To have Coste Lewis read at the MOCA during Marshall’s retrospective was monumental. In her opening remarks, Lewis alluded to this fact, pointing out that the celebration of Black artists within a hegemonically white space when such a concept would not have been possible until very recently.
21 years later, Tori Amos’ epic album “Boys for Pele” remains as relevant as ever. An 18-song cycle through which Amos examines love and religion in a world dominated by patriarchal norms, “Boys for Pele” uses the feminine as a weapon excision against misogyny and sexism.
UCLA art major Kya Lou’s exhibit “What Do You Do ‘fore It’s Gone?” examines the space between the settlement and upheaval of historically Black neighborhoods in South Los Angeles. Through use of audio, text, video, photography and textiles, Kya Lou foregrounds the concerns of citizens whose voices often go neglected, with the goal of fostering dialogue about the meaning of community.
When I read Tabitha Prado-Richardson’s Coalition Zine essay on decentering men from one’s own narrative, Vanessa Daou’s seminal 1994 album “Zipless” immediately sprung to mind. An LP-long interpretation of Erica Jong’s poetry, “Zipless” decenters men from Daou’s pleasure through an unabashed embrace of feminine sexuality and womanhood.
Mickalene Thomas’s exhibit “Do I Look a Lady?” investigates the notion of black female subjectivity through the lens of popular media. Within the popular American imagination, black women are often portrayed as fitting within a set of types—hyper-fiery, hyper-sexual, or hyper-matronly. These archetypes are largely a product of the art produced within our hegemonic culture.
More than anything else, the women in my family have molded the person writing this today. The least that can be done is to honor them and other women by offering insights into how to effectively support the work of intersectional feminism. Here are just a few suggestions for how to be a better intersectional feminist ally.