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Category: Essays & Scrambled Thoughts

#Formation as Curated by Black Women

This archive is constantly being updated…keep checking back for more. For a selection of posts that center the voices of black women from New Orleans, see here: Doing and Being Intellectual History: #Formation as Curated by Black Women.

I wrote this on my Facebook wall on February 8th:

In case my politics of citation is unclear, I am sharing posts about ‪#‎Formation‬ written by black women, +1 for those written by black southern, NOLA/Louisiana women (the VSB post was the exception, but that was funny). You don’t have to agree or like Beyonce or the video, but you do need to listen when the kindred are speaking. This is theirs and they are ours and we are theirs and they’ve got something to SAY. If you fall in this category and I can share or boost, please send your link my way…

I’m compiling them here for archive purposes only. If you decide to use any of the material here–cite the author and link to the original post as much as possible. Give the author their due. If you decide to use them in a class, ASK permission of the original author first. Yes, even if your class is today. If you want to use this post as a bibliographic reference or reading list, you don’t need my permission but let me know (I’m curious who will use this) and do please link to the original post. Otherwise…read on…

In rough order of appearance on my TL (minus the VSB post):

Beyonce’s Formation is Her Best Thing Yet and it’s the IDGAF Anthem | Luvvie AjaYi at Awesomely Luvvie (2016)

Foreman: (Dis)Remembering Black Women’s Lives

Summer is here and look what I found in my Evernote archive.

This 2011 video essay by P. Gabrielle Foreman reflects on the social justice labor of love that is collecting, archiving, and cataloging black women’s history.

My interest in history began around my grandmothers’ kitchen tables, needling them to frustration for information on ‘who our people are.’

Slavery, Prisons, and State Violence: Evan Bissell’s The Knotted Line

The Knotted Line (screenshot)

The Knotted Line, created by artist and educator Evan Bissell, explores incarceration in the United States. The historical sweep is broad–1492 to 2025–and the audience ranges from, according to the website, middle school to college to community groups. The project asks, “how is freedom measured:”

The More You Know (A Marriage Equality x #HRC Follow Up)

About those #HRC squares (via

“…But I actually feel sad and more than a little angry. Okay, a lot angry. Folks, the HRC is an organization run by rich white men. They have consistently chosen not to support trans rights. They have consistently silenced POC organizations and organizers. They have accepted donations from, and even honored, multi-billionaire corporations who have done more than their fair share to contribute to the unequal distribution of wealth and to systematic racialized and gendered oppression in the US. Their vision of “equality”—as obviously signaled by their logo—is not, and never has been, equality for all. It is equality for those who can afford it. It’s equality for those who can prove they are “just like everyone else,” who respect and embody gender normativity, middle class sensibility, and white supremacy. It’s equality for those who don’t care about coalitional politics, and who endorse both trickle down economics and trickle down civil rights….”

Thank you to Alicia Sanchez for sharing this post and to @agnesgalore for posting it. From the comment and reblog thread, more than a few folks, myself included, got their life.

What We Are Missing When We Discuss “Bow Down” & Why it Matters (Digital x Black Studies x Slavery)

Beyonce Ruts

Quite a bit of discussion of late on singer Beyonce’s latest single, “Bow Down/I Been On.”

“Bow Down” is a Diaspora Hypertext matter for a whole host of reasons. For one, as Guthrie Ramsey (at New Black Man) notes, songs are compositions and they are not meaningless:

Small Chunks Go Down Easier (ft. Scrivener) #writing

via Academic Coaching & Writing:

“…When faced with a large writing project, writing coaches advise you to break the large project down into manageable writing assignments. Anne Lamott, author of bird by bird, imagines a one-inch picture frame and suggests you think in terms of this tiny frame rather than the big picture. Her book on her own writing process is called bird by bird because one night her older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to write a term paper on birds that he’d had months to write. He’d procrastinated, and it was due the next day. As he sat at the kitchen table in tears, with piles of books on birds and immobilized by the enormity of the task, his father sat down beside him, put his arm around his shoulder, and said, “bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.” Just as Anne’s brother re-conceptualized his term paper in terms of single birds, begin to think of your project in terms of short assignments. Remember a dissertation or a book is written one word at a time…”