Sweet Tea Recommends

Here are some great books, and movies that many of us suggest! Check em out!

* No – Aishah Shahidah Simmons. Produced and Directed over a period of eleven years, seven of which were full time, by Aishah Shahidah Simmons, an incest and rape survivor, this groundbreaking feature length documentary features riveting testimonials from Black women rape survivor stories who defy victimization. Impacting archival footage, spirited music, transformational dance, and performances from award-winning poets take viewers on a journey from enslavement of African people in the United States through present day.

* Will To Change- bell hooks . A fierce exploration of Patriarchy and the role in plays in black men’s lives. A provocative look at how Patriarchy informs the sexual development of black men, she also provides a sound critique of Popular Culture, and provides the blueprints for a more progressive form of masculinity.

*Creating True Peace: Ending Violence in your community, your family and your self by Thich Nhat Hahn

* The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Goddess by Starhawk

*This Bridge Called My Back– Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua. One of the earliest comprehensive collections of women of color defining feminism-a must! Includes work by Pat Parker, Hattie Gossett, Audre Lorde and Merle Woo.

* Sister Outsider By Audre Lorde

*The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron

*Come Out Fighting-A Century of Essential Writing on Gay & Lesbian Liberation-edited by Chris Bull Includes work by phenomenal lesbian feminists like Adrienne Rich, Rita Mae Brown who provides critiques of arrant sexism in gay movements of 60’s and 70’s. in the 1969 “a gay manifesto”; Cherie Moraga uses family narratives in asserting her identity as a Chicana Lesbian; Carl Wittman, a white gay man advocates for gay activism to address its racism/sexism; build coalitions with other liberation movements; and resist assimilationist approaches to liberation.

*A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

*Deals with the Devil and Other Reasons to Riot-Pearl Cleage. A collection of essays by local feminist playwright/essayist/novelist. “Fatal Floozies” and “Mad at Miles” are particular gems. Cleage’s work from a personal frame articulates collective struggles of black women claiming voice, sexual agency, calling out the abuse of black men, betraying the nationalistic silence

*Are we not men?: Masculine Anxiety and the Problem of African American Identity-Does an amazing job in these analytical interrogations of “masculinism” and black culture illuminating the tensions regarding racial authenticity and gender performance. he goes very deep and broad.

* In Search of our Mothers Gardens By Alice Walker

*Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies and Bucks-Donald Bogle. Donald Bogle pays attention to the dynamics of gender and race—while he might not use the term ‘patriarchy” his deconstruction of black archetypes (female and male) and the constrictions imposed on the lives/careers of black female entertainers demonstrates how patriarchy operates throughout cultural industries and our constructions of women’s roles.

*Sunday You Learn How to Box- Bil Wright. Covers the imposition of gender prison on young boys, the class and gender-related barriers faced by his mother, and the hyper-masculine oppressiveness of the stepfather. An example of an accessible narrative that shows the pervasive nature of gender oppression.

*Nickel and Dimed– Barbara Ehrenreich –Addresses poverty/class oppression/sexism through feminist framework how poverty lands on women

*Traps : African American Men on Gender and Sexualityby Rudolph P. Byrd and Beverly Guy-Sheftall. From Frederick Douglas’ “I am a radical women suffrage man” to James Baldwin’s “here be dragons”, anthology includes overlapping generations of black men writing about gender, sexuality, and race. Sections include disloyalty to patriarchy: resisting sexism which includes a bayard rustin piece “feminism and equality”; and meditations: making meaning out of masculinity.

*SPELLS OF A VOODOO DOLL by Assotto Saint. This is a collection of poems, essays, lyrics, and performance texts by one of the founders of the Other Countries Collective. Haitian-American Assotto Saint was one of the strongest voices of the emerging black gay men’s literary movement in the 1980’s and 90’s. He was a popular performance artist in New York and promoted the work of black gay male writers through two ground breaking anthologies, THE ROAD BEFORE US and HERE TO DARE. He was radical in his questioning of patriarchy and gender roles and was an activist in fighting for funding and services for people living with HIV/AIDS, the disease the killed him in 1994.

*BLOSSOM OF BONE by Randy P. Conner. Conner was very much influenced by the Radical Faerie Movement in his work on the connections between gayness and spirituality. He explores how gender variant men and women served in spiritual roles in ancient and indigenous cultures. His work here is extended in CASSELL’S ENCYCLOPEDIA OF QUEER MYTH,SYMBOL AND SPIRIT which he co-edited with David and Mariya Sparks

*BOYHOOD: GROWING UP MALE– edited by Franklin Abbott. The boyhood anthology was originally published in 1993 by the Crossing Press which published Abbott’s first two anthologies, NEW MEN, NEW MINDS; BREAKING MALE TRADITION (1987) and MEN AND INTIMACY (1990). All three anthologies brought together men of various backgrounds and ages to discuss the construction of masculinity. Among the gay men who contributed are Essex Hemphill, Joseph Beam, James Broughton, Harry Hay, Assotto Saint, Carlos Velazquez, Rakesh Ratti, and Edward Field. The journals RFD and CHANGING MEN provided many of the pieces that appear in these anthologies.

* Brother To Brother- by Joseph Beam and Essex Hemphill. Writings by Black gay men – an empowering document that enables us to totally confront and reconcile the beauty of our sexuality, laying open the doors for us to confront our latent patriarchy, sexism, and explore how these oppressions intersect

* One More River to Cross: Black & Gay in America by Keith Boykin. A declarative and exploratory treatise on what it means to be both Black and gay in contemporary society. Again, it serves as a metaphorical preface to investigation into the patriarchy of queer Black men.

*Justice, Gender, and the Family by Susan Moller Okin. An academic treatise on the role of women in contemporary theories of justice. While it’s not technically concerned with the plight of Black queer people (or queer people at all), it is one of the best illustrations of the socio-political defense of feminism ever offered as one of the first political texts to explain why the “personal is political.”

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