Kinfolk Collective explores untold narratives of the African Diaspora through speculative film ‹ The Visibility Project

Julian Walker, co-founder of the Kinfolk Collective.

In an aesthetically stunning scene from a film titled ‘Third Timothy,’ a young Black boy fills two glass bottles with water from a waterfall in the woods. The trees are bare and the sky is grey. Barefoot, the boy walks slowly on wet rocks trimmed with damp autumn leaves.

The boy aims to peddle the bottles as holy water with his brother. Together, they travel the rural South selling fake holy water to people desperate for miracles in hopes of escaping their abusive foster home to live with their uncle. The boys witness preachers in their community take collection for the church and use it for their personal gain, influencing them to take advantage of people to make better lives for themselves.

Third Timothy’ was written and directed by Julian Walker of the Kinfolk Collective, a group of filmmakers out of Chicago who “trace the overlaps and commonalities between members of the African Diaspora.” Walker co-founded the collective with videographer Darren Wallace.

Walker grew up in a community heavily influenced by Christianity. Watching corrupt preachers use collection funds for their personal benefit prompted him to make the film. ‘Third Timothy’ aims to explore social issues in the Bible Belt, specifically racism, religion, corruption and poverty. “There are many depictions and conversations surrounding the idea of crooked pastors,” said Walker, “but how many have you seen explore the effects of their actions on young people? How many times have you had an 11-year-old boy try to sell you holy water? I intend to take a fresh approach to the ‘crooked preacher’ issue by showing these situations and more in ‘Third Timothy.’

The Kinfolk Collective also have a number of other projects, including an Artist Portrait film about Chicago-based rapper Tree called ‘Damn Near Made It,’ and an experimental short called ‘Bluebird’ featuring a reading of the Charles Bukowski poem by the same name. Their latest project, ‘Savage vs. The Void,’ premiered on April 25, 2014 in Chicago, and explores the feelings Wallace experienced after the execution of Troy Davis. Watch more short films by the Kinfolk Collective here.

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Kinfolk Collective explores untold narratives of the African Diaspora through speculative film ‹ The Visibility Project.

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On Moya Bailey, Misogynoir, and why both are important ‹ The Visibility Project

Known for creating the termMisogynoir, Bailey defines it as the intersection of racism, anti-Blackness, and misogyny that Black women experience. The term is specific to Black womanhood, as Misogynoir cannot be experienced by women of any other race, but can be perpetuated by people of any gender or race.

On Moya Bailey, Misogynoir, and why both are important ‹ The Visibility Project.

Harriet Tubman Sex Tape? REALLY?

It’s been an eye-opening week in social media. A while ago I heard about the Russell Simmons and Jason Horton project titled ‘Harriet Tubman Sex Tape.’ By the time I went to find the video, it had been taken down. So feel free to hold the fact that I haven’t seen the video against me, but I don’t think it was necessary, and could have quite possibly been triggering.

I, nor anyone else, should not have to explain why there is a problem with a parody sex video of Harriet Tubman. It’s 2013. Are we really doing this? We are going to take a Black woman hero, one of the most revered figures in abolitionist history, hypersexualize her, and then put it on the internet?

I shouldn’t be surprised. And yet…

Blogger Prison Culture tweeted the following statement about the video:

“Araminta Ross became a “slave for hire” at the age of 5. She did domestic work, field work, cared for children. She once said that one of her mistresses would savagely whip her almost every day, first thing in the AM. As a result, she would put on “all the thick clothes she could” to protect her body from the blows. When she was teenager, she stood before an overseer who was in pursuit of another slave. He took a lead weight & crashed it on her head. She was deeply wounded. She said that the blow “broke her skull.” She was carried back bleeding. She had no bed. They lay her on the floor. She was sent back to her parents who thought she would die. She survived. She went on to become Harriet Tubman. She freed slaves daringly & without fear. This is the person who [Russell Simmons] laughed at.”

A couple of thoughts I have about the video:

I honestly don’t think what kind of sex Tubman was or was not having was relevant. The video is historically inaccurate, insensitive and in poor taste. The video both hypersexualizes Tubman and desexualizes her at the same time. And keep the context in mind, of course. Harriet Tubman was a slave. Which means that in addition to being beaten, she was also repeatedly raped and abused in other forms.

I did see a clip of the video here, and I don’t encourage you to watch it because A) I think it is a waste of time, and B) I don’t want to give the people involved with this video any views. But I will say that  in the skit, the filming of the movie was done in secret. The cameraman was hidden in a closet. So we have a historical figure who dealt with numerous accounts of abuse, dealing with… surprise! More abuse. Rape isn’t funny. Neither is racism. Black women’s lives and sexuality, past and present, still manage to be the butts of our jokes…

Kimberly Foster, founder of @ForHarriet had this to say to the star of the skit playing Tubman, Shanna Malcolm.

Here is a petition asking for the video to be removed (it already has) and for a public apology to be made (which has not happened yet).

EDIT: It was pointed out to me by a reader that Jason Horton did not write, create or produce the video. I wasn’t saying that he did, but I can see how it would be construed that way based on what I wrote. So to be clear, Jason Horton acted in the video, and that was the extent of his involvement. I apologize for any misunderstanding.

Why #SolidarityisforWhiteWomen Is So Important

Why #SolidarityisforWhiteWomen Is So Important

Right now on Twitter a well-known Black woman blogger @Karnythia has started a trend online with the hashtag #SolidarityisforWhiteWomen. I have seen related tweets coming from publications such as Al Jazeera and Colorlines.

Of course, there are the people who automatically jump to the conclusion that #Solidarity is about hating on White women who want equality for ~*everybody*~, and that people of color participating in the tag are just race-baiting. That’s a given. And I’m sure most of said people are not actually reading the hashtag, they are just responding to the name. For those who aren’t aware, it should feel like a punch to the gut. I promise you that being excluded from the mainstream feminist movement feels much worse.

To be clear though, this hashtag is about holding “allies” accountable. It should be self-explanatory! For too long, White, straight, cis, able-bodied women have been the face of feminism.

New York Times: The New Shades of Feminism?

New York Times: The New Shades of Feminism?

Read #SolidarityisforWhiteWomen to understand what marginalised people are trying to say. Feminism is supposed to be for people marginalized by patriarchy, but so far it only uplifts the women pictured above.

Here are some gems from #Solidarity

Click the link above for more!

Why Isn’t There A White History Month?

And I’m sure there is many more where that came from. I’m not sure why Black History Month gets all the hate (actually, yes I am. Care to guess?)

But I guess that doesn’t answer people’s question so much as it does prove that they shouldn’t be asking the question in the first place. So again, I pose the question- Why Isn’t There A White History Month? And here is the long awaited answer (or at least part of it):

Colonialism.

Looking back in history, we can deduce that when people decided to go conquer brown-skinned lands, they were confused by these people because they were different. To rectify the problem, they forced them to adopt White culture and to reject their own. They were forced to speak different languages, to wear different clothes, to practice different religions, to eat different foods, to live in different homes- and to serve the White savior who showed them the “right” way of life.

Of course, this is because White-skinned people did not considered people of color equal to them. This isn’t just black people. This is Native-American people, Asians… people who weren’t White and Christian, in a nutshell.

Now, let’s consider this. Because White people did not consider people of color equal to them, they considered everything about their way of life inferior to theirs, correct? That includes their history, by default. Their language wasn’t “civilized,” never mind how they came to that language in the first place. Same with their food, their clothing, their religion… everything. White people assumed that their culture was the default. And it’s the same today. White people are the default in the media, Christianity is considered a default religion, and White people’s history is the default.

The reason why there isn’t a White History Month is because every month is White History Month. In history classes, White men, especially White Christian men, are the default. They are the foundation and everything else are only considered minor details that aren’t necessary to the entire picture.

And that is why we have separate months for separate races- because anyone labelled “Other,” is considered a minor detail, something that should be mentioned but “isn’t necessary.” If we were all considered part of the same fabric of history, if every thread was vital to the entire picture- we wouldn’t need separate months because Black history, Asian history, Latin history, and Native American history would all be taught alongside White history.

What many people don’t seem to realize is that Black history is still their history. Why is it that Black people are forced to learn White history throughout school, but White people throw a fit when it comes to one month of learning the history of someone else? Like I said, White history is a default. Why do I have to consider a White person’s history part of mine, when they don’t consider my history a part of theirs?

So there you have it. We don’t have a White history month because every month is White history month, and we have a Black history month because you don’t consider our history important enough to be included all the time. It’s your fault we don’t have a White history month. So please stop asking us why your history isn’t enough, and why we still seek to learn about our people.