I know I said I’d say nothing about the election in the States other than my post a few months ago. But over at blackgirldangerous she’s killing me softly all over again. Were I American I don’t know if I would have voted or who I would have voted for; what I do know however is that if I did vote for Obama I’m pretty sure I would not be celebrating. And celebration is what I see a lot of. Our memories are far too short… this has been a complicated presidency, and seeing someone who looks like it us should not make us cease to question the very ludicrousness of the process, or even the position. In the Caribbean, many of us small islanders especially have had the benefit leaders that look like most of population… a face, familiarity is not enough, so let us be cautious as we change our facebook profile pictures, hoop and holler. When we celebrate what we perceive to be lesser evils we tend to forget the evil part…
So carnival in Trinidad is coming up* and I’m filled with joy** and sorrow***. DJ Rawkus brought me great joy this week with his 2013 Soca I Heart T&T selection. It’s positively frightening that there’s so much soca so early in the season but it’s certainly warming my heart in the mornings. Tillahwillah breaks down the importance of win’ing as an act that links diasporic African Caribbean people to the continent. It’s a pretty compelling argument/ realisation. She goes further to say that the instruction-oriented soca is actually a way of controlling women’s bodies. I *fully* get this point, I must say however that feting/ parting/ dancing in carnival is one time when I don’t mind the instructions… it’s the one time I embrace and enact large pieces of heteronormativity just because when I fete, the last thing I want to do is think.
By now you know me and talk about books. I went to a reading by Nalo Hopkinson which
was followed by her being interviewed by two young writers who also shared their work. Nalo is incredibly personable. If you ever have the chance to see her, get on that. She read from her young adult novel Chaos and spoke about power and privilege in the literary world and the importance of writing what we know to be true even if it conflicts with the mainstream messages we get. She raised the point that when we write our characters that are other- queer, people of colour, with disabilities etc. we are writing real people’s lives. We’re not playing it up for playing it up’s sake, real people live life as other. I think Junot Diaz’s quote sums it up nicely. The presence of other is not a threat, it is difficult for many of us to accept this but other is not a threat, we are often a threat to other.