Is it wrong that I get uncomfortable when people say that they prefer ‘female pronouns’?
“No free negro shall come, reside in, or be within this state… the legislation shall provide by penal law for the removal of all such negroes and for their exclusion from the state” - Oregon’s 1857 constitution… not “officially” repealed until 1926.. Today Oregon has a black population of 2%.
The Black Portlanders has a goal of introducing the stories and dreams of Black Portlanders to the world. At this moment, I’m in the midst of a great challenge and fight to keep this project going. I am in the last hours of anIndiegogo campaign to fund the continuance of The Black Portlanders. We are raising a total of $15,000 for essential equipment, development funds, and to save a crucial crashed hard drive that holds the entire first 8 months of The Black Portlanders. Yes.
We must reach our goal by 11:59 Monday night. - Intisar Abioto
The bodies of two Houston women, a lesbian couple, were discovered near a dumpster in Galveston County, Texas. Share this:
They had a 5 year old child together too.
I’m there again. Feeling things I dont want to feel. Remembering things I prayed to forget. Feeling like something used and unwanted. Listening to songs I black listed and here I am again, regardless. No matter how hard I try, I always get back to this place.
I don’t want to come back here anymore. I’m sick of it. It hurts too much.
SWOP-NYC continues to celebrate the lives of Black American sex workers with another round of incredible women. This list was inspired by this blog post by Tumblr user grrlyman. To read Part 1 of this series, click here.
Five more amazing women, starting with one you may not have known is open about her sex worker past.
Dr. Maya Angelou
Angelou’s classic book “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” was only the first in a series of seven memoirs. In the second book, “Gather Together In My Name,” Angelou reveals that she was a prostitute for a brief period of time in her teens. It was her boyfriend, an Episcopalian preacher, who introduced her to the work, though Angelou had previously earned money in the industry as a madame for two lesbian prostitutes and, later, as a table dancer.
When The Teen Talking Circle Project interviewed Angelou about these early experiences “that most people would judge as wrong,” she responded with her characteristic wit and compassion: “I wrote about my experiences because I thought too many people tell young folks, ‘I never did anything wrong,’” she says to the interviewer. Indeed, Angelou’s brutally honest memoirs created a new paradigm for Black woman writers and shone a light on the racism, sexism, and poverty of 20th century America in a profoundly personal way.
Her other accomplishments are almost too numerous to list. In the fifties alone, “she toured Europe with a production of the opera Porgy and Bess. She studied modern dance with Martha Graham, danced with Alvin Ailey on television variety shows and, in 1957, recorded her first album, ‘Calypso Lady,’” according to her official website. She later worked as the editor of The Arab Observer in Cairo, taught college in Ghana, and organized with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. She’s a Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of thirty bestselling books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction and at the age of 85, she is still writing and campaigning.
As one of the best known and longest-working Black stars in the industry, Sinnamon Love has transformed what it means to find success as a porn star. She began working in the early 90’s as a divorced single mother who “merely wanted to provide for my family and finish college.” She describes her journey from a naïve teenager to an established feminist pornographer, fetish model, and dominatrix in this brilliant piece for Guernica magazine. Her commentary on race and pornography is sharp and incisive and her reflections on motherhood and domesticity as a Black sex working woman are just as fascinating. Love retired from performing after securing her place in the AVN hall of fame. She is now an advocate for sex education and autism awareness, a blogger and writer, and a radio host on Sex, Love, and Hip Hop.
Marsha P. Johnson
Johnson is one of three trans women sex workers of color responsible for kickstarting the modern-day LGBT rights movement at the Stonewall Inn. Along with her friends Sylvia Rivera and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Marsha “Pay It No Mind” Johnson fought back against the harassment and brutality of the NYPD by shattering the windshield of a police car that night in June 1969. A few years later, she and Rivera founded Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) to feed and clothe the homeless drag queens and trans women of Manhattan’s Lower East Side. To fund their work, Johnson and Rivera did sex work on the streets so that the youth they sheltered wouldn’t have to. Her life— and suspiciously violent death at the 1992 Pride March— is chronicled in the recently released documentary “Pay It No Mind: The Life and Times of Marsha P. Johnson.”
Like Sinnamon Love, India Morel first made a name for herself in porn. She came in at number 3 on Complex magazine’s list of the Top 50 Hottest Porn Stars of All Time, and she’s a multiple AVN-award nominee. Morel —sometimes known simply as India — parlayed her fame as an adult performer into a career in music. She released her solo album “Role Play” on her own label, Black Widow Entertainment and currently hosts Dollhouse Radio online. Morel’s memoir, “Infamous: Memories of a XXX Star” is currently available on her website, indiamorel.com. She’s also written an erotic novel and runs a blog discussing everything from viral videos to the HIV-related shutdown of the porn industry.
Janet Mock is fast becoming one of the best-known advocates for trans rights. She grew up in Hawaii, where she attended the University of Hawaii before moving to New York City to earn her MA in Journalism from NYU. Mock worked as an editor for People.com for five years before devoting her life to writing and activism. She has been honored by the Anti-Violence Project, and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project and serves on the board the Arcus Foundation, which her official biography calls, “a global organization advancing social justice and conservation issues.”
Her recently released memoir “Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love, and So Much More” is a New York Times bestseller, and Mock is currently touring to promote the book. She discussed her experiences with survival sex work for the first time on her blog prior to the book’s release. “At 16 years old, I began trading sex for money. The money I earned I used to pay for the vital medical care my family couldn’t afford,” she begins. “This essay is not a confession. Neither is my book ‘Redefining Realness.’ I do not believe that having engaged in the sex trades or being a former sex worker is a confessional matter.” Mock goes on to explain the socio-economic impetuses that motivate many sex working trans girls of color. Providing options for youth in the sex trade is among the many issues she now advocates for.