YOUR PROBLEM 2007
So it was an experiment. 11 Duke University students and a double-blind BrokenBeautiful Press agent disguised as a professor simmered for 3 months in a classroom (and on a bus…and in a dining hall) and this is what happened. Brokenbeautiful Press is proud to introduce you to variety of inventive publications, teaching tools, interactive webspaces and upcoming events created by and with the members of the To Be A Problem: Outcast Subjectivity and Black Literary Production class at Duke University. And now it’s your problem.
Work it Out
This workbook was created by the members of the To Be A Problem ENG26 Class at Duke University in Fall 2007. The students explain:
We came together as a class to create this workbook to express our views about black issues, a topic your department focuses on. The classroom theme heightens the effect of our goal, being an appropriate and natural setting where people from diverse backgrounds interact and grow together. We ask that you please support us by sharing this collaborative work of art with your students, fellow faculty members, and any one else you feel would benefit from this. We desire that our example of working together and successfully producing this workbook may inspire others to mobilize and demonstrate their own beliefs and issues they deem important. Silence doesn’t benefit anyone. Thank you for taking the time to read this and we hope you continue reading our workbook and help us distribute.
Click here to download your free copy!
The Watermelanin Remix
This zine is a compilation of student poems and prose pieces in conversation with Paul Beatty’s The White Boy Shuffle. Remixing the poems in main character Gunnar Kaufman’s poetry collection Watermelanin, the students examined their own relationships to racism, gender, family, class, oppression and freedom. This edition also includes literary readings of each poem by fellow students and photos of the poets performing their pieces for an unsuspecting audience of bus-riders. This zine is highly recommended as a teaching tool for any class reading Beatty’s important work.
Click here to download your free copy!
S.exual E.xperience X.posed is a zine compiled that reveals a diverse array of explicit sexual experiences from the point of view of women and women-identified individuals. Use this zine in your women’s organizations to practice the bravery of sexual self-disclosure.
Such a F**king Problem is a poetry zine by POMK, founder of the blog collective of the same name (see suchafuckingproblem.blogspot.com). This zine uses irony and rage to disrupt assimilation and the blame-the-victim tendency in our society. Read and respond!
Double Consciousness is a poetry zine envisioned and created by Michelle Oyeka with contributions from Elisabeth Michel and Stephanie Darand, using W.E.B. DuBoises 1903 concept of “double consciouness” to examine the art of looking at the present from multiple perspectives.
Infection Confirmed is a ‘zine compiled by aspiring medical students of color, seeking to examine inequalities in the healthcare system.
Black Leaders: Misleading the Black Community is a zine by Jade Miller critiquing the actions and inactions of conservative black leaders and drawing on models from Aaron McGruder to Barack Obama to imagine what effective black leadership might look like.
Bold and Beautiful Blogs
Room and Bored: Political Engagement By and For College Students
R&B creator Amanda Turner says: “Even while we young adults pursue our individual goals at institutions across the country it’s important that we remain socially conscious. From politics, education, and current events, to important organizations and programs that concern young people – if it impacts college students I’ll talk about it here. Use R&B to start thinking about the world around you and how to better it now.” Official Site Launch on Jan. 1st.
This site is an experiment in the possibility of self-expression without the safety of norms. Created by a decidedly UN-likeminded team of bloggers led by POMK, this site even has a space for you to deposit your ignorance! The perfectly imperfect place to practice your bravery. Start now!
Check back in January for two related films by Christine Hunt and Stephanie Darand. Hunt’s film explores the views of different generations of black women in one family discussing images of black women in the mass media and Darand’s film asksmembers of a black student theater collective to think about the role of theater in perpetuating or breaking down stereotypes.
Also check back for tracks produced by Mike Posner and featuring lyricist Pat about hip hop bringing people together!
AND in January, Yessenia Castillo will be hosting a special screening of Aishah Simmon’s acclaimed film NO! Rape in the African American Community
and Elisabeth Michel will be coordinating a Haitian arts celebration to raise funds for Hand to Hand, an organization that sponsors education for Haitian children.
Try this one at home:
Inspired by Mendi and Keith Obadike’s cyber-installation “Wishful Thinking/My Hands” (www.blacknetart.com) and the locally created Wishes Fulfilled
the members of the To Be A Problem class created their own wishlists in honor of people they love and admire which they are now distributing to their loved ones in this form:
This was our assignment: After reading Mendi Obadike’s my hands/wishful thinking http://obadike.tripod.com/Adiallo2.html and my poem “wishful thinking” http://brokenbeautiful.wordpress.com/tag/in-praise-of-blackwomanhood/
create your own wish list. Mendi’s piece was created in response to the police murder of Amadou Diallo and my piece was inspired by her’s and created in response to the treatment of black women in Durham during and after the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case. Following the form of these two pieces dedicate your wishes to an individual or group of people (let us know who it is dedicated to) and address your audience in the second person form (i.e. “YOU are powerful” “YOU brave bridges daily”) as if your wishes for them were already true.
For example, this is a wishlist that Janeria Pullen created for her family and the city of Trenton, NJ:
Wish List for My Family and My City
1. You are free from all constraints, nothing stands in your way; not ignorance, not sickness. You are boundless.
2. I am no longer considered the one who made it in spite of you; we all know I made it because of you.
3. Your men are strong, powerful, and wise; they choose their own paths.
4. Your women are strong, wise, and loved for their beauty; they also choose their own paths.
5. Your men and women work together; you love and would do anything for each other.
6. Your children can play outside without the fear of losing their lives.
7. Your young men don’t have to form a new family to feel love; for love is abundant and overflowing.
8. Your young women know their worth; they carry themselves like the queens that they truly are.
9. Your family structure has been restored.
10. What’s yours is yours, and yours to share; no one has to take anything from anyone.
11. Your streets have long since forgotten the scent of blood.
12. Your schools are successful, and the press leads the city in praises. Everyone graduates with honors.
13. The bridge now speaks the truth. The world really does take what Trenton makes.
14. When people leave, they cannot wait to return. Everyone gives back to the community.
15. You have all let go of your dirty habits. All of the bars and liquor stores have closed; cigarettes don’t cross into the city limits.
16. Unemployment is a faint memory. We’ve almost forgotten what these words mean.
17. The state prison has been moved. There is no need for a prison in a prisoner-less city.
18. The gangs have laid there flags to rest.
19. We are all one big happy family.
Email email@example.com with the word “wish” in our subject line to add your wishes to our growing online installation.