For Mature Audiences Only by celeny gonzalez

Childish Gambino’s video release for “This is America” is a visual statement on being black and on the perception of being black in America. It is important, strategic, and unfortunately not new. Gambino’s dancing declaration is a reminder of the constant tension of otherness/blackness imposed on the black image in America. In the time when Kanye West has been renamed “Kyle Billy Westford” because of his outlandish commentary, abrasive Trump support, and disregard to the severity of slavery, Gambino couldn’t have arrived at a better moment.

Gambino begins with the singular, slightly awkward but raw black body, in all its magnificent multitude of expressions. It has a tone of almost an homage to the black man seen throughout media and marketing, all in one. He creates a visual timeline of sorts where we are confronted with the beloved musician, a hateful attack, killings; unjustified and never punished, the exposed skin, and the vulnerable disposition. Let’s add the dancing children and eerily joyful presence they bring. This shows glimpses (or maybe it’s a mockery?) of the black man in performance art: the smiling, the frightened, the angry, the flamboyant, thuggish, educated negro... Indeed, what else are we allowed to be?

With all things considered, this is an exceptional performance from Gambino and should receive many praises. Gambino manipulates movement in the starkly grey parking lot that continues to give us complimentary images of the black experience in America in the back and foreground. The gospel choir plays a number and the children’s dance begins to make it rain. It’s a compilation of the blackness in media, culture, the clubs and we are here for it. Because blackness is American.

A century earlier a female writer announced as much:

“I have no separate feeling about being an American citizen and colored. I am merely a fragment of the Great Soul that surges within the boundaries. My country, right or wrong”

- Zora Neale Hurston, “How it feels to Be Colored Me”

What is Gambino saying? One and the same as Hurston, yet it simultaneously feels like a challenge. He wants us to push back on this black image, to see it as a mirage of the blurred realty social media imposes on our views of ourselves, and our ethics.

But is it different? I visited a plantation last weekend in Louisiana; one of the things the tour guide mentioned was public violence. Specifically, how violence was carried publicly as a warning not only for the individual but for the community as a whole. Some of the harshest punishments were reserved for those who tried to escaped or rebel against the crop owners. The narrative may phonetically sound different but the voice is the same throughout the entire period of our truths (370 people have already been shot and killed by police in 2018). Let’s examine history: in 2015, 99% of cases that involved an officer being convicted of a crime were not resolved, there was no accountability. Gambino is shedding light on a repeated offense: black bodies being shot and nothing is changing. Indeed, this is AmeriKKKa.

Perhaps what Gambino proposes is a new vision of the black individual; not Kanye’s absurd colorblindness but one where there is no fear, no running for ones’ lives; a declaration of dance, yes, a new revolution on running shoes, but more importantly, a space to analyze these repeated caricatures found in media and see their influence for what it is. We need to find a new look for them and a new outlook for ourselves. And ultimately love in justice.

The intolerable alphabet of a dramatic and traumatized womyn of color by celeny gonzalez

 

 

Act

Action  

Accommodations 

 

Bodies 

Blood

Bath

 

Consistent

Cut

Child

 

Defeat

Desire

Depletion

 

Ethics

Equality

Eat

 

Fixture

Fast

Fathom

 

Go

Get

Gone

 

Hero

Hurt

Hollow

 

Intuition 

Ingite

Indifferent 

 

Jail

Jagged 

Justice

 

Killings 

Keep 

Knowledge 

 

Lost

Loose

Love

 

Much

More

Madness

 

Naked

Natural

Nocturnal

 

Open

Oppressed 

Oh

 

Please 

People

Policing 

 

Quite 

Quiet

Quick

 

Rest

Release

Restrict

 

Survive

Sex

Surrender

 

Tame

Thighs

Temper

 

U

Until 

Us 

 

Vacate

Vacant 

Vaccinate

 

Wild

Without 

Winter 

 

Xoxo 

Xenophobia 

X

 

Yearn

Yes

You

 

Zero 

Zeal

Zenith

 

 

 

 

Industria 167 apt01/ Animas y Trocadero. by celeny gonzalez

 

Tu dices: 

“La fiesta en casa recuerda que es de “Traje”. Nos vemos. Besos en todo tu cuerpo.” 

“El futuro persigue al tiempo, saber que el presente es concebido para ti, acaso porque existimos o acaso porque los acasos son hechos para el horizonte, donde se gastan los aciertos? acaso en tu saberes.” 
-(3:15 pm)

“Todos esos momentos los quiero vivir contigo salir juntos compartir nuestros universos nunca te mentí eres muy especial para mi espero puedas sentirlo”
-(7:44 pm) 

“Extraña es la naturaleza humana pensamientos volatiles condensan el espacio en que no estas me he dilatado las pupilas mas solo puedo ver tu luz dentro de mi.”
-(12:33 pm) 

Yo respondo: 

Si? 
………si. 

No negas en darme el si.

Hablamos con palabras y sin movimientos (en el principio) usamos mentiras como arma, para protejenos de la verdad. 

Sabemos
sin
saber
que
el
futuro
ya
se
sabe 

“dale-dale mami” y “ay, que rico” me dices con unos deseos que no reconozco ….esto no es la realidad ni es un sueno es un intercambio entre ambos mundos. Caminamos las playas de mi cuerpo y bailáramos en el rincón de mi cintura.  Me hablas y me dices nada.  Nada que puedo oír en el sentimiento y 1/4 de mi corazón. El ocupante es otro y el me domina pero en esto sentido tu atravesado a otro reino, uno que solo tu puedes entrar. Lagrimas cae de mi ojo izquierda pero no te das cuenta. 

“Pero que dieran de mi, tengo un amor de pasión, por eso que al otro yo no le puedo dar el si” 

La problema es, que no te creo. 
-todo lo que dices me suena como susurros de lava que queman.. 
-como buitres de la plaza de la revolución que vuelan esperando para la próxima cena. 
-vuela, vuela

Deseo ser:
—transparente y verdadero. 


 

Saper Vedere (Learning to see) by celeny gonzalez


Swayed and swooning through the jet black crowd of onlookers

she danced

heat arose

step by step to the somber tune in her heart

she played.

Pushing and expanding

a morphing of liquids materialized,

white forms of foam settle in

over a black molasses tree

 infinitely similar to,

coffee = light and sweet,

turn the spoon

settle in the sediment.

 Threatening to leave just two days before,

(luggage still in tow)

they kissed

"Melodiousness" had arrived.

Clouds merged, clocks ticked, newspaper printers clicked..

in that instant the spectator would believe to know the meaning of love.

Their songs transfer to final destinations

they delicately skipped and furiously stomped upon petals of wisteria

Sending blows of gray smoke and fairies dust over the party favors and obituaries.

Two in one:

far more intensifying and cruel than its counterpart: one in two

*eclipsed yet apart*

_---------------------------------------------------------_

 Without the knowledge of scientific terms,

How can one explain the beauty of shadows?

How does one see while looking?

To see is to experience the unseen

Is this emergence physical?

 (or)

Worlds were built

While they stared into their own images

Transfixed upon the unreal and unknown

Rooms with storage held spaces for unoccupied applicants

And all the while they watched their own

From the groin to the ground, walls were created to maintain purpose

From the chin to the chairs, everything disturbed nothing

From the ceiling to their hearts, boundaries initiated spasms of disruption

(meanwhile) 

She speaks in volumes of daggers and spears thrown from a soft place full of illusions and fears

She means no harm just a reminder of a hurt that stems from within her

from her place of birth (birthplace?)

accelerating into disappearance (age?)

 Forgive or warp her

Leave or seduce her

Love or destroy her

Just make sure you look.

 

 

Refugee's Refusal by celeny gonzalez

 

 

 

Imagine receiving news that everything you know and love will forcibly be taken away from you. Or imagine not receiving any news and have no choice but to pick up what you can and move to a foreign location, forever. What do you do if your home is in danger of sinking or if fresh water becomes a scarcity? The earth’s climate is shifting due to global warming and as stated in the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees website, an estimated “250 million people will be displaced by the middle of this century as a result of extreme weather conditions, dwindling water reserves and a degradation of agricultural land.” The deputy of High Commissioner of Refugees, Johnstone stressed the issue in a two-week UN Climate Change Conference in 2008 stating, “The most important issue is mitigation by reducing greenhouse gases. The second line of action is adaptation to climate change, as promoted by development agencies”. To this he added, “But if these fail, we need to anticipate the humanitarian response. And this is still missing in the debate.” That is to say, a debate which will properly frame the problem and as a result provide concrete forms of action.

 

The term “environmental refugee” was first used by an environmental analyst Lester Brown in 1976 and then by Essam El- Hinnawi from the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) in 1982. The expression has been used to describe the inevitable and concerning dilemma of forced migration due to environmental change. Other names include: “climate refugees, environmentally displaced person, disaster refugee, and environmental migrant.” According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), whose main focus is to assist and promote safe and humane resettlement of refugees on an international scale since WWII, the definition of “environmental migrant” is the following: “Environmental migrants are persons or groups of persons who, for compelling reasons of sudden or progressive changes in the environment that adversely affect their lives or living conditions, are obliged to leave their habitual homes, or choose to do so, either temporarily or permanently, and who move either within their country or abroad.” This working definition embodies people who are displaced by natural catastrophes such as tornados, tsunamis, and earthquakes, as well as those who choose to move from their location because of diminishing atmospheric conditions such as water droughts. This definition is used when negotiating new spaces for resettlement and policymaking on a governmental level.

 

With natural events happening in the United States and globally almost daily, it is no wonder that this concept is being put into practice and new assessments are being made to adapt and lessen the affects of global warming. As a result, the UNEP and World Meteorological Organization (WMO) developed an international body for climate assessment called The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which released a report in 2007 offering strategies to manage and prevent the impacts of weather and climate based events. One example I found to be simple, effective, and important was in the water sector. With fresh water taking up a total of 2.5 % on a global scale, there is no question as to         why this is an important conversation to have. IPCC planned adaptations include expanding rainwater harvesting: “water storage and conservation techniques; water re-use; desalination; water-use and irrigation efficiency by creating an integration system.” Moreover, with the recent discussions on California’s water drought, there is no reason not to collectively work towards water management. This is just one aspect of issues concerning global warming. Water, of course, is vital to our existence and is equally important as food production, another sector of great value mentioned in the report, i.e. the agriculture.

 

With corporations globally capitalizing on food production, land use and food growth has become standardized for quantitative value. Standardization of any kind is an extremely problematic discourse that highlights how negatively society views “the other” and how language, policy, and decision makers gleam little light on the complexities of human existence different than their own. Instead of just food policies, a reflexive approach to food justice would involve long-term structure (i.e. intelligent community driven food design) which could link multi-dimensions of hierarchy, place making, communities and corporations together and as a result end the asymmetrical and misguided food distribution. Hence, developing a thorough agenda that is local, regional, cultural and global is essential. On the one hand, the monarchial corporate food regime is one-sighted, especially in public global policy initiatives. This is a macro level problem, which involves large sums of money and few competitors. On the other hand, the cultural and social implications of the food distribution cause more harm then good. In other words, the commonly used quick fix approach to hunger often leaves those suffering with even more hunger. Creating adjustments for crops, land management, erosion control and soil protection, away from the neoliberal private sector, could therefore lead to longer growing seasons.

 

So, what have we learned? If we save rainwater and plant and grow locally, in an ecological way, the UN might consider us humanitarian? Well, not really. This could be a great start but the issue is bigger than that and perhaps if we play our part in the western world, developing countries will not have to suffer as much in face of natural disasters. Because in the end, as far as environment is concerned, there is no west and east, north and south. There is only one globe, and therefore there should be global solutions that apply to everyone.