Monday, May 9, 2016

Currently Reading 5.9.16

Well, it's been almost a month since Beyoncé dropped the greatest album of all time, and the world has yet to recover.  A lot has come from the masterpiece known as Lemonade but one of the most interesting things (to me), might be Candance Marie Benbow's "Lemonade Syllabus: A Collection of Works Celebrating Black Womanhood."


I have a lot of conflicting thoughts about this compilation, but what I can most certainly say without doubt is: these books, these essays, these documentaries, these photographs-- need attention. They need to be acknowledged and studied and respected. I think that's why Benbow chose the word "syllabus," which is in my top five favorite words, right in between "unapologetic" and "no."

I was eleven years old when my mother first asked me to-- no, demanded that I read The Bluest Eye. I was nineteen years old when a teacher once said, in passing, that the novel was too much for college freshmen. (Don't worry, it wasn't here. I'm a transfer and I guess you can see why.)

It's  also interesting because I don't think there are many Black women who aren't familiar with most of the things on this thirty-six page list of scholarship so I'd like to ask, who is this list for. Mostly, I think, it's for everybody else.  Benbow includes everything from the highly acclaimed Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, and Octavia Butler to less known and less --hmm. how do I put this? Canonically respected? Let's go with that-- writers such as Sistah Souljah, Terry McMillian, Cupcake Brown, Teri Woods, and everything in between. The list is vast and it's beautiful, but it's also not free of criticism.  It's asking to be looked at and more importantly, it's asking not to be dismissed.

I'm going to ask myself to complete this list. I won't bother giving myself any type of deadline because I don't think this is just a fun summer challenge; I think this will and should take me my lifetime to completely understand the relationship between the hundreds of works listed here, and to treat it as a game might take away from it's true purpose-- to educate.

Here's a link, if you're interested.


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