Real Magic in October..

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A few weekends ago, (10/18/13) I had the pleasure to once again enjoy a free concert performance at the Luckman Fine Arts Complex on our CSULA campus, and I have to say, if you’ve never experienced a show here, please do! This time around I saw the sister soul act from France, Les Nubians. The show was phenomenal! The energy these women displayed reached out and swallowed up the audience transporting us to a dreamland of the feminine eternal where love reigned supreme and critical analysis trumped shallow vanity. I bobbed in my seat, playing a game of translation in my head to decipher not only the words they sang, but also their meanings. Since I speak more Franglish than I do French, I had my work cut out for me.

I understood probably 65% of what was being said in French the entire night, but the moment both women in Les Nubians raised their clenched fists overhead to salute the family of Trayvon Martin, everyone got the message. They continued to urge the audience not to forget the struggle for social justice and the need for a revolution. At that moment I felt a rush of emotions; pride, renewed rage…solidarity. These mother, art-ducaters** were on stage once again raising awareness around the same issues they addressed 15 years ago on their debut album Les Nubiennes Princesses. They were drawing parallels on the social and political climates of America to that of a quickly regressing France. All of this in between every two to three music sets performed, and how they did perform!  A few songs resonated with me in the way we all know music can, touching gently and leaving an impression on you that will last far after the song ends. When the poem/song “Je Suis Une Femme**,” was delivered, I am certain every self identified woman in the room felt a sense of pride and power as Les Nubians sang of women as the only separation between man and God; the perpetuators of humanity.

They shook our senses and awakened our emotions with music, then planted seeds in the subconscious mind surrounding women’s rights, racism, female majesty, food and social justice, immigration reform and humanity’s need for love. By the latter half of the show the artists were barefoot, dancing their way through dancehall reggae and (masaka) rhythms with the audience, myself included, taking part. Even with a language barrier between over half of the audience and themselves, Les Nubians transcended through their music and delivered a truly magical show

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Stop Hatin’ On Yourself!

Why are such hurtful words used in the friendliest of terms? I hear the N word constantly being used amongst all ethnicities and as an African American woman something turns inside me when someone uses it. I think to myself, what would my ancestors who fought so hard and even died for my rights, think of this careless use of a word that oppressed our ancestors for generations. I imagine they would feel as if their work will never be done because now this disrespect for African American history is natural and accepted for everyone to use at their leisure.

Candi Marsh, Engineering Computer Science & Technology Academic Advisor, says she choose not to say it out of respect for her grandmother and the hatred she went through growing up. Many of our grandmothers and other relatives faced racism. Racism is not something that only existed 300 years ago. It is an immortal parasite that continues to feed off the hatred and ignorance of others. This issue may not seem like a big deal for everyone but it becomes a big issue when a stranger becomes upset with my 14 year old brother and decides to call him a “nigger” because my brother won an online game against him. This is why I choose not to use this type of language. For too long have black people been the victims of self-hate and we need to learn how to love ourselves and not allow other people to hate us.

We, the youth, need to set the standards by saying we live above the norm others have created. Do not let allow parasites to use you. Realize and understand what you say before you say it.

I’m Coming Out… I Want the World to Know… Got to Let it Show….

October 11th marks National Coming Out Day! Woohoo! It’s time for the Queer community to celebrate their identity in the loudest way possible! Cal State L.A. played host to a National Coming Out Day event yesterday, where we decorated our Union plaza with rainbows, stationed resource tents, invited colleges to show their support, gave away free ice cream floats, and listened to some rocking beats from DJ Gingee.  

Everything went smoothly and the day was filled with good vibes, until people started to approach me with a troubling question: “Why is this day even important?” To people that have never had to defend their sexuality and celebrate their sexuality everyday with social acceptance, it seems logical that they would be oblivious to the fact that some people are threatened with shame, humiliation, and even death for declaring that their sexuality is queer.

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Queer, by definition, is being not of the “norm.” This theory is extended into sexuality, where a person is deemed queer when a person is not of the “sexuality norm.” In a social world that stresses relationships to be composed of one man and one woman, we see Queerness is a variety of ways. A man kissing another man; that’s queer. A woman in love with a Trans* individual; so queer! An open heterosexual couple that are swingers and invite different people into their bedroom; so queer I can’t even.

And the thing about the label Queer is that it was once a derogatory term, but is now reclaimed as a proud identity. Queer has been used as an accusation and a taunt, but those who have been insulted for being queer now say “Yea, I AM queer, amazing, and I’m not hiding it!”

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Today is not a day to pressure everyone to come out. It is a day to celebrate the instances where people choose to come out, and revel in the communities of people that have come out. It’s also a day where we show support to those that are in the process of coming out. For the entire year is full of heterosexism, we have one day where the focus is on us, and our journey. That is why this day is important.

It’s Time to Look for a Costume!

Happy October everyone! With its horror movie marathons and creepy decorations, October stands as my favorite month of the year and I always get over excited when it comes (I mean come on, I wrote a zombie blog for crying out loud https://cccspeaks.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/lets-talk-zombies/)!

And I, like most of you, am already planning what costume I’m going to put on to go Halloween parties, trick-or-treating (hey, it’s free candy!), and when I visit the Hollywood Halloween parade. And even though I try to change up my costume idea every year, all the other costumes seem to stay the same.

An overly colorful blanket and sombrero combo with the person holding two bottles of tequila.

A tiny inaccurate Native American dress with an over-the-top feathered head piece.

A loose representation of a kimono with a person wearing white face paint.

Someone wearing robes with a wrapped up towel over his head with fake bombs strapped to his chest.

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Cultures are supposed to be celebrated and marveled, not adorned for cheap giggles. When we put on a costume that mocks a cultural heritage, we rob that culture of its worth, because we are disregarding that there are people identified within the culture and we are now using their identity as a physical mask.

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There are PLENTY of other choices of costumes besides the one in the offensive aisle. If you really can’t think of anything else then I recommend you go Charlie Brown style and wear a bed sheet over your head. Yea, you might get rocks instead of candy, but if I see you out there with an offensive costume I’ll give you a long uncomfortable disappointed look, and that’s much worse.