bought me an Avirex jumpsuit, a bright orange jumpsuit, with a distressed Avirex logo across my back. It was a mess, but quiet as it’s kept, it was also a look. [/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="center" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="1835" 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]Adorned So as the fashions of yesteryear become the looks of the present and future, I’m feeling a way about it. During Fall 2018, Fila held its first-ever fashion show in Milan. As an Italian heritage brand, it’s been among us since 1911. I remember when I learned how to iron during the 1980s, I had this slick Fila tracksuit. Nylon. I went into the kitchen, plugged in the iron, had it on full-blast and burnt a triangular hole right through my pant leg. Oh, the devastation. But I had another Fila hoodie that was oh-so-mean, too. It had a zip-down hood that had “Marcus” sprawled in blue script on the inside and it laid flat once unzipped, adorning my upper back.  Chile, you couldn’t tell me nothin’—not a damn thing!  I have no idea where my mom bought it from, whether it was bootleg or not, but one thing was for sure: it was the mood du moment and I was en vogue. But I’m feeling a way. When Fendi x Fila did the collaboration with rapper, Nicki Minaj, she boasted “I been on/Fendi prints on,” which help set up their comeback. I felt a way when students strolled into the classroom with Fila shoes and sportswear from Urban Outfitters on the campuses I taught on. I didn’t feel a way about the students, just the cultural shift. I felt a way when I saw the logo on a fellow subway passenger right in front of my face leading up from the subway stairs. This new generation of streetwear sartorialists aren’t at fault for the past—but I still feel a way about it.  The young set walks around in a millennial-Gen Z-swag performing as the dopest. But unfortunately, the same urban trends that hipsters, yuppies, buppies, and the like enjoy today were the same trends that motivated racial profiling and police brutality of young black and Latinx men and women of the 1990s. These fashions, commonly found at the swap meet for a fraction of what they cost now, signified to police that you were affiliated with gangs when you were, in actuality, just walking home from school trying not to miss Darkwing Duck and Batman.  For a time, what has always been black, but popular culture has been jive, Ebony-Phonics, African American Vernacular, but with social media, you notice everyone has jumped aboard hood vernacular to sound cool. What was once frowned upon is now cool for all, not just “Black Cool.”  But Fila, and street brands like it are back like no other. And while Fila may be waning eventually, something will soon take its place because street culture and style is here to stay overpriced, but we shall pay. LL Cool J already requested an “around the way girl,” because that’s just it – street culture has long been a fabric of the urban. “A girl with extensions in her hair, bamboo earrings, at least two pair. A Fendi bag with a bad attitude.”  The “drop culture” of limited brands like James Jebbia’s Supreme, has caused a frenzy for who is adorned in the finest, just so you can say, “Then I spent four hundred bucks on this, just to be like nigga you ain’t up on this!” It’s no wonder the brand that started as a skate shop in the mid-1990s is valued at over 1 billion dollars today. While street culture often refers to subcultures around the world from Japan to Los Angeles to New York to Oaxaca, let’s be clear, it is often created from the have-nots. And much of it today, is gleaned directly from hip hop culture and underrepresented youth, where the purveyors and the pioneers are Latino and black. [/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="center" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="1833" 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"...

[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="1822" 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="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] GET IN! | FALL '20 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] 100 BOYFRIEND BRONTEZ [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] WORDS by BRONTEZ PURNELL PHOTOGRAPHY by MARCUS BRANCH [/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 am rolling around naked on a Chinese rug from like the late 1800s. I’m thinking really, really hard about it because I’m on ketamine and can’t telescope back any emotion for the life of me. Every shape of every thought becomes bigger and bigger and then multi-sided—I have to catch my breath when I think of, like, the world and its vastness and blah blah blah, things of that nature. Like, China, OMG! that’s SO. FAR. AWAY. And the late 1800s, also. OMG! SO. FAR. AWAY. Just by rubbing my schlong on this old ass rug I feel like I’m sticking my whole dick in the space/time continuum without a rubber. This is probably how the characters on Star Trek feel ALL THE TIME. My Daddy is this older Asian dude, he collects boys and art. He has shit in this house that’s even older than the rug. In fact, everything in his house is like a THRIVING specimen of a different time. Himself included.  He’s damn near 60 but looks like a 9-year-old in the face. He’s wearing a black see-through lace romper that, for whatever fucking reason, is paired with a big ass button that says “Kiss Me, I’m Irish.” I’m like, “but it’s not St. Patrick’s Day?!” “No, like, I’m from Vietnam, you get it?!” He is holding a plate of drugs and high as fuck also. He asks this without a hint of humor or irony and this is why I love this man. [/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="1816" 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]My Daddy is handing drugs to some guys on the couch. He is holding his annual Wednesday orgy.  Doing copious amounts of drugs with other gay men is so cathartic. Gay drug brotherhoods are powerful. Every time I do hella drugs with other faggots I feel like it erases, in my brain, a time a bully kicked my ass.  I might really actually be in love with this man but he is upset with me for two reasons. 1. I can’t participate in the orgy cause I have chlamydia in my dick hole (I got the call from the doctor the morning of the orgy) and 2. He told me a month ago that he wanted me to make him a special painting just for his collection, something he could keep from me forever. But it felt like such a call to action that I flaked on it for months.  The first time he and I fucked I was so stoned I actually said, “Have you ever thought about how the word painting has the word pain in it?” That’s when he decided I should make him a painting for his personal collection.  Part of me dreams of slaying box at this orgy, of course. This is, of course, only a dream. Even though I don’t have chlamydia in my asshole, it’s still a blood-born virus; it doesn’t mean I can’t give it to someone out of my dick. My Daddy is insisting I come to the couch and get fucked anyway, “These sluts don’t give a FUUUUUUCK,” he insists, but out of modesty and self- preservation I stay high and solitary on the carpet.   Now I need not play the prude here—I know all the nooks and crannies of the city, all the deep dirty dark cuts and cervices, places I can go where the boys don’t care what you have; in fact, you need not talk about anything. I know places where the boys don’t care how much money you make, or what private college you went to. Places where the boys are so horny, they don’t even give a fuck what your dick looks like. Places where a penicillin shot in your butt cheek or a lifetime regimen of pills is merely an occupational hazard. The places where I can go and not mention a single thing about myself. I can be just a walking fuck shadow that’s willing to grant any stranger, who insists upon it, any inch of my body full entry. That is to say, I could do this…but I’m just too fucking comfortable high as fuck on this ancient ass Chinese rug. “IM ON DRUGS ON AN ANCIENT CHINESE RUG RIGHT NOW.” I send it in a group text. OMG!  Is this how Grace Jones felt in the ’80s? Is this how Grace Jones feels EVERYDAY? I mean, probably![/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="1824" 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 I roll around on this ancient rug, I keep fantasizing about moonlighting as a top. Sometimes I wish I could have been like the boy in Moonlight. That movie, remember? Like the movie where he touches one dick as a teenager and spends like 20 years really really wrestling with his desire around it. I think that’s why that movie won an award—he didn’t become the lavender menace that boys like me become the second a dick enters our life. He let that hand job crescendo him into a specimen of masculine restraint, and honestly, I’m so fucking over the world rewarding piety, but of course I’m a promiscuous homosexual and no one listens to me. If it had been a movie about a boy like me, it would have suffered from a lack of piety. Like there would be the scene of me touching my first dick and then another and another and then like 900 more, and it would end with a shot of the camera panning down from a group of wind-wisped leaves falling onto a tombstone (mine) that reads, “She touched A LOT of dicks”. The movie about my sexual life would be a bleak romantic comedy with super-awkward and chatty orgy scenes sprinkled all through it. I don’t see it winning any awards.  I am curled in the fetal position and playing with my penis, it is hard and the head of it is resting on my navel and the skin around it is configured into some asymmetrical circular shape and I am envisioning what it would look like if I were to be circumcised. I can’t really picture it, but I pull back the foreskin and my dick is lacrimating from the view of my Daddy fucking literally everyone on the couch. Like is it even an orgy if there’s just one top? Or is this called “community work”? Someone should REALLY buy my Daddy lunch for, like, getting all the drugs AND topping. (Again, I might actually really be in love with this man.)  My Daddy has absolutely zero interest in my dick; as the saying goes, that man is such a top that he doesn’t even bother wiping his ass after he takes a shit. Only, like, that’s just a saying. This man not only is a top who owns a bidet, but he still also splashes expensive French toilet water on his asshole and balls as, like, a whole aromatherapy trip for whoever’s sucking his dick. (Again, I MIGHT ACTUALLY BE IN LOVE WITH THIS MAN.)   I am not by nature an overly choosy person when it comes to lovers but my one rule is that his skin has to be as soft and as beautiful as mine. Just like my Daddy’s.  I like the feel of another smooth body, so smooth that I can only imagine it being akin to the texture of the skin of a dolphin. Like every time I fuck another hairless man, part of me can’t help but imagine that we are having telepathic, high-pitched, squealy dolphin sex that’s too high-pitched for other humans to hear, and only we can hear it in our heads and every dog within a two-block radius is like dying from how dog-whistle-like our fucked-up human-dolphin sex sounds. We say nothing because dirty talk is for people who watch too much porn. Sex with a top of my caliber demands a telepathic-charged silence. Except for the dolphin imagery, every part of the scenario is turning me on, and I jack off on the carpet alone away from the five others on the couch having sex. I honestly don’t think I’ve noticed any of them once. I spray the entire contents of my balls all over myself and my stomach is covered in chlamydia laced seamen and I am so relieved that I found enough ego within me somewhere to bust a nut and my mind can finally calm itself. I don’t even bother to wipe myself clean. I simply sleep in it. [/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]   BRONTEZ PURNELL is an Oakland-based writer, musician, dancer, filmmaker, and performance artist. To them, he’s one of The New York Times’ 32 “Black Male Writers of Our Time,” but to us, he’s a renegade fag who knows no fear nor lack of freedom in his work, no less his body. His new work, 100 Boyfriends, is available to pre-order HERE.  MARCUS BRANCH is a visual artist whose images matter because of their health benefits—extreme joy, the warming effect of vivid color, the strength of a solid identity, a photographic representation of the love effect. A Philadelphia native and art world “it kid,” since Volume One, he’s continually bent the Black Queer form into startling new shapes for us.  [/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="1828" 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="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][vc_single_image image="1446" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][vc_empty_space][/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="1432" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][vc_empty_space][/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="1452" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][vc_empty_space][/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="1434" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][vc_empty_space][/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="1435" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][vc_empty_space][/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="1436" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][vc_empty_space][/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="1437" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][vc_empty_space][/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="1443" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][vc_empty_space][/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="1444" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][vc_empty_space height="60px"][/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] Shouts to the homie Theo Anthony, a filmmaker and photographer based in Baltimore and Upstate New York. His first feature documentary, RAT FILM, premiered to critical acclaim, with a successful festival and theatrical run followed by a broadcast premiere on PBS Independent Lens in early 2018. [/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][vc_single_image image="1807" 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="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] FEELINGS | FALL '20 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] ANTI-SPIRAL [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] WORDS by ANTHONY WASH ROSADO COVER PHOTO by TIMOTHY ROSADO + SELF PORTRAIT [/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]Literature is the only part of my life that Miss Rona hasn’t quaked; until now. How can anyone know the actual truth when capitalism sinks its fangs into every media frenzy that blinds and brainwashes U.S. citizens? Has history not taught us that she repeats herself? If we look back to 1918, in celebration of the war’s end, impatient people around the world cancelled their quarantine early. They immediately returned to business as usual, as if a virus was not plaguing the globe. Those who did not heed warnings against social interactions were killed by the Spanish Flu’s second wave, which killed four times more people than were murdered in World War I. Does this not advise us that social distancing for the entirety of 2020 is the way to avoid Darwinism’s inevitable filtering? Isn’t it enough of a sign that people walk NYC’s overpopulated streets with masks under their chins and gloves strewn across sidewalks before quarantine’s end? How can we envision a future, when so many people are trying to return to a “normal” that no longer and will not ever again exist? Excuse me if my passion is aggressive. I am here with nothing but affection. I am babbling. However this rant is a deep sigh outward, releasing tension from my upper back and trapeziums. Hear me, my loves: “God is change.” Shape God to your needs. Adapt in and with this epoch. Trust the process. Find purpose and pursue it relentlessly. Persist. Persevere.  Know the facts. Refrain from large group gatherings and anonymous sex. Intimacy, from hugs to casual sex, is natural. Physical affection is requisite to maintain a happy and healthy livelihood. Inspirit your Self and Body with unconditional love and respect. It’s hard for me to sacrifice receiving pleasure as often as I need, but it is worth it to choose my sustenance over a casual fling. As a positive man I know firsthand all the revolutionary mentors we lost due to HIV/AIDS stigmas. We who are immuno-deficient, healthy, clean, and thriving; it is up to us to educate our community upon the many ways to interact with the world while keeping our Self and Body safe. It is time to engage in the risk communication that our ancestors lacked during the HIV/AIDS epidemic. This will minimize transmission. As quarantine-fatigue amplifies with the rise in temperatures, how do we safely conjure the liberation that comes with community interaction? How can social distancing be utilized when dating? Let your heart grow fonder.  Didn’t you notice that the local and federal governments moved with urgency until they realized COVID-19 has been impacting Black and Brown people at a higher rate than whites? Nurses are exposing the genocide of Black and Brown patients in NYC hospitals at the hands of racist medical care professionals. This is the world we live in.  So speak its name with your voice: CoronaVirus. This shit is not Voldemort. COVID-19. How do you feel when you say it aloud? Uttering “HIV” used to terrify me. For the longest time I only referred to myself as “Positive.” In an effort to assist my sisters in understanding that I am as healthy as a negative individual, I told them that my HIV is a cute and sleeping Gizmo. I reminded them what happens when you don’t follow the rules, gremlins multiply from Gizmo and wreak havoc. I assured them that consistency with my antivirals, vitamins, water, diet, and exercise ensure my Gizmo stays sound asleep for the rest of my long life.  I have used this story to inform many people, yet this analogy was useless while touring Brazil between 2017 and 2020. "Positivo” is not the Brazilian-Portuguese translation when referencing someone living with HIV. The word is “Portador” or carrier. Upon getting tested in February 2020, the nurse asked me if I am a “Portador.” I exclaimed, “No! I am Positive. I am not a carrier.” It is logical, but also heart-wrenchingly demonizing. Shaming is futile and will only drive people into underground means of socialization, perpetuating risky behavior. The wild thing is, the shame-inducing digital environments of Grindr and Jack’d have seemingly been unaffected by Miss Rona. “No fats, no femmes, drug and disease free” is still used in countless profile biographies. Members are still willing to meet before divulging one another’s status, let alone what their quarantine procedures have been.  Do you now understand why so many gay men are DTF before there is a mutual sharing of either party’s status? How does the saying go, ignorance is bliss? If Black and Brown gay men in our communities have a general idea of HIV yet are still disproportionately infected by it, then how do we ward off COVID-19 misinformation (or lack thereof)? This is why HIV knowledge is foreign to many gay men from New York City to Salvador, Bahia, in 2020. Since two years young, each of us started to move toward our desires and far away from our fears. So how can we be more transparent about our recent sexual history? True, touch is essential to human survival. It is crucial. I challenge you: Is steady growth between two or more individuals possible in the virtual world? Can you use digital spheres to expand how you give and receive pleasure? Can you touch yourself in a new way? Can a Zoom date direct you to touch yourself? Would you prefer directing? Or are you down for all the shenanigans?  If you are like me and social distancing is incomprehensible for the entirety of 2020, who can you share a bubble with? Sharing our bubbles all at once will cause a catastrophe, but just like with any skilled top, the slower the start the more ravenous we can be later on. In this case, “later on” is Spring/Summer 2021. Let’s be real and put it all out on the table. This is a brilliant and tiny virus that has yet to show signs of whether it can mutate again. It seems as though it’s a hybrid between HIV, Herpes, and the Flu. People can be symptomatic (they are positive, contagious, and show signs of infection) or asymptomatic (they are positive, contagious, and show no signs of infection). As a person positive with Herpes Type-2 who has had the flu in his life, I adamantly urge you to consider the fact that Miss Rona walks the fiercest runways during the winter; and we have only seen her in one look. We don’t know if she will sport other guises during her Winter/Spring 2021 reprise. She might though. The cold season is literally her stomping grounds. Pun intended. What we do know is she isn’t going anywhere this summer. I believe low-risk socialization like outdoor recreation with a small group of people is possible.  On the realest of reals: What do you know? Are you going to trust in the system that fashions dollar bills and white picket fences from your labor? Trust me instead. I love you. They could care less if you are secure. I need you to be safe. They don’t wanna see you shine! I do. I vision a future where we are happy and healthy. Clip any thought of large, IRL socializing until 2021 and focus on your survival. Do you know how to make a fire? Or hoist a bear bag? Are you able to get your bearings in order using a physical map and compass? Do you know how to defend yourself? Can you grow your own food? Have you compiled a list of natural antiviral alternatives? Knowledge is the most valuable tool to share. I am here to help. Reach out to me if you have any questions or needs.    Love, Anthony[/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]   ANTHONY WASH ROSADO is a young scholar and curator on a global mission to "preserve and gift Afro diasporic storytelling technologies."   [/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][vc_single_image image="764" 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="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] NOSTALGIA | WINTER '18 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] AN ATYPICAL FIGURE [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] STORY by PICASSO MOORE PHOTOGRAPHY by LAQUANN DAWSON [/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]Before I begin, I’d like to state that this profile will be atypical. It will contain no lazily strung together quotes, or stats about the subject’s following on social media. Nor will it bare mention of his place at the center of an intersectional identity. At no point will it delve into his work in activism, his position as a fixture of the New York performance art scene, his skill as a lyricist and producer, or his propensity to eat a stage. I will not compliment him, compare him to other artists, urge you to buy his record, or otherwise blow smoke. This profile will be atypical. Now that I’ve given those givens, let’s begin.[/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="758" 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 think more than anything it’s an artist’s burning desire to ‘make’, you know? Like, if you’re not creating and producing something, it feels like the world’s going to end. That’s what I had to reconcile for myself… I don’t want to do anything else other than make visual works and preformative works,” says DonChristian. It’s this passion he speaks of which has garnished the quickly rising rapper’s career with a cherry on top of Bushwick street cred, and a Betty Crocker bevy of international stans… New York gallery gurls, millennial debutants, and 9,000 hyperreal followers on IG who have found something delicious, light, airy, and chocolatey, about the rapper’s unapologetically black, and rainbow-sprinkled, queer musical works. It’s the way he lives; the things he puts his energy into: from lecturing Rhode Scholars at Oxford on American criminal justice reform to teaching at the The Hetrick-Martin Institute (an LGBTQIA+ high school in Midtown Manhattan), he brings it all to his performances and gives the music, no matter how heightened and dramatized—community roots, and a worldly perspective and message. His connection to the granular gives texture to his lyrics and allows the soundscapes he creates to become the soundtracks to our black queer lives. He’s excellent—something his straight white counterparts sometimes are but don’t have to be. If you haven’t already, you have to plug into the black queer matrix that is “Where There’s Smoke.” Take the red pill and see how deep, how honest, and how beautiful DonChristian’s world is. Okay before you say it, shhhh! Remember when you were young and your parents told you to bite your tongue when grown folks were talking? Same here. When a writer is contradicting themself… shhh! In my defense. It wasn't a lie. Not really. I set out to write a profile different from any other and I’m aware I did all the things I just said I wasn't going to do, but it’s not my fault. All of it turned out to be true. In an age where a publicist would have bribed a journalist with a Kim K “vampire” facial and a steak dinner at Pennsylvania 6 to write such hyperbole, DonChristian actually earns the accolades. No strings, publicists, or steak dinners attached. Talent granted, Don stands out because he is real. A feat seemingly insurmountable by the bulk of today’s social creatives.[/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="765" 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]Case and point: The Name. To be stylized as DonChristian. A month after our conversation on the set of his photo shoot for The Tenth, I posted a screenshot of the corner of an early draft of this piece to my Instagram story and he hit my DMs. “...

[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="772" 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="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] NOSTALGIA | WINTER '18 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] TOY STORY [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] STORY by STEVEN LOWE 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]She’s burned OUT, and that’s not unusual for queer folk around the holidays; memories alone can spark post-yuletide stress syndrome. But Christmas mornings were the BEST— the woes of being bullied or secretly heartbroken by some boy in middle school drowned out by the sound of tearing wrapping paper almost louder than Mariah Carey Christmas in the background were forgotten. I've been thinking about holidays past and my favorite gifts—and one stands out among the rest: a remote-controlled Super Turbo Train. No, it wasn’t a game console (SMH); it was a gateway drug leading to the tech and game floozy I am today. Part of the track was made to run up the wall and back down again in a sort of super-speed half circle, jumping a gap in the track. Mind BLOWN. Today, I might wish for an Amber Rose African toy goddess who screams “you betta” when you pull a cord, but I wanted to know what made the other bois and gals cry out for joy. Here’s what they found on their favorite mornings of Christmas past.[/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="782" 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]Johnalynn Holland Illustrator + Painter @johnalynn When I was eight years old, I wanted a robot. Not just any robot, the Omnibot 2000 found between the pages of the Sears Christmas catalogue that retailed for $500. My father, who worked 14 hours days to provide for our family, laughed when I showed it to him. My plan was to make this robot my best friend because according to the commercials, it would wow all my peers and transform me from geek to cool kid. I’d make it carry my books at school (even though I was in elementary school and didn’t change classes or have a locker). I woke up Christmas morning to find a robot under the tree that was not the Omni 2000. I don’t remember the exact model number of this bootleg robot. No moving head. Arms slightly tilted. It was short and fat. It looked more like R2D2 than Johnny Five, and this was a problem. Looking back, the robot debacle taught me a valuable lesson about expectations and gratitude. Over the next month, I took a liking to the inferior robot and a month after that, my mother found it hidden in a corner of my closet, dismantled and stripped of its vital parts like a stolen car on cinder blocks. Not only did I not turnout to be a selfish, entitled monster, had I actually received and dismantled a $500 robot, I’d still be grounded to this day.[/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" z_index=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="772" 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]Marko Cotton-Critelli Co-Host of Relationsh!t Podcast @mdotcot Like every other red-blooded American in the 90s, my family and I were die-hard fans of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. We had so much memorabilia: tapes, cologne, trading cards, and don’t forget about the shoes. At the same time, another basketball player was dominating the courts, and he was much more my speed. At seven feet one inch, and 325 pounds, Shaquille O’Neal was the center for the Orlando Magic and was the coolest person on the court. When my brother and I woke up on Christmas morning in 1995, not only did I get an oversized Orlando Magic winter coat with the team’s logo sprawled across the back, but inside of a leather accessories box was a watch with an Orlando Magic face and black leather band. My gasp must have shocked everyone, because Dad said between laughs, “You’re reacting to this watch like you’re acting in a commercial!” I was stunned trying to separate myself from the “norm” and wanted my parents to see me as an adult. I have them to thank for that memory. [/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="781" 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]Thaddeus Coates Graphic Designer @hippypotter Ahh, so one of the best gifts I've ever received on Christmas was definitely my VideoNow. Now for all those born after 2000, VideoNow was the hottest portable digital viewing device ever that played your favorite TV Shows. And because my mom didn't have cable at the time, it was my way of bringing the cable TV to my world. I was obsessed with “Drake & Josh.” Me and my little brother would often re-tell their jokes to one another and pretend we were them—well, the black version which is actually "Kenan and Kel" sips tea but anyways...

[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="1/3"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="753" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][/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] ORDER | VOL 6 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] PEN PALS [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] DELAYED: ISSUE RELEASES SEPTEMBER 2020 [/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]Across two volumes, The Tenth offers photography, art, and storytelling of the black queer perspective to the conversation around the crisis of mass incarceration in America. We explore the disparity in punishments for crimes that stain white collars vs. black ones; the unique cultural adaptations of gay inmates and their view of what reform looks like from the inside; and the effects of poverty on the pipeline to incarceration and the unfettered potential for technology to breach it. We also look at the much-needed social contract forcing those of us privileged enough to aid others with high-quality legal aid and interventionism, and the effects of the prison system on our family dynamics and culture’s relationship with authority. We’ll explore participation in community policing as a form of demonstrated consciousness, the glory days of the “stunt queen” as a study in ideological reorganization around economics, and the ethics of outlaw activities from hacking to card counting and how engaging with may be the only way for us to make up ground in the game of power. We’ll look at the racial imbalance of HIV criminalization, the rising rate of domestic violence in the LGBTQ community, and other issues aimed at getting to the bottom of questions like: Who defines what crime is? Who gets to name the damage? Who doles out justice in a society where those who make the rules, ordinarily bend and ignore them, while those at the bottom are guaranteed punishment when not in line with them?[/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="751" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/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="1/4"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][ult_buttons btn_title="Order Now" btn_link="url:https%3A%2F%2Fthetenthmagazine.com%2Fproduct%2Fthe-tenth-6%2F|||" btn_align="ubtn-center" btn_size="ubtn-custom" btn_width="96" btn_height="38" btn_title_color="#221e1f" btn_bg_color="" btn_bg_color_hover="#221e1f" btn_title_color_hover="#ffffff" icon_size="32" btn_icon_pos="ubtn-sep-icon-at-left" btn_border_style="solid" btn_color_border="#221e1f" btn_color_border_hover="#221e1f" btn_border_size="1" btn_radius="4" css_adv_btn=".vc_custom_1580248668389{margin-top: 2px !important;margin-right: 2px !important;margin-bottom: 2px !important;margin-left: 2px !important;padding-right: 23px !important;padding-left: 23px !important;}"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/4"][/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][vc_single_image image="941" 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="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] VOL 4 | FEATURE [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] ARLAN HAMILTON [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] THE VENTURE CAPITALIST TEXT by PINK ROOSTER [/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] A popular theory among my Black friends who watch the hit television show Shark Tank where a firing squad of famous investors dole out NBC’s coins to “the chosen” of America’s wannabe entrepreneurial class, is that if you walk in Black, you walk out with no deal, no matter how innovative you, or your product is. In Silicon Valley, they’re pretty upfront about letting you know that investing in “the team” (assumed to mean the leadership and technical ability of the white boys working on any given tech product) is the preferred approach, because should whatever it is be a dud (which, over 98% of them are sure to be), then at least they can put them to work building, scaling, and operating the next big idea. On Shark Tank, America’s favorite “spray and pray” till you drop Friday night extravaganza, the method is no different. They go for what they know; and they pass on the Black. As a person of color, you can’t stop comparing. In one episode, a Black guy name Michael Elliot—the Hollywood screenwriter behind films like Brown Sugar and Like Mike, turned successful entrepreneur—is turned down on a deal to invest in his super fucking cool, super fucking hipster (complete with a shot of Whiskey) nail salons for men: Hammer & Nails. Within his first seven months in business, he made $150,000 in sales, and it was projected at $2 million in sales for 2016. This is when he made the decision to franchise his business so it could grow even more, which was why he was in the tank, and it was a no. In another, a sister named Lydia Evans, owner of SWAG Essentials, is passed on when she pitches her popular SWAG Bar—a loofah soap used to exfoliate and eliminate razor bumps (mainly for men of color)—in hopes of landing the deal that would take her business to the next level. But with only $54,000 in sales at the time and little market visibility, the sharks didn't bite. There were two young Black women with a colored lipstick line (a wildly successful trend when the episode aired in 2015), and there’s always Black folk with finger-licking-good food products, and then there was even Famous Amos himself, who’d sold millions of his cookies, and eventually the rights to his name under financial pressure and was looking for a comeback by way of $50,000 (“chump change to you guys,” said Amos) and a 20 percent share of his new Cookie Kahuna brand. All the sharks spoke highly of his achievements as an entrepreneur, but then expressed doubts about his latest endeavor, finally sending him packing. Those same episodes, white girls locked deals for everything from doggie protein bars to folding luggage. Daymond—the Blackest and least likable of the sharks—decides he can part with 50K if Mark is “in” to sweeten the deal with his whiteness for a company called Rock Bands that allows you to wear healing stones around your waist and make a fashion statement. He tells one Black woman to give up on her dreams “while she’s ahead,” but in the next segment drops 50K for a 15% percent stake in a company that makes Christmas tree toppers in the form of a Star of David for interfaith families to fuse their holidays to celebrate together. It could all just be coincidence—there is nothing factual here. Within the subjectivity of whether or not an investment opportunity fits an investor there is adequate room for doubt, but yeah, No. To use another game show’s vernacular: “Survey says” : the likelihood walking out of the tank “Black and with a deal” is the same as walking into a courtroom anywhere across this country and believing you’re “innocent until proven guilty.” But it does makes sense—art does imitate life, and the numbers don’t lie: According to a 2010 report by CB Insights, in Silicon Valley 83% of teams getting seed and Series A money are all white, and a mere 1% of seed and Series A funding nationally went to Black founders. According to Digital Undivided’s 2016, “The Real Unicorns of Tech,” venture capital firms lend white men $1.3 million on average (even if their startup fails), compared to $36,000 for Black women. It analyzed more than 60,000 start-ups and found that less than 1 percent—0.2 percent, to be exact—of the tech start-ups funded by venture capitalists between 2012 and 2014 were created by Black women. Why would “the tank” be any different? Just where does Hollywood’s entertainment machine end and Silicon Valley begin? And who’s gonna invest in the dude who looks like the dude who’s been cast over and over again as the dealer selling drugs on the streets corners of Any-Ghettotown, USA? Even though, in reality, he’s just a struggling Black actor with a degree from Yale Drama, who lives with his boyfriend in North Hollywood and has a really dope idea for a new facial-recognition software because he did a few years in a graduate program at Stanford? For ARLAN HAMILTON, one of the country's (maybe world’s) few Black gay female VCs, “Silicon Valley” is on the edge of a revolution. In a physical sense, as I pull up to her Backstage Capital office in WeHo for our interview, we’re in Hollywood, but when asked what “the Valley” means to her as a Black lesbian, she explains that despite all the bullshit, she finds it fascinating: “I’m talking about a state of being mostly. It's just the tech world, and for me, that was where the awe was. Silicon Valley is awe… I didn't know what venture capital was 4 years ago, but I just started seeing.” Barely weeks away from her deadline to raise a fund, there’s a certainly a level of stress in the room. “We haven't raised it all, and we need to do it quicker than we're doing it,” she says—and being an entrepreneur myself, I know that these stresses become normalized; they are part of the deal. But seeing and hearing the buzz words and the jargon (the “seed rounds” and the “angels”), and how truly excited Arlan is to be making a difference—let’s just say it’s infectious what can happen out here. “I started seeing Troy Carter and Ashton Kutcher (both Shark Tank alum), and was like, ‘Why are these guys going out there and investing $50,000 in a team of 2 or 3 people for some app with a silly name. Why is Ellen going to this place in San Francisco called Silicon Valley?’ I just thought about chips,” she says with a laugh. “I also noticed that many of the artists and music executives I admired were investing their music money in tech.” Arlan is the founder and managing partner of Backstage Capital, “a seed investment fund that backs high-potential, underrepresented startup founders.” It counts tech veteran Susan Kimberlin, who made a name for herself at Salesforce and PayPal, as well as Valley rockstars Marc Andreessen and Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield as investors. With those types of names behind you—in any way, big or small—the Internet is sure to take notice, and much has been written in the press about Arlan’s rather phenomenal story. An Inc. August 2016 headline reads, “How This Woman Went From Homelessness to Running a Multimillion-Dollar Venture Fund,”; another one on Forbes.com speaks to her “pioneering” efforts and praises her for diversifying the playing field. For Arlan, all this has a purpose. “The attention, the press, is really just serving a purpose, and that's enabling a group portfolio of 50 or so companies —eventually, to have a chance.” Arlan is generous with the time she’s taken out of her hectic day to teach a quick class to Tenth readers on the world of venture capital. It is immediately clear that she possesses the best possible attribute for an interview of any depth: openhearted intelligence. She brims with a quiet charisma; she doesn’t hesitate to cut an otherwise serious moment with a joke; today she’s dressed like a slacker—jeans and a tee; full disclosure: so am I. She’s family. Immediately, we’re off to the races to find out how a girl was once enjoying a career as a production coordinator and road manager for acts like CeeLo Green and Kirk Franklin, with no tech background, winds up conjuring circumstances from homelessness to get to the Valley. During this down period, when most of us would have been plotting our next lease, or our first lavish meal with girlfriends once that bounce-back check clears, Arlan, “sitting on the floor in a room that didn’t have a bed without so much as a penny,” had her sights set on something else: her first investment in an artificial intelligence B2B startup out of Miami named Kairos which does facial and voice recognition, and its founder Brian Brackeen, or in her words, her “teacher’s pet.” “I saw a video that Brain did in the summer of 2013. He hadn't raised any outside funding, or he hadn’t raised much, and I said, ‘Man, that guy is going to do something. As soon as I get funds I'm going to invest in him.’ He was technically the second investment I ever made, but he was actually the first on my list. The important part is what they do and how amazing their founder is and his ability to build a team… That’s huge. It takes a leader, it takes vision, it takes the understanding of what works, on top of being a technical genius.” That was four years ago, and while solving the problem of how to get to Silicon Valley (once she did arrive in San Francisco for Y Combinator's Female Founders Conference in 2015 she says, "It wasn't, ‘Oh, my god, this is Disneyland.’ It was like, ‘This feels right. I feel confident here. I feel like I belong.,’”), Arlan feverishly took up an information hunt, not just to learn, but to imagine herself as part of that community, because once you’ve been bitten by an insect drone and watched a few seasons of Shark Tank, there’s nowhere to hide, and it should be noted, there’s an unprecedented amount of information to be gained on the web—I do spend enough time getting stoned on on my couch to know. It’s downright shocking how some of the most amazing video interviews with tech entrepreneurs get so few views on YouTube. Guess everyone is too busy gulping ignorance by the gigabyte on Facebook to system update themselves. “I watched hundreds of hours of video, listened to podcasts, read books, read blogs… I just did that anytime I had any time off. It was like going to school—homeschooling,” says Arlan as she recalls of her tech learning curve. “The more I learned about it, the more I realized that I felt a kinship with people who wanted to start something on their own, and, not necessarily work for themselves, but start something for themselves and create teams.” Thank THE ORACLE I found Arlan, because what a horrible waste—all these Black dreams and technological innovations on ice due to “reliability issues.” There’s a lot to admire about a girl who recognizes the scent of a winner, not it’s color, and has made her life’s work trying to create more opportunities for them. She points me to a freshly painted purple wall where a grid of small framed photographs of her first 8 founders hangs, and lest I assume the merits of the group are based on color and gender only, or even first, she shares, “It wasn't like I woke up one day and said, ‘Oh, let me go and do something for charity.’ There's not one product up there that requires you to be a certain type of person to use it, but if you look the founders themselves, they don't...

[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] THE ACADEMY | WINTER '17 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] BALLROOM: TRANS SOUNDS OF FREEDOM [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] ESSAY by MICHAEL ROBERSON PHOTOS by STEVEN LIANG [/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 order for us as poor and oppressed people to become a part of a society that is meaningful, the system under which we now exist has to be radically changed. This means that we are going to have to learn to think in radical terms. I use the term radical in its original meaning—getting down to and understanding the root cause. It means facing a system that does not lend itself to your needs and devising means by which you change that system. —Ella Baker[1] Early 20th century African-American Harlem Renaissance writer and poet Zora Neale Hurston once wrote, “Black women are the mules of the world”[2] politically, theologically, and historically. If Hurston’s statement is grounded in an analysis of truth, then Black trans women are situated somewhere between the late great African-American theologian and civil rights icon Howard Thurman’s notion of “the disinherited” and the radical Black French philosopher Frantz Fanon’s notion of “the wretched of the earth.” Persistent marginalization over centuries—not only of trans and cis women, but also of Black gay, lesbian and bisexual people—has led to entrenched stigmatization, violence, and instability. Yet, in the face of complex challenges, such as housing insecurity and some of the highest HIV infection rates in the United States, Black/Latino LGBT people have formed powerfully robust, self-sustaining social networks and cultural groups. One such network is the House | Ballroom community, a Black/Latino LGBT artistic collective and intentional kinship system that has its roots in 1920s Harlem and the Harlem Renaissance. Emerging from the Great Migration of African-Americans from the South to the North to escape the American white supremacist racist and xenophobic terror of Jim and Jane Crow racism, lynching, and the Ku Klux Klan, it became a formidable social movement for LGBT persons of color. This essay explores the history of the House | Ballroom community (HBC) as a freedom movement, a radical pedagogy, and a spiritual formation in response to race, class, sexuality, and gender oppression. Using the lens of Black Trans-Womanist theological discourse, developed in large part by scholars at Union Theological Seminary, my understanding of the House | Ballroom community carries with it an analysis of the Black church, race, sexuality, gender, and class from scholars and practitioners who engage with interdisciplinary frameworks and who work at the intersections of critical race theory, queer theory, Black liberation theology, queer theology, and feminist thought. This analysis will consider the community’s ability to use the art of performance as a hermeneutics of the body, a homiletics of community organizing, and an intentional philosophical framework of liberation within the Black radical aesthetic tradition, while placing its history of mobilization as resistance to oppressions and positioning it in relation to other historical and global struggles. Throughout this narrative, I will refer to: -The Vogue’ology collective’s pedagogical approach, which puts the performative aspects of HBC in relation to the politics and attainment of emancipation; - House Lives Matter, which establishes a narrative of resilience and wellness within the HBC community; and - The Arbert Santana Ballroom Freedom and Free School, which is shaping a curriculum to enable members of the HBC community to consider how collectives are organized and sustained, and how they can teach, learn, and work in solidarity with others in struggle. The origins of the HBC are in the early 20th century “faerie balls” and cross­dressing pageants made popular during the Harlem Renaissance. The modern HBC was established in 1968 in response to racism within New York’s LGBT community. In that year Crystal LaBeija, a star of the city’s cross­dressing competitions and pageants, broke publicly with the white gay male dominated scene and established a separate ballroom circuit for Black and Latino gay men, lesbians, and transgendered persons. A year later Crystal formed the House of LaBeija, a team of Black and Latino performers who competed in cross­dressing events. The rival House of Ebony, made up predominantly of Black members, was formed shortly thereafter. While the reference was to the conventions of haute couture, the class conditions that actually defined the scene were those of poverty, racism, homophobia and transphobia. To survive, the Ballroom “houses” had to become a source of support and protection. Thus, the house of fashion became a home and the members constituted new families. The leaders of these houses became known as “mothers” and “fathers” and members referred to as “children.” This is the Ballroom scene that exists today.[/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="1986" 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]This essay narrates the HBC as a strategy for freedom, as an epistemology of humanity, and as an effective “intra-vention”—a term coined by scholar Marlon Bailey that denotes homegrown strategies arising out of a community to address issues confronting said community. Despite its historical outsider position within the American democratic project, HBC is a collective re-imagining of democracy by and for itself. Reflective of this are the two most recent dialogical intra-ventions: the House Lives Matter leadership movement and the Arbert Santana Ballroom Freedom and Free School, which will be highlighted here not to recruit folk to become members of the HBC, nor to serve as an object of the white and/or heteronormative gaze. Instead, the goal here is to engage in a conversation with the HBC arising out of a historical crisis of annihilation that started during the 1920s Harlem Renaissance. The onslaught against Black LGBT folk continued through strategies created by the most prominent Black church in America at that time, responding to the politics of recognition and respectability that was shaped by the white heteronormative gaze. From the ethos of Black trans-women, through what was then called “Drag Balls,” and over the last century, it has developed into what I term “the trans sounds of Black freedom.” Ongoing conversations on sexuality, queer subjectivities, racism and xenophobia, capitalism, art and politics, theology, and philosophy on a macro level are closely related to the HBC, particularly when looking at historical, systematic strategies to create socio-political economies of marginalized, racialized, and gendered communities. Marginalized communities, such as the HBC, have created both resistant and subversive strategies to confront oppression and deploy the social imagination as the necessary precursor to long-term liberation work and justice-making. HBC has something to teach the world about what it means philosophically to be human, what it means politically to struggle for freedom, and what it means theologically to do so in the face of catastrophe and even death. [/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="1985" 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]CRISIS This text arises out of crisis—both historical and contemporary, political and theological—as a philosophical critique of the past and a present shift in collective consciousness, as the mandate to create a future, to paraphrase the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., in “The Beloved Community.” Crisis can catalyze new and expansive paradigms by rejecting antiquated epistemologies that serve to maintain the status quo, and engaging methodologies of radical listening that surpass the faculty of the ear and respond to ancestral cries for freedom. It is grounded in this kind of philosophical, theological, political “Trinitarian” framework that aligns with the progressive pedagogy of Paulo Freire. As a result, crisis serves as a Foucauldian epistemological rupture, radically going against the hegemonic grain, allowing the crisis to remain unnamed, reacting neither to the neoliberal impulse for silence (e.g., Ronald Reagan during the first seven years of the AIDS crisis, 1981-1988) nor the liberal use of what sound-art collective Ultra-red terms “value form” (e.g., Bill Clinton’s crime bill of 1994 and his “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military policy of 1993). In 1992 Black feminist Patricia Hill Collins offered a pivotal analysis that lends credence to why the unnamed crisis is still vital at this moment: In an increasingly poststructuralist world, however, positivist sociological interpretations of social reality have been challenged forcefully by people of color, women, gays and lesbians, and other historically marginalized groups. From their perspectives, the claims of sociology to be a value-neutral, objective science ring false. To them, sociological traditions produced by a homogeneous circle of insiders represent a partial perspective on social relations. Race, class, gender, and heterosexism now present major challenges to the field as a whole. Yet despite these significant changes, the inner circle of sociological theory—its membership, epistemology, and theoretical frameworks—remains strangely untouched by the changes buffeting the remainder of the discipline.[3] True to Collins’ assertion and to the history of global progressive politics emerging from this crisis, a collective called Vogue’ology was formed. Vogue’ology is part of a multi-phase, long-term curriculum created in collaboration with Ultra-red and members of New York City’s HBC. This collaboration rests on a common commitment to struggle for individual and collective freedom in the face of poverty, racism, gender, and sexual oppression. The curriculum provides an opportunity to be in conversation about how various creative practices in the HBC might reflect on or function as strategies of freedom. Vogue’ology is a pedagogy that privileges the simultaneous use of teaching and learning as a protocol necessary for deep learning, and listening as the precursory condition for justice-making. This allows suffering to speak as fundamental to liberation work, to what the Black church calls a “life-calling,” and to the ethical and moral imperative of a full human rights agenda. As a collective grounded in the ethos of community, Vogue’ology has been in dialogue with long traditions of collaborative, creative work concerned with emancipation or liberation. Teaching and learning are as central to these traditions as they are to the many art practices wrestling with the dialectics of oppression and liberation, resistance and resilience. For this reason, pedagogy has been a constant and consistent reference point of Vogue’ology’s work as reflected in the etymology of its name. It derives, with intention, from the HBC’s most emblematic art expression and practice—Voguing—and from cultural-political-theological formation. What Vogue as an art form has done for the HBC illustrates Angela Davis’ thesis, that “progressive art can assist people to learn not only about the objective forces at work in the society in which they live, but also about the intensely social character of their interior lives. Ultimately, it can propel people toward social emancipation.”[4][/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] ❝…a wedge is driven between Blackness and sexuality and gender identities that makes even the collective struggle for freedom an occasion for deep and painful fragmentation.❞ [/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]Due to its demographic composition, which includes gay men, lesbians, gender non-conforming, and transgender people, the HBC has long borne the burdens of a theological assessment of homosexuality as an abomination. The Leviticus code, in particular, defines LGBT bodies and practices as a priori the negation of all that is good in the flesh. Given the central role of the Black Church in the long struggle for freedom from white supremacy, this theological violence is also a historical violence in that a wedge is driven between Blackness and sexuality and gender identities that makes even the collective struggle for freedom an occasion for deep and painful fragmentation. Consequently, the HBC has been situated historically and theologically outside the image of God—the Imago Dei. Historically, one of the most effective ways to discredit a community has been to put its members on trial, accuse them of transgressions, particularly sexual transgressions, and dehumanize them either by condemning them to death or by allowing them to die. Theorists, historians, and theologians have described and examined how this discrediting and dehumanizing of a people, often with references to sexual depravity, was used against African slaves in America (Kelly Brown Douglas). This was the strategy at the heart of the post-1865 emancipation of slaves...

[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 | VOL 3 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] BLAQUEER POWER [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] STORY by @BLAQUEER PHOTOGRAPHY by KAT REYNOLDS [/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. I am not your shadow. I am too vain for that. In the beginning Gawd reached down into the earth we call Afrika and scooped up some brown crumbly and mixed it with saltwater from the Atlantic and stretched the clay over bone, and called it me. Ze took all of the night sky and poured it into two holes and called them my eyes. And to wake me Ze kissed me. And for me to speak, Ze whispered in my ear, “I have made your tongue sharp." And I cut myself open and stained my lips red. My cries caused stars to fall. Ze picked them up and mixed them with Carolina rice cooked in Io’s milk. Ze promised me Horus’ heart, but I said, “I need Anansi’s and Olókun’s too." Anubis guarded me when I slept, and I slept in a field of corn somewhere by the Mississippi. “I am a wonder; the first son." II. “Maurice has a propensity for white people, which is more than preference—it’s policy. He dismisses potential Black friendships as quickly as he switches off rap music and discredits progressive movements. He consistently votes Republican. At night he dreams of razors cutting away thin slivers of his Black skin,” Joseph Beam, “Brother to Brother” I hate Beam’s Maurice. III. I remember my mother telling me about how my daddy was so phine that his ex-girlfriends showed up at their wedding and cried. My mother also told me about how when she was little, kids would tease her, call her dust, call her midnight, let her know her body was lacking, she spoke of how she always had to fight. She told me about people measuring her by her twin saying, “Why can’t you be like Brendie? She’s so sweet and cute.” I never saw her cry but I heard it in her throat. When I was a little boy everyone said I looked like my father. When I was still a boy but no longer little, everyone said, “You sure do look like your mother.” When I was teenager, giggling girls would approach me and say, “my friend thinks you’re cute.” l never looked because it was never true. In college an Asian boy randomly informed me that Black men weren’t cute and fat people were gross and ugly; he said this right before we talked to a class about LGBT tolerance. Last week a boy said my mouth felt sweet and my hole felt tight and amazing. He said I was beautiful but he could never date me: “Why?” “My friends don’t know about my fetish.” “Are you afraid of what they’d say?” He left without another word. My mother, who I look so much like, has had to clasp my face, more than once, and say: “Don’t you know what you are, what you’re worth? Gold, baby you are worth your weight in gold.” She has told me that I am a beautiful chocolate boy, a handsome boy, a beautiful boy. She should have told me that I am obsidian, a dark bright shining jewel. So black that it reflects back your image. How much is asked of the the dark child to negotiate?[/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="center" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="965" 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]IV. black: Very dark; absence of light; having dark skin; people originally from Africa; dirty or soiled; thoroughly sinister or evil. Black: Linda, Joseph, Winston, Alex: family; Joe, Chico, Jeremy, Bianca, Carl, Justin: friends; James, Marlon, Essex, Whitney: inspiration; descendants of survivors; the first ones. gay: Pink flesh; queer as folk; wedding chapel; Ryan Murphy; Neil Patrick Harris; Andy and Anderson, Express; Thug Hunter; Ellen shucking and jiving on screen. Not me. Queer: Weird; strange; disrespectability; poppers and lube; leather; whips; anonymous; slam poetry; edging; books; divas; fat bodies in motion; fat body sucking a dick; swallowing; bottom, top, verse; bent fat body being pounded, hard; fat mouth saying harder; fucking; art. boy: male; having a penis; masculine; don’t cry. Boi: Femme; in-between; high-pitched voice; sissy; first to be called a faggot; best with a read; smarter than boys. V. Mags on Fridays Brown boys with fitted caps and in billowy white or black tees, stood against walls, smoke obscuring their faces. Gurls with blown-out curls and too high heels, towered over the boys. Ladies with wet lips and short slips held onto cocky studs. Bodies, honey mixed with caramel mingled with brown kissed by the night sky, made an onyx space. I remember thinking: I am home. Music pumped; beads of sweat formed on foreheads and trickled down noses, dangled off lips, and fell onto bent backs where they slid down and provided the first drops of the night’s lubrication. A rapper demanded pussy be handed to him and brown boys’ hands reached for black boys’ backs. A girl moaned that her pussy brought her pearls and a gurl dropped to the floor and fluttered her legs like butterfly wings and all the fellas on the wall noticed. Some girl wailed about how she needed some dick and a lady wrapped her legs around her stud and whispered in her ear. I rested against the wall sipping a vodka and cran. I wanted to dance, to feel breath on my neck while something hard pressed against my back, but I felt nothing. I walked around to see if anyone would reach out to me and say, “Hey baby what’s your name?” He could say it like a lover, or a mother, or father, or a brother, or, better yet, a sister just as long as he asked. No one asked. I felt like Riggs did in San Francisco searching for his reflection in eyes of blue except I was looking for affection in mirrors of brown and black. I was a ghost in this house “unseen and when seen unwanted,” and if wanted, only because of shame. VI. Linda and Joe have a son named Maurice. Linda and Joe’s Maurice watches Marlon Riggs prance naked through the woods. He curls up on his sofa to read Danez Smith. He listens to Essex recite “American Wedding,” while sipping tea with sugar and cream. Linda and Joe’s Maurice’s lips have pressed softly against those of light-skinned trade. Linda and Joe’s Maurice has had his legs spread wide and head bent down low while dark boys and light boys hovered above him and searched in him for something stolen from them long ago. Linda and Joe’s Maurice is dedicated to his reflections. Even if they cannot see it, he knows they are each fragments of the other. He knows that home was stolen and that they can and must recreate it. This takes dedication. This takes 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="center" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="963" 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]VII. “Promise not to tell anyone, but, are these boxer briefs?” Cam released the button, unzipped, and pushed down his pants, exposing the top of a calf, thighs, and blue cotton. I could see the head pressing against the cotton. and, for a moment, I forgot he was a friend. I surveyed the body and found it pleasing; His thighs were thick with promise; his lips could handle mine. He was beautiful, and in my room, and I wanted, for a moment, this beauty to be mine. I laughed and said, “Yes, but still, we should go shopping for you to get a jockstrap or trunks. Trust me, you’ll thank me for it; hell tops will want to thank me.” Cam zipped back-up and suddenly I was Bruce and he Beauty and I knew that I “had never seen a more perfect being…his body was all symmetry and music,” and never would again. And I watched my friend leave—beauty, not mine. VIII. Thoughts and observations at Phillip Williams’ poetry reading in the Central West End on December 9th 2014: 1. Everyone is "thin." 2. Wash U. A lot. 3. Everyone seems to be slightly attractive. 4. I do not fit. 5. All the gay folk know each other. 6. I know almost none of them. 7. These are gay folk I never see out and about. 8. There is a str8 boy here (A.) so many flock to (J.'s friend); he doesn't need to be good at sex—they'll flock to him anyway. 9. He (A.) probably is good at sex. I wish I was a girl so I could find out. 10. Cave Canem is deep. (Do you think you could have got in? Prolly not. You use "prolly.") 11. Don't slouch. It bunches up the fat. 12. Are they aware of their bodies like me? 13. They aren't. I hate them all. 14. Don't breathe. But, if you must, do it slowly and deliberately and rarely. Quiet the fat. 15. I need the poem about faggots. 16. “Apotheosis.” It was called “Apotheosis.” IX. Before I am a Black, queer, or a man, I am this body: Un Corps When I was a young lad in England I was fast and all the boys wanted my body. A white boy down the street begged to get into my shed where I kissed Black boys and bent over for them and told them to put it in deeper. I never let him in. He called me a bitch and said I was fat, but I didn’t care. I was too busy with other boys. Once I kissed this white boy with dirty blonde hair; I kissed him really hard but not too wet after school and he flushed red. It was the best kiss of my life. In the sixth grade suddenly everyone’s bodies and voices changed but mine remained the same while boys found girls. Then came summer of ‘94: A white boy with dark hair saw my black body cut through blue pool water. He wanted my body and I was flattered. He grabbed my ankles underwater and pulled me close in the pool till I hovered above his crotch. Our faces were so close that our noses almost touched and then the whistle blew. We went to the private shower. My lips found his lips, neck, and stomach, and, eventually, my knees bent and I noticed that he was firm and red down there. I was startled, but I proceeded. The preacher’s words boomed in my head, “Man shall not lie with man; it is an abomination,” but I continued, my head bobbed back and forth, my mouth full, my eyes closed. Tom Hank’s torso on the stand flashed in front of me; his pale skin marked, kissed already by death while his body still held air, the birthright of boys whose knees bent for other boys. I stood up and turned around, faced the wall to breathe and calm the blood racing in me. Then I felt him kissing my neck. The water became too hot. “Stop.” He wanted my body. “Please stop.” He wanted… “We gotta stop.” my body… “Stop. No. Stop please…” He took… “I said stop!” my body. I pushed, hard; pushed until I could get him out, but he had already finished. “If you ever come near me again, I will scream.” I walked my body home. I took a shower and scrubbed till… Ventre When I enter a room, the first thing people notice about me is my belly. It has stretched my ribs far to the left and to the right, and it sags in the middle. I have full tits that sag; if they were in a bra, they would be epic. Guys like my nipples. Corn-fed Midwestern straight boys have cornered me in hallways since I was fourteen and have asked, “Do they feel like a girl’s? ‘Lemme touch it; lemme see it; lemme feel it; lemme taste;
 lemme touch it; lemme see it; lemme feel it; lemme taste; 
lemme touch it.’”
 “No.”
 They touched anyway. Welcome to Mascoutah. Welcome to O’Fallon. Welcome to EIU. Welcome to America. Eventually I gave up saying no. I gave up disliking the rough touches from sweaty hands attached to pimply faces. I embraced it as the only touch my body knew. I thought the touch kind. I hoped the grab would become a...

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