Truly sublime. This song is everything.
After posting the song “Q.U.E.E.N.” by Janelle Monae and Erykah Badu, and posting a video teaser, I couldn’t wait for the actual video to be released. These two amazing Black women are among my favorite artists. I’ve loved Erykah Badu since hearing “On & On” on an episode of New York Undercover in 1997. She had me at hello. I saw her in concert in South Florida in 2008; the best concert of my life. I’ve loved Janelle Monae since a friend sent me her “Tightrope” video a few years ago. I’m enthralled with her intelligence, talent, style, fashion and beauty.
The video for “Q.U.E.E.N.” is exquisite. Creative. Amazing visuals. Love the style and the fashion. Incredibly beautiful. I love the limited palette; the black, white, red, shades of grey and gold enthralls.
What really moves me is the combination of the visuals with the powerful lyrics. It’s everything. Some of my favorite lines include:
They call us dirty ‘cuz we break all your rules down…
This specifically makes me think of Black women rejecting controlling images (i.e. Jezebel, Sapphire, mammy) and embracing our full capacity to be dynamic, nuanced individuals, without boundaries and rules meant to control us.
Even if it makes others uncomfortable, I will love who I am.
Obvious as to why I would love this line. I also love Erykah’s line…
Here comes the freedom song, too strong we moving on…
And of course, there’s Janelle’s rap at the end, which I love. My favorite part of it:
Are we a lost generation of our people? Add us to equations but they’ll never make us equal. She who writes the movie owns the script and the sequel. So why ain’t the stealing of my rights made illegal? They keep us underground working hard for the greedy, but when it’s time pay they turn around and call us needy. My crown too heavy like the Queen Nefertiti. Gimme back my pyramid, I’m trying to free Kansas City. Mixing masterminds like your name Bernie Grundman. Well I’m gonna keep leading like a young Harriet Tubman. You can take my wings but I’m still goin’ fly. And even when you edit me the booty don’t lie.
The line “she who writes the movie owns the script and the sequel” plays in my head over and over and over. So empowering.
I love this song. <3
You know how it is, right, ladies? You know a guy for a while. You hang out with him. You do fun things with him—play video games, watch movies, go hiking, go to concerts. You invite him to your parties. You listen to his problems. You do all this because you think he wants to be your friend.
so i was looking up stuff about birth control throughout history and
So I know quite a few people who teach young kids, who want to design curricula and provide resources for their students that are respectful of Native communities and teach non-Native kids some cultural sensitivity & histories…but most of them, being non-Native, don’t know where to start with that. My three biggest tips for that have always been to (a) privilege Native voices (b) tie the past with the present (c) don’t fossilize Natives in their own unit—weave these resources and histories together into the broader curriculum, rather than imply to students that Natives are an ethnic oddity or compulsory PC-lesson.
In that vein, I’ve been trying to help a friend who teaches young kids to find some books for the classrooms at her school, so that these things are available to students on the regular and are readily accessible to non-Native teachers looking for resources for their curricula; I have been shocked to see how many disgusting books are out there, written by non-Natives, with no care for cultural sensitivities of any kind! So: here’s some of the books on the list I’m suggesting to my friend—I’m hoping there’s some parents & educators on here that could benefit from the time I’ve spent sorting thru all the gross stuff! Here’s the list, with a brief description (these are mostly targeting the lower end of the K-4 range, but if you’re working with kids on a pre-K level you might also be interested in the selection of books by NW Coast artists at Native Northwest; I’m also compiling a list of books for intermediary/secondary grades and will post that when it’s finished):
- The Star People (SD Nelson, Standing Rock): A young Lakota girl narrates the story of how she and her little brother, Young Wolf, survive a prairie fire. They had wandered away from their village, entranced by the changing cloud shapes created by the Cloud People. They fall into a river and are guided home by their deceased grandmother, one of the Star People, who are the spirits of the Old Ones. The acrylic illustrations are inspired by the Native American ledger-book art of the late 1800s.
- Tallchief (Maria Tallchief, Osage): A picture-book autobiography of the early years of America’s first internationally significant ballerina. The story opens with Tallchief’s birth on an Osage Indian reservation. Her Scots-Irish mother made sure that Maria and her sister received dance and music lessons, and eventually her father persuaded her to choose between piano and dance. The story ends when, at age 17, Maria left home to seek her fame and fortune as a ballerina in New York.
- Eagle Song (Joseph Bruchac, Abenaki): It’s a shock for fourth-grader Danny Bigtree to move to Brooklyn from his Mohawk Nation reservation: suddenly he has no friends, and his classmates taunt him, asking him where his war pony is and telling him to go home to his teepee. Bruchac weaves into the story the legend of the great peacemaker Aionwahta, who united five warring Indian nations into the Iroquois Confederacy and turned an enemy into an ally. Can Danny be, like Aionwahta, an agent of peace, and find a way to transform the school bully into a friend? This appealing portrayal of a strong family offers an unromanticized view of Native American culture, and a history lesson about the Iroquois Confederacy; it also gives a subtle lesson in the meaning of daily courage.
- Giving Thanks (Chief Jake Swamp, Mohawk; Erwin Printup, Cayuga & Tuscarora) : A special children’s version of the Thanksgiving Address, a message of gratitude that originated with the Native people of upstate New York and Canada and that is still spoken at ceremonial gatherings held by the Iroquois, or Six Nations.
- When Beaver Was Very Great (Anne Dunn, Anishinaabe): The short pieces range from folk tales of Native American origin myths (the antics of Beaver, Rabbit, Otter, Bear, and others) to nature writing and contemporary stories of peace, justice, and environmental concern. Brimming with insight, vibrant with strength and beauty, these indeed are stories to live by, for all ages. Divided into the four seasons of the year, many of the stories are perfect to be read aloud to children.
- When the Rain Sings (various; Ojibwe, Lakota, Omaha, Navajo, Cochiti, Kiowa, Tohono O’odham, Hopi, Ute): A collection of poems by Native Americans in grades 2-12. Most of these selections were written in response to images of Native artifacts or historical photographs. The young writers’ personal reactions and associations to these images leave readers with a strong sense of each one’s experience as a modern Indian, and of the values that each holds dear. The book is a work of art in itself, with dozens of full-color and black-and-white photos from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. The pages are also decorated with detailed border designs. Eight nations are represented.
- Berry Magic (Betty Huffmon, Yup’ik): Long ago, the only berries on the tundra were hard, tasteless, little crowberries. As Anana watches the ladies complain bitterly while picking berries for the Fall Festival, she decides to use her magic to help. “Atsa-ii-yaa (Berry), Atsa-ii-yaa (Berry), Atsaukina!” (Be a berry!), Anana sings under the full moon turning four dolls into little girls that run and tumble over the tundra creating patches of fat, juicy berries: blueberries, cranberries, salmonberries, and raspberries. The next morning Anana and the ladies fill basket after basket with berries for the Fall Festival. Thanks to Anana, there are plenty of tasty berries for the agutak (Eskimo tee cream) at the festival and forevermore.
- Sunpainters (Baje Whitethorne, Navajo): Grandfather Pipa calls Kii Leonard into the hogan to tell him that the sun “has died”; a solar eclipse has washed the surrounding mountains in and deep purples and reds. He explains to the boy that he must wait respectfully for the Na’ach’aahii, who come from the Four Directions carrying a paint brush and a can of paint, each responsible for replacing a different color of the rainbow. Repainting the world after the eclipse, the Na’ach’aahii restore life and allow the rebirth of the sun-processes pleasingly depicted in the Southwest-style art.
Old Photographs #5
Some dreamy shots of Edmonton, Alberta.
- Photos by R. J. Connor
Seriously Edmonton, get your shit together and clean the streets. Our city is becoming a giant dust ball.