Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fortune Most Powerful Women Virtual Conference [Free]

The Summit is having its 12th annual women leaders conference and Fortune is bringing it to the masses via the web this year. These women are leading figures in business, government, academia, philanthropy, and the arts. As a TIME subscriber, I was able to register free. I'm not sure if it will cost others or if it is closed to others, but it's worth a looking-into.

Viewers will be able to ask questions and chat with one another. It takes place on Oct. 5th. Space is limited, so don't dally!

Info and Registration

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Can You Smell It? (From J.Crew to JCPenny)

Fall is in the air! How sweet it is. Cause you know what that means... SWEATERS AND SCARVES! And as much as I'd love for my budget to allow some J.Crew into my life... it's just not going to happen this season. Or anytime soon, for that matter.


And suprisingly enough, the JCPenny and Macy's over at Northlake Mall (Atlanta) had some interesting selections. Granted I didn't try anything on, but there were a little more than a few items that caught my eye. Perhaps I'll be able to grab something affordable to satisfy my consumer bug for the season. We'll see.


Hi, everyone. My name is Lady and I'm a labelphobe.

It started at a pretty young age, actually. You see, I was a victim. My earliest memory is probably the first grade. My mom had just gotten me these fly, new black Reeboks, and everyone was just jealous. Seriously. Even the upper class girls took a moment to call me a boy. I'm pretty sure that's where it all began. Hmmm... Maybe it began in Pre-K. I was digging this cute girl named Rachel. She was latina. I never got the courage to talk to her. It was suspect, I admit... But back to the Reeboks. From then on I didn't want anything to do with what everyone else liked. That really started to manifest in the second grade. Pogs? Fuck pogs. It didn't help that one girl was passing around her chapstick to all the other girls in my class and when I asked if I could have some, she told me to lick my lips... It also didn't help I was the only black girl... that made it hard to determine the real issue. This only further fortified my disdain for the mainstream... and blonds.

By the sixth grade I was a full-blown pariah (Note: to get to this point, I had survived two years of all girl schooling and came out the other side, thankfully, alive). One girl made my awkward disposition painfully clear (yes, I remember her name. She, too, was blond). And I didn't escape her until the 10th grade when I switched schools again. Unfortunately, this wasn't before she made fun of my hairbrush in the gym restroom. The shame of my black beauty products stuck around for a good several years after that. Regardless, I'm farely sure that elementary and middle school served as catalysts to my growing a spine.

Me and my ponytail of 21 years

Thankfully, by late high school pariah's of my nature were cool. And I was able to make friends with the artsy kids... Then college came along and suddenly I was gay (and I mean suddenly). Damn. But as it turned out it's only fitting that I'm a lesbian. Right? I mean, I'm a labelphobe with a finicky distaste for the mainstream. Yeah. Then I delved into the lesbian scene only to find a system of labels never before witnessed by straight mankind. And, ironically, it was the easiest time of my life for me to be me... Lady was simply Lady at that point. Or maybe it's just one of those labels that I'm happy to accept...

Can Tyler Perry Redeem Himself?

I've had this long held opinion that Tyler Perry sucks. The negative sentiments sunk in instantly. I come home, my parents' convince me to watch this "great" movie, and the seeds of severe disapproval were instantly planted. The more Tyler Perry movies I saw (don't ask me why I kept watching), the more I wanted to sucka-punch the man. His movies either play on ridiculous stereotypes to make people laugh, or his movies are about a woman who can't be happy and enjoy life without dick. Well, apparently Perry has gotten his hands on a new project that have anti-TP critics in a stur. It's called For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, based on Ntozake Shange's famed 1979 play of the same title. The play is a series of fervent poems telling stories of issues facing black women, including love, abuse and abandonment. The trailer looks promising, I'll give you that. But I can't put skepticism behind me until after I've seen it. The Nation's Courtney Young puts it well:

"Though Perry repeatedly references his admiration for and allegiance to African-American women as a foundation of his work, his portrayal of women of color undermines the complexity of their experience through his reductionist approach to his characters and his dependence on disquieting gender politics. Perry may see himself as creating modern-day fairy tales for black women, but what he may not realize is that fairy tales, in general, have never been kind to women."

So the question. Does Perry have the skills (or competence) to portray the complex characters in For Colored Girls? Well... here's hoping.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Tumblr Fun

Via treesandair

Let me put it out there since we're on the subject: Tumblr is an LGBTQ playground. I love it! And in my experience, the blogs I've run across are always well done. It's like... people who do Tumblr go big or go home. It's... it's... well, it's fabulous. But of all the LGBTQ/LGBTQ-friendly blogs I've run across, very few have a wonderful QWOC presence (or a colored presence at all... Geez, ladies, really? Are you even trying?). I've just discovered one in particular, so I don't have much else to tell you other than it's well organized with convenient tags, the pics are beautiful, it's sex-positive, and check it out!

sex is not the enemy

And for that matter check out

One Hell of a Tree

Why the hell not?

Happy tumblring.

Nicki Minaj: Hip Hop Oddity

Nicki Minaj is no stranger to that whole Do-You philosophy that I love so much. Minaj made the cover of OUT magazine's September issue and what she had to say comes as no surprise to her fans. “People who like me -- they’ll listen to my music, and they’ll know who I am. I just don’t like that people want you to say what you are, who you are. I just am. I do what the fuck I want to do. [...] The point is, everyone is not black and white. There are so many shades in the middle, and you’ve got to let people feel comfortable with saying what they want to say when they want to say it. I don’t want to feel like I’ve got the gun pointed at my head and you’re about to pull the trigger if I don’t say what you want to hear. I just want to be me and do me.”

Minaj is one of the few rappers to make it to the top while being expressly pro-women at the same time. Needless to say, her gay following is extensive, and she's not ashamed of us. Check out her spread and video interview at OUT.

"I’m plottin’ on how I can take Cassie away from Diddy"  -Nicki Minaj

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Know Your Herstory: Chavela Vargas

Chavela Vargas (Isabel Vargas Lizano, 1919- ) is a Costa Rican born musician known for her passionate love songs. And history points out that Chavela is a romantic herself: she once jumped out of a window out of disappointment behind a woman she loved and has a limp to show for it ever since. When she was fourteen, she made her way to Mexico where she sung in the streets. She began her professional career singing ranchera music in the mid-1950's. And in her adulthood, Chavela cross-dressed and smoked cigars and was not secretive of her love for women. However, it wasn't until the year 2000 that this beloved musician declared in Spain's El Pais, "I’ve had to fight to be myself and to be respected. I'm proud to carry this stigma and call myself a lesbian. I don't boast about it or broadcast it, but I don't deny it. I've had to confront society and the Church, which says that homosexuals are damned. That's absurd. How can someone who's born like this be judged? [...] I didn't attend lesbian classes. No one taught me to be this way. I was born this way, from the moment I opened my eyes in this world. I've never been to bed with a man. Never. That's how pure I am; I have nothing to be ashamed of. My gods made me the way I am."

Chavela Vargas was no stranger to influential figures in Mexico, either. Her most famous relationship was with Frida Kahlo. In fact, she appeared in Frida, starring Selma Hayek, singing La Llorona.

I think the most beautiful thing for me about Chavela is that she was so open in her day and age, and was beloved by Mexico regardless, even if she did play into the masculine-feminine dichotomy. In her performances, she dressed like a man and openly seduced women in the audience. Even when she began recording music in the early 60's, her album covers reflected her masculine aesthetic. In the 70's, she was forced into semi-retirement due to alcoholism, and didn't make a comeback until 1991, when Pedro Almodovar asked her to record a song for one of his films. Today, Chavela resides in Veracruz, Mexico.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The LNF Show is having auditions!

Do you live in the South Florida area and would like to be apart of Lovers & Friends? They are holding auditions tomorrow Sunday Sept 26th. Please inbox them if interested!

Visit The Lovers and Friends Show at:

Friday, September 24, 2010

Pretty Little Liars and It's Queer Little Co-star

Emily and Maya
I don't watch television on television, so bear with me. I'm just hearing of Pretty Little Liars now. And when I watched the first episode, I admit that I wasn't sure if I would make it through the first season. Teenage dramas. Ugh. But anyway, it's an ABC Family show about a group of five friends, how one of them disappeared and their secrets. The more morbid aspects personally saves this show for me (Dexter meets Powerpuff Girls? ...Maybe?). But what excited me the most, the character Emily. You see, Emily's secret is that she likes girls. She's played by Filipina/Irish/Scottish actress Shay Mitchell. And her interest? Maya, played by another beautiful woman of color, actress Bianca Lawson. You get kisses! And you get a relationship between two girls that seems to be coming back for the second season! 

Queer women of color are really gaining face in the media. It's no longer limited to just HBO and Showtime, nor to just adults... nor white women... nor a woman of color with a white woman (not that I'm opposed).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Speaking of Poor Accessibility...

There are TONS of wonderful things by queer women of color out there. But it's so hard to find these girls! And that is why I started this blog... but now I'm frustrated because I find awesome stuff that I don't have access to. Case in point: Pariah. Pariah is a short film directed by Dee Rees that took Sundance Film Festival by storm, and that's only available for academic use (AHEM! All you queer ladies in college studying race/gender/sexuality, listen up!).

Thankfully, Pariah is also set to become a full length feature film. And I hope it makes it there. Maybe I can beg IndieQueer Multicultural Cinema to bring it to Atlanta...

Charmain Johnson: Holding It Down

Charmain Johnson is a name that should be known in every queer woman of color household. And if you've haven't heard it already, you're bound to run across it sooner or later. Charmain is going places but not in mainstream queer culture. She's holding it down for LGBTQ women of color.

Charmain hit the ground running in 2006 with Beyond Black and White: Perspectives on Skin Shades in the African Diaspora. She moved on to more queer things in 2007 with Pieces of a Love Affair, and doesn't seem to be looking back. This short film is about a latina, Toni, and her memories of a love affair she had with another latina. In the same year, The Lovers and Friends Show came to light, and is still rolling. In the works (according to AfterEllen) are two spinoffs. One follows Sasha, Yasmin's closeted, homophobic sister, who moves to Atlanta, and the other stars Holloway (who reminds me of Omar from The Wire in some ways), a lesbian drug-lord who has a tight grip on Kai's baby brother. For a comprehensive list of Charmain's projects, check her out at Insyte Productions.

My only complaint for Charmain is accessibility(!). Charmain, why can't I get my hands on most of your projects?! All I'm saying is that LOGO needs to get its shit together and stop showing RuPaul's Drag Race 24/7 and make room for some QWOC, feel me?

How a Little Makes a Lot

Ever wish you could do more, like volunteer, but just don't have the time? Or wish you could be more of a philanthropist, but your budget just can't handle the added expense? Well, there's a way to make a difference in someone's life and not break your budget or die of exhaustion. It's called Kiva. Kiva is a microloan organization that allows people worldwide to apply for loans to start or further their businesses. Here's where you fit in: you go through Kiva's directory and find someone who you'd like to loan to. You can search by geographical location, gender and industry. Once you've found someone, you loan as little as $25 to them with a click of a button. Then, in small installments, the person (or group) to whom you loaned pays you back. Simple! And in doing so, you relieve financial burdens on impoverished communities by enabling families to become entrepreneurs and to provide services for their communities. A little makes a lot.

Goal Setting

I love beautiful discoveries. Last night, I made the beautiful discovery of finding the blog Zen Habits by Leo Babauta. I'm completing his beginner's guide right now and the first article I read was "10 Benefits of Rising Early and How to Do It." And now I sit here before you, on my balcony in Atlanta, having already been up for nearly two hours with no job to get to (I thought I owed it to myself to at the very least witness my first Georgia sunrise). Then, I read "Get Off Your Butt: 16 Ways to Get Motivated When You're in a Slump." And of course, now I'm all motivated and pumped and junk. My next stop: "The Simple, Ridiculously Useful Guide to Earning a Living from Your Passion." Leo says one way to reach a goal is to announce it to everyone so that you get off your bum and get it done, otherwise, you will feel like an ass for letting everyone down. Here goes!

What I know:
I've wanted to start my own affordable t-shirt line exclusively for women for well over a year now. This t-shirt line would be a stepping stone for other apparel and accessories.

What I'm Doing:
Setting mini-goals (Leo says by setting small goals, you will be less afraid of failure. Eventually, these small goals will add up to big accomplishments. I want to believe the man) in order to reach my ultimate goal (see above).

My Goal:
By the end of October, I want to have sewn one t-shirt. In order to reach this goal, I will need to save up for equipment and materials, as well as conduct the necessary research in sewing t-shirts. This can be done.

There it is, folks! Lady just publicly set a goal. And now I have to reach it... because I'm prideful like that. And this sunrise can do better. Actually, I think my balcony is facing north... I'm missing all the action.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tea and Me

I'm into honesty. I'm so much into honesty that I've been called things like "asshole" or "a mean nice-person." And in the spirit of honesty, I admit that I have an obsessive personality. And I'm not obsessive in a creepy sort of way. It's more of a why-is-Lady-more-interested-in-the-color-of-that-nail-polish-than-this-conversation, or can-Lady-please-stop-talking-about-tea-for-one-goddamn-minute. Some people find it frustrating, others endearing. I try to not let the cute ones know until after they've fallen for me. And the truth is... I really do obsess over intoxicating colors and tea. But I'm not here to talk about color today; I'm here to talk about tea.

The Journey

Lots of queer women love tea. It's not just me. Honest! And for all you ladies who love tea, or even just like tea, I'm about to introduce you to a world of deliciousness neither of us can afford... but that I buy anyway. It's called Samovar. Samovar Tea Lounge in San Francisco turned me from a tea liker to a tea enthusiast. In fact, it was a little fateful. I've only happened upon San Francisco once, and in that time, the older sister of one of my besties was telling me about this cool, overpriced restaurant sitting above Yerba Buena Gardens (gorgeous) that she enjoyed. A couple months later, I was rumaging through my parents' pantry and found a bag of farm fresh Iron Goddess of Mercy that my brother had brought back from China. It tasted like spring morning. Right then and there, I decided to kick the Coca-Cola habit and drink tea (and failed... Hey, it happens. I drink both). In my search to find a tea that compared, I was lucky. I decided to go with this company I found online which turned out to be the restaurant my friend's sister was telling me about. It didn't take me long to make the connection. And I've yet to find a more superior tea in the United States (nor has any tea topped the chinese tea from my parents' pantry. Did I mention it had been sitting there two years, unsealed and everything? It was probably stale... and still amazing).

It's hard with tea because quality is determined by leaf size, not by how delicious the tea will be when brewed. You can have a canister of beautiful, consistent whole-leaf tea, but if it wasn't stored properly, it can be insipid and stale (ahem, Teavana). So, finding a tea company you can trust can be a pricey endeavor. But for the health benefits you're getting, it's worth the investment.

Health Benefits

There are a ton of resources online about the ridiculous health benefits to drinking tea. So, I'm not going to go into detail about how the stuff damn near cures cancer. But it's important to know that the tea that offers abundant health benefits doesn't come bagged for your steeping convenience. I know. Lame-sauce. The higher the quality of the tea (meaning the size of the leaf), the more health benefits you'll get. And if you've noticed, the tea that come in baggies don't look like leaves at all, and in the world of tea, it's called dust. During the processing of tea, the leaves are separated according to size and graded as such. The biggest, most whole leaves are premium, and this goes all the way down to the lowest quality, called dust. The dust is what goes into your grocery store bagged teas. So if you're drinking tea for more than just the taste, this is something you might want to consider.

Another thing to consider when drinking tea is caffeine-free tea. Let's get something straight, all tea is naturally caffeinated. The only tea that is naturally decaf is herbal... and herbal teas technically aren't tea; they're twigs and berries (and also extremely good for you). So when a tea (i.e., black, oolong, green, white) says it's decaf, it has been exposed to chemicals to remove the caffeine. Black teas tend to have your highest caffeine levels, oolong and green teas are spread across the middle, and white teas have very low caffeine levels.

Happy drinking.

DADT: Senate Vote Strikes a Blow

Today the Senate voted 56(in favor)-43(opposed), blocking debate over the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in the military, established in 1993. The senate needed 60 votes to move the measure along, and there are 59 senators in the Democratic caucus (hmmm). And that's not all! The vote was also for the Dream Act. Make that a double blow. Ken Williams of San Diego Gay & Lesbian News put it well, "both sides of the isle played politics at the expense of equal rights." And what an age old story that is. Too bad you have to play their game to get a seat. Nevertheless, liberals and LGBTQ community leaders seem to be confident that it's only a matter of time before the policy is repealed. And I am confident the more adamant the  LGBTQ community and allies are, the more people will yield to hatred, and let us live our lives like everyone else.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Brownie Points: Rasheeda

"Hey! Do you!" -Rasheeda

I can't say I dig Rasheeda's music. Dirty South rap has never done it for me. But I will say that I dig Rasheeda. An open and active LGBTQ community ally, this southern diva dares to be herself, and doesn't give a damn about the rest. She's had numerous Pride performances across the country, participated in the NOH8 campaign, and was even interviewed by Autostraddle.

Do you, Rasheeda. Do you.


Wait... wait wait wait...

Queer Women of Color socialize in Boston

During my foray in the Northeast, there are a number of things I didn’t take advantage of that I wish I did. The number one thing I let slip by: QWOC+Boston. QWOC+Boston is exactly what you’re thinking, an LGBTQ+Allies social organization specifically for queer women of color. There are a number of reasons I didn’t make it to any of their events: I worked full time with few vacations, you have to RSVP (I’m not one to plan ahead), many of their events aren’t free, and I really had no one to go with and wasn’t brave enough to go alone. But if you live in the Boston area (residents of nearby cities included!), you should not be like me, and actually stop on by! The level of organization and visibility of this group is admirable and refreshing. You go, girls!

Check out QWOC+Boston’s website for events and volunteer opportunities!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fashion Integrity: Socks

It's important to have fashion integrity. I know this because fashion designers have fashion integrity. Have you ever noticed that the most fabulous textiles are reserved for the lining to your jeans' pockets or your coat? Go into your closet and flip all your pockets inside out and look at the lining of your coats and tell me if many of them have something funky going on in there. Funky in a good way.

Well, ladies, it's also important for us to have fashion integrity, too... not just our pockets. Socks are an essential element to a snazzy gettup. (Underwear can slide. We can't always have bangin' underwear and your favorite pair probably look a hot mess.) When I'm dressing myself in the morning, sometimes I'll pick out an entire outfit around a pair of socks. Socks are fabulous. And rarely are white socks acceptable. When it comes to socks... there are no excuses.

That's not to say a good pair of foot huggers are easy to come by. There are a few risks you run to owning edgy socks. One, if you're feet are like mine and they wear socks down like sandpaper, the delicate socks with the groovy colors aren't going to last unless you have a rock solid sock rotation regimen (lol). Two, edgy socks aren't the status quo, and therefore, tend to be a bit more expensive (thank goodness for T.J.Maxx, Marshalls and department stores). But! If your shoe size is an 8 or larger, the world of men's socks is open to you! And boy do they have a lot to offer. My recent sock find was from Macy's, and though it cost me $18 for a pack of six, they have thick, cushy soles and feel wonderful on my feet!

Treat Others How You'd Like to be Treated: a Case for Islam

It’s funny how black and latino gangs reflect on the black and latino races as a whole… or how Muslim extremists can wreak havoc on American soil and it reflects on all Muslims (American Muslims included)… but when white kids shoot up schools, ushering in widespread paranoia, it reflects only on the individual. White kids don’t suddenly become deemed psychologically unstable. People aren’t suddenly calling to crack down on “these crazy white kids.” White youth aren’t being racially profiled. The number of white kids in jail doesn’t spike, either.

Many Americans are outraged by the Muslim community center being built near (not on) Ground Zero. And I can’t say there’s no reason for those who have lost loved ones in 9/11 to feel anxious or even initially disrespected by the new center. But I can say their ideas and opinions of Islam and Muslims are ridiculous, judgmental, prejudiced, destructive and unjustified. I ask this: would it be right for survivors of rape to hate men and have them stripped of their rights? Would it be right for Black-Americans who have experienced American terrorism (i.e., the KKK and other violent racists) to hate white people and have them stripped of their rights? If your answer is no, then why isn’t there more outrage for the hateful, hurtful things being said about Islam and Muslims across the country and in the media?

I love America, but its underbelly, excuse my French, is fucked up… to say the least. It hurts me that so much hate and discrimination still festers in America. That we Americans—those who aren’t white, heterosexual, able, middle-upper class males—are still blatantly undervalued, marginalized and mistrusted. I get exceedingly worried when I read stories about honest Americans like Mansoor Mirza being turned on by his own neighbors. It forces me to confront the fact that the laws have changed more than the people. It always baffles me when something undeniably racist happens to someone of color and then there’s that white person (who knew the victim… they have to know the victim) saying on national television, “I never thought something like this could happen in this day and age.” What? It’s like people have to be slapped in the damn face with a first-hand experience to see how destructive we are to one another! To see how much irrational hate still exists.

[I say “irrational hate.” But I suppose if love is irrational, then hate is equally irrational, meaning “irrational hate” is a redundant thing to say.]

The xenophobia in America is ironic (ahem, understatement). A country built by immigrants, on the backs of black bodies not native to the land, is xenophobic. It started pretty early on: we commit genocide on our native brothers and sisters, and in a half-ass apology we give them reservations and name places in their honor. And today, we’ve graduated to accusing our black Christian President of being a Muslim (I’d laugh so hard if he is). We distrust politicians of color as if these politicians have some racial score to settle as soon as they garner enough power. I’m fed up. I wish I were surprised! Look how far we HAVE NOT come!

This is a pretty negative post. And I don’t apologize for it. I’d just like someone to tell me what’s the point of history if we don’t learn from our fucking past?

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Girl Can Dream: Janelle Monae

If you think Janelle Monae is a hottie, have you seen her with her hair down?? This woman is hands down gorgeous. Even with those funky suits she wears, I can't say that she drives on our side of the street. But a girl can dream. And that's all I have to say about that...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Happy Birthday, Nicole Piña!

Nicole Piña, co-star of the hit lesbian web series The Lovers and Friends Show, turns 30 today! And let me tell you... this Dominican hottie is only gettin' finer.


Oxfords under $100

Got to have a nifty pair of oxfords! Oxfords are a great staple to own because they function in professional, formal and casual settings. And it’s no secret that oxfords are expensive. What else can you expect from something so versatile and well designed that’s made to withstand frequent use? For all you fashionable ladies on a tight budget, I give you Lady’s list of oxfords and saddle shoes under $100:

 Report Shoes

 Fitzwell shoes

 G.H. Bass & Co.

 Eastland Shoes

 Dirty Laundry

               Marais USA

 Steve Madden


Happy Shopping.

The Lesbian's Struggle and Men's Fashion

If you're anything like me, covet seizes hold of your entire being when you walk through the men's section of Banana Republic or Express or J.Crew or... you get the point. And it sucks. Considerably. Cause if you've struggled with the inablitiy to fit men's clothes, you know when you do find that glorious women's item that sings to your soul, you won't be able to afford it because some high-end store made it. And then you sell yourself short. You buy items from PacSun and Converse and Delias, but deep down you know that you want to dress better... flyer. You want to be so much more eccentric! But the pickings are slim. The findings few and far between. *Sigh* They just have to save all the best color, textiles and simplicities for menswear, don't they?

And so, in true consumer-with-no-money fashion, I torture myself in this struggle. I go out of my way to look at men's items I can neither afford nor fit. But in this torturous venture, I'm still developing my own personal style, and I do make productive strides. My most productive stride to date: These men are my heroes. I can't tear myself away. Never in my life has a blog been so essential to my identity. The clothing items that these men put on their bodies... if I were to see it in a store on a hanger... I'd pass it up without a second glance. And in that, I've discovered that I need to learn to make things work. I need to have a better eye for what I want. I've always known the mall sucks, and then went there to shop anyway for convenience. No more. I'm in a major metropolitan area now. I don't need the mall! I have gay neighborhoods and quirky boutiques to get lost in. Yes, money will still be an issue. But being lost won't.

They love to roll their pant legs up... me too.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Issue with Women's Streetwear... or Lack Thereof

What I love most about women’s streetwear is how it gives gender the two middle fingers. Streetwear, without argument, indiscriminately appeals to a wide spectrum of gender expressions among women. Are you femme? You’re covered. Butch? You’re covered, too. Thug? All set. Boyish? Yup. Do you linger in the middle? You’ve come to the right place! Gender isn’t the problem in streetwear for women. It’s actually finding shops that carry clothes for us. That may or may not be an issue in international fashion capitals like NYC and LA. But it is everywhere else. And I know why these small urban boutiques cater to men.

1) The turn of profit in women’s fashion is low, and the failure rate of clothing lines for women is high. The industry is much trendier than men’s fashion. Staple defines men’s clothing. Women’s clothing is more along the lines of "keeping up with the Joneses."

2) Women who rock streetwear are in the minority. We exist only in pockets. And most of us aren’t rolling-in-the-dough.

3) These boutiques are opened by men who are heavily immersed in hip-hop culture. Now, let’s take a look at hip-hop culture: it’s male-dominated, and let’s be real, the women you see in the music videos aren’t rocking graphic tees and high tops.

Some boutiques do a half-ass job at providing women’s items (i.e., Politics in Lafayette, LA). Other boutiques give it a good go (i.e., Sneaker Junkies in Providence, RI, and Wish in Little Five Points, Atlanta). But, how often do you walk into a crowded urban clothing boutique? In my experience, hardly anyone is ever there. And so, I honestly can’t hate on the lack of resources available to streetwearing women. Hold up while I bust out my numbers again:

1) As mentioned above, we are often broke, and we are a minority (even when only speaking of Asian, Black and Latina women). Additionally, women’s clothing has a fast rate of … evolution, meaning boutiques have to clear their shelves quickly to stock that new hot item. Yeah, pricey, right?

2) Within this minority of streetwearing divas, most of us don’t exclusively dress this way. At least not to the extent of men. Our brand loyalty just doesn’t live up. The fashion industry is largely to blame for this. For example, let’s look at a demographic that, in many cases, functions outside of female fashion norms: lesbians. How many of your lesbian friends dress like cartoons? Furthermore, how many of your straight female friends are constantly updating their wardrobes? Enough said. Numbers don’t lie.

3) Perhaps in answer to the discrepancy between profits of men’s and women’s clothing, streetwear is gradually becoming more and more unisex. This is especially true for kicks. However, that leaves lankier women such as myself out of the loop. I can’t rock Nikes because Nikes are too bulky for my feet.

4) The line between street wear and indie/punk/hipster is pretty fudged. I’ll stroll into an urban clothing store, peruse through the women’s section, and find Cheap Monday and Stüssy mixed in with Married to the Mob and Hellz Bellz. And I’m not gonna lie, I really appreciate that.

But we manage, don’t we? And we sometimes enjoy the hunt, do we not? Streetwear is a beautiful thing—especially sharing our finds with the homies. Too bad it costs $40 for a t-shirt. I mean… damn. But, at some point, it always goes down to $10. Word. The circle of life, y’all. The circle of life.

Happy shopping.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Audrey Kawasaki: Manga meets Art Nouveau

Audrey Kawasaki is a very precise painter, utilizing bold, beautiful, sharp line-work and slight shading to communicate female figures. And though I don't favor her delicate style, I do favor her subject matter and materials. Audrey primarily paints on wood, depicting seductive females, sometimes alone, sometimes interacting with another, floating in a serene realm. However, that's not to say these figures exist blissfully, or that she intends the "realms" to be serene. In fact, there's something disturbing about them. And in the case of works like the one depicted second to last below, I kind of wish Audrey would take the whimsical and morbid a few steps further... But that's just me.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I really need to digress again...

As some of you may know, I posted about HooRooRook 3 days ago, and I mentioned my parents finding it at Super H Mart in Doraville, GA. Well... after getting lost several times on my bike in the Georgia heat wearing my new suede-backed vintage vest (thank heavens I'm from the deep south)... I found Super H Mart and took a gander for myself. It comes as no surprise that all my parents had to tell me was the produce was good-looking--they're easily distracted (it's endearing, I admit). Super H Mart, in a few words, is Sam's Club on some serious crack.

TO START! They're produce section is fly. It takes up 1/3 of the store. If my parents can go through an entire, big-ass store and the one thing that sticks out most in their minds is the very first thing that they saw, then word. Not to mention, they had $0.79/lb. Gala Apples and 24 oz. plastic containers filled to the top in cut pineapple for $1.99... What? I said they had 24 oz. plastic containers filled to the top in cut pineapple for $1.99. Feel free to take a minute cause I'm just getting started.

MOVING ONWARD! As noted above, I'm from the deep south. I love meat. It's true that living in Rhode Island for nearly 5 years has made me more of an omnivore, and I'm proud of that. Nothing like reducing health risks with veggies. But one reason for less meat in my diet was the price of it. Yeah, well, try the healthiest looking chicken you've ever laid eyes on for $1.99/lb. Chicken is nearly, if not more than, $4/lb. at your average grocery store. Walmart will have it cheaper. Regardless, all these stores' meat look sickly compared to H Mart. No yellow flesh and gooey excess here! Also, there's affordable, gorgeous seafood everywhere. Huge salmon fillets for $7.99. However, if you're sensitive to raw fish heads, frozen cow heads wrapped in plastic wrap and large bottles of frozen beef blood, you might want to steer clear of this section.

AND FINALLY! Super H Mart is a korean mart, yes. But it's more accurate to say that Super H Mart is an ethnic foods mart (indeed, on crack). If you're looking for kitchen-ware, and name brand cereals, condiments, seasonings, sausages, canned goods, hygienic products, etc., you have plenty of options to choose from. The rice section, in true people-of-color fashion, is so large that it stretches from before to after the cashier counters. And of course they had a 25 lb. bag of thai jasmine rice for $19.99. I mean... why the hell not, right? Swad indian spices (no madras curry though, womps). Tabasco hot sauce. Louisiana Hot Sauce. Tropicana. Jarritos sodas. An entire isle dedicated to italian/american-style noodles. A ton of campbell's soup... not sure what that's about. Candies from all over the asian world. Name-brand hair and skin products. Anything under the sun that's been dried: peppers, little fishies, things i've never seen before.

Jk! I'm not finished. There's a food court at the end of the store, and I'm not talkin' Mickey-D's. I'm talkin' 5 restaurants and plenty of sushi and stir-fry to go around. After that, a jewelry shop half-dedicated to Hello Kitty. Then, a futon/fancy massage tables shop. Then a furniture shop with a beautiful chinese medicine cabinet for $350 (I have my eyes on it, don't you worry). And then refrigerators? Yup. One designed especially to store kimchi. Ok, now I'm finished.

It has dawned on me that Super H Mart is not just versatile in it's food selections. It's also versatile in who it's serving. Unlike Sam's Club, you don't need a fancy membership or awkward hours, depending if you're a business or personal shopper. Super H Mart serves both, and obviously caters to various types of asian restaurants. Holla, Super H Mart. I SEE YOU!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

IndieQueer Multiracial Cinema

IndieQueer Multicultural Cinema presents

GLADD "Outstanding Documentary" Nominee

U People (Directed by Hanifah Walidah and Olive Demetrius)

Screening will include a brief discussion following the film lead by Director Hanifah Walidah and cast member Red Summer.

Tickets $13 - Limited Seating
Advanced Tickets available at

[U People is an accidental documentary where an entire cast and crew of 30 gay, straight women and trans folks of color were caught on camera behind the scenes of a not so typical music video shoot. What the camera caught will introduces a strong, candid and very human voice into the discussion of gay and straight relations and the diversity within the minority.]

[Indiequeer Multicultural Cinema is an Atlanta based monthly film series aimed at providing positive, artistic and accurate depictions of LGBTQ community. The series will promote films and filmmakers addressing matters of LGBTQ life, expressly matters pertaining to multicultural affairs. Each film showcased will be accompanied by a film overview and discussion lead by the filmmaker, producer and/or cast member(s).
For more information email]

When: September 19, 2010 from 5pm to 7:30pm
Location: The Historic Plaza Theater, 1049 Ponce De Leon Avenue Northeast

Nightlife: Providence

Providence, RI, is a swell place, but not for everyone. If you're young, hip, with-it and looking for queer women of color, you will definitely find a little more than a handful. The issue remains: will you find a handful that's also your type. AND FURTHERMORE! Among those who are your type, will you be their type, too? If you're like me and you linger in the middle in terms of your gender expression, you'll definitely have a hard time--if not at first, then later. In my experience, couples in the clubs comprised of butch+femme, femme+femme, and butch+butch relationships. I, for one, need ambiguity. I, for one, did not find it. In fact, after dating 6 (yes, only 6) women, the incestuousness of dating in a small community started to really become an issue. Truthfully, it started to become an issue at 3, but I digress.

For those of you taking up residence in Providence, find a keeper and hold onto her tight! For those of you who are committed/married and moving to Providence, I think you'll have a groovy time. And for those of you passing through, you have nightlife options: Gallery and Platforms on Saturdays, and Lot 401 on Sundays.

Gallery is 21+, primarily for women and a mixed crowd. In all my life, I've seen one out and proud Native woman, and she was at Gallery, dancing her ass off... MC Hammer style, and rocking a jean jacket with a wolf/native design on the back and a feather in her hair. Made my night. Platforms is 18+, super QPOC (queer people of color) and unless it's overrun by Brown students, the crowds tend to be less friendly than Gallery, in my experience. And finally, Lot 401 (21+) has gay salsa night on Sundays. It's a great venue if you want to dance the night away with whomever your heart desires.

Lot 401                    Platforms                    Gallery
44 Hospital St.      165 Poe St.                  150 Point St.
02903                      02905                          02903

Where my ladies at?

It's a conundrum: where do queer women of color go? How do you find them?! And then I thought about it... and I'm one of those queer women of color who's hard to find. I don't particularly like going to the club. In true lesbian fashion, I prefer to have beers with the girls and in true southern-black fashion, there's nothing more satisfying to me than a shindig. I'm not an easy person to get to know, either. This lead me to a few conclusions:

1) LGBTQ ladies of color are hard to find because many of us just don't like to make "our business" known.

2) We might not be in the club because we just straight up don't club! I know quite a few queer women of color who, frankly, don't like to club. It's a chore, a tiresome sustenance to our sex lives.

3) You have to know people to know where we go. Networking is essential because where to go might not be a public place but rather, a residence or fleeting private event.

It's a sad truth to live with but the only solution to the problem I can offer is to meet people. Constantly meet people! And do your damnedest to not fall prey to small community syndrome. Keep it fresh, ladies, keep it fresh! Nothing sucks more than becoming best friends with your only options...

The Clothing Warehouse: Atlanta

I'm one of those people who constantly needs to evolve. After every summer during my school days, there was something different worth noting about me. Dated a girl and it didn't work out? Change the hair. Feeling trapped in my own closet? Buy something I wouldn't normally wear. Fashion-wise, I've always had an idea of what I'd like my wardrobe to look like but have never really had the time, money or resources to make it a reality. And finally(!), I've found a place that will suit my needs... for now. In my foray into gay Atlanta, I happened upon Little Five Points, and the fabulous thing about this small gay neighborhood is its plethora of vintage/secondhand/urban clothing stores (not to mention the Afrocentric stores, pizza parlors, and a swell feminist bookstore). And let me tell you, there are things I really missed about the south... like really... It's cheaper to be here.

And that brings me to my great find! My starting piece that will launch me into a beautiful world of quirks and cross-dressing! My new vest:

It appears to be homemade, which is great because that will just help me when I'm ready to buy a sowing machine and start making my own damn clothing. Let's face it, looking good is very expensive. Unless, of course, you live in the south; then, it's just kind of expensive. I got this piece from The Clothing Warehouse for $26.

Little Five Points: The Clothing Warehouse

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

She Hate Me [****]

A trippy flick, to say the least. She Hate Me, a Spike Lee joint, has an Enron-type plot. And for a while, I thought this movie would be about corporate corruption, and teach the age old lesson that “white don’t dirty white.” But in true Spike Lee fashion, the plot took me places I never imagined it would go.

Alex (Dania Ramirez) and Fatima (Kerry Washington) in She Hate Me 

She Hate Me really is about corporate corruption. But more importantly, it’s about doing the right thing… and lesbians. John Henry “Jack” Armstrong (Anthony Mackie) is a miserable man, and it all starts when his friend commits suicide, and leaves behind a video journal detailing the shady behavior of the biotech company that they both work for. Soon after anonymously reporting corruption to the ethics bureau, Jack gets fired for whistle-blowing and his former-bosses sic the law on him to take the fall. This is further exacerbated by his ex-fiancée (Kerry Washington) who convinces him to become a baby-making machine for lesbian couples at an enticing $10,000 a try; and all of this is ultimately topped off by his incarceration. Wild? I’d say so. But just wait ‘til you see the end...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ramen wishes

Disclaimer: this is off-topic. But to those of you who know me personally (and well, at that) know that deep down, I'm a fatty at heart. And so naturally, I couldn't resist posting this.

I recently moved to Atlanta. I'm jobless, broke and am trying to start an MSG (monosodium glutamate) free diet. MSG is the devil, and the FDA doesn't require manufacturers to put MSG in the ingredients label if it doesn't exceed a certain percentage. It can effect short term memory, can increase cramping in women during menstruation, cause severe headaches, promote weight gain, so on and so forth. What all this means: I pretty much have to shop at Trader Joe's to get many of my foods. Translation: groceries will be ridiculously expensive.

But not all is lost. In my parents' foray to find the nearest Walmart to my apartment, they ran across Super H Mart. And what a find it was! H Mart is a Korean emporium that, according to my parents (who grew up in rural areas, mind you), had the most beautiful produce they've ever seen. But perhaps even better than that: HooRooRook! HooRooRook is Ramen on crack, with NO MSG!, lower (stress on "-er") sodium levels, and... better flavor? That's right! It tastes better! The whole experience was quite mystifying. When I opened the package, the noodles were in a flat circle instead of a square, and there were three flavor packets instead of one. One of the packets even had a slew of veggie bits... and not carrots and peas like Cup Noodles... I'm talkin' zucchini, onion, seaweed, red pepper, ginger etc. And on top of all that, the noodles aren't mushy! What? Delicious.

$1/pack, people. I feel lied to.