Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Pen and The Sword.

A few nights ago I went to an event at The Greene Space - a dialogue with the current residents at the Studio Museum of Harlem.  It was a beautifully produced affair that offered a glimpse into the layered possibility of art making and its ability to be translated into various media.  It also placed me in the orbit of old friends and colleagues.  It's wonderful how those relationships are altered by my own recalibration. Change is good.

As with most events like this one, the 'Let Out' is another social affair.  A quick catch up, a schmooze fest, fashion show and critical discourse all rolled into one - I occasioned to speak with the ever funktastic  Zenobia Bailey on the walk to Lupe's.  Our conversation veered into the importance of writing and how, in many ways, the discourse of art by black artists is stymied by the dearth of critical voices, writing from a black perspective.  I reached out to a few critical thinkers to get the skinny on those writers who are hard at work carving out these spaces, echoing in the void. Here's to the first in a series that highlights their efforts.

--- Click IMAGE to be directed to the corresponding website. ---

(ARTS.BLACK is a platform for art criticism from black 
perspectives predicated on the belief that art criticism should 
be an accessible dialogue - a tool through which we question, 
celebrate and talk back to the global world of contemporary art.)

(CONTEMPORARY AND - a Platform for international Art 
from African perspectives.)

(Culture Type is an exploration of black art through vintage and 
contemporary books, magazines and catalogs, Culture Type shares 
invaluable interestingness culled from the published record on black art.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


What happened to Sandra Bland?  Why did the court of public opinion investigate Bill Cosby only after Hannibal Buress mentioned those decades old assault allegations in his standup?  What is Missy Elliot doing? Why is there a regressive wage gap between men and women?  How come, in 2013, two thirds of LGBT homicide victims were transgender women of color?  Why did Diane Sawyer clutch her pearls when Ruth Bader Ginsburg suggested that all 9 Supreme Court Justices could be women? Why is Michelle Obama, like, the flyest First Lady, ever?  Why are only 14.2% of the top five leadership positions at the companies in the S&P 500, held by women?  Was Bobbi Kristina murdered? Why is the woman on that subway ad frowning with two lemons and smiling with two grapefruits?  Why they gotta bring citrus into all this? Why is Zora Neale Hurston, one of the most important writers in the history of The United States, buried in an unmarked grave? How come a 6-pack of Hanes women’s white cotton briefs costs $7.24 and dudes can get a 7-pack of white cotton briefs for only 50 cents more? Why does Nicki Manaj think she’s original? Why is 17-year-old Kylie Jenner dating a 25-year-old person?  And, most importantly, 

Tune in on Second Sunday, August 9th
for an all the way live streaming episode of 
#trashDAY with k(Rob) + Doe Derek (4-5pm).

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I Am Not A Nice Girl.

Self Portrait In Hind Sight

I am not a nice girl. I resist the performed ignorance of whiteness and reject blackness-as-victimhood; y’all know what you’re doing and we are strong as hell. My practice is suit of armor, purple velvet cocktail dress, a Tyvek paint suit and a pair of Hanes Her Way period panties, all rolled into one.  There was time where I longed for the conventional, happily applying a packaged set of expectations to my life. But I kept “accidentally” missing the turn at the next light, or oversleeping, overstepping and dining on my own foot.  For sure I wanted to do the “right” thing, because I was raised “right” - all southern fried and sanctified - groomed to be a college educated professional.  But then I dropped out of college and moved to Los Angeles, imagining that I might be a fashion designer, or something more interesting than Gainesville Florida.  At Los Angeles Trade Technical College, I did in fact become a fashion designer. A “nice” one - lots of big & tall menswear, swimsuit cover-ups for elderly ladies, American Apparel skivvies and bedazzled Marc Ecko polo shirts.  I was working for mass-market manufacturers, whose ultimate goal was a Wal-Mart account, while my ultimate goal was to live a chocolate version of Sex In The City.

I am not a nice girl, nor am I chocolate (obvs), but I am the type that will apply to an MFA program without an undergraduate degree.  And, for my first grad school critique, I’ll re-fashion a scrub brush with synthetic blonde hair, and wash the floor with it muttering, “all them fairytale broads had to work!”  Or I’ll couch surf for 13 weeks; call it Art, and then dare you dismiss the performances of domesticity executed by my hosts.  I’ll then make a wearable framework of PVC piping, shroud it in black glitter spandex, give it a drag name and convince friends and strangers to step in inside the box (the booth?) and become CHEEKY LaSHAE: Karaoke Universal.  I’ll even claim a 3½-inch plastic figure, an executive with a briefcase, as my personal totem, using its assumed white male privilege as a reminder of my own. I’ll join an old-made-made-new obsession with booty shaking (via YouTube vortex) and reframe it from an ass-eye perspective. On my birthday.  Uncle Luke would be proud. And of course, urban fiction is art material - Jesus Be A Lacefront and Baby Daddy Knows Best 3.

Nice girls don’t fart in office chairs.  They don’t critique large-scale sculptures covered in sugar or question online petitions against critic Ken Johnson.  Nice girls aren’t studio squatters or YMCA shower-ers.  They don’t write muthafucka in artist statements.  Nice girls don’t realize that a booking number is mostly an intended consequence of economic circumstance and skin color, not criminality.  Nice girls don’t resist categorization, nor do they vocalize that the notion of competition between artists is hooey - like comparing apples to orangutans.  But the woman I am is nothing nice.  I actually believe I have an important job to do while on this planet.  Living a willful life, doing what I most want to do, per Zora, Ida, Audre and Rita and Lindsey.  It feels like a hero’s journey and heroes aren’t nice. They are valiant, truthful, tenacious, teachable, collaborative and resourceful.  Slaying the Minotaur by following a singular thread.  All of my makings and markings and fartings are in fact a string pulled real tight.  On a bow, for the arrow. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


In the midst of prepping the #WHITEMANINMYPOCKET for 'mass" production, I've experimenting with print making.  Some of the results are below.

A Lover I Once Had
(tempera on paper 
with brass brads)


Bamboo Blocks
(ink and tempera 
on photo paper)


(ink and tempera 
on photo paper)


(tempera and cut 
paper on paper)

Friday, November 28, 2014


"Our entire pattern of socio-sexual interaction is non-existent here. The Gethenians do not see one another as men or women.  This is almost impossible for our imaginations to accept.  After all, what is the first question we ask about a newborn baby?

Yet you cannot think of a Gethenian as "it".  They are
not neuters.  They are potentials; during each sexual
cycle they may develop in either direction for the dur-
ation of that cycle.  No physiological habit is estab-
lished, and the mother of several children may be the
father of several more.

There is no divison of humanity into strong and weak
halves, protected/protective.  One is respected and
judged only as a human being.  You cannot cast a 
Gethenian in the role of Man or Woman, while adopt-
ing towards "him" a corresponding role dependent on 
your expectations of the interactions between persons
of the same or opposite sex.  It is an appalling experi-
ence for a Teran..."

- from The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin (or a Sacred Text of CHEEKY LaSHAE)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


A work for collaborative performance by Kenya (Robinson)

Questions are the entry point for human creativity. This search - for the whys and hows; and the whos and whats - has inspired everything from scientific discoveries to spiritual quests. But most importantly, young humans explore their new world by questioning and building a sense of themselves, by collecting answers, or,  making them up as stories. Vivian Gussin Paley suggests that stories are simply “play in narrative form”. I would like to test this conceit by creating a series of bilingual play workshops that use the cultural histories of particular geographic spaces, and Black folktales from the Americas, as material for storymaking.

(Basically though, I want to learn to speak Spanish.  I think that testing my skills in the context of early childhood is a worthwhile pursuit - AND I get to emphasize the material of identity. Which is a main thrust of my artistic practice anyway...  Identity is not this static thing but a notion of fluidity that connects us with others.)

For the purposes of this project I've identified 4 storymaking tools:
  1. ORIGIN: "In comic book terminology, an origin story is an account or back-story revealing how a character or team gained their superpowers and/or the circumstances under which they became superheroes or supervillainsIn order to keep their characters current, comic book companies, as well as cartoon companies, game companies, children's show companies, and toy companies, frequently rewrite the origins of their oldest characters. This goes from adding details that do not contradict earlier facts to a totally new origin which make it seem that it is an altogether different character. "Origin story" or pourquoi story is also a term used in the study of myths. It can refer to narratives of how the world began, how creatures and plants came into existence, and why certain things in the cosmos have certain qualities."
  2. METAPHOR:  "metaphor is a figure of speech that identifies one thing as being the same as some unrelated other thing, thus strongly implying the similarities between the two. It is therefore considered more rhetorically powerful than a simile. While a simile compares two items, a metaphor directly equates them, and so does not apply any words of comparison, such as "like" or "as." Metaphor is a type of analogy and is closely related to other rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via association, comparison or resemblance including allegoryhyperbole, and simile."
  3. EXAGGERATION: "Exaggeration is a representation of something in an excessive manner. The exaggerator has been a familiar figure in Western culture since at least Aristotle's discussion of the alazon: 'the boaster is regarded as one who pretends to have distinguished qualities which he possesses either not at all or to a lesser degree than he pretends...exaggerating'."
  4. ACTION:  "Action is the mode fiction writers use to show what is happening at any given moment in the story," states Evan Marshall (Marshall 1998, p. 142). Jessica Page Morrelllists action as one of six delivery modes (Morrell 2006, p. 127). According to Jordan E. Rosenfeld, action scenes help the " . . . reader to feel he is participating in the events . . . " (2008 Rosenfeld, p. 173). Although action is widely used in fiction, the most-effective techniques for its presentation are a subject of ongoing discussion."