toes to toes...
listening to tupac "all i need in this life of sin, is me & my girlfriend"... i feel him, except i need to make the rachel remix - "me & my laptop". anyone who knows me, knows that i can't live without technology. my friends make fun of me because i sleep with my laptop, literally. i fall asleep with the laptop on the pillow next to my head. i can't remember life before my mac. i hate to leave the house without a camera, an ipod, something that requires batteries. had a messed up phone but got a new one (t-mobile is the best!) my new phone records 10 sec videos. recorded princess psycho: and then caught the squirrels on the roof next door. they were getting it on. squirrel porn. weird.
am calling t-mobile to configure this new phone to get me online thru bluetooth. it's also a switchover hassle when i get new toys. thankfully t-mobile's customer service is "fast, fun & friendly" as per corporate standards (unlike sprint [i still hate u claire] and att [the worst devilsh company in the world - 7 hour hold times for operators]). im still trying to make it up the help tier levels (im currently holding at level 2, needing a data specialist (i think that she needs to be a level 3 or 4). a real voice answers he phone.
all is fixed. my ability to connect my laptop stopped at red lights makes me feel that at every second i can be connected to the world. its sad that it takes battery power to make me feel connected but that's just how it is right now.
my sick child laying to my left. her leg is stretched out just enough so the tip of her toe is against my leg. her insurance that i can't slip back out of the bed to go back to my desk. i'm dying to edit and i need to because the gallery opens april 22 - tooo soon. but now she's awake and watching re-runs of er (my kid loves cartoons, full house, and ther fresh prince of bell air [she thinks they are new shows that i know nothing about] but she also loves er, law & order and csi). the more i try to shut off the tv, the more she wants to watch it. it's hard to say tv is bad when i spend so much of my life editing videos to put on tv. looking at her feverish little brown body i can see how sick she really is. her whole body is covered with little fever bumps. poor thing. but she's happy to be in the mama bed, toe to toe touching is always comforting. she is my mini-me and little t is her mini me.
my little t
and her lil t
still my mind is on the footage. it is amazing - women rapping, writin', spittin', spinnin', flowin'. images of women from around the world - ny, la, seattle, sf, nyc, chile, argentina, minneap/sp, puerto rico... and the looping video of graf walls painted by women around the world. overwhelming. already it's 40 mintues and it's not nearly done.
and it's almost the close to another semester. after this term (fingers crossed that i can catch up and finish all the papers that are due), i will only have one more class for my minor (american studies). then it's written exams and oral exams. i need to sort thru what will serve as "my project". very loosely i am looking at art (specifically film/video, music, performance, poetry) as tools for social change (at least transformative pedagogy). i will either write (and produce a part multimedia dissertation [dvd probably] about all the "sites" that ive been working with: stillwater men's prison poetry group, st. paul central hs: central touring theatre company, b-girl be (and all my work around women in hip-hop), and a new project about hip-hop/activist moms. i will either focus the disseration on one focused site or i will write a chapter about each of these "case studies". the companion dvd would feature footage/scenes/clips that illustrate the points in the chapters.
the moms piece that i'm working on (well, doing a few interviews under a blanket IRB for my American Studies research class with Jennifer Pierce [who rocks!]. i have been interviewing amazing poets, singers, rappers, and just all-around beautiful and creative women, like Sarah White of Traditional Methods it is a very personal and very difficult project. i have plenty of my own "issues" and feelings about motherhood, the balancing act, being a hip-hop family, the images and lyrics on commercial tv outlets. i want to "Take Back the Music" but i don't think moms in hip-hop should be limited to the spaces/places they are discussed now - there is either the reverance (like tupac, biggie and any other famous male rapper's mom) or the many variations of young moms of color (the hoochie, the crackhead, the welfare queen...) who can't raise sons. for me, it's time to expand these caricatures, and broaden the narratives of mothering in hip-hop or as part of the hip-hop generation.
lately ive been wondering why artists either: "grow up" into "more respectable" women (salt & peppa, madonna) [mom's can't be wild and sexual?] / don't share their stories of motherhood (Rah Digga) / disappear (Hurricane G, Bahamadia, Lil Mo, Michel'e, Jaguar Wright / get screwed by labels (Toni Braxton - did u see her VH1 special?) and on and on.... i want to interview moms who are what i call hip-hop moms. not just rap music buying consumers but women who are cultural producers, educators, activists - rappers, poets, painters, beatmakers, filmmakers, bgirls...
my wish list of artist & activist interviews (which is still just a first thougt): Lauryn Hill, Hurricane G, Rah Digga, Jaguar Wright, Bahamadia, Salt, Peppa, Pri da Honey Dark, Kim Osoria, Misa Hylton-Brim, Solange, Toni Braxton, Jada Pinkett Smith (she plays at Medusa's knappy at the roots sometimes), Asia One, J-Love, Rosa Clemente, Delores Huerta,La Bruja, and elders: Afeni Shakur, Sonia Sanchez... so many more.
the project is still in major infancy. i'm not sure my clear lines of inquiry (yes, my research questions). i don't know if this project should focus on personal narratives of mothering - how each mom tells her own story, what is relevant to her and her life experience (i would like to get funded to put cameras into women's hands to document their lives. maybe have the videotape their lives, maybe have them blog or share photos). somehow connect our stories through thematic threads.
still, the spark - to tell my story, our stories - in a way that hasn't been told (at least as i haven't heard), is what is important to me. in nobody knows my name i interviewed lisa, a hip-hop mom (the wife of click tha supah latin and the mother of his children). people got angry at me. who is she? why does she matter? how is she a women in hip-hop? even just from my own life experience helping a man in the industry (being the woman behind every retail report, every marketing plan, every project proposal, but no one ever knowing my name or that i even existed in the business), i know how many women are unpaid managers, are marketing specialists, are promotional masterminds, are making big things happen without credit and without compensation. behind every rapper is a mother, sister, cousin, girlfriend, wife, partner who is helping make the show run. i want to hear these stories. i want to share these stories with the world.
"i'm hungry and i don't want soggy cereal. i hate how it sticks to the bowl flat" she calls. i have to put down the laptop and get this girl something to eat. only 2 more hours until the doctor. hopefully some antibiotics and she'll be hanging off the cieling [literally] again.