Monday, September 1, 2014

Grand Duchess Publications: Hood Tales

I fancy myself a bibliophile (I get it from my mama) and I have yet to meet a bookstore I haven't loved.  It's a wonderful problem to have and my eventual nesting impulse is evenly balanced by a need to have a home base and a home for my library.  As illustrated by my love for Strawberry, I do not not have discriminating tastes.  Hood Lit or Ghetto Fiction is a particular pleasure.  And, while some use American Black Vernacular to reveal the nuances of more mainstream classics, I believe that 'Hood Tales' provide and enviable examination of contemporary culture.  My collection and interest in these literary morsels is substantial, so much so that I've included certain details in my creative practice - the latest of which will be on view at Rush Arts come October, via an exhibition entitled GIRL-BYE.  Check below for a sneak peek of Grand Duchess Publications...

(None of the titles are available for download...YET.)


By Yvette Moore

Dorothea Cash, Camille Banks, Evelyn Price and Zenia Benjamin compose the core members of an elite group assembled by the FBI’s CoIntellPro.  Intelligent, charming and stunning - these beauties each has their own terrible secrets – hanging debts now collected by the federal government, in flesh.  Dorothea, the sharecropper’s daughter, is a long way from Mississippi, but the life she longs for is farther than she ever thought possible.   Frustrated by a career in academia that is never to be, Camille uses her brain and body to get what she wants.  Evelyn, of fair skin and straight hair could easily pass into whiteness but a true love keeps her in sepia’s shade.  While Zenia’s past seems to be the only thing she can’t outrun. 
Expertly trained in the seductive arts, their latest targets are a reverend in Atlanta, a community organizer in Harlem, a lawyer in DC and a Hollywood entertainer.    A plan well executed could mean lack of want for the rest of their days, but also the destruction of the most important social movement in U.S. history.  But what happens when fate brings four women together and they realize that any true happiness has a legacy?

Historical fiction


By Shavonté Cheek

The year is 2050 and Florida has been transformed into an armory pleasure dome.  Airports, hospitals, schools, strip clubs and theme parks throughout the state are the only places that require checking your weapon.  Church tithes can be remitted via cases of ammunition and all matriculating students must pass a gun safety and target test for admission.   It is state law.  The T. Martin Statue, passed in 2025, stipulates that vehicle and gun registration are mutually contingent.  Eligibility of gun registration is determined by the legal acquisition of a gun by the applicant’s paternal grandfather.
There have been many deaths.

Ballistics expert Cassandra John loves the science of guns.  A veteran of the Miami-Dade Police department she has served with pride for nearly 30 years.  Her son Trayvon would have turned 30 this year, along with Michael who would’ve been 27 and, her baby, Sean, who might been gearing up for college if his daddy’s father hadn’t been a preacher and a pacifist. 

They are all dead.

But she and her husband Matthew live with the sorrow…
…and the technology to make a body a weapon.

Science Fiction


D’aquarius Smithson

Pop Duwop is a midmarket superstar who has never encountered a problem with the ladies that he couldn’t solve with a heavy dose of the “d”.  A two hit wonder, Pop Duwop, has shrewdly managed to parlay his success into neighborhood chicken joints, cell phone emporiums and strip clubs; all while racking up an impressive harem of 11 baby mamas.  Latoya, Diamond, Precious, Stephanie, Mercedes, Wanda, Michelle, Porsha, Taj’ee, Ursula and Kelendria have become sister wives of a sort, bound together by a love for their patchwork family and a collective desire to give their 13 children the best life possible.  But the annual baby-mamas’-only-trip to Anguilla ends in tragedy - the result of an overloaded aircraft.

Now Duwop is a full time Pop.  Can he handle the rigors of fatherhood without adding another member to the tribe? 


By Princess L. Wallace

It’s Minneapolis, but this ain’t no escapade.

Shirelle “Belle” White and Denise “Niecy” Adams have been sisters in style since they first put scissors to a Dreamdate Barbie.  Growing their business from kitchen sinks, to garage washbowls, to a full service salon frequented by the most discriminating clientele; they’ve enjoyed local celebrity and an impressive cash flow.  But ambition runs deep and these two will stop at nothing to make Belle & Niecy’s a global brand. 

Their latest venture is a range of hairpieces and lacefront wigs handcrafted from human hair of impeccable quality.  These natural blond bundles require no extra processing to achieve its luxurious golden shade. Their sources are a mystery – a heavily guarded trade secret, but there have been a rash of missing person reports.  Mostly white, young and male.  And rich.  Very rich.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Artist Statement, No. 032714

I have been blessed with the privilege of blackness and femaleness, and sometimes, queerness on Karaoke Thursdays, or even on a regular Monday when the Rainbow is Enuf. My neighbors-in-otherness, borrowing sass and sugar from next door to spice the "T" we can all serve on the regular. I am fiscally a member of the working poor and culturally a member of the shrinking middle class. A graduate of an Ivy League University, I am also a college dropout. Go figure.
But ultimately I am an artist whose personal contradictions are not simply confusing, but fodder for my in-and-out-of-studio practice. I use social media, the comment thread cacophony of 'the internets', google alerts, information doppelgangers, contact microphones, contact paper, oil pastels, corduroy crotch shots, chalk, ink, combs, plastic action figures, the mythologies of identity and blonde hair as material to create experiences. Someone once told me that I was "all sparkle and no substance". I was so shocked at it's timing that it took nearly two hours before the tears fell, but now I think it a fitting description. You can't hold love in your hand either. And that's what I'm really serving. All "T", no shade.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What a Privilege To Carry...

Why do we equate a relief of responsibility with artistic freedom?  What if serving as a spokesperson for other HUMANS (regardless of the many fictions of identity) was viewed as a privilege? What if we considered creative practice as necessarily transcendent and universal by default?  What if someone, who does not identify as white or male, was relatively unconcerned with the modes of practice or how whitemen were viewed by an audience?  What if all the aspects of identity that are described as "lesser", "oppressed", "minority", "black", "child", "female", "trans", "gay", etc. were exalted in status, and, in fact a privilege to carry?