Awkwafina, Fierce and Funny (and Asian-American), Takes on Hip-Hop

486305_445471435527672_884527493_n

One might say the illest new rapper on the block is a water brand. Or, rather, the name of a water brand re-envisioned as an Asian-American rapper, Awkwafina, who introduced the superpower of the queef in her album Yellow Ranger, released in February. More recently, Nora Lum—the New York-based artist behind Awkwafina—has been working on […]

The Fault in Our Stars: Our Love Affair with Romance and Feminism

MV5BMjA4NzkxNzc5Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzQ3OTMxMTE@._V1_SX640_SY720_

Pain demands to be felt. So goes one of the wise lines from John Green’s bestselling novel The Fault in Our Stars. The line is prominently featured in the movie of the same title—and rightfully so, given that this dictum on the necessity of feeling pain is a key reason the story is so compelling. […]

The Political Romance of Belle

Belle_poster

Before making the film Belle, screenwriter Misan Sagay  first saw the painting—an 18th-century portrait of Lady Elizabeth Murray with Dido Elizabeth Belle alongside her—and noticed a striking difference from other paintings of the era depicting black subjects. In this painting, the woman of color, Belle, is positioned somewhat as an equal, not bowed or stooping […]

Maleficent: Finally, Disney Gives us a Positive Witch/Mother

14127966246_f916b3e0f4_z

Women’s stories have often been twisted, stolen, and locked away, often in iron-clad phallocentric cages. This has led to benevolent witches turning wicked, powerful woman being framed as bitches, midwives cast as baby-killers, queens/princesses truncated into damsels in distress and, perhaps most pervasively, the demonization/murder of mothers and motherhood. To hide this ironclad prison house […]

Still We Rise: Remembering Maya Angelou

Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 1.16.52 PM

Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise That I dance like I’ve got diamonds At the meeting of my thighs? In this verse from what is arguably her most beloved poem, “Still I Rise,” Maya Angelou dares to delight in the black female body, a body that has borne the brunt […]

Lesbian Truths and Laughs

Ingrid Jungermann

The raw, risky, brilliant, inventive, comic genius Ingrid Jungermann is back with Season 2 of her hit web series F to 7th, a comedy about her descent (ascent?) into pre-middle age. Judgmental as ever, Jungermann—the writer/director/star—struggles to find herself in a world where changing views of sexuality and gender have left behind her sort of […]

Why Mamas Write

MamasCoverFINAL-686x1024

Outside of a few high-profile writers such as Anne Lamott, women who write explicitly about being a mother risk being seen as lightweight by the literary establishment. Not real writers. The anthology Mamas Write: 29 Tales of Truth, Wit and Grit turns this assumption on its head. You won’t find cliché advice on how to […]

Five Feminist Poems for National Poetry Month: 5. “MO[DERN] [FRAME]”

Mourning by Carrie Mae Weems, 2008.

Visual art is often an inspiration for poetry; poems based on visual art are called ‘ekphrastic poems.’ In “MO[DERN] [FRAME]” by Dawn Lundy Martin, Martin writes responses to an image by Carrie Mae Weems, an American artist who, over the past 25 years, has created “a complex body of art that has at various times […]

Where Are All the Leading Ladies of Color?

5037749871_19415c7537_z

A few years ago, my date and I sat in a movie theater in Malibu, watching the opening of Couples Retreat. When the first black woman actor came on the screen, my date smacked his teeth in disgust. The woman was loud, obnoxious and senseless. Within the first 5 minutes of seeing her on the […]

Five Feminist Poems for National Poetry Month: “4. From ‘Fleet of Nouns’”

4679108613_f925ea63ff_z

What makes poetry musical? What makes poetry pleasing to the ear? Poets use a variety of tools to achieve the musicality of poetry. In this selection from a long poem by Sina Queyras, she uses anaphora, the repetition of the first words of a line, to build both musicality and a strong, supple power. Queyras […]