Making Something out of Anything: Insight from the Eye to Eye Collaborators

30 05 2012

Lorde Deliberate T-ShirtLast night was the last session of  the Brilliance Remastered Webinar Eye to Eye: Radical Collaboration for Community Accountable Scholars!    I know that I’ll be missing the weekly webinar wavelength sharing love exchange until the next unit of the webinar (Beyond the Feel Good based on Lorde’s Uses of the Erotic) starts in July.   But I also know that we created something powerful and I have a whole new clarity about the collaborations in my life and some exciting new collaborations that pranced right into my life from my dreams this month!

Using the Mothering Ourselves Manifesta we acknowledged the fact that collaborating allows us to evolve out of the language of struggle into the language of creativity we are not making “something out of nothing” we are honoring what is present in our lives and our communities and mobilizing our creativity to make something out of ANYTHING!  This week’s group poem celebrates that clarity. Enjoy!


by the participants in the Eye to Eye Webinar on Collaboration for Community Accountable Scholars

“We can make something out of anything.”  From the Mothering Ourselves Manifesta distilled from Audre Lorde’s Eye to Eye: Black Women Hatred and Anger


We can make something out of anything.

We can make home out of movement

We can make a movement out of feet stuck in the same mud.


We can make reality out of dreams

We can make family out of distances

We can make eternity out of the shortest stolen moments


We can make mothers out of brothers

We can make mothered mothers mothering abundant out of would-be martyrs suffering  in silence (ourselves)

We can make love out of heartbreaking laws.

We can make delicious banana fritters out of overipe fruit we forgot.

We can make ourselves anew in order to recognize & show up for our brillance…

We can make  difference be the springboard for greatness…

We can make our own cool, cultured collabos!

We can make it ALLL. Right!

Just Saying/See You There: Love Languages for Collaboration

23 05 2012

Yesterday was our third Eye to Eye Webinar session on love, faith, difference and communication entitled “The Only Language I Know.”  We shared our poetic clarity about how we communicate differently based on our experiences, our approaches, our fears and our longings and how sometimes words seem to fail us all together.  Our group poem represents our visioning process of creating a space where there is room for everyone we are, and who we are not, and who we might become together.

Just Saying/See You There


By the Brilliance Remastered Eye to Eye Participants

After Audre Lorde’s “At First I Thought You Were Talking About…”

I speak the language of roots up, all the way everything must be changed.

She speaks the language of measurable deliverables.

I speak the language of rainwater-clarification-process-matters.

They speak jampack big words together like a train


I speak the language of here right here at home.

He speaks the language of inevitable uprise class struggle like science.


I speak in things felt a knowing of my bones

He through well thought out equations elaborate logic models

I speak in hope

Him pragmatism


I speak “like me”

She speaks I like you, but not always

She speaks me first. She speaks my kids first. She speaks secrets


I speak 69 years. He speaks FaceBook


I speak plan with flexibility.

They speak plan and stick to it.

I speak student wants and needs

They speak stick to what we need to see only


I speak possible risky let’s do it

they speak practical hedged bet sacrifice

I speak concepts & ideas are real, they are tangible, touchable.

They speak “huh, what you what you talking bout sistah?”


I speak seek the relationship

They speak: seek the product(s)


I speak the language of the academy sometimes

he speaks shyness, grammar of booze and sex

sometimes I speak no grammar language


But I know that:

“Black girls are from the future”[1]  and that

“Everything we do is insignificant. Yet it is incredibly

important that we do it.” [2] And that

Children are full people who have something to say

And that trusting is like tree roots and we reach down, tangled up

And that everything we need is already within us

And that I am who I am doing what I came to do

And that our silence will NOT save us.


SO I am seeking the place where the language of risky radicalism

meets the pragmatism of those who have seen the consequences

the place where afrofuturefearlessness meets blackbloodsoilhistory

the place where we feel whole meets

the place where we are allowed to be prisms of light


the place where faith meets shaking legs


the place where level headed realists can meet starry eyed dreamers

the place where good intentions meet critical implementation

the place where longing meets listening

the place where yes meets i know

the place where why meets when


the place where–as white people–we remember without expectation of forgiveness

we account for what has been lost and stolen

the place where but i have _______ friends, so I couldn’t be __________

meets self introspection


the place where bourgie balancing meets grace

where press and curl meets this is my natural curl


the place where longing children meet absent parents

the place where wholeness meets brokenness

where miracles equal a mere embrace


the place where courage (like jumping into a cold river)

meets self-determination (where are the rocks at the bottom)

the place where the long night meets the pale kiss of morning

the place where water and sky are indistinguishable


the place how i was raised meets raise UP!

the place where can’t get right GETS RIGHT


the place where hope meets salvation

where the souls of the living dance hot and fast in love, light

and treating each other right


the place where the love you always wanted meets the love you always had


See you there.

[1] Renina Weems

[2] Ghandi

Starting THIS SUNDAY the Eternal Summer Potluck Series is BACK!!!

22 05 2012

By popular demand we bring you back the series that started it all…the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind Potluck series!

The Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind Potluck Series is a never-ending series of delicious gatherings celebrating, lifting up, studying and utilizing the legacy of Black feminist thought to save our lives and transform our communities in Durham, NC (and in your community if you choose to read along!)   All people who are excited to be transformed by the brilliance of Black feminists are welcome to this child-inclusive space!

This summer we will be gathering on 3 Sunday evenings to eat together and nourish our community and our movement with the brilliance of 3 of Lex’s favorite contemporary poets, Mendi Obadike, Samiya Bashir and Evie Schockley.   Bring food, receive photocopies of a selection of the featured poets poems and we’ll have a conversation that will change our lives!

2012: Focus on Contemporary Black Feminist Poets

This Sunday May 27th 5pm

Mendi Lewis Obadike

Former Durham resident, friend and inspiration to Lex and many others,  Mendi Obadike is a deep experimental tribute to reflection, manifestation and love.  A student of Lucille Clifton and a everyday example of how to bring poetry to life, her work makes space for conversations we need to have!   Join us for a discussion of a sampling of Mendi’s poems from Armor and Flesh and get ready to experience an open heart and a tingling of skin!  Check out Lex’s review of Mendi’s recent opera masquerade collaboration with her partner Keith Obadike in  4 Electric Ghosts  here to get a sense:

Save the dates for the other two sessions!

Sunday June 17th 5pm

Samiya Bashir

Brilliant poet, educator and smiling visitation of sunshine Samiya Bashir’s poetry rocks in your heart whether you read it with your eyes or your mouth.  There is something so Sunday-perfect and sanctuary ironic about these poems that you will not want to miss this session!  Read Lex’s overjoyed review of Bashir’s Gospel here:

Sunday July 22nd

Evie Shockley

Evie Shockley, also a former Durham resident and student of Lucille Clifton offers urgent experimental resources for Black feminist time travelers and our cluttered pockets.   As a scholar and artist her work allows us to speak with historical figures, re-meet ancestors we thought we knew and challenge the ways we internalize space.  Half-Red Sea is featured in the Mobile Homecoming web series The Real Reading Rainbow’s Kwanzaa poetry recommendations video (actually along with the books by the other poets featured in this series!   Check it out here:

Be Like: A Poetic Vision of Collaboration

16 05 2012

Yesterday was the second session of the Brilliance Remastered Eye to Eye Webinar on Radical Collaboration for Community Accountable Scholars.
We talked about what is at stake our collaborations, nothing less than the world we want to live in and create together.   We supported each other in holding ourselves to a standard where our collaborations themselves embody the values we have for our future, and where the impact of that collaborative work on US is not sacrificial, but also consistent with the nourishing vision we have for our species on the planet.

We made ourselves poets with this similie standard for what our collaborations can feel like, what our futures can feel like, what our days right now can feel like.

Be Like: A Poetic Vision for Collaboration 

by the participants of the Eye to Eye Webinar on Radical Collaboration for Community Accountable Scholars

like breathing, like recognition, like gratitude

like manna from heaven, free and plentiful for all

like eye contact, like risky breath, like skin

like ease, like willingness, like welcoming

like food on the table, like real justice for all, like freedom

like deep earthy soul bearing funky togetherness

like sisters I never had, like a family we are making everyday

like the joy of decoding a secret language

like celebration, like faces touching, like cherished communion and congratulation

like everyday cheer for your graduation from another insight-filled day of being you

like a shower, refreshed remembrance that I don’t have to be everyone

like a rub on the back looking at me eye to eye

like face to face, foreheads pressed in affirmation

like life sustained, like clean water, like no more premature deaths

like being excited and grateful you exist

like love, like love, like loving

like coming home at last



Black Feminist Film School (The Website) Is Born!!!

15 05 2012

light meter in front of suzanne, mother billie in background

Spring is thoroughly SPRUNG and collaborators Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Ph.D. and Julia Roxanne Wallace, M.Div. are proud to present their newest dream come true: Black Feminist Film School!!!

Read our founding document Create Anew: Black Feminist Filmmaking as Spiritual Leadership by Julia Roxanne Wallace!

Read about our first superstar public event on Black Feminist Filmmaking featuring the early works of Cheryl Dunye and the brilliance of Yvonne Welbon, Katina Parker and Julia Roxanne Wallace here:

Check out our first Black Feminist Film forum on Camille Billops and Suzanne Suzanne with reflections by Kai Green, Julia Wallace and Alexis Pauline Gumbs here:


How can you get involved?

1. Email to get on our Black Feminist Film School update list so you can get notices about our screenings and workshops!

2. Save the date August 15-22 to come to Durham, North Carolina for our first experimental, healing, ancestor accountable exercise in performance and documentation as part of Queer Black August in Durham! (email to get updates about Queer Black August specifically)

3. Contribute!  Do you have a rare Black feminist film to send to our library? Are you a Black feminist filmmaker that wants to donate a film or speak at a screening?  Do you just love the project and want to donate money towards this crucial and long overdue manifestation of brilliance?  Email us at or donate here:


About Black Feminist Film School

Born out of our frustration with the glaring exclusion of films and discourse by, about or for Black women in Julia’s film school experience and our deep love for the possibility of Black feminism in all forms,  Black Feminist Film School is a collaboration between Black feminist scholar/filmmaker Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Ph.D and Black feminist filmmaker/scholar Julia Roxanne Wallace, M.Div.


Our project has 2 key components:

Jessie Maple - First black woman to create feature film

1. Is there Black feminist tradition in film? Make space for a discourse about Black feminism in film and a conceptual framework in which contemporary filmmakers and theorists of film can participate in, measure, look out for and/or critique the presence or possibility of Black feminism specifically in the medium of film/video by

  • screenings and discussions of rare/underdistributed films by Black women directors/writer/producers in our hometown of Durham, North Carolina and around the country.
  • online forums on this site by Black feminist scholars about the possibility of Black feminism in important films by Black women
  • sharing information about the locations of rare/hard to see films by Black feminist filmmakers
  • developing a curriculum on Black feminist film, piloted in a community setting


Julia in Green Screen Studio


2. Where my Black feminist filmmakers at?  Infuse Black feminist community, and in particular under-represent Black women and genderqueer filmmakers and future filmmakers with the skills to use film to express their visions and transform our society by:


  • hosting a series of accessible community workshops that share the skills of script-writing, producing, shooting, lighting, editing, sound and all the other skills crucial to making high quality films
  • creating partnerships between existing institutions/equipment sources and potential Black feminist filmmakers
  • building community between existing Black feminist filmmakers, with an emphasis on queer and genderqueer Black filmmakers
  • creating an all queer of color and allied cast and crew for Julia’s upcoming film!

Indigo Night School Session #4: Dreams Come True

11 05 2012

Friday May, 18


Inspiration Station 2, Durham, NC (email for directions)

Inspired by Ntozake Shange’s brilliant novel Sassafrass, Cypress and Indigo, I present to you INDIGO NIGHT SCHOOL (aka night-time is the right time). We will be convening on the Fridays closest to this season’s new moons into Spring for evening long rituals based on the magical remedies, recipies and rituals of the healer-girl sister in the novel, our beloved Indigo. This is a special sacred space for grown black warrior healers who identify as black women and/or black two-spirit, twinspirit, gatekeeper or genderqueer folks.

Please join me in participating in final session of our journey luxurious, fragrant, nourishing evening rituals where we can set our intentions, support each other and bask in the brilliance of a Black Feminist literary legacy!!!!

Dreams Come True, the final session, is a space to honor our night dreams and our daydreams, fantasies and intentions through the brilliance of Indigo’s dreambooks from her time as a gang-member/miniature numbers runner. Closing the process of our Indigo Night School sessions (for now 🙂 we’ll be supporting each other to honor the wisdom of our dreams and to help make our dreams come true!

Please bring food if you can! And honey, pastries and cakes are especially appreciated this time!