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Feb. 6, 2016

Feb. 6, 2016

 

 

 

 

beyonce

 

 

Just as anticipation builds up for Beyoncé‘s Super Bowl performance Sunday evening, the celebrated star decided to release a video for her brand new single “Formation.”

The surprise video was filmed in New Orleans and pays major tribute to the singer’s Creole roots. Posted on top of a submerging police car, she sings “I got hot sauce in my bag,” proudly solidifying that she’s still a tried and true Southern girl to the core. Referencing both New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and ongoing police violence in America, the video also shows police officers surrendering to a Black child in a hood, while the words “Stop Killing Us” appears in graffiti in another scene.

Daughter Blue Ivy also makes an appearance as Beyonce sings “I like my baby hair with baby hair and afros – I like my negro nose with Jackson 5 nostrils.”

This is Beyonce’s first release in over a year since her surprise self-titled album in 2014.”Formation” is available to stream and download for free exclusively through Tidal and the video is now live on Beyonce.com.

 

Download “Formation” exclusively on TIDAL.com 
Visit www.Beyonce.com for more

 

>via: http://newsone.com/3353195/beyonce-formation-video-black/?omcamp=es-n1-nl&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NAT%20-%20NewsOne%20-%20Daily%20Dynamic%20Send%202016-02-06&utm_term=NewsOne%20Subscribers%20-%20SEND%20TO%20ME 

 

photo by Alex Lear

photo by Alex Lear

 

 

when a man loves a woman

 

i don’t know why i was immobile, just standing, caught between moving forward and backing away from some horror that was not my nightmare. i mean, why wasn’t i doing something, why couldn’t i think of anything to do besides be a voyeur, an onlooker, saying inside my head: this is none of my business, yet, steady gawking at the timeless tableau?

 

i didn’t see him wind up, but i saw the fist smash. they were half a block away. she cringed, or crumpled, or slumped, or something, against the brick wall of the white-painted old warehouse. too far away, i could not hear anything. but from the way she staggered, the hit must have been hard. no love tap. no heated argument slap. but a fist. to the head, or maybe the heart, the middle of her chest, between her breasts. i don’t know. from where i was, i could not really tell.

 

a moment before, i had been at my desk. and someone, i forget who, someone had rushed in and said a man was beating a woman, outside. i remember there were at least three of us, standing at the corner, just beside the front door entrance to the black collegian and edwards printing company. it was butch and me, and i forget who the third person was, probably bill, but i’m not sure. and by the time we got there, what may have started as an argument on the street, and probably included some cursing and even perhaps a shove, or maybe he grabbed her and she tried to jerk away, or could be she swung her purse at him trying to back him back, or something. i don’t know.

 

i don’t remember exactly how old i was, but since i left the magazine in 1983, i had to be in my early to mid-thirties, old enough to know better. i had not yet been to nicaragua, but by then had been to cuba the first time, and haiti, and jamaica, and tanzania, and china, and japan, and korea. i had been a lot of places. seen a lot of things. stood with progressive forces, even ventured into a few situations where to be caught was possibly to be imprisoned, if not straight up killed. some would say i had been fearless. some might say bold. going gladly where most folk feared to tread.

 

so why was i not moving forward this time. why was i just standing and looking. i told myself i did nothing because it all happened so fast. like liston going down in the first behind an ali punch most people didn’t even see, the fight was over before i could re-act. but i saw her body take the blow. and i did nothing.

 

immediately afterwards he looked like he said something to her. and they walked away. together. away from us. down the street. and the three of us went back inside. well. the old street adage: don’t get in the middle of lovers fighting cause you could end up getting jumped by the both of them. or, the other old saw: he might have a gun, she might have a razor (which was reinforced by the fact that most of the men in our office were gun owners, and lorraine, our first secretary, carried a straight razor). and the projects where those kind of people congregated was one block down the street in the direction the couple was headed. but i knew better, and besides, i have faced down police and soldiers—a pistol or a knife was nothing, comparatively speaking. no, the truth was, i wasn’t afraid for my own safety, the truth is, or was: i had been socially shaped not to respond to violence against women, and i was simply doing what i was trained to do: nothing!

 

trained by movies and television that are not only forever showing a woman being slapped, or smacked, battered or bruised, but the media has made violence into an acceptable form of entertainment, something we watch and enjoy, watch and laugh, watch and take pleasure in someone else’s pain.

 

seasoned by the callous lassez-faire of street life that essentially said: i don’t tell you what to do with yours, you don’t tell me what to do with mine.

 

encouraged by the army, especially in terms of all the shady dealings that went down with the women we sexually and economically abused with impunity—a lot of people don’t know that the word hooker came from the name given to the prostitutes employed by general hooker during the civil war; oh, yes, i’m aware general hooker didn’t directly pay the prostitutes or even officially condone the sexual laisions, but that’s the american way. the leaders always have maximum deniability even as the status quo works its nefarious show.

 

conditioned by a culture that said a fight between lovers was nobody’s business but theirs.

 

assaulted by the literature—i never forgot native son bigger bashing bessie with a brick.

 

not to mention pornography, the all-time top grosser among americans, even in the state of utah which is supposed to be so righteous. the violent sexual exploitation of women and children, our number one form of entertainment.

 

violence against women was reinforced by damn near everything i could think of. and the reinforcement was incremental, no one thing guiding it all, but the preponderance, the cumulative effect, like one rain drop does not a storm make, but a multitude steady falling will flood us out, wash us away, cast us adrift, like i was, hesitant, unsure on that sidewalk. where was mr. bold black man that day?

 

even though violence was never practiced in the home where i grew up, and even though it was unthinkable that i would personally hit a woman, nevertheless, in ways, until that day, i was not totally clear about, i  now realize that yes, i passively condoned such violence, and if not condoned it at least tacitly accepted men beating woman as the way it was with some people, a sort of twisted status quo. and, perhaps my passivity was birthed by an even more sinister moral equivocation: it’s ok to be my brother’s keeper, but that doesn’t include stopping my brother from giving my sister a beating—oh, sure, in the family, somebody you know, your mother, sister, daughter, lover, auntee, oh sure then jump in and break that shit up, but some sister on the street we never seen before, i don’t know, you never know what the deal be and ain’t no sense in getting caught up in some edge of night drama.

 

protecting an unknown sister‑no matter what i said in the abstract, when my face was pushed up in it in the real world, her back against the wall, some huge dude all up in her grill‑i hesitated.

 

there had to be some reason, some reasonable explanation for why i simply stood there. it took me a while to realize the main reason was that i live in a patriarchal society, a society within which violence against women is not only deeply embedded, but also a society within which violence in general, and violence against women in particular, is so broadly accepted that it becomes invisible even though it is ubiquitous. how can something so obvious be so ignored?

 

the weight of acculturation does not easily budge and can keep us from moving forward even as we believe that it is backwards to stand still.

 

afterwards, not minutes, but in the days that followed, i said i would never be silent again. that moment of stillness turned me around. i would never be uninvolved again. and truth be told, i haven’t, but on the other hand, i have never been tested like that again. never been within shouting distance of a man beating on a woman.

 

yes, i have stopped young people who got into inevitable fights and tussles with each other. it really, really saddens me that so much play-fighting is accepted as a form of affection among many of our young people. their seemingly harmless mock violence is ameliorated by genuine affection or, more likely, rather than by affection, by pubescent desire; whatever, the result remains the same: in more cases than not, what began as a seemingly harmless activity actually ends up being a predictable  preparation for them accepting violence as part of the package deal of personal relationships, thus violence is fatally intertwined with what too often passes for true love.

 

i can not imagine any of my daughters or sons either accepting or perpetrating abusive violence.

 

i have marched. i have campaigned. i have written essays, plays, poems, made movies. but ever since that day, i have never been caught standing around simply looking when a man beat on a woman. nor will i ever again revert to letting aggressive violence go down without at the very least shouting out against such abuse, without doing something to stop the violence, and if not bring that violence to a “squeeching halt” (to quote my father), at least intervening or in some other effective way opposing and lessening the negative effects of such violence.

 

cause when you get right down to it, a true love of one has to also be, to one degree or another, a love for all—and if we can not love others, especially those whom we see as the “other,” whether that be a gender other, an ethnic other, a racial other, a sexual-orientation other, whatever other, if we can not love an other and yet claim to love a particular individual then we are cutting off part of our own selves—the part of our selves that is also a part of the other. we are restricting our lives, constraining our souls, diminishing our spirit, and this is especially true when we are dealing with the questions of violence against women.

 

when a man loves a woman, truly loves a woman, he will not silently condone nor, through his own inaction, allow any man to do any woman wrong. because, while there are those fortunate enough never to be victimized by violence, in general there are no exemptions: each woman in a society shares some of the essence of every woman in that society. when a man truly loves a woman, he must love all women or not really love any woman at all.

 

—kalamu ya salaam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Jan 22nd, 2016

Jan 22nd, 2016

 

 

 

Stop forcing your daughters to hug the family molester. The molester that every adult in the family knows about but swept it under the rug years ago, because we as Black people already have enough issues to deal with, so we HAVE to keep the family together, right? Wrong.  This idea that we are protecting the family structure is something I like to call “Politics of the Black Family”So let’s talk about it. I mean really really talk about it. Let’s talk about how 60% of Black women experience sexual abuse from the hands of a Black man by the age of 18. Talk about what messages we are sending.. one that doesn’t uplift the entire family structure, it instead fucks up the minds of black people and the main victim is the black woman. It sends a message to not to break up the family with these “allegations”. It sends a message that her pain is the lesser of the issues. It sends a message that we as Black women have to be more black than we are woman. This past weekend I attended the Young People For National Summit. As always it poured into my life, and I got a chance to listen to perspectives that I hadn’t heard before. One that stuck with me is the idea that we as americans don’t value personal space, and we actually devalue it  so much that we take it upon ourselves to hug as we see fit and if someone doesn’t embrace us back they are considered rude. Taking this a step deeper we send that same message to children. I know this is true for the Black family where we grow up hearing “Go give your grandpa a kiss or give your uncle a hug” and if we as a child don’t want to do those things that is followed up with stop acting like that, and we are then forced to do it anyway. Taking the power away from the child who could then internalize a message that they don’t have control of their own body. So then, if that same uncle, grandpa, family friend, or step dad becomes the perpetrator…if they become this monster what does this child know to do when she has been told she doesn’t have control of her body anyway. She has been told to “Be nice” as if it is mean to not want to give someone access to your body whether it is an innocent hug or not. Then abuse occurs, pain occurs, silencing occurs and a cycle repeats. So question what we have all grown up in. Question what messages you send, no matter how innocent the intentions. Think deeply about the structures we fall victim to, even within the Black community. & Don’t ever be so black that you forget to be woman. Protect your woman, it is as much you as your melanin.-Polish&Politics, Regennia Johnson@blavityreads @blackgirlswithelegance @blackgirlsclub @blackwomenconfessions @mydamncurls @kinks-n-curls @blackwomenworldhistory @blackguysloveblackgirls

Stop forcing your daughters to hug the family molester. The molester that every adult in the family knows about but swept it under the rug years ago, because we as Black people already have enough issues to deal with, so we HAVE to keep the family together, right? Wrong.  

This idea that we are protecting the family structure is something I like to call “Politics of the Black Family”

So let’s talk about it. I mean really really talk about it. Let’s talk about how 60% of Black women experience sexual abuse from the hands of a Black man by the age of 18. Talk about what messages we are sending.. one that doesn’t uplift the entire family structure, it instead fucks up the minds of black people and the main victim is the black woman. It sends a message to not to break up the family with these “allegations”. It sends a message that her pain is the lesser of the issues. It sends a message that we as Black women have to be more black than we are woman. 

This past weekend I attended the Young People For National Summit. As always it poured into my life, and I got a chance to listen to perspectives that I hadn’t heard before. One that stuck with me is the idea that we as americans don’t value personal space, and we actually devalue it  so much that we take it upon ourselves to hug as we see fit and if someone doesn’t embrace us back they are considered rude. 

Taking this a step deeper we send that same message to children. I know this is true for the Black family where we grow up hearing “Go give your grandpa a kiss or give your uncle a hug” and if we as a child don’t want to do those things that is followed up with stop acting like that, and we are then forced to do it anyway. Taking the power away from the child who could then internalize a message that they don’t have control of their own body. 

So then, if that same uncle, grandpa, family friend, or step dad becomes the perpetrator…if they become this monster what does this child know to do when she has been told she doesn’t have control of her body anyway. She has been told to “Be nice” as if it is mean to not want to give someone access to your body whether it is an innocent hug or not. 

Then abuse occurs, pain occurs, silencing occurs and a cycle repeats. So question what we have all grown up in. Question what messages you send, no matter how innocent the intentions. Think deeply about the structures we fall victim to, even within the Black community. & Don’t ever be so black that you forget to be woman. Protect your woman, it is as much you as your melanin.

+++++++++++
-Polish&Politics, Regennia Johnson

 

>>via: http://polishandpolitics.tumblr.com/post/137826468835/stop-forcing-your-daughters-to-hug-the-family

 

 

 

 

 

FEBRUARY 4, 2016

FEBRUARY 4, 2016

 

 

 

maurice-white 01

Maurice White,

founder of

Earth, Wind & Fire,

dies at 74

 

By Chris Barton  

Maurice White, co-founder and leader of the groundbreaking ensemble Earth, Wind & Fire, died Thursday at his Los Angeles home. He was 74. His brother and bandmate, Verdine White, confirmed the news with the Associated Press.

The source for a wealth of euphoric hits in the 1970s and early ’80s, including “Shining Star,” “September” and “Boogie Wonderland,” Earth, Wind & Fire borrowed elements from funk, soul, gospel and pop for a distinctive sound that yielded six double-platinum albums and six Grammy Awards.

The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, and although White had ceased touring with the group since a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease in the ’90s, he remained behind the scenes as the act continued to tour, including a run of sold-out shows at the Hollywood Bowl in 2013.

“[Maurice White’s] unerring instincts as a musician and showman helped propel the band to international stardom, influencing countless fellow musicians in the process,” Recording Academy President Neil Portnow wrote in a statement. Earth, Wind & Fire are slated to receive lifetime achievement honors from the Grammys this year.

 

Born in Memphis, Tenn. on Dec. 19, 1941, Maurice White sang in his church’s gospel choir at an early age, but his interest quickly gravitated to the drums. He earned his first gig backing Booker T. Jones before the organist founded the MGs. He moved to Chicago in the early ’60s and studied composition at the Chicago Conservatory of Music and eventually found work as a session drummer for the Chess and OKeh labels, where he played behind Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker.

“That’s where I learned about the roots of music,” White told the Chicago Tribune in 1990. “I learned about playing with feeling.”

After also backing jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis in the ’60s, White moved to Los Angeles in 1969 with a band called the Salty Peppers. The group failed to gain much traction, and White changed the group’s name in 1971 to Earth, Wind and Fire, a name rooted in astrology that reflected White’s spiritual approach to music. 

“In the beginning,” White told the Tribune in 1988, “My message was basically trying to relate to the community. From that it grew into more of a universal consciousness; the idea was to give the people something that was useful.”

The group’s lineup evolved through the ’70s and eventually included vocalist Phillip Bailey and White’s brother Verdine, both of whom toured with the band into this decade. The band’s reach extended into movies as well in recording the soundtrack album for Melvin Van Peebles’ landmark 1971 film “Sweet Sweetback’s Badasss Song” and appearing in the 1978 film “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” which yielded the band’s hit cover of the Beatles’ “Got to Get You Into My Life.”

With Earth, Wind & Fire finding less commercial success in the ’80s, White’s career eventually expanded into production, which included collaborations with Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond and El DeBarge.

White’s hits with Earth, Wind & Fire spanned a particularly influential space between R&B, rock and disco that remains current. His music with Earth, Wind & Fire was prominently sampled by scores of hip-hop and pop acts in recent years, including Jay-Z and 2Pac. His mix of incandescent soulfulness and suave, funky arrangements informed recent bestselling albums by Daft Punk and Kendrick Lamar.

Remembrances of White came from all corners of the music world. On Twitter, Nile Rodgers, the Chic founder and record producer who was White’s peer in the ‘70s disco scene, wrote “RIP my soulful brother — You’re one of the most amazing innovators of all time.” Bootsy Collins, bassist of the funk mainstays Parliament-Funkadelic, wrote that White was a “legend, pioneer life long friend.”

Even U.S. Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch wrote that she was “Mourning the loss” of “the voice of my generation.”

“There are a lot of things wrong on this planet,” White told the Chicago Tribune in a 1985 interview. “It’s important to put the emphasis on the positive aspect. I have learned that music helps a lot of people survive, and they want songs that can give them something — I guess you could call it hope.”

+++++++++++
Times staff writer August Brown contributed to this report.

 

>>via: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/posts/la-et-ms-maurice-white-earth-wind-fire-dies-20160204-story.html

 

 

 

January 29, 2016

January 29, 2016

 

 

 

Watch ‘I Am Tyra

Patterson’

Justice for Tyra PSA,

with Alfre Woodward

and Colman Domingo

 

By Sergio | Shadow and Act

Justice for Tyra
Justice for Tyra

The writer and director of the feature film “Alaskaland,” Chinonye Chukwu, has recently directed, edited and photographed this PSA with Alfre Woodward and Colman Domingo among many other prominent people, to bring attention to the tragic case of injustice involving Tyra Patterson.

She is currently serving her 22nd year of a life sentence in an Ohio prison, where she has been since she was 19 years old, for her involvement in the murder of a 15 year old young white girl during a botched robbery. However, she was not near the scene of the murder, and did not kill the young girl; in fact, another person was arrested and convicted of the crime. Efforts have been ongoing for years to prove that any evidence against Patterson was false, including a coerced confession.

Though there have been attempts to free her, it now has come down to the governor of Ohio to make the final decision as to whether or not she is innocent of the crimes she was imprisoned for. Unfortunately that governor happens to be John Kasich, who is currently running to be the 2016 GOP Presidential nominee, and the last thing he wants is to be seen as being “soft on crime” and too lenient towards criminals.

But there still is a movement and legal work being done to free Ms. Patterson, including this PSA, and a Change.org petition to the Ohio Parole Board that is currently being circulated on social media, demanding that the board consider the evidence proving that she is innocent and release her.

Furthermore, the London Guardian newspaper published an extremely very well detailed 4-part interactive report about the Patterson case which is required reading for anyone even remotely interest in justice. Also visit the “Justice for Tyra” website, which also includes the petition (here).

 

>>via: http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/watch-i-am-tyra-patterson-jutice-for-tyra-psa-with-alfre-woodward-and-colman-domingo-20160129

 

 

 

Call for

Papers/Submissions:

2nd International

“Season of Dance”

Conference

Colombian girls dance during the Carnival in Barranquilla, Colombia, 26 February 2006. The Carnival of Barranquilla is a unique festivity which takes place every year during February or March on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. A colourful mixture of the ancient African tribal dances and the Spanish music influence – cumbia, porro, mapale, puya, congo among others – hit for five days nearly all central streets of Barranquilla. Those traditions kept for centuries by Black African slaves have had the great impact on Colombian culture and Colombian society. In November 2003 the Carnival of Barranquilla was proclaimed as the Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

The 2nd International ‘Season of Dance’ Conference theme is “Caribbean Fusion Dance Works: Rituals of Modern Society.” The conference will take place on May 19-22, 2016 at The University of the West Indies-Cave Hill, Barbados. The Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination (EBCCI) at the UWI invites the international community of dancers, choreographers and scholars to participate and to submit any work in which the focal point is dance fusion in any dance genre. The deadline for submission of abstracts and videos is February 20, 2016. Other important dates are indicated below, in Submission Guidelines. [Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.]

Description: In 1940, Cuban scholar Fernando Ortiz coined the term “transculturation” to describe the process by which distinct cultures fuse to give birth to new cultural expressions. Scholars have since widely recognized the vital role syncretism has played in the Caribbean, due in no small part to its geographic and historical location at the center of travel and slave trade between Europe, Africa and the Americas. In 1996, Cuban writer Antonío Benítez-Rojo suggested that the defining characteristic of Caribbean culture is supersyncretism, a propensity for recombining elements from disparate cultural traditions in a continual pattern of interruption and repetition. As Caribbean dances and dancers have migrated from the Caribbean Basin, they have continued these patterns of transculturation, syncretism, and hybridization in new fusions of Caribbean dance with practices as varied as ballet, modern, jazz, hip-hop, bhangra, and belly dance. Within the Caribbean, dance artists and social dance practitioners are integrating techniques and vocabulary from other Caribbean islands, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas, facilitated by increased ease of travel, both physical and virtual.  Conference participants are invited to examine the theme of fusion in Caribbean dance from a wide range of perspectives, including its socio-historical function. Caribbean dance will be conceptualized broadly to include the greater Caribbean created through migration, globalization, and virtual travel.

Questions addressed by presentations might include: In what ways does fusion compromise the cultural integrity of Caribbean dance?; In what ways does fusion offer new commercial, educational, and cultural opportunities to Caribbean artists?; How do the lingering impacts of English, French, and Spanish colonialism differentially impact dance artists from different Caribbean islands?; How are patterns of migration reflected in the history and contemporary expression of Caribbean dance?; How do migrants from the Caribbean adapt dance practices to new cultural environments, and what kinds of new hybrid dance forms are created as a result?; Is there any such thing as Caribbean dance without fusion?; How are sacred rituals adapted for modern cultural contexts?; How are social dance practices adapted for stage performance and how are staged dances incorporated back into social practice?; How has the proliferation and availability of dance video on the Internet accelerated and altered practices of Caribbean dance?; What is the difference between fusion, hybridity, syncretism, transculturation and appropriation?; How do fusion artists balance the need to honor a tradition and legacy with the impulse to innovate?; How have issues of globalization impacted Caribbean dance?; and How can we expose and address issues of cultural appropriation in the context of a modern global dance community?

Conference sessions will include:

Individual Paper Presentations – original research including in-depth exploration and analysis of an issue related to the conference theme. [20 minutes paper/10 minutes for Q & A]

Panels – organized panels of 3-4 papers on related topics, each presenting original research related to the conference theme. [3-4 panelists – 1.5 hours] [15-20 minutes paper/10 minutes for Q & A]

Workshops – practical presentations of fusion dance forms including a narrative component based on the applied pedagogy of fusion [50 minutes – 10 minutes for Q & A]

Performance – presentation of Caribbean dance fusion. Six to eight works approximately 10 to 15 minutes in length will be selected to be part of two different programs. A minimum of five years of professional choreography experience is required. Submission of video of the proposed work must be in its full version (link to an online resource such as YouTube or Vimeo).

Submission Guidelines

Digital submission only – Mailed paper proposals will not be accepted

Deadline for abstracts and videos: February 20th

Notification of acceptance: March 18th

Submission date for publication of papers: July 15th

Proposal submission – contact: Neri.Torres@cavehill.uwi.edu

Abstracts should be submitted online to:  ABSTRACT SUBMISSION PORTAL

For instructions for abstract submissions and more details, see http://www1.cavehill.uwi.edu/News-Events/Notices/?release_id=356

[Photo by Jan Sochor: “The Carnival of Barranquilla celebrates the Black African presence in Colombia.” See Jan Sochor Photography at http://www.jansochor.com/photo-blog/carnival-barranquilla-colombia.]

 

>via: http://repeatingislands.com/2016/02/01/call-for-paperssubmissions-2nd-international-season-of-dance-conference/

 

 

February 3, 2016

February 3, 2016

 

 

This MSNBC host

had a terrifying

experience during

the Iowa caucuses

 

Most journalists covering Monday’s Iowa caucuses will remember it as the day Donald Trump was humbled or the moment Marco Rubio emerged as a contender.

But for MSNBC pundit Melissa Harris-Perry, the event turned out to be much more personal — and sinister — than expected.

In a blog entry posted Tuesday, Harris-Perry described how a strange man approached her in a Des Moines hotel Monday night, mumbling about Nazis and threatening to “do” something to her.

“I freeze. He speaks. And moves closer,” she recounted. “Is there a knife under the coat? A gun? Worse?”

Harris-Perry was shaken but uninjured during the strange, scary encounter, she wrote.

Her account was posted to a website belonging to Wake Forest University, where Harris-Perry teaches. Neither Harris-Perry nor her students returned requests for comment about what happened. But the political science professor did tweet a link to the blog entry.

“I don’t know if he was there to kill me,” she tweeted in reference to the unidentified man.

mellissa hp 02

Those same words form the first sentence in Harris-Perry’s riveting blog entry.

Harris-Perry and roughly two dozen of her Wake Forest students were in Des Moines to cover the Iowa caucuses. A few days earlier, she had featured two of her pupils talking about the youth vote on her eponymous MSNBC television show.

On Monday night, however, Harris-Perry was watching results stream in on television in a downtown Des Moines hotel lobby when a stranger suddenly sidled up to her.

“I didn’t notice until he was standing right next to me, much closer than is ordinary or comfortable,” she wrote.

“So what is it that you teach?” the man asked her, as if resuming a prior conversation.

But Harris-Perry didn’t recognize him.

“I am a professor of political science,” she answered.

“My wife is a professor of communications,” the man said.

“Does she teach here in Iowa?” Harris-Perry asked.

Then things got weird.

“What I want to know is how you got credentialed to be on MSNBC,” the man said in an abrupt non sequitur.

Melissa Harris-Perry (Donald Traill/Invision/AP)

Melissa Harris-Perry (Donald Traill/Invision/AP)

It was at this point that Harris-Perry began to get worried. She wrote:

I am not sure if it is how he spat the word credentialed, or if it is how he took another half step toward me, or if it is how he didn’t respond to my question, but the hairs on my arm stood on end. I ignored it. Told myself everything was ok.

“Well. It is not exactly a credential…” I began.

“But why you? Why would they pick you?”

Now I know something is wrong. Now his voice is angry. Now a few other people have stopped talking and started staring. Now he is so close I can feel his breath. Before I can answer his unanswerable question of why they picked me, he begins to tell me why he has picked me.

“I just want you to know why I am doing this.”

Oh — there is a this. He is going to do a this. To me. And he is going to tell me why.

Harris-Perry has spoken and written publicly about being a rape survivor. In 2012, she wrote an open letter to Republican senatorial candidate Richard Mourdock criticizing his statement that a pregnancy resulting from rape should not be aborted because “it is something that God intended to happen.”

“When we survive and we go on to love and to work and to speak out and to have fun and to laugh and dance and to cry and to live, when we do that, we defeat our attackers,” Harris-Perry said. “We did not survive an attack on our consent just to turn around and give up our right to choose to you. Not without a fight.”

A year later, Harris-Perry told a rape survivor that she had been raped by her neighbor during high school, an experience she recently elaborated on.

All of this, she wrote, was on her mind when the man in Des Moines pressed closer to her in the hotel lobby.

“I freeze,” she wrote. “Not even me — the girl in me. The one who was held down by an adult neighbor and as he raped her. The one who listened as he explained why he was doing this. She freezes.”

“I freeze. He speaks. And moves closer. Is there a knife under the coat? A gun? Worse? And I can’t hear all the words. But I catch ‘Nazi Germany’ and I catch ‘rise to power.’ But I can’t move. I am lulled by a familiar powerlessness, muteness, that comes powerfully and unexpectedly. It grips me. Everything is falling away.”

She was saved, she wrote, by a friend and by her students.

“We try to explain to hotel security what has happened and how I receive hate mail and even death threats, how I have had people show up at my workplace, how this might be serious. They listen politely, but this is the Iowa caucus, and I am not a candidate, so they go back to their evening. And we go back to ours.”

In her blog post, Harris-Perry said that she wasn’t sure what the man’s intentions were but also that she couldn’t take any chances.

“I don’t know what kind of harm he was prepared to do,” she wrote. “Perhaps the only threat was a barrage of hateful words — or maybe he planned to do something worse. I have faced both. Both seemed plausible in this encounter.”

She also said that it was the thought of her students that shook her out of her momentary “trance.”

“As he’d invaded my space with angry, incoherent cruelty, I heard a voice in my head roar, ‘Not in front of my students!’” Harris-Perry wrote. “Ridiculous though it may be, my dominant fear was that if this man maimed or killed me my students would fail to achieve the learning outcome of the Wake the Vote program. … It was the fear of a ruined lesson plan that propelled me out of my seat and away from the potential attacker.

“It is not an exaggeration to say my students may have saved my life.”

Despite this, Harris-Perry wrote that few of her students learned of the scary episode, in which their professor was worried that she might be raped or killed by a stranger during the Iowa 2016 caucuses.

“Most don’t know any of this happened,” she wrote, “because as soon as they returned we got down to the business of watching returns, discussing results, predicting strategies, and learning together.”

 

+++++++++++
Michael E. Miller is a foreign affairs reporter for The Washington Post.
He writes for the Morning Mix news blog. Tweet him: @MikeMillerDC

 

>>via: http://crooksandliars.com/2016/02/melissa-harris-perry-narrowly-escapes

 

 

 

 

 

THRESHOLDS

INTERNATIONAL 

SHORT FICTION

FEATURE WRITING

COMPETITION

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1st Prize of £500

2 x Runner-up Prize of £100

PLUS, a selection of short story titles
for all shortlisted writers

DEADLINE: 06 March 2016, 11:59pm (GMT)

FREE TO ENTER

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ENTRY CATEGORIES:

THRESHOLDS is the only online forum dedicated to the reading, writing and study of the short story form. One overall winner will be chosen, followed by two runners-up. We are inviting submissions in either of the following feature categories:

Author Profile: exploring the life, writings and influence of a single short story writer.

We Recommendpersonal recommendations of a collection, anthology, group of short stories or a single short story.**

FULL COMPETITION RULES CAN BE FOUND HEREEntries should be emailed to: thresholds@chi.ac.uk with the subject line ‘Feature Competition’.

The winning and runner-up feature essays and shortlist will be published on the THRESHOLDS Forum during 2016.

Books-Maps-graphic

PRIZES

:

For the first time in the THRESHOLDS Competition, we are delighted to announce that friends of Thresholds have provided a selection of fantastic short story titles as prizes for our 2016 shortlisted writers. These prizes come from the generous teams at the Bath Short Story Awardthe Bridport PrizeComma PressDaunt BooksSalt PublishingUnthank Books, and Writing Maps with Treehouse Press.

Along with their cash prizes, our winning and runner-up writers will each receive a Writing Map, plus 2 short story publications. The remaining shortlisted writers will each receive a whopping stack of 9 short story titles, plus two Writing Maps (taken from the selection above).

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We are sometimes asked what we mean by
‘feature essay’:

The answer is a non-fiction essay that has an engaging style. Something that makes us want to stop what we’re doing and pick up the story being recommended, or find a collection by the author being profiled. The judges hope to see a range of styles and approaches in the feature essays, and interesting or experimental angles are certainly welcome. We look, above all, at the quality of prose, the insights offeredand your ability to really hook your readers. The focus must be on the short story form.

*

PLEASE READ THE COMPETITION RULES HERE

AND THE GENERAL THRESHOLDS
Submission Guidelines
CAREFULLY BEFORE SUBMITTING *

~

Previous winning essays:
2015 winner: The Laureate of the Veld by Richard Newton


2014 winner: Wolves at the Hearthside by Sharon Telfer

2013 winner: A Trio of Irish Short Stories by Nuala Ní Chonchúir

2012 winner: H.P. Lovecraft by Geoff Holder

The runners-up can be found here.

 

>via: http://blogs.chi.ac.uk/shortstoryforum/features-competition/