Next Steps

I have made to decision to cease posting on my The Many Black Histories page on Facebook.

It is not that I am disinterested in Black History now. The issue is that I have reached a point in my life were I want to look at other areas such as Black people in culture and sport. I am tired of focusing on my people being oppressed – I wish to delight in our triumphs as well. Black Lives Matter but the lives of Black people matter too, if you get what I mean.

So I shan’t focus on Blacks in Burlesque or in the Middle Ages and Early modern period as I did back in the 1990s. I will leave that to the young folks who have taken 25+ years to finally catch up with me.

Instead I want to explore other areas. As I said, I will continue to follow Black performers, artists and athletes. But I like animation, fashion, and culture and would like to look at other peoples like the Indigenous communities of the world as well as African nations, and see what they are doing in those areas today and yesterday.

But note that I will be slowing down. Working a day job has made it such that I can’t pursue a media career I had hoped to. As the days are, I have to be realistic and take my health into account. So my social media will not stop but it will not be as it once was.

Rest assured I will still be posting on Facebook and occasionally on Instagram. I will copy my blog posts to FB and set up my blog so that you can sign up to get notices.

Cheers.

The Menu

One of the things that I really want to do is learn how to cook. I am tired of eating plastic processed food.

So I spent today looking at Black chefs. Here is an interview with Chef Kwame Onwuachi:

Martin

Profound words from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and it makes me reflect on my own seeming silence. Not only on issues of race but on life in general.

I think the real question to ask is who are friends are and less about how silent they are. I must admit that the very term “friend” is overused today, in a casual Facebook/ Twitter/ Instagram/ need-to-prevent-Trump-access way.

But why have I been quiet if not totally silent? Frankly, it is a case of cabin fever brought on by Covid-19 and fatigue brought on from years of speaking out and having people not listen.

Bottom line, I am tired the expectation that, because I am a Black woman, I must live the life of an oppressed person. I know who my friends are, white and BIPoC.

They have not been silent.

Nor will I be.

James Baldwin and Me

I spent #BlackOutTuesday reading the texts of author James Baldwin from the film I am not your Negro.

I have been reflecting how my “slave rebellion” (using Baldwin’s words) will manifest. But his speech in 1974 at Berkeley — warning n***** warheads — had provided me with some direction.

I will no longer be an apologist.

Time to continue work on Black History but add history from within my own life time.

Masterclasses

Likely you have seen those Masterclass (TM) ads on YouTube. Well I have gone to YouTube and have started to use videos of great entertainers – Ella Fitzgerald, Shirley Bassey, Pearl Bailey – to create a Masterclass series for me to follow.

Here is a video of an interview of Eartha Kitt. I must admit that I had a feeling of “Been there, done that” when she talks about her Paris debut.

Black History in Scotland ep 1

This was a “you’re kidding me moment”. I knew that Black people lived in Scotland in Roman times but I knew nothing else. Fascinating stuff! I will post the other episodes in future.

Episode 1, The Invisible Man
Episode 1 of 7 Billy Kay explores Scotland’s contact with Africa and people of African origin from Roman times to the modern day. Revised repeat of the ground-breaking 6 part series from 2003. BBC Radio Scotland.

Thinking ahead

The only thing I am really craving while in self-isolation is a chocolate chip cookie.

But after two days of goofing off online (there was hard work before that, honestly!) , it is time to think ahead.

I have had friends offering me ideas of what I could do to increase my income. In truth, I have many things on the go but I could use help with the following:

One:
Contact information for Parents Groups and Heads of History/Social Studies in Toronto schools. I mean to start pitching The Many Black Histories program (including my new Black Inventors program for STEAM) the minute schools reopen.

Two:
A publisher for my upcoming memoir – Spare me: as if being a Black woman wasn’t enough. The publisher needs to be race and queer centered but big enough to provide tour support (in conjunction with arts funding… hey, I can hope)

Three:
Spaces and clients for my “Come dancing” classes. I have body positive classes as well as corporate appropriate classes for leadership and management. I’m good for weddings, festivals and conferences as of the fall or whenever the veil clears.

Coronavirus-19 is not stopping me

The pandemic, and the state of emergency in Ontario,   has shut every venue I work for down – from schools to clubs to conferences. At the moment I am living on my savings and can hold until August.

But there is much to do.

I am creating a history presentation for schools on Black Scientists and Inventors. I am working on an heritage grant to present Black history in Toronto. And, performer that I am, I am looking to do singing and storytelling gigs in the fall/winter.

So while I am staying home, I am hard at work!

Mystery? How so?

So the AGO got a new painting. .

“This painting of a mystery woman challenges what we think we know about european art”.

Spare me.

This not rocket science. You would think AGO had never seen a picture of a Black woman before 1900. It has two already – I wrote an essay on one of them back in the 90s.

At any rate, any historical re-enactor can look at this painting and tell you when and where and why. Which is why I have turned to my costuming friends and said, “What gives?”

For the article, in question, see:
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/this-painting-of-a-mystery-woman-challenges-what-we-think-we-know-about-european-art-1.5475436?fbclid=IwAR2cCIjWbK8hZ4x46cQAV3rRgQJ5n23RxYyY4sbXvC7KMSwVsYJG5Mca6F0

Aside – is it me would this young woman remind Doctor Who fans of someone?

From The girl in the fireplace