In an effort to find new music I am listing the first three songs that came up on my facebook news feed. This exercise has highlighted that not very many of my facebook friends post music. So you thank you to those of you who do.

I maintain that the sound of rain on a zinc/ galvanize roof is one of the sweetest things ever provided your roof’s not leaky. So, let it rain.

I had almost forgotten that people played instruments, worse yet women. The music on this piece is near entrancing.

When an instrumental catches you… I would love to hear this in the background as I went through a yoga practice.

orgasmThese lines are the one of the most memorable songs for dancehall heads. Mr Luxury by Ronnie Thwaitess a old school mix tape standard and details rainy weather as the perfect time for love making. Rainy season in the Caribbean will cause many government workers to skip work just to stay home and lay up with their partners. Trust me, I definitely enjoy some rainy weather lovin’, who can resist the urge to cuddle up when it’s cool outside and you can hear the rain fall all around you? Good times guaranteed :)

But I dare say that a rainy day isn’t the only prime time to get some. I wanna suggest a few other situations that cause for some extra good ‘good-good’

*AddFyahandStir strongly advocates safe sex as the only good sex. Know your status people!*

1) After the club sex.

Scene 1.

Sexy club music. Drinks. Wearing your freakum dress, the one that hugs just right, You and your partner in that corner of the club, grinding and rubbing. Your favorite music. A few more drinks. Time to go home. (Sometimes you don’t even wait to get home).

Scene 2

Drinks. Sexy club music. You connect eyes with a cutie that you have seen around the way. Why yes kind sir, I would love you if bought me and my girls a few drinks. Amaretto sour for me please. Dancing with your new friend, in a way that your girl friend needs to remind you that boo’s boy’s are in the club as well . oops teeheehee. It’s just a dance, and in any case previously mentioned girl friend needs to drop me off at boo’s house when we leave here. A few more drinks and I am ready to get out of here. When I get to boo’s house and he’s asleep, thers are sooo many fun ways to wake him up to let him know that I NEED his attention RIGHT NOW!!!

2) Almost getting caught sex.

Whether it’s by a sibling, a maid at a hotel, a valet at the club parking lot or a random stranger(the stories I could tell). The rush and range of emotions involved in almost getting caught with a leg over a shoulder, is pretty damn amazing.

At first it’s slight terror cus you aren’t sure who it is, then you have to rush to move away or cover up or something. Then once the crisis is averted it is friggin hilarious, you replay the situation in your head and cannot help but find great comedy in the fact that your lil sister almost walked in on you while she was trying to bring you some brownies. Writer’s note: always lock your front door, always. At this point all juices are flowing again and everyone should be ready to assume the position, or try a new one.

3) Just before I go to work sex

Whether it’s at 6:30 am after you just spent the night together or you are able to link up and connect just before you start your afternoon shift, this loving is great. There have been times when I am already dressed to go and I get distracted. Oh dear, now I (or we) have to go shower again and I am gonna be late for work. Sigh, good times.

4) Sex by music

Back in the day I used to pick out music specifically for a date night. Haven’t done that in a while, but there are a few songs that used to feature on my playlists that still bring back memories of back in the day. I can recall some Jill Scott, Beres Hammond and Bob Marley that remind me of some young loving high scores.

More recently a few songs have accidentally become memorable as they have featured as background music. A few VH1 Soul sessions come to mind fondly and even a few spins from RETV (google it).

This is a decidedly short list and please note that they are not listed in any particular order. Fyah family, what do you think? Tell me aboue any others I may have left out. Maybe yall will inspire some new memories.

Growing up I read a lot of Sweet Valley and Goosebumps. not a childblack girl reading 01 of colour in site. I managed to come out all right, but I certainly wouldn’t want generations to be further inundated with whiteness and token racialised persons. So for the children in your life- biological and non-biological, 25 books featuring strong black girls.

revolutionLast month marked 30 years of the killing of Maurice Bishop, leader of the NJM in Grenada. Groundation Grenada shares two reflections from two generations on the revolution now and then. Watching an documentary on the revolution I was moved by how excited and hopeful people were. I’ve found maintaing hopefulness for meaningful political change pretty difficult in my adult life time…

I’m likely not to understand the full shopping bagsdynamics of this story surrounding young black men buying extravagantly priced items at a high end store NY and getting profiled. But one of my favourite commentators of higher education and its complications especially for poc in the US has a wonderfully personal reflection on the how and why of spending money when working clas. She highlights how people make judgements on our appearance all the time, and those judgements can close and open doors of opportunity.

now that i’m alone.

Speaking UpFirstly, I apologize for being a day late. Secondly, this is not a breakup post. (Although it could have been. Maybe one day I’ll have the energy to sum up my thoughts on the breakup.) This is an I’m-without-my-chosen-and-birth-family post. An I’m-learning-how-to-work-with-partial-allies post. An I’m-weary-with-this-school-thing post. Thirdly, the title comes from one of my favourite songs from ian kamau’s one day soon. Not at all related in content but felt fitting anyway.

Race doesn’t get talked about in my program. Maybe that’s not right. It’s probably more accurate to say that racism doesn’t get talked about. Or racism is talked about but nobody’s enacting it or benefiting from it. What this means is that in classes, I often feel anxiety anytime race is/could be mentioned because I know 1) it’s going to be avoided, 2)someone will say something problematic in such an indirect way that it’ll be hard to call it out in the moment or even talk to classmates after about it and call it what it was and/or 3)someone’s going to say some outright fucked up shit and I’ll have to deal with calling it out and/or the awkwardness of my classmates as they try to have conversations with me about what was said.

All 3 of these options happened in one class around one comment. First the extremely problematic thing was said by a lecturer. Then, in an attempt to show ‘solidarity’ with me (the black girl who so ‘bravely’ spoke about race in class *insert roll eyes*), I got cornered by a classmate who thanked me for my comment and launched into a heavily coded racist/classist tirade. Then there was the silence. The avoiding of the topic. The lecturer looking at me cautiously as they stuttered through any reference that they thought could potentially set me off.

The most surprising feeling that came up for me in this 3 week long process of awkward conversations, being taken aside in private to discuss things with the professors, having semi-cathartic conversations with three of the other non-white people in my class and venting to my core people elsewhere was loneliness. I was ready for the anger (I’m comfortable with getting heated when shit comes up). I was ready for the relief (it often feels like I’m just waiting for some shit to come up because it’s quite often barely seething below the surface; that ‘fight or flight’ stress mode is real). I was ready for the exhaustion (see the two previous feelings). I was not ready for the level of loneliness.

I was the one who spoke up. My old boss used to speak about the burden that a certain kind of political people of colour often are assigned/take on. Hearing these comments that support/come out of/are part of oppressive systems that have material, emotional, mental, spiritual, physical consequences for you and communities that you belong to. Being the only one who is willing to speak up about it because it’s real for you and other people either don’t notice or do not think it’s a big deal or do not speak up because they benefit from the system or are not in a place to/willing to work through the guilt/privilege/discomfort to verbalize it. Being the one who then has to teach people how not to be (as) racist/say (as) racist things.

I do not always have the energy to speak up. This is where allies would be useful. But I do not have many of those here. There are lots of reasons people don’t speak up individually, I’m not saying people who do not speak up are bad. (I think this is one of our fears when confronted with our privilege. That people are accusing us of being intentional assholes or inherently bad. Or at least that’s one of my fears when my middle-class, light-skinned, English-speaking, cisgender, straight privilege is made glaringly obvious.) I’m saying the sum of all those individual reasons is a collective excuse that reinforces silence instead of (professors) using a valuable opportunity (I hate calling painful/problematic stuff an opportunity but I think in what is clearly supposed to be a learning environment, it can be exactly that) to talk about things that I know people think but rarely feel that they can discuss.

So after all of this, I feel a lot of things. Tension in my shoulders. The desire to cry every few hours. Sad. Disappointed. Frustrated. Lonely. But it’s a reminder that while I’m in this physical space (and probably all others), my self care cannot be neglected. In this process, my self care looks like:

  1. reminding myself that it is not my job to explain shit to people
  2. reminding myself that people often suck (and not in the good way) and that has little to do with me
  3. unpacking with people i trust via phone/Skype/gchat
  4. being ok with the fact that every single friendship will not be able to provide everything. there will be friends who will not feel equipped to back you up on some stuff or will not feel it necessary. some friendships are limited but very real within those boundaries and that is ok

Any thoughts? Advice? Questions?

Fyah links Friday

indexHey Fyah Family, this week has been full of stuff. Good stuff, bad stuff and all that lies in between. For the bad and in-between I found some internet inspiration. I hope you enjoy it as well.

1) My younger sister is a boss. Caring, funny and smart, she is the true super-star and heart of my family. She also happens to have special needs. When I read about Aaron Philip in the NY Times it automatically thought of her and her bravery and strength navigating this world that sadly does not appreciate her skills and contributions.  Read this story about Aaron and check and follow his tumblr.

2) I came across this listing of photographs depicting  love/love stories and even my jaded icebox of a heart went all warm and mushy. Awwww :)

3) So, life as a grad student is  something I think you have to experience to believe. Readings, grades, assignments, schedules, a shit load more readings and assignments, working as a TA, working on a thesis, looking for a job that pays cus this tuition is expensive, more readings and assignments, weight gain, and then it all seems worth it  for the times when I am reminded that it is pretty great to be a grad student. Yes, it actually is that frenetic. I was sitting at my desk staring at about 6 student emails about something or the other  and during one of my Facebook breaks , I came across this hilariously revealing post.  Fellow grad schoolers or recent grads, let me know if this resonates.

Have a great weekend!

Wutliss Wednesdays

funny-how-i-dance-alone-in-public-club-cartoonFyah stirrers. It’s been one of those weeks. Or one of those months. Where the only solution is to come home. Turn off all the lights. Turn on some ridiculously wutliss dancehall. Turn it up at full volume. And wuk up by yourself. Maybe try a new headstands. Maybe test your splitting abilities. Maybe hurt yourself a little on one or two of the aforementioned activities. If it’s one of those weeks for you, maybe this is your playlist?

1. Kranium – Nobody has to know

I’m all about healthy, honest relationships. Despite this, there’s something bout a hornin/bitin/matey track that always gets me.

2. Busy Signal – Stamma

This is of the era when Busy Signal and Aidonia used to sing one pure amazing wutliss track after the other and hence held a special place in my heart.

3. Lady Saw & Beenie Man – Healing

Classic. That is all

 

Happy hump day, Fyah stirreres! Think of me as you wuk up alone!

A few weeks ago I highlighted the establishment of a committee working for reparations for enslaved people of African descent in the Caribbean. Professor Beckles raised as part of the discussion:

“a tribute to the Rastafari movement whose voice of representation and protest, has been consistently and unapologetically loud and clear, in relation to issues related to oppression and injustice”*

I fully agree. The Caribbean community, especially those of African descent are very much indebted to the the Rastafarian community. They have truly kept many conversations going throughout the decades. Our governments and our people do owe The Rastafarian Community an apology for the discrimination, the disrespect and the belittling of a movement that has done so much for our region.

ites green & gold

I have certainly been dismissive in passing. I often accuse people to engaging in “Rasta logic” where people repeat the same thing over and over again. As pieces2peace pointed out to me, just because something is repetitive doesn’t mean it’s redundant, it may be for emphasis.  That’s one thing I can say for my experience of Rastafarians, their message over the years has been persistent. And for many of their messages I am thankful. 

  • “The white man is evil.” This message may seem simplistic, and growing up middle classed and brown skinned in the Caribbean I don’t think I was fully able to appreciate the intracieis and attrocities of our colonial history and/black power fist- struggle continues or racism towards people of African descent worldwide. The message was actually about systems of whiteness, white privilege and white supremacy. White supremacy reigns and is truly evil.
  • “Down with Babylon!” Now I had no idea what Babylon was growing up but I knew it was supposed to bad. Sometimes it seemed to refer to police, other times to people… it was all very confusing. Babylon, now feels a lot like capitalism and a state that tries to stifle the livelihood of a large percentage of people to the profit of a small few. Death to capitalism.
  • da kink in my hair“Natural hair is good hair.” I have locs, and have always had natural hair. There was a time when someone with my complexion and my hair would have been restricted from going to school, getting a job. Rastafarian men and women who maintained their right to be natural and wore their locks whether they were allowed to go to school or not made it possible for people like my to maintain my natural hair. Don’t mind people still ask me, why don’t you make it a little neater? The fact remains there were many more who walked this road before me. Who created language around loving that which is natural, privileging that which is natural. Natural hair is good hair.
  • “Me nah nyam dead.” I’ve certainly veered from this one since I’ve re-DSCN1572welcomed seafood into my life. But long before people were talking about vegetarian, vegan, gluten free diets Rastafarians were processing the ills of eating the dead. They have preached and preached about the importance of growing your own food and being healthy. Vegetarian living is healthy living.

There are many other areas in which tribute can paid, music, reparations, community organising, the valuing of Africa. There are a few not so great areas, but this piece isn’t about throwing shade. My tribute to the Rastafarian movment.

http://www.rastaites.com/news/hearticals/jam/millennium/RMCSVGsept2013.pdf

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