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" z_index=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="2468" img_size="large" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][ultimate_spacer height="90" height_on_tabs="50" height_on_tabs_portrait="50" height_on_mob_landscape="50" height_on_mob="50"][vc_column_text] STORIES | WINTER '20 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] an excerpt of a memoir by KEVIN MAXWELL ILLUSTRATIONS by MELISSA ROBLES [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="12px"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]After a week’s annual leave, with no goodbyes, I transferred to Bootle Street Police Station, a grand old stone building in Manchester’s city centre, the headquarters for the old City Police. Moving during your probation was unheard of, except in extenuating circumstances, granted by an assistant chief constable or above. During the week off, my mum and partner supported me, but a strain started to develop in my relationship with my partner, who was now a junior doctor. I soon learnt the inner-city police was in competition with other local stations like Longsight, which covered Moss Side in south Manchester, a predominantly black area that had had its own Toxteth-like riots. My new station was called ‘Brutal Street’ by my colleagues, a reputation it lived up to. I arrived at the station’s front desk with my uniform and equipment, and was sent straight to see the sub-divisional commander, who held the rank of superintendent, in his office on the first floor. The first thing he asked me – in front of his deputy, the sub-divisional chief inspector – was, ‘Have you come to my station on a crusade, waving a gay and black flag?’ Alarmed, I said that I hadn’t. It was the Union Jack that stood proudly on my bedroom shelf back in Liverpool, along with the flags of the Commonwealth that I collected. I was not a member of any political association, staff or otherwise. I just wanted to do my job. I was placed on a patrol shift, known as a ‘relief ’. The shifts were either from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. (day), from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. (afternoon), or from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. (night). There was also a 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. afternoon shift on the weekend. There were five patrol reliefs at my station, A to E, as well as other units, like plain-clothes and the criminal investigation department (CID). My relief shift had more than twenty other constables, three sergeants, an inspector and a dog handler; my station had the biggest reliefs in the Force. I was, once again, the only black officer. There was another gay officer at the station, who had experienced homophobia and as a result was now office-based. We paraded on (i.e. they took roll call, checking who was on duty or on annual leave, etc.), and were given our duties and our intelligence briefings in the parade room, for which we could now sit instead of stand, as used to be the way. The parade room was a place of banter, complaints about ‘the job’ (‘like no other’) and easy chat. I settled into life at Bootle Street, working uniform response ‘999’ policing (i.e. attending emergency calls), but quickly realised that it wasn’t very different to Wigan. Members of the public would often turn on minority officers, especially when they were being arrested. They were very vocal when it came to race, and more so when it came to religion, which I believe worsened as a direct result of the 9/11 attacks. I was once called to a disturbance at an entertainment complex called The Printworks in the city centre. I ended up arresting a drunk man who was causing trouble. As I was placing him in the back of the police van, he loudly snarled at me, in front of my peers and the watching public, ‘Get your stinking Muslim hands off me.’ Although I was a Catholic, my dark skin was reason enough for him to assume that I was Muslim. In fact, the inner-city police could have taught the small-town police a thing or two. Manchester was policed by people from the small, predominantly white Lancashire towns that surrounded it. When we policed a white working-class area, those we came into contact with were known as ‘chavs’ or ‘scum’, those we called ‘shit-bags’ in Wigan. When we policed a black or Asian area, they were ‘niggers’ and ‘Pakis’ respectively, and in the gay area they were ‘queers’. In Chinatown, they were ‘Chinks’. Many people didn’t even know the difference between a Sikh, a Hindu and a Muslim. It all came with the territory. Sometimes this sort of behaviour could backfire. I was on the 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. weekend shift in the nightclub riot van, when our vehicle pulled up alongside a black motorist on Deansgate, outside the bars on the strip. One of my colleagues opened the van’s side door and started to berate the driver of the vehicle, though neither I nor my colleagues could see a reason why. Whatever it was, the sergeant sitting in the passenger seat encouraged my colleague, whilst everyone laughed. That is, until the driver got out of his vehicle and identified himself as a lawyer who worked with the Force. He asked for my colleague’s number and that of my sergeant’s. After my colleague apologised, the sergeant was left red-faced. We drove off in silence. One day, a white female colleague and I were leaving the station yard in a marked police vehicle when an Asian taxi driver drove by blocking our path. At the top of her voice, my colleague shouted out to the taxi driver, ‘You stupid Paki!’ Embarrassed and disappointed, I gave an imperceptible shake of the head, but couldn’t find it in myself to do more. What could I have done? I thought, as I sat next to her. She was well connected and popular, especially amongst the male officers. Had I said something to her, or to someone else later, I would have been ostracised for having challenged or reported her – being a grass, untrustworthy, not a team player. And the careers of cops who weren’t trusted by other cops would stall. This close-knit camaraderie bred some more intimate relationships. Many cops at my new station were having extramarital affairs with other officers and police staff. It wasn’t my business to question the morality of these relationships, but they strengthened bonds in the police, including between junior and senior members of staff. Some tutor constables were sleeping with their tutees. Some officers even got together with people they had dealt with as victims of crime, including domestic violence. There were officers who didn’t care that others knew, as long as their partners didn’t find out – and of course they rarely did, because of that blue wall of silence, because no one trusts a snitch. Cops ‘did’ cops because they understood ‘the job’, they said. I was privy to several extramarital affairs between those in the highest ranks down to the lowest, on duty and off duty, in police offices, toilets and cars. The safest option seemed to be to turn a blind eye, especially as some of the people engaged in affairs were dictating my career. These affairs didn’t stretch to gay relationships; I knew several straight officers who had gay tendencies – some ‘played’ (i.e. experimented) with gay officers – but homophobic attitudes still continued. For example, one Christmas, when I was working on a crime report in the station writing room, a female colleague began to complain about not wanting to go to Via Fossa, a bar in Manchester’s gay village, and deal with a theft. Apparently she didn’t want to be dealing with ‘queers’ and their ‘drama’ anymore. Within the safe confines of my mind, I challenged her, calling her out for her homophobic language – but fear kept me from actually saying anything. I did not want to make any enemies. On another night, after work a group of us went to the local nightclub, 42nd Street, which was on the same road as the police station. I went to join a circle of my colleagues, just in time to hear one of the male officers announce, ‘If a gay guy ever tried to hit on me, I would break his nose.’ His words were meant for me; it was an observation he felt it was important to air as I joined the group. This officer had tested me previously, by asking me in front of others if I liked women. My brain shouted, ‘So, just because I’m gay I’m attracted to you?’ But again, I kept it to myself. He carried on, saying he didn’t think what gay people did was ‘natural’. I held my tongue, smiled and drank my drink. Maybe he was scared that gay men would treat him like he treated women. On another night, later, Officer Don’t Hit On Me and I bumped into each other in the gay village at Sackville Street car park, when we were both on duty but working separately. He told me and my van partner that he was annoyed by ‘queers’ and their ‘problems’, having just gone to an incident in the area. His eyes were on me as he said it, and I could sense his satisfaction. He knew I wouldn’t say anything, just as I hadn’t the last time. Anytime I tried to make friends with my new colleagues and had to sit through more of this, I came away feeling isolated. It impacted on my relationship with my boyfriend, who had already felt the pressure of my experiences at Bruche, Wigan, and now Bootle Street. Sometimes my feelings of isolation were compounded by the fact that, seen from the outside, I was part of that blue wall. During the spring 2003 protests against Tony Blair, George Bush and the Iraq war in Manchester – the biggest political demonstration in the city since the Peterloo Massacre in 1819 – three separate marches converged at the city’s town hall. I was on one side of the police line, and my friends from university, including my best friend and confidant Dan, were on the other. We smiled as we pretended we didn’t know each other, to save any embarrassment.  A Chinese officer at my station was in a situation similar to my own. He was struggling to fit in, and I sat and listened as my colleagues talked about how they would let him struggle and fail, in the hope that he would leave the police and return to the chip shop in Manchester where he came from. He was tutored for much longer than was normal, and as a result they described him as useless, lazy and incompetent. He did fail, did resign, and did return to the chip shop, to their utter delight. Whilst they roared with laughter over his resignation, I just stayed silent.  I was starting to resent myself for the way I kept quiet. I wanted to scream. But what could I have done and who could I have spoken with? The sub-divisional chief already warned me about ‘flying the flags’. As the most senior officer on the sub-division, he set the tone, and the other officers, especially the most junior ones, followed. I found myself eating in the writing room during my breaks, whilst my colleagues ate in the rest room next to the gym. The rest room was an uncomfortable place, pumping with testosterone. There was a television and when particular programmes came on – any programmes to do with gay people or rap music – my colleagues would circumspectly air their views, cautious of using fully racist or homophobic words.  Once I was with a male colleague who had pulled over a female motorist on Newton Street outside the police museum, for committing a minor traffic offence. She asked why he had stopped her. He replied, ‘Because I can.’ She fired back that he couldn’t stop her for no reason, so she received a ticket for failing her attitude test. When we got back in the car, out of earshot, I told him that he was completely out of order.  ‘What...

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][ultimate_spacer height="90" height_on_tabs="50" height_on_tabs_portrait="50" height_on_mob_landscape="50" height_on_mob="50"][vc_column_text] INTERVIEWS | WINTER '20 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] IMAN LE CAIRE [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] INTERVIEWED by JAMES POWELL PHOTOGRAPHS by KAMOLLIO  [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="12px"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]In the throes of this global pandemic, travel as we know it has been severely restricted. Our virtual conversations have become digital vessels to far away hemispheres. My mind was determined to go to Egypt but my soul yearned for Kemet, “the land of the Blacks” — and that is where she took me: the indomitable Iman Le Caire. To only envision Le Caire as a trans refugee from a small rural village in Cairo who escaped unimaginable vilurence would be a disservice not only to her but also the community she seeks to uplift. Hers is a story of reincarnation. Le Caire worked as a contemporary dancer and choreographer at the Cairo Opera which ultimately aided her in coming to the United States where she became a LGBTQ performing artist and nightlife fixture in New York City, Fire Island Pines, and Cherry Grove. Through her advocacy work at TransEmigrate managing Arabic Relations, she has become one of the leading activists helping transgender people relocate to safer homes. Our exchange explored stretches of loss and spiritual and mental abuse during her youth but shifted, thanks to her timely wit, to “getting back up.” The tone of the conversation was characterized by the very meaning of Le Caire’s name, “faith”— a spiritual apprehension that has not been physically seen or touched that we are still called to manifest for ourselves and those we love.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="2451" img_size="large" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]JAMES: I think it's important for us to understand how queer identity is shaped by the landscape we're in. I'm glad the ancestors connected us. I want to talk about your Egyptian origins. Is that where your name comes from?  IMAN: Yes, the name comes from my sister Iman. She was the best sister to me as a transgender—as somebody who is different in my family. Transgender, where I come from, is something abnormal and shameful. In the village where I come from, they are killing them, and they don't want to talk about them [the murders] at all. Or some transgender people kill themselves. They get raped by the whole community and then they kill them just like what's happening to the Black trans here [in the US]. That's why I have this trauma. I did not just join the movement. The trauma hit me in my head, and that's why I’ve been in the street [protesting] because of what happens in Egypt to people like me.  But my sister was my guidance. She was always saying, “Get better, change your attitude,” and making me feel better. I get emotional every time I talk about her. My brother was trying to get rid of me by making my life a living hell because everybody was shaming him, so he was always beating me and fighting with me. Where I come from, it's hard to even move at the market because everything is in front of everybody. Everybody will know that there is a transgender person in the house. You always get attacked by people. But my sister was always protecting me. That's why I took her name. I don't think she would be happy that I did this if she finds out. My whole family is very strict Muslims. JAMES: The story is complicated, but there is so much beauty. When I think about names, I have come to understand that “Egypt" is a name that the Europeans took from the ancient Greek language. The ancient Egyptians actually have another name for Egypt. I think about your story and who gets to decide what your identity is based on the outside world. I know the LGBTQ community has a lot of hardships there—to the point where you have to remain invisible in order to survive. Is there anything that makes you proud of the culture?  IMAN: The pharaohs believed in the third gender. It's on the walls—the boy and the boy kissing. Ancient Egyptians believed in all of this, and now the current Egyptians try to remove it from the walls…to destroy it so nobody will believe in these things.  JAMES: When did you decide you were going to leave Egypt and come to the United States? What was that defining moment when you're like enough is enough? IMAN: When I was with my family I knew I was different because I used to love to do art and stuff—everything that is different, and I didn't know why they were not doing the same things. I was just wondering, “Why are these people not like me?” So everything that I looked for was in America. All the things on TV about freedom. I’d see all the drag queens and the transgender and say, "Oh my God, one day I will go there. I’ll wear my heels and I'll walk in the park, and I'll have my apartment in The Village, and I know I will be accepted everywhere, and I will tell my uncle, FUCK YOU!” JAMES: Were there any images that inspired you growing up? I was obsessed with Whitney Houston! IMAN: I was obsessed with Madonna! Back in Egypt, I had this weird dream that I was going to arrive at the airport and she would be waiting for me and I was going to vogue. Actually, I danced “Vogue” in Fire Island Pines, and that was a dream come true. This country is kind of amazing and also weird. They always say the word “freedom,” and then when you come here you just have to figure it out [what that means]. I used to dance at the Cairo Opera House where I was a choreographer and did so many things. I had this idea that I would come here with my CV and I would at least get a little bit of respect. But no, it was rejection. You get confused because you are a refugee and you want to work and to be part of the community. I think people like us bring good to this country. If we can all come together, we can build altogether. I work for an organization called TransEmigrate because they help trans people from other countries to flee, but guess what? The United States of America is blacklisted.  I lost one of my friends who wanted to be a transgender, but she could not even make it here. She was the fifth runner up in Mr. Egypt and she was doing good and well-known. JAMES: Wow! IMAN: The first thing I said was, “You're going to come to the United States,” and the woman told me, "No, America is blacklisted." I was like, "What?" They do respect transgender women in Europe. It's beyond. JAMES: It's better in Europe than it is here? IMAN: France, Germany—so many countries in Europe. I have the list on my TransEmigrate website. They send Black transgender to get asylum in Europe now, because they give you full health insurance, housing, they do all your surgery—they take care of you. They also have gun control so nobody's going to shoot you. So I wasn't going to die. I was going to live. I wouldn't be just 25. I am just going to live until I am old and lazy. JAMES: Why do you think there is such a stark difference? Americans pride themselves on being a progressive country, but from your viewpoint, and those of many trans people of color I’ve spoken with, that’s not the case. IMAN: Well, ask the white people. I think it's our Black culture too. It's how we shower our mothers and how our Black mothers shower our straight Black brothers. Egypt is Northern Africa. So we're African and we have the same mentality of transphobia and homophobia. My mom always said “You're going to go to hell if you sleep with someone like this.” This is why when they sleep with a transgender woman, they want to hide what they did so they kill them—they burn their body. I was arrested and went to jail many times in Eygpt for being a homosexual. A gay brother was an informant to the police. He would say “she’s gay, she's gay, he's gay...

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][ultimate_spacer height="90" height_on_tabs="50" height_on_tabs_portrait="50" height_on_mob_landscape="50" height_on_mob="50"][vc_column_text] STORIES | WINTER '20 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] LITTLE NIGLET [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] WORDS by JOSH RIVERS ARTWORK by MICHAEL ROSS [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="50px"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="2407" img_size="full" alignment="center" onclick="custom_link" img_link_target="_blank" qode_css_animation="" link="https://us.macmillan.com/books/9780374538989"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]Dad was always muttering to himself about Little Niglet’s ashy knees and nappy hair. Always complained he was runnin’ around Atlanta looking like Jackass-motherfucking-Jones. Little Niglet ran fast. He knew you were trying to keep him. He knew his place wasn’t here, even then. He was rambunctious, and sassy, and put his hand on his hip when he was talking to you, and he was smart. Dad used to tell him to stop looking at him with the eyes he gave him. Dad thought he invented the cut eye, but Little Niglet would remind him that nobody cut an eye like he could—never before, never after. The only time Little Niglet would stop running was when he reached the end of something or when he ran into something, but never because he was out of breath. I’d watch him run and think he’d be running forever if we let him. And even when I caught him, he would scratch and claw at me like a badger. Damn near gouged my eye out once. It was the way he looked at me when I caught him. His big brown eyes, so full of wonder, so sparkling and luminous, could turn black with hatred. When I couldn’t catch him, I caught him with words. If I insulted his intelligence, he would bite back so hard he’d draw blood. He loved the smell of blood. He’d lick the tears from your face if he was close enough. And so we learned to keep him at arm’s length. To let him run around looking like he looked. In hindsight, I wish I would have tried harder to catch him. Maybe he’d still be here.  Dad was quiet. He liked being alone. He was hulking. Regal in stature but pauper in dress, when he was upright, he moved through the world as if he owned it. A cigarette always dangled from the side of his mouth as he tapped on the newest handheld, and his black lips were always stained red with wine. He was, by all accounts, a drunk, though we’d adopt more affectionate turns of phrase and often shrug our shoulders when he passed out in the driver’s seat of the car. Mom left him there when he did that. Didn’t think it was her responsibility to be “lugging no old drunk Negro around.” Little Niglet would stalk around the car when Dad was passed out in it. I’d watch from the window. He’d pace ’round and ’round, like he was thinking as if one more disappointment might make him snap. He hated seeing Dad like that. Thought he was checking out, being lazy, being mean. Little Niglet made no secret of his dislike for Dad and his drinking. He would pour all of Dad’s beers and wine out into the sink, discarding the bottles in fits and smashes on the back patio. Never did it when Dad was home, though. The one thing Little Niglet was scared of was dad’s big rough hands across his face. Little Niglet went to great lengths to make sure nobody but Mom ever touched him. Not hugs, not kisses, not nothin’, and especially not a beating. When Dad came home, boots crunching across the glass as he surveyed the damage to his arsenal, Little Niglet was nowhere to be found. He was up in a tree, down at the creek, wedged into some hole we-didn’t-know-where and wherever he was he’d stay until Dad, like clockwork, passed out again.  Mom was feisty. Little Niglet loved her more than anybody else and made sure everybody knew. If he wrote something down, only she could see it. If he was having a tantrum, only she could calm him. If he wanted to fight, only she could make him back down. It was like the umbilical cord had never been cut. They were connected and that connection was unassailable. He was savage in his love for her and in her defense and none of us were welcome or safe. If we even thought about saying something to her, he’d leap up on the table, word-knives shooting from his mouth, and cut us all to pieces. One time I saw fear in her eyes when he spoke. Once. Other than that, I think she was happy to have him as her little assassin. Dad ignored her, my sister was always nagging at her, and Little Niglet was the only person who saw her, made her feel special and needed. We learned to keep her at arm’s length too, to let them two revolve around the other’s existence. It just wasn’t worth the blood loss.  A few years later, when Little Niglet came limping home, stinking of alcohol, with a bruised eye and a face red-fresh from crying, we couldn’t get through to him. “What happened?! Little Niglet, talk to me!” Mom begged him to speak, but he refused. He bit his tongue until he started bleeding. He wouldn’t even open his eyes. He was shaking like a caught fox. “If he shake any harder he gon’ scramble his brain!” my sister yelled. He climbed into the deepest recesses of the couch and wept for what felt like hours. As each of us approached and then retreated, he wept. He wept so consistently and for so long that I thought for sure we’d wake up in the morning and he’d be dust. His trousers had been torn, half his shirt was missing and he wasn’t wearing any underwear. The thing we didn’t want to be true was the only thing that could be. I said a prayer for him. I said, “God. Don’t let him run.” Little Niglet ran. I knew when I woke up in the morning he was gone. Little Niglet had an energy and it was thick as the high-noon heat of Sunday. He pulsed. As I wiped my eyes, I nudged my sister.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_row_inner row_type="row" type="grid" text_align="left" css_animation=""][vc_column_inner width="1/6"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="2/3"][vc_column_text]"Little Niglet's gone." "How you know, nigga? You even been in to see him?" "Bitch, he gone. I can feel it." [/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/6"][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="60px"][vc_column_text]Mom was distraught. She hit all of us like we had something to do with it. She smashed a glass against the wall in the kitchen, threw a frying pan at my head and slammed my sister into a wall. I had never seen Mom with that type of rage, and all of a sudden I knew where Little Niglet got it. She was showing her teeth, hissing, enraged. It was Discovery Channel shit. The moment Dad walked in, we ducked out and the orchestra of smashing dishes and screaming became too loud to bear. Through covered ears from under the dining room table, we heard her blame him. She said it was his fault. Said he better go find Little Niglet, that Dad could zip himself up into a body bag if he thought he could return home empty-handed. Dad laughed that kind of half-laugh you laugh when someone says something so insane that you know they ain’t lying. The type of shit you say when you’re daring somebody to test you. So she popped him square in the mouth and knocked his front teeth out. I heard him spit out his teeth through the wall.  It was the one time I ever felt bad for Dad. The one time I knew he wasn’t to blame. He wasn’t there when Little Niglet limped in, and he sure wasn’t awake when Little Niglet left. He knew if he couldn’t find Little Niglet that he had no home to come back to. Mom had drawn a line in the sand, pissed all over the house. Find Little Niglet or don’t come home. Knowing Dad knew only the routes he had travelled, knew solely the roads to annihilation, me and my sister followed him to the car. He slumped into the driver’s seat, the rush of stale wine fogging up the windshield. That’s when I saw what resignation looks like, how it hollows out the eyes and discards whoever was there into the shadow where he once stood. “Thee ya round,” he whistled. He knew he was never going to find Little Niglet. [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_separator type="normal"][vc_empty_space height="60px"][vc_column_text]   JOSH RIVERS Josh Rivers is a London based writer who delves into cultural and social issues related to queerness within the African diaspora. Based in the United Kingdom, Rivers is the Head of Communications for UK Black Pride and creator + host of the podcast Busy Being Black. MICHAEL ROSS is a multidisciplinary artist who currently lives in, and is a native of Mississippi. Ross uses mediums such as collage, textile, pencil drawings and paint to reflect on many years spent in San Francisco and his American southern heritage. [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="60px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="50px"][vc_single_image image="675" img_size="full" alignment="center" onclick="custom_link" qode_css_animation="" link="https://thetenthmagazine.com/"][vc_empty_space height="10px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row]...

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][ultimate_spacer height="90" height_on_tabs="50" height_on_tabs_portrait="50" height_on_mob_landscape="50" height_on_mob="50"][vc_column_text] FEATURES | WINTER '20 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] TRANSCENDING [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] SHYANNE ESCADA & AMARRA AMOR  by PICASOO MOORE + images by KAMOLLIO [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="12px"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]The first brick at Stonewall? Of course, you’re aware. Founding S.T.A.R. and bringing food, community, and resources to trans women across New York and beyond? No doubt, you’ve read about it. That glorious smile and colorful headdress? We’ve all seen them in that immortalized photograph that gets posted on everyone’s Instagram every pride season. But beyond the speeches, beyond the vital work, beyond the canonized saint that we need her to be, but did you know Marsha P. Johnson was a person? Hold on. Catch your breath. Okay, keep reading. She was a woman, a friend, a bad bitch, and an activist, but also, a whole entire human being.  Yes, Marsha was the leader who carried us over the line but she was so much more… so much other. And yes, Marsha was in many ways the first but she was not at all the last. “I was protesting all through the summer. I got arrested,” says Amarra Rysedoph, model, musician, OnlyFans entrepreneur, artist, and certified BARB. On a break from the cover shoot for The Tenth’s latest issue, she sits in front of a bevy of vegan delights and builds a plate while I pick her brain. She is no stranger to civic engagement. “I was in the activist community back home in Omaha (Nebraska) doing certain things here and there. But when this happened (the recent Black Lives Matter inflection point), I was like ‘nobody should not be in the streets, you know?’” With perfect posture and an expertly applied smoky eye, she shares her story.   [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="2352" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]“I was at this protest, we had just crossed over the Brooklyn Bridge, and they (the police) started to charge a group of thousands of people and I started to record the arrests because they were throwing people to the ground. I was like, let me record because I don’t know how they were going to be treating these people, where they were taking them, and then this officer shoved me. I moved his arm off of me and I had three officers, grown men, take me to the ground! They ripped my lace front off my head and took me to jail. I was there overnight… It was a whole mess.” From just over her right shoulder comes a gasp out of Shyanne Escada, model and one of the second runners up on HBO Max’s Ballroom competition series “Legendary.” A full stop. Even in all the makeup and wardrobe, the smoldering gaze she was just giving to the camera falls away. For a moment the room is raptured. “Yeah, I know,” offers Amarra. “I have court in like a week and a half. They didn’t really have any reason to arrest me. So I’m hoping that they’ll drop the charges and give me a ticket or something. I just have to see how it goes. There are things I’m a little bit worried about, honestly, because I feel like they’re just going to make some shit up. They didn’t tell me what my charges were when they arrested me, so I’m assuming they’re just going to make some shit up. So I just have to be prepared for that.” The makeup artist signals that she’d like to touch up before Amarra slips into wardrobe and has her moment in front of the camera. As she and her cheekbones glide away, she turns and says “I haven’t really processed it yet. I’m sure it will hit me later.”  The power of that moment! It was brief and matter of fact, but undeniably profound. Two young trans girls, Black and magical as the day is long, sitting in this room and serving, not just face, but as contradictions.  Contradictions to the relentless framing of trans women, particularly trans women of color, as the featured players in the world’s most sensationalized trauma porn du jour. Most media would have you believe that our sisters spend their days battling transphobic violence and galvanizing to push back against pointed and discriminatory legislation, and they do, as those are the enraging realities of their lives, but their days are also filled with so much more. The two young women in this feature prove that. Today they have a shoot with The Tenth… let’s worry about the court date next week. [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="2362" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]Our collective attention is always shifting. We’re angry and ready to ride at dawn for Megan Thee Stallion up until Kanye says something wild about Harriet Tubman at his “campaign rally.” We can’t get over the scandal in the Pinkett-Smith household until Nene storms away at the reunion. Halle Berry is canceled for considering taking a role as a trans man in a new film until Miley announces a new record. It seems we’re deadset to swing back and forth between outrage and joy; and even with our hearts set on allyship we can sometimes drop the ball. Not these girls though. Like many of the trans women we know and love, multitasking is second nature. Yes, they work daily for their right to occupy space and cultivate autonomy, but they find time to do so much more. Call it their burden, call it their power, but just because they’re busy fighting doesn’t mean that they don’t have the time and the will to slay. [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="2360" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]Shyanne, a native of Rochester, NY, is as comfortable and competent when speaking about her experience with advocacy as she is speaking about her ambition. When asked about the recent intersectional Black Trans Lives Matter March in Brooklyn, she notes that progress is being made. “Seeing the Black Lives Matter movement in high school, I remember talking about it in class and asking would you guys care if these people that died were gay or trans or anything? and it was just quiet. They didn’t even think about it. To see so many people marching for trans lives… I’ve always felt conflicted. It felt so separated from our community, but now it’s starting to merge. It feels inclusive. It doesn't feel like I’m marching for someone who wouldn’t march for me.” Vital as that dialogue is, and eloquently as she engages, she has so much more to say.  In between touchups to her makeup and head wrap, Shyanne makes it clear that her time on “Legendary” was only the beginning. “Before the show, I told them my goal isn’t to win the show. I said my goal is to make a moment. I’d rather they remember us than win… I’m thinking in advance. ” That hands on the wheel mentality is evident even in her nonverbal exchange. “Your basic average girl, here to save the world”, reads her Instagram bio. It may be a Kim Possible quote, and it may be a bit tongue in cheek, but the look in her eye when she’s being photographed, the presence she has when she struts down the stage, and the conviction in her voice when she speaks about her career and desire to “make a moment” and “be remembered” are not to be taken lightly. [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="2369" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]If you want an online vogue class via Zoom, hit up Shyanne on Instagram. If you’re a savage but are looking for lingerie that’s more sustainable than what Rihanna has to offer head to Amarra’s page and use her PARADE discount code. From sharing their technical gifts with the world, to using their savvy to create brand partnerships, both Amarra and Shyanne shake off any and all imposed narratives and expiration dates on them. Months after our social media feeds have gone back to normal and the white gays in those ever-expanding gentrified pockets of Brooklyn have stopped professing their desire to “do the work,” our sisters actually are. In the stretch following, the historic march for Black Trans Lives in Brooklyn and the unprecedented rise in intersectional dialogue, these ladies make their desire to be more than the winners of the Oppression Olympics clear. They’re creating their own opportunities and making their own coins, and they are doing so on their own terms.  It’s encouraging and inspiring to see self-actualized young trans women transcend (pun intended) the narrative so often imposed on them. In simply living their lives ambitiously and intentionally, they challenge ideas about what their trajectory and focus can be and reveal a more nuanced portrait of excellence.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="2371" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][vc_column_text] ARTWORK by ZACH GREAR [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]The momentum they’ve respectively cultivated has been deliberate and when the girls get moving there’s really no stopping them. Even in the midst of a global pandemic, you’d think that they would tire. That they’d yield to the rapidly changing landscape of media or that they’d at least push things down the line a bit, right? Wrong. To Shyanne, her continued industriousness seems only logical and her recently acquired fan base seems eager to get a piece of her where and however they can. “I was really a homebody before COVID happened. So, I FaceTime my friends every day, and we text. And because of the show, I have a bigger following now, so I get to interact with a lot of people online more than before. I don’t think I’ve had to get creative.” For Amarra, the world’s state doesn’t seem to be an obstacle either. “Since coronavirus happened, I’m obviously not going out or anything. But I’m still connecting with people through social media and meeting other creatives that way and trying to keep myself creative and productive. Creating within the house, you know?”[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="2366" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]Spending the day with Shyanne and Amarra is spending the day with the future. Two young women living life on their own terms and reshaping the molds that media and the world seem hellbent on setting them in. As they wrap their respective photo sessions and head out the door they subtly exhibit a mix of gratitude, effervescence, pride, and power. They’ve got meetings to take, shoots to head to, and collabs to manage. As I say my goodbyes and barrage them with a few more compliments for the work they both do behind and in front of the lens, I meet their eyes and feel overcome with the notion that though they offered a smorgasbord of soundbites desirable for any journalist, the most phenomenal part of the day was what went unsaid. The best part is what they and, so many other girls like them, effortlessly present as an imperative. With their confidence, wit, and drive Amarra and Shyanne make it clear that police, politics, and pandemic be damned, the girls are unstoppable![/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="80px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_separator type="normal"][vc_empty_space height="60px"][vc_column_text]   PICASSO MOORE is a contributing writer and all-star team player at The Tenth, who once had said on IG: "This is all Sarah Jessica Parker's fault."   KAMOLLIO BENNETT is an Art Director and photographer who's worked for every global luxury fashion & beauty brand possible, but in his independent creative pursuits, balances a stillness of hand and peace of mind, which is always transmitted in the process.   [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width"...

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][ultimate_spacer height="90" height_on_tabs="50" height_on_tabs_portrait="50" height_on_mob_landscape="50" height_on_mob="50"][vc_column_text] FEATURES | WINTER '20 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] Elyse Fox On Making Room For Women Of Color To Be More Than Just Strong [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] WORDS by ROYTEL MONTERO IMAGES of ELYSE FOX [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]Long before Elyse Fox was called a mental health advocate for young Black women, she called herself a filmmaker and followed her earliest passion. When she established a platform to reach the young women seeking solace on and offline, she called it the Sad Girls Club. But even before Fox was called anything, she was called to a mission that was clearly defined. It was to set out and make something of herself and make progress for a family in a new country. While the Caribbean diasporic storyline is one shared by a sizable population in the United States, its causes and effects are always varied. “From age 5 I was always told that I needed to do something that was gonna bring home the coin for the whole family,” Fox says of her earliest inklings. With one thing in clear focus, she set out to fulfill the order placed by her parents—a mother from St. Kitts and a father from the Bronx—to not only be something but to also be someone—a notion central to immigration stories.  A lifetime of effort and good grades earned her acceptance to Cornell University, which she curbed to stay closer to the city and the art she was interested in creating. By 20, Fox was Los Angeles-bound with a head start at paying her dues in show business.  By 25, she was on her way back to New York, having found the dream sooner than she expected and, with it, a slew of side effects. “I was having a great time but while I was discovering myself I was also in an abusive relationship,” she says. The relationship put several things into focus for a younger Elyse, whose early success in media did little to quell the onset of a “cloud of darkness” she had come to accept her norm. “I had my first suicide attempt shortly after that time in LA and I was feeling so low and just really trying to rebuild myself and rebuild my self-worth because I felt like I couldn’t really be happy with me until I figured out what was going on with me,” Fox recalls.  She had been gone for five years and had to adjust a few things: “ Everything was hella gentrified and the buildings I lived around were different and the people were different so I had to re-learn this other part of myself that had changed before I could even say goodbye and when I got back home I just tried to act like everything was normal and wanted to hang out with my friends, go out and have fun,” she says.  The mental health scare also gave way to a new outlet for Fox, who documented her return to New York City in the 2016 film “Conversations With Friends” combining footage from the city’s cultural scene with a candid look at her inner life. What happened next fell into place as only fate would have it. An outpouring of feedback from other young women of color around the world confirmed that she was not alone. Additionally, she was not alone in discovering her threshold for emotional hardship where the tools to do so hadn’t been offered by the mainstream outlet—or anyone.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="60px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_single_image image="2346" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]After organizing the first IRL meetup for the online community, it was abundantly clear the response was reflective of something that had been lacking largely for women like her.  “I even joke that before I started this group, I didn’t know what gaslighting was,” she says laughing. With so much knowledge to share, the young women of color that make up Fox’s growing platform are also a community that’s learned to rely on each other. Not only for resources and facts, but also the constructive blocks for growth that can be harder to come by on social media. “We don’t subscribe to cancel culture at Sad Girls Club so if there’s something that needs to be learned, or we need to be educated on, then they’ll just DM me or pull me to the side and say No, this is what we need to do,” she says.  The camaraderie at the center of the Sad Girls Club ethos is easily what keeps it evolving. It’s a culture that rewrites a narrative about Black women that so frequently discounts wellness to prioritize strength.  Fox, on the other hand, knows that wellness is a holistic pursuit and no parts should go untended. This is where the wealth of information comes to use. “I feel like just having an endless pool of lingo and language, to have that information accessible, and people being comfortable to provide it is a beautiful thing but I am learning every day without even trying. And the fact that I can share this information with my niece and my son when he gets older is just priceless to me,” she says.  The non-profit organization thrives with the support of not just its beneficiaries and followers (the Sad Girls Club Instagram page has just shy of 300k), but also the community of people offering their help and services. From therapists donating sessions to safe spaces to offering to house meetings that hundreds of young women of color have attended to find each other and provide concrete support and resources, every bit counts. What has Fox taken away from the experience?  “To not be afraid to ask for what you want, what you deserve, and what you need,” she said.  “Because if you ask for things and you’re able to speak effectively about why you need the things you need or what you’re asking for and what it’s going to bring to you or your organization, those are the things that are important to ask.”  For Fox, finding a way to approach her depression came after years of self-reliance that only delayed her treatment. While there’s plenty of discourse surrounding the triumphs of Black women in the face of multiple oppressors, Sad Girls Club creates room for a holistic approach to wellness.  “I always hate that we’re praised for the things that we bring to the table but not for our personal beings and our personal selves,” she says.  Examples of strong Black women are everywhere. In popular culture, she’s lauded for her resilience and will. Colloquially, she’s how we identify the triumph of existing- and thriving- in spite of systemic oppression. While more overtly harmful stereotypes like the Mammy, Jezebel or angry Black woman aim to be dissolved by the variety of Black women becoming more visible, the label of strong has some stronger side effects. This is because being superhuman comes at a cost and for Black women by and large, the price is mental health. With barriers like stigma, lack of resources and a cultural expectation to override intersectional oppression by sheer will, studies have shown Black women are less likely to seek help for mental health.  Is the strong Black woman trope to blame? “It’s like a bandaid statement that people use to make themselves feel better because they either don’t know how to help or they don’t wanna help so they say this person is fine. She’s a strong Black woman,” Fox says. The numbers show it: not only are Black women twice as likely to experience depression compared to their male counterparts but their symptoms are often misdiagnosed or ignored by professionals not taking cultural context into consideration. [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="60px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="2374" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]As she rewrites this narrative, Fox is embracing a new reality for young women of color. “To me, strength means being vulnerable,” she says with the same certainty she’d call the sky blue. If the success of her platform doesn’t already show that she’s struck a chord, her collaborations with huge brands like Olay, Nike, and institutions like Harvard University help awareness too. Through brand partnerships and an ever-growing community, she has connected countless young women of color to mental health resources and, just as importantly, to each other. Fox knows for sure that her greatest strength is also expressed through tenderness—and that comes in so many different forms.“Strength is in healing yourself, setting boundaries. I think strength comes in many different ways and that might mean something to someone else so to generalize it for Black women, you’re doing us a disservice,” she says. As the embodiment of strength in spite of oppression, Fox knows the sky’s the limit. [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="60px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_separator type="normal"][vc_empty_space height="60px"][vc_column_text]   ROYTEL MORENO is a writer and photographer based in Brooklyn, New York, whose made the mainstream mediascape more inclusive in his travels about the city covering culture and its products.     [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="50px"][vc_single_image image="675" img_size="full" alignment="center" onclick="custom_link" qode_css_animation="" link="https://thetenthmagazine.com/"][vc_empty_space height="10px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row]...

[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] CONVOS | FALL '20 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] GREGORY GOURDET [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] INTERVIEW with THE TENTH ARTWORK by CJ ROBINSON [/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]Eventually, the post-apocalyptic COVID era would have to provide answers. For starters: What will we eat? When will trips to the grocery store sustain us no longer? Where will we go, when we can’t bear the thought of another Saturday night spent alone commiserating with the wom/man in the mirror? Even moreso, how do we define the categories—food and culture—in a world where the barriers that once defined what is “essential” have come crashing down? We knew exactly who to ask, and so spent an afternoon amidst pandemic anxiety in the early days of the national uprisings for Black Lives, with Portland’s own Top Chef and culinary director at Departure, Gregory Gourdet. Gregory, the culinary-superstar-after-finishing-first-runner-up-on-season-twelve-of-Top Chef (he’s since been upgraded to the judges panel for the the show’s 18th season) has been nominated multiple times for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chefs in America Award had plenty to say about the future of the restaurant industry in the era of COVID, and with the impending doom of the Race War Presidential Election, also had suggestions on which culinary ingredients we’ll need to bring with us on our rocket ships to Mars.[/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="2279" 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]JAMES: Greg, as one of the nation’s top chefs who also is of Haitian descent, I want to talk about the historical context of black people being in the role of chef— how for centuries, people of African descent have been linked to “service” roles or to subservience, but now, working as a chef has a certain prestige and cache. Fine Dining is considered an art form.  GREGORY: If you take away organized dining, at the root it’s just cultural cooking. A lot of ingredients that come from Africa, that come from Latin America, that come from India, that come from all these countries of color are really where food starts. The organized restaurant is a modern thing, and the story should never start there. The story should start with the chili peppers that originated in Africa and Mexico and Latin America, and the plantains and the coconuts, and how all these ingredients made their way across the world. Oftentimes when we talk about the start and structure of modern dining, we’re ignoring the story that starts before that. But when we talk about “fine dining,” I think we're talking about business, and we're talking about opportunity, and these are where racial issues in America get in the way. White men have far more opportunities to be successful via these avenues than black men and women. But In the past few years we've definitely seen the rise on a national level of black food: Restaurants serving Southern food [have won] Best New Restaurant in America, more black chefs are being named James Beard-award winning chefs. I think all these things are extremely important and mean industry progress. I'm on the Independent Restaurant Coalition, which is a national group that's formed with chefs from all across the country to work with the government to secure funding to reopen the restaurants in America that have been shut down because of COVID. Now the restaurant industry employs 11 million people nationwide, so it's one of the biggest job sectors in the country, but I've often felt that I have been one of the few faces of color in some of these spaces—be it education, the early kitchens I worked in, up to the Michelin starred restaurants. But I’ve also learned from the diversity of getting to work with people from Mexico, Latin America, and European cultures. The learning in diverse environments is what it’s all about.  JAMES: From my understanding, being on the ground in the restaurant, especially when we're talking about fine dining, is a very well-choreographed machine that ramps up once the doors open for patrons. That there's an immense amount of pressure to constantly put out the perfect plate and deliver the perfect service. I want to talk about contextualizing that, looking at it from the point of view of being a black person in that space. GREGORY: I think China was one of the first cultures, historically, to have “organized” dining. And probably one of the first restaurants. France is probably historically the most known for developing modern cuisine. The whole system that we have in the kitchen today is really based on the French brigade, which is the French system of the chef and the sous chef and the cooks below those two levels, and just having everything run in a smooth, organized mechanical motion, but generally, kitchens are very high stress.  For a long time, the life that Anthony Bourdain spoke of in Kitchen Confidential, of the hard partying cook and the “oui chef” culture is what a generation like mine is very accustomed to. We just understood that working in a kitchen was extremely hard, so we didn't take mental or physical health into consideration. And it was mostly run by white males. And that was a lot of it for a long time. And then with the reckoning that the industry took with #MeToo and the [heightened] awareness of how we treat women in the kitchen, and tackling addiction in the kitchen as well, we’ve had to change how we teach, and conversations have had to shift about how we approach things in the kitchen like mental health and inequality. JAMES: You bring up this underbelly culture that's going on in the restaurant community as it relates to addiction. Malcolm Gladwell talks about this a little bit in “Talking To Strangers,”  how culturally we communicate in different ways, and using what's going on with COVID and racial brutality right now, as a black person showing up to the kitchen, it’s not just, “Oh, I'm having a great day.” No—people are protesting, there’s a disparity in the number of black folks dying from the virus, maybe I can’t just show up and do the curbside service and not be thinking about anything else. Is there a support system for people of color in the restaurant industry to be able to talk about these types of issues? And what is the power in having this type of support? GREGORY: Yes, it’s important. I work with Ben’s Friends, which is a national organization and a recovery group, specifically food-and-beverage-focused. We have chapters in about 11 different states. There's a group called Black Food Folks, started by two members of the James Beard Foundation, and it specifically shares voices of food and beverage industry members of color. They've been extremely active throughout this pandemic. We’re seeing food writers publishing articles and writing books on racism and fine dining and being celebrated for it.  The Chef of Color movement is definitely on the rise, and even those of us who’ve gained great success—however you define it—or who have more visibility are talking and organizing ourselves now more than ever. I think this will allow us to dive deeper into what resources we still feel are lacking out there. JAMES: I see local restaurants, especially here in the Hudson Valley, making a statement with “farm to table” and using fresh local ingredients. How is COVID-19 affecting the food distribution system and how does that affect not just your menu, but also the way we understand the food supply chain in general? GREGORY: It's something that we see really clearly here in Oregon, because we are such a small community. We know the person farming the food and growing the food and the fisher people and the people foraging in the woods and the person delivering the food to the restaurant. It’s a closed loop. But the larger system broke: A lot of food went to waste in the early part of COVID because there wasn't access to it. Food was designated to go to a certain style of place, say a restaurant, so it wasn’t packaged properly or grown properly to ship it. It was a huge misstep given all the hunger in this country. The second piece is all the places that were deemed essential—especially the meat processing facilities—kept going full steam and became crazy hotspots for COVID. A lot of these workers are immigrants and people of color. A lot of factory owners didn't take any precautions, so eventually there was another break in the system for the restaurants that [stayed] open. There’s definitely a beef shortage, and there's definitely a pork shortage. This whole system that reaches way further than just my farmer has too many apples. It shows how the whole system is intertwined. One break and a lot of things fall apart. JAMES: There’s this whole group of social justice artists that are making a lot of money depicting black pain and oppression. You are in an industry that is all about bringing folks together:  having dinners, having parties. Do you think we will see this commodification of pain? "We're raising awareness! Whatever restaurant group is donating a million dollars to Black Lives Matters."   GREGORY: I'm torn because I think it's great that every single thing in my feed right now is black: black resources, black artists, black everything. It's great the awareness is there. On the other hand,  what happens when the physical protests stop? What happens when there’s a new hashtag? Where are these people going to be then? I've seen it and I've wanted to call it out, but people are posting, "Black Lives Matter, We Stand with the Black Community," and they have zero people of color on their entire team. So for now, I appreciate knowing that these outlets and companies are paying a little bit more attention, and actually supporting our causes with financial support. I think that says something.  KHARY: Let’s go back before all this drama and trauma when you were still starry-eyed and not as clued into how it really works. When you were like, "This is what I want to do with my life.” GREGORY: I moved out West and started cooking. I started at Jean-Georges, and for many, many years I had a great mentor there, but it was seeing the examples that my parents set and that they created a world for themselves having moved here from Haiti in the late ’60s that instilled a real work ethic in me. They got through their hardships where they made it very clear that anything was possible with hard work. Growing up in New York City I felt like anything was possible and I knew that I could still get ahead doing it my way. I didn't want to conform with how I looked or how I acted. I took that with me into the industry. KHARY: This makes me think about all of the young people who are inspired by people like you who want to be chefs or start up catering businesses, which, we all know, is a wildly expensive and difficult undertaking. Post-pandemic, will there be even more barriers to entry, let's say, for our community which is already under-capitalized?  GREGORY: Yeah. I definitely think so. At this point, we're just struggling to reopen the economy and reopen restaurants that are already there, so unfortunately, it's going to be extremely challenging if you’re trying to open something right now. I think these are the great unknowns: How long is this really going to last, and how long can we live on unemployment? The government is helping us with the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program). Just this week, they came out with some amendments to it so it works a little bit better for people, but we're still asking Congress for more help. Particularly the Restaurant Stabilization Fund which asked for another $120 billion, so we can hopefully really, really focus on smaller businesses and see this thing throughout the rest of the year.  JAMES: We have a big segment of...

[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="2235" 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] ESSAYS | FALL '20 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] AN IDOL FALLS [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] ESSAY by PICASSO MOORE ILLUSTRATIONS by PACO MAY [/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, the fracking?” Let’s start there. With the clip, that birthed a meme, that crystalized a sentiment. Bob the drag queen and Peppermint, two celebrities in their own right, had a tangential moment during an Instagram live. Just after, there was some infectious laughter (the kind that lets you know you’re amongst the girls and that you’re all good to let your hair and wrists down) followed by a near-instantaneous redirection back to the topic at hand. I recall seeing it on my twitter feed and not getting it. The general concept of fracking is somewhat clear to me (I mean, I saw that Matt Damon film, Promised Land, which received all that undo Oscar buzz in 2013), but what was gay twitter’s fascination with hotly debated and highly politicized energy-sourcing practices? A few taps and swipes revealed that none other than Mutha Ru’ herself had once again found herself in the hot seat.  In an interview with not The Tenth Magazine, she offers the world a glimpse into her idyllic life away from the spotlight. The husband, the flannel, the 60,000-acre ranch in Wyoming, the leasing of the mineral rights to various oil and energy conglomerates… Oh, the fracking. Perhaps it was a moment of candor she thought to be innocuous. Perhaps it was boastful exuberance that had unintended consequences. Whatever it was, to Twitter, it was bad. But why? I mean, yes, there is the obvious toxification of the water supply and the pollution of the air we breathe, the corporate monopolization of political and financial capital, and the general shut-the-fuck-up-ocity of a glamazon droning on about the harrowing duties of land management on her national-park-sized property, but none of that was being articulated by the Twitterverse. People were outraged that RuPaul could do something so blatantly capitalist, that her life off-screen and her time out of drag didn’t seem to syncopate with her public image. The tears in the eyes of the masses weren’t the result of gas in the air, but the sheer horror of seeing one of our idols fall.  But isn’t it always true that the crux of every matter is always just there in front of our eyes? That the clue that solves the mystery is the one at the scene of the crime? Celebrities strike a chord in us because they are specific enough for us to see our selves but ambiguous enough for us to project our ideals. Love yourself. That’s the sentiment. The slogan. RuPaul has been telling us to love ourselves and live unapologetically for decades, and how wonderful! How many of us needed and (still) need to hear that? To be told that we have an indelible power within us and an inalienable right to take up space? It’s fortifying to turn on the television and see a chocolate faggot twirling and serving all in front of a crowd of people whose shouts are of praise rather than hate. But along the way, the line between seeing yourself and conflating yourself becomes blurred.  “She’s such an obnoxious hypocrite!” read one tweet. “We been knew sis was bullshit” read another.  But, I don’t recall the statement “love yourself” ever being followed by “...

[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] STILL HERE [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] WORDS by NKGOPOLENG MOLOI IMAGES of DISTRICT SIX, CAPE TOWN [/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]Southampton County (1831), Cincinnati (1836), Memphis (1866), Okahandja (1904), Kinshasa (1959),  Sharpeville (1960), Soweto (1976), Bristol (1980), Handsworth (1985), Los Angeles (1992), Brixton (1995), London (2011), Marikana (2012), Minneapolis (2020). A haunted past. A lifetime of pain and suffering. A lifetime of fighting for dignity. A lifetime of fighting for liberation—riot, upheaval, protest, dissent, resistance, refusal. Despite all that, we are still here. Despite genocides, despite lynchings, despite racism, and despite the violence…..WE ARE STILL HERE. In 2017, Afro-French Cuban musical sister duo Ibeyi, made up of Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Diaz, released their second studio album Ash. The album addressed themes of racism and misogyny. The third song on the album is called Deathless—a response to a traumatising encounter Lisa-Kaindé (one part of the duo) experienced with the French police at age sixteen. Deathless became a mantra to symbolise strength in the face of racial injustice. [/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_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]Whatever happens, whatever happened (oh hey) We are deathless We are deathless Whatever happens, whatever happened (oh hey) We are deathless We are deathless [/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="40px"][vc_column_text]The words are repeated over the thwacking percussion—thump thump thump, deathless, thump thump thump, deathless. In an interview with the Brussels-based music blog HighClouds, Naomi said, “In truth, 'Deathless' is a poignant response to racism and an anthem for anybody who feels too little: minorities, the weak, and the deprived.”[/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_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]Deathless (adjective) - unceasing - perpetual - likely to endure [/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="40px"][vc_column_text]To be Black and queer and poor in this world is to be in danger, but it is also to be deathless. Not in the sense of immortal but rather as unceasing, perpetual and likely to endure. We have existed before and will remain existing. Historical deathlessness—the Khoi and the San peoples, the first human communities on the face of the earth, whose direct descendants still exist in Southern Africa. Symbolic deathlessness—as seen through the great pyramids of Giza and of Kerma, which stand tall four millennia later. Mythical deathlessness—Black Atlantis, the underwater country populated by the unborn children of pregnant African women thrown off of slave ships. To be Black in this world is to be in danger but it is also to be deathless. My aim is not to offer up an explanation for how Black people have survived some of the most horrifyingly wicked injustices, but rather I will echo and reverberate the sound and voices of the many who have come before, highlighting sonic registers of refusals. I refer back to the continua in Solomon Mahlangu's “Tell my people that I love them and that they must continue the fight, my blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom, Aluta continua." [/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="2158" 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_row_inner row_type="row" type="grid" text_align="left" css_animation=""][vc_column_inner width="2/3"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/6"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/6"][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="80px"][vc_column_text]In 1950 the apartheid government in South Africa enacted the Group Areas Act which sought to racially segregate the country geographically. Under this law, District Six in Cape Town was designated a “whites only” area, which led to the forced removal of 60,000 residents. The forced removals dismantled the strong communal ties between families and friends that had been built and nourished over the years. Reflecting on the removals four decades later, a former District Six resident Nomvuyo Ngcelwane said:[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="50px"][vc_column_text] ❝ In August of 1963, my father received a letter asking him to report at the Drill Hall in connection with arrangements that had been made by the local authorities for him and his family. We had been expecting it, of course, because some of the Black residents had already received their notices. The removal was going to bring a lot of change to people’s lives; for immediate neighbours, there was no guarantee that they would be living together as neighbours in Nyanga West. The fear was that we would be scattered all over. To those who walked to their place of work, it meant budgeting for bus or train fares in the future.❞ [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="30px"][vc_column_text]Ngcelwane is one of many residents whose histories are recorded and remembered in the District Six Museum. On one of my visits, I noticed a short and striking phrase on a banner outside the museum: “No matter where we are, we are here.” I later found out that this was an important slogan that was carried across by ex-residents of District Six to speak of resistance and persistence following the experience of being forcibly removed. The residents were protesting against erasure, silencing, and the general disregard by those who thought of themselves as superior because of the colour of their skin. The phrase speaks of endurance and can be read through its multiplicity. Here can refer to District Six itself, where their memories and stories linger decades after their physical bodies are removed. But here can also refer to wherever they are. It takes on a more expansive meaning and no longer refers to place or position but rather refers to existence itself…owning objective reality. No matter where we are, we are here. We exist, We are still here. I started to think a lot about this slogan in relation to protest, refusal and Afrofuturism (to the extent that Afrofuturism suggests to us that Black people have existed in the past and will exist in the future). I’m interested in these phrases—we are here and still here—beyond their literal definitions, but as powerful philosophies with emancipatory potential. I’m thinking through them as mantras that do not exclusively relegate our existence to suffering or passively accept that suffering. Mantras that refuse the logic of oppression and function within the realm of what Christina Sharpe’s seminal work, In the Wake: On Blackness and Being, refers to as “wake work,” which “acts through the contemporary conditions of Black life to imagine otherwise.” Sharpe explains that “wake work” accounts for moments of rupture despite imminent death. It is “a mode of inhabiting and rupturing this episteme.” Still here disrupts the dominant narrative of Black life as inferior and disposable. Within this philosophy Black life is sacred.  The philosophy of still here recognises the non-linearity of time and frustrates time. It shifts the contours of radical imagination. It recognises that the past ruptures our present, it touches the future of the past and the past of the future. We are here, guided by the spirit of those who have come before, existing simultaneously as the wildest dreams of our ancestors as well as ancestors of our unborn. Similarly to “wake work,” the phrase still here does not embrace death but rather pushes against it. Still here demands to be seen, and it demands dignity and liberation. Still here demands that breath be put back into the Black body.[/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="2184" 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="60px"][vc_column_text]This spirit of still here runs through artistic practices of young and old creators on the continent and in the diaspora. When photographer Thembinkosi Hlatshwayo chooses to tell his story of a childhood marked by violence using powerful imagery, he is saying still here. When Sabelo Mlangeni celebrates Lagos’ queer community through his series “The Royal House of Allure,” he is saying still here. When Frida Orupabo cracks open the Black archive and reflects joy, anxiety, pain, beauty, and horror, she is saying; still here. When performance art duo FAKA sing Uyang'khumbula (you remember me), they are saying still here. Still here echoes and reverberates throughout history, sometimes it is a low hum only audible to those paying attention and sometimes it is as loud as thunder rumbling, unmistakable, emphatic.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="60px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_separator type="normal"][vc_empty_space height="60px"][vc_column_text]   NKGOPOLENG MOLOI Nkgopoleng Moloi is a writer and photographer based in Johannesburg, South Africa, “excited and intrigued by history, art, language and architecture.”   [/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][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] POP GOES THE AMERICAN PIE [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] WORDS by KHARY SEPTH ARTWORK by DONOVAN EDWARDS [/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]Bayard Rustin writes in Myths of Black Revolt (1969), “Blacks are not demanding revolution, but rather participation in the democratic process and the enjoyment of the fruits of American society; in general, they want a piece of the pie.” And if Rustin—the Black, gay Godfather himself, were to rise from the dead, he’d be delighted to see our faces covered in it; strange fruits dripping from our lips, crust scattered about the corners, and the knife which cut the pie into little bits of mainstream visibility, a mortgage up in Harlem, and fewer lost souls to the AIDS epidemic, suddenly de-weaponized and placed in a drawer. In a matter of two decades, we were no longer watching for a blade at our throats in the dark on the piers, nah. The gays had finally grown into our good fortunes, which had finally become the American sitcom’s recurring theme. As the clock struck midnighte on the roaring new ’20s of the aughts, you could say it was all-you-could-eat queerness in every shade of a Fenty foundation kit, showing up in every cis white girl’s fairytale, and in a sense, this was seen by the community to be a Revolution. But in February we met a tiny microbe named Miss Rona that did a costume change by mid-March into an all-out pandemic, and suddenly, it seemed the Good Gay Times wouldn’t last as good times—we all know—never do. She said, “Miss Thing, there is no guestlist, there is no pie, there is no spoon—a young boy tells Neo in the Sci-Fi banger The Matrix, who up to that very moment had lived his life within the limits of the accountable, or the real. It’s a Hollywood paintbrush on ancient Buddhist philosophy which in essence expresses that what we think of as rigid reality is no more real than what we see on the other side of a mirror. The man in the mirror doesn’t move—his mind does, and the coronavirus was here to prove this immaterial truth.  As Black queers, this point can be hard to get, no less stick. With so much struggling, we’ve hardly the time to live highly examined lives, and if we’re thriving, we’re typically thanking from podiums or on panels a generally foolproof system for allowing us in. Sure, we can observe aspects of our life in and for ourselves and put them on the Internet, but full tea: We often preserve the oppressors’ point of view and, like it or not, always work in their tradition. As James Baldwin put it, “It was not the world that was my oppressor only. If the world does it effectively enough, you begin to do it to yourself.”  Yet these days, the man has turned his back on us and when facing forward, has met us with a pie cutter to the face *gags and drops* then a knee to the throat, and we are now uneasily standing on the edge of the future gasping for air, wondering what to do next? As the seasons roll by, and with Pride cancelled and bread lines forming, if the gays had become distracted and docile high achievers up until now, heaven knows there is nothing to distract us anymore. [/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="1561" 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]Cause we saw it: the overrun emergency rooms, the shortage of personal protective equipment, the far-too-few ventilators, and an irresponsible President responding with chaos to a gaggle of Governors trying to rise above it in order to “flatten the curve.”  And you felt it: the panic of a nation with no savings, no social safety net, and soon enough, no compassion. I walked the canyons of the city and heard no crying, and it must have sounded like this before the Dutch colonists arrived in the 17th century to buy it in blood from the Natives, as its population was suddenly, and almost willingly, sent to bed with a lullaby of clanging pots and 24-hour cable news.  And while we were sleeping… Legislation. A cash grab called The Cares Act that was supposed to save Main Street and out-of-work Americans with $2 trillion in desperately needed cash, but which in two weeks was ran off with by the Big Bad Wolves of Wall Street. For the plebs without personal bankers it was a 24-hour-a-day call campaign to the DOL/SBA/PPP/PUA shitshow, where it was processing…pending… better luck next time.  And coming up from the sewers was the stink of celebrity going bad because no one was watching. It was sad to see people used to having such tremendous influence, now the front-page news of endless rooms unremarkably on display for Zoom. It seemed with only the die-hard devotion of their couches, they no longer looked like rock stars, because (come to find out) the Hollywood “it factor” was borrowed from glam squads, and publicists, and mainly us, whose perception of them as stars made them worthy of everything, but yet (come to find out) of no real value at all.  But of course there was Saint Cardi in a protective mask, spitting Keynesian theory.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="50px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_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] ❝If you think that after the coronavirus… that sh*t is going to go back to normal. You muthaf***ing wrong b**ch, you about to enter a recession. You think you gonna get your job back? Bro, Sis, you might not get your job back no more…❞ [/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/6"][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_empty_space height="50px"][vc_column_text]And then the epiphany. America was built on the notion that upholding Christian values such as a strict morality, cordial manners, delayed gratification, and so on, were the very reason for an individual’s success in the market. Even the Founding Father Benjamin Franklin wrote in an essay, Necessary Hints to Those That Would Be Rich, of Invisible Hand “success ethics” that allowed men to create a life of unimaginable financial bliss not only fit for a spot in heaven, but right here on God green’s earth just the same.  But this wasn’t that. This was America writing an essay called Life’s Not Fair for millions of immigrants and working poor people doing “gig work” and working for Walmart, stocking empty grocery shelves, and being treated like trash. These were indeed jobs taken in response to the calling—of a chatbot looking for “low-wage and unskilled labor,” or off a vinyl sign on the side of a building, and you’d have to be wearing rose-colored protective goggles to not see that these workers were at odds with what the free market would consider success. To suddenly be calling them heroes for standing in COVID’S line-of-fire to keep us consuming—but mostly, to keep themselves and their families fed—was an ethical disaster at best.  There were racialized headlines (Coronavirus is Disproportionately Killing the Black Community) and racialized fear (The Citizen’s Arrest Law Cited in Arbery’s Killing Dates Back to the Civil War), and for our EntertainTment, there was even a COVID comedy of errors starring a colored CEO at the helm of a cruise ship. ACT ONE: a floating Carnival is found making transatlantic trips and bouncing around the Caribbean. On the bridge of the ship we find a negro named Arnold Donald, who is one of only but a small handful of negroes at the helm of billion dollar ship. He knows a virus is spreading, but continues to send ignorant masses of poor and old and fat white people to their deaths. Perhaps, it was a present his people's past would have wanted, and so no apologies would have to be made.  My Gawd, it was moral mayhem, and it made me terribly sad for the future of the human race. To see rich white folks flee the city, leaving their sick and tired doormen behind to get the memo that we are all just apes trapped on a piece of intergalactic coal in the middle nowhere, where no optimistic venture capital or silly white boy founder was going to build anyone a rocketship to Mars.  But in America, living on the edge is not a vice, why it’s a virtue, and like Wile E. Coyote (the Looney Tunes character said by his creator Chuck Jones to be "a living, breathing allegory of Want,”) these white boys have driven us right off a cliff. At 2,000 feet and falling even the good Pastor will markup the price of a coronavirus test for his desperate flock, and at 4,00 down, the greedy pharmacist will fill a billion bottles of time-released pain just to make a quick buck.  In God-blessed America, by the time one hits rock bottom, even the boys in NYPD Blue are selling ass and murder-for-hire on OnlyFans, and the federal government is stealing shipments of PPEs and ventilators from the states for a few points of political gain. The coyote in Mark Twain’s book Roughing It, upon which the cartoon is based, is described as "a long, slim, sick and sorry-looking skeleton" and, yes indeed, that sounds about right. Like an empty stadium of NBA owners, or the attendees of an “Ideas conference,” whose BIG IDEAS, just like the cartoon coyote, are nothing more than the same ol’ Saturday morning mistakes. [/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="1562" 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]Through the forty-some-odd years of protests and outrage I’ve lived through, it just may be that a real choice has yet to present itself. Somewhere on the protest line, I became subconsciously aware that the day-in and day-out misery of tens of millions of Black and Brown folk that was just to be our problem, was a hard-knocks distraction from the fact that our demands could not possibly be fed by a pie and the machinery that makes it, that is not real.  Blood, sweat and overpriced GDP heels, our sense of self as personal net worth, the myth we’ve been told from birth that if you hustle hard you’ll be Rich & Famous is just not real. An economic system that couldn’t survive a two-week shutdown was so not real. There is no spoon: The pie is just dessert to be nibbled on by the rich. There is no spoon: The exhaust from all the ovens and baking has ruined the air. There is no spoon: For decades, even as political power has shifted from Left to Right, deciding whose turn it was to don the baker’s hat, Blacks, with watery mouths and hungry hearts, have seen no more than the Revolution of a plate.  There was never enough pie to feed my N!g*as, no less the Natives, and let’s just forget about the developing world. According to the chief economist at the World Food Program, before the coronavirus arrived, 135 million people were already facing acute food shortages around the world. Now amidst the pandemic, 130 million more will go hungry this year.  And yet, there's a whole planet. The majority of us living without adequate jobs, healthcare, education, security, electricity, no less, political stability and WiFi—preheating the ovens (cheap energy) and fixing the fillings (even cheaper labor) and looking at us as a model for how to bake a pie of their own.  Maybe it’s not a pie we need, but a sheet cake with Karl Marx’s face on it. And maybe it’s not “Get Rich Or Die Trying” scribbled on top, but “POWER TO THE PEOPLE” written in Black Panther meringue buttercream, and then covered with rainbow sprinkles for cunty effect. Perhaps after COVID, we can move on from the killing fields of capitalism where we fight to death for success. Maybe it’s time to rethink our shopping plans and summer vacations and stand still like the...

[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="1310" 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] THE ACADEMY | FALL '20 [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] KING RA SUMA BA [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="40px"][vc_column_text] INTERVIEW by THE TENTH PHOTOGRAPHY by KAMOLLIO BENNETT [/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]HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS: HOTEPU, Brothers. I am fully aware of what it took for you to be here today. I have seen it—what you’ve done—and am most impressed that you did it. Actions tell me volumes. We shall help you in return.  We as Black men cannot become great thought white men’s ways. In Africa—particularly among Kemet and the Dogon, we have our myths for the pink people. The Dogon say, “the pink man is pink, because he hasn’t finished cooking.” They call the supreme being Ama in Kemet, and say that Ama didn’t finish cooking him so he came out incomplete, and the mark of this is that he has no brown. When you cook things they become brown; batter is always white, but no one eats batter at dinner.   So he is not complete to us.  What am I saying? That you are more complete than he is.  I’m actually implying that you may be better, if we define better as complete. When I say complete, I mean you’ve awakened your higher brain functions. The pink people cannot awaken the higher brain center; it’s not their destiny. The problem with the Black Power movement overall: Malcolm was Muslim—they enslaved us worse than the pink people did. The muslims were brutal to us in Africa; still are. Then there’s the Martin Luther King Christian branch, but in the name of Jesus my grandmother swung from a tree, so I can’t embrace that and still love my grandmother—how insulting. So Black people have not had the intelligence of their ancestral memory yet—except for a few of us—to say, “Our liberation comes from Africa.” Christianity helps Europeans. Allah helps Arabs. Africa helps Africans. My goal is to inspire your eye to look home for the solutions you need. But you will face pink insecurity—some call that racism, I call it what it is: pink insecurity over our genetic power. They will try to end you, which I’m sure you’ve met once or twice along your journey so far.  I made my YouTube channel to create a space for the mind of my tribe.  [/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="2102" 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]10TH: Thank you. HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS: You’re most welcome. I want you all to be the Kings that you are.  This is our planet. This is our world—wouldn’t you say? We deserve resources, and money, and power, and respect like anyone else. We’re not marginal. We’re not a sideshow. In fact, we are the Supreme; we are gatekeepers. So I made my channel to create a space in the Black male consciousness that we are power, and I don’t ask for power, I take it. No one who asks for power gets it. You will never find a history where this is true. The power is in us. It’s a deep, ancient power, and we are bashed because of it. We are feared. You don’t bash someone for millennia and not fear them.  My first temple was open to all people. It was mostly Black heterosexuals, a few gay men, some lesbians. I discovered that the heterosexuals were jealous—I watched with my own two eyes. We would do rituals every full-moon… We would drum,and burn frankincense and myrrh and sing to the African Gods, and I watched the gay men go out into a trance—a power state—so quickly. The hetero men were envious and they began to do nasty things… small comments and rude statements. I said, “I will remove you so fast, your head will spin.” I see heteros as secondary to us—the texts of Kemet say so. Heterosexuals came second. We came first. So you can see how their fear comes out as bullying and humiliating us, but you can’t humiliate a divine person—it’s impossible. I’m unlimited consciousness. You follow? 10TH: Yes.  HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS: As you build your magazine they will try to humiliate you, but they can’t if you are unlimited consciousness. How can you humiliate space? How can you destroy the ocean by throwing rocks at it? So for your magazine to bloom, you have to know first, who you are, because you’ll be challenged by that. They will say, “Who are you?” You say anything less than unlimited consciousness and they will get you.  If you say “I am (GOD) AWWO”—Infinity; well, how can you attack infinity?  It cannot be done.  This is why we need Spirituality for our community, which is a fancy word for Philosophy; it’s our word for philosophy. And once you know who you are, no one can touch you. And if they try… the Cobra of Egypt will strike.  Our Native American bothers call us two spirits—we are more than that—we are all spirits. We are beyond two. We are the number zero which can become any number. What that means is you can become any intelligence: executive intelligence, administrative intelligence, defense department—you can become all of these quickly and efficiently. That’s the value of knowing who you are.  What concerns me most in my tribe is the drug and alcohol use. I do not blame my tribe for it; we are programmed to turn to those things to feel better. It’s very stressful being Black, gay, and male. They have a bullseye on our back, and we’re trying so hard to survive all this and it’s difficult, and tiring for our brothers, and it was my pain in seeing this that created my YouTube channel. I could not see anymore of us killed like that—spiritually, physically, emotionally, mentally. I will not tolerate it.  When I became public with my channel, a lot of hate came towards my person I shall say, not towards me. They can’t touch me. The hate was heterosexual for the most part… “Gay African what are you talking about???” “That’s a white man’s thing!” “You’re ruining the Kemetic Movement.” I just hit “hide user”...

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