Radical Love: This is What it Looks Like

26 03 2008

workin’ on it!

Another world is not only possible, it’s already here, working and growing in our communities. Can you see it? Brokenbeautiful Press is proud to announce the launch of our new community video portal “What it Look Like” featuring the radical, subversive, beautiful and challenging work of community building made visible.

“What it look like?” is a homegrown question about where we are (going). We ask “what it look like?” to begin a conversation, assess a situation and open ourselves to possibilities. This new interactive space is about the BrokenBeautiful possibility of connecting our communities, remembering what we already know how to do, and firmly forgetting the corporate media’s shuck and jive.

For example…check out this video about womyn of color and allies coming together in Boston!

Click here to view more videos and email brokenbeautifulpress@gmail.com to add your home-made videos, slideshows or photos of your community in action to the site.

BrokenBeautiful WorldWide!

3 03 2008



I’m bragging right now. BrokenBeautiful Press is THRILLED to announce that following up of the uses of BrokenBeautiful Press’s workbook Emergency Broadcast in the West Bank and in a taken over building turned community school in South Africa and in Top Hill, Jamaica’s community rebuilding project….the BrokenBeautiful Press..Pressed for Knowledge in-the-moment zine making project has influenced an amazing zine making project for the amazing folks at the Shakti Center in Chennai, India…challenging the ways we all think about gender and sexuality through local community based organizing. See shakticenter.org!

Stay fly, wherever you are…

BrokenBeautiful Press Presents:

17 12 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

chalkboard image

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!

Fresh Zines


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.

Such a F**king Problem: Conflict as a Point for Conversation

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!

New Features:
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!

Upcoming Events:

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” https://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 brokenbeautifulpress@gmail.com with the word “wish” in our subject line to add your wishes to our growing online installation.

wishes fulfilled

1 05 2007


What follows is a poem/wish list/meditation that I made as an act of love and healing for the black women in my communities. I was able to read it at the site of a widely publicized instance of violence against black women this past weekend as part of the National Day of Truthtelling in Durham, NC.

And learn how to make your own “get close: the intimacy of protest” installation here

Find out more about the Day of Truthtelling here

Feel free to pass it along, whisper it to yourself daily (which i like to do), or just enjoy!



“wishful thinking” or “what i’m waiting to find in our email boxes”
(with Mendi and Keith Obadike–www.blacknetart.com– in mind)

dedicated to the black women at Duke and North Carolina Central Universities and you

1. you wake up each day
as new as anyone
there is no reason to assume
you would be supernaturally strong.
there is no reason to test your strength
through daily disrespect and neglect.
you don’t need to be strong.
everyone supports you.

2. if you say ouch
we believe that you are hurt.
we wait to hear how we can help
to mend your pain.

3. you have chosen to be at a school,
at a workplace, in a community
that knows that you are priceless
that would never sacrifice your spirit
that knows it needs your brilliance to be whole

4. your very skin
is sacred
and everything beyond it
is a miracle that we revere

5. we mourn any violence that
has ever been enacted against you.
we will do what it takes
to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
to anyone.

6. when you speak
we listen.
we are so glad that you
are here, of all places.

7. other women
even strangers
reach out to you
when you seem afraid
and they stay
until peace comes

8. the sun
reminds everyone
how much they love you.

9. people are interested
in what you are wearing
because it tells them
what paintings to make.

10. everyone has always told you
you can stay a child
until you are ready to move on

11. if you run across the street
naked at midnight
no one will think
you are asking
for anything.

12. you do so many things
because it feels good to move.
you have nothing to prove
to anyone.

13. white people cannot harm you.
they do not want to.
they do not do it by accident.

14. your smile makes people
glad to be alive

15. your body is not
a symbol of anything

16. everyone respects your work
and makes sure you are safe
while doing it

17. at any moment
you might relive
the joy of being embraced

18. no one will lie to you,
scream at you
or demand anything.

19. when you change your mind,
people will remember to change theirs.

20. your children are safe
no one will use them against you.

21. the university is a place where you
are reflected and embraced.
anyone who forgets how miraculous you are
need only open their eyes.

22. the universe conspires
to lift you

23. on the news everynight
people who look like you and
the people you love
are applauded
for their contribution to society.

24. the place where knowledge is
has no walls.

25. you are rewarded for the work you do
to keep it all together.

26. every song i’ve
ever heard on the radio
is in praise
of you.

27. the way you speak
is exactly right
for wherever you happen
to be.

28. there is no continent anywhere
where life counts as nothing.

29. there is no innocence that needs your guilt
to prove it.

30. there is no house
in your neighborhood
where you still hear screams
every time you go

31. no news camera waits
to amplify your pain.

32. nobody wonders
whether you will make it.
everybody believes in you

33. when you have a child
no one finds it tragic.
no map records it as an instance of blight.

34. no one hopes you will give up
on your neighborhood
so they can buy it up cheap.

35. everyone asks you your name.
no one calls you out of it.

36. someone is thinking highly of you
right now.

37. being around you
makes people want to be
their kindest, most generous selves.

38. there is no law anywhere
that depends on your silence.

39. nobody bases their privilege
on their ability to desecrate you.

40. everyone will believe anything you say
because they have been telling you the truth
all along.

41. school is a place, like every other place.
no one here is out to get you.

42. worldwide, girls who look like you
are known for having great ideas.

43. 3 in 3 women will fall in love with themselves
during their lifetime.

44. every minute in North Carolina
a woman embraces
another woman.

45. you know 8 people
who will help you move
to a new place
if you need to.

46. when you speak loudly
everyone is happy
because they wondered
what you were thinking about.

47. people give you gifts
and truly expect nothing
in return.

48. no one thinks you are

49. everyone believes
that you should have all
the resources that you need,
because by being yourself
you make the world so much

50. any creases on your face
are from laughter.

51. no one, anywhere, is locked in a cage.

52. you are completely used to knowing what you want.
following your dream is as easy as walking.

53. you are more than enough.

54. everyone is waiting
to see what great thing
you’ll do next.

55. every institution wants to know
what you think, so they can find out
what they should really be doing,
or shut down.

56. strangers send you love letters
thanking you
for speaking your mind.

57. you wake up
as anyone.

-Alexis Pauline Gumbs April 2007

National Day of Truthtelling in Durham, NC

23 04 2007



Please forward widely…

For all those who know that “it is better to speak…”


Creating a World without Sexual Violence
National Day of Truthtelling

April 28th, 2007
Durham, North Carolina

For all who ARE survivors of sexual violence…
For all who choose to BELIEVE survivors of sexual violence…
For all who KNOW WE CAN end rape culture…

…join us on April 28th, 2007, in Durham, North Carolina, as we come together—across divisions and disempowering silences—to create a world full of the safety, possibility, dignity, justice, and peace that we all deserve. Stand with us as we dare to imagine a world free from sexual violence and ALL forms of oppression.

Meet us in Durham to speak, teach, learn, demonstrate, and tell the truth. Together, WE can make this world a reality!!!

Questions? See our website here Contact us at dayoftruthtelling@gmail.com or check us out on My Space at www.myspace.com/ubuntunc
This event is being organized by: the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence, UBUNTU, Men Against Rape Culture, SpiritHouse, Raleigh Fight Imperialism Stand Together, Southerners on New Ground, Independent Voices, Black Workers for Justice, and Freedom Road Socialist Organization/OSCL.
“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life?
The world would split open.”
– From: “Kathe Kollwitz” by Muriel Rukeseyer