Monday, June 25, 2012

Brista2Brista Call For Submissions

Call for Submissions—Brista to Brista: Letters of Affirmation
by Black Gay Men

Edited and with an Introduction by Darius Omar Williams
(Dandaluka Vanga)

Call for Submissions:

21 years after the groundbreaking anthology Brother to Brother: New Writings by Black Gay Men, edited by Essex Hemphill and originally conceived by Joseph Beam, in a bold literary-critical-political response, Dr. Darius Omar Williams (Dandaluka Vanga) seeks submissions for a new anthology in celebration of the kinships shared, abandoned and lost among black gay men: the cultural, sexual and gendered framing of both brother and sister fused together as “Brista”, a popular form of sentiment coined in contemporary same gender loving tradition. The anthology will specifically include provocative personal letters of affirmation written by and to black gay men to encourage, uplift and empower one another through their individual and collective quest for companionship and political autonomy while also highlighting the intersected identities of lovers, brothers, sisters and friends in this codified world of sexual essentialism.

Topics might include:

-Personal letters to historical black gay icons including but not limited to James Baldwin, Bayard Rustin, Joseph Beam, Essex Hemphill and E. Lynn Harris

Personal letters of affirmation from black gay men to their bristas both past and present: biological and non-biological brothers, “sisters”, colleagues and friends (ie. words of healing, loving, forgiveness and ‘water under the bridge’)

Personal letters examining, investigating and contemplating the severing/loss of bristahood

Personal autobiographical letters (from the author to himself) as a self-portrait of redemption, power and self-love

Personal letters from and to black gay men whose relationships have evolved from bristas to lovers and the liminal spaces in between (a measuring of the stakes involved insofar as the degrees of bristahood are concerned)

Personal letters to loved ones living or who have transitioned because of HIV/AIDS

Essays in the form of personal letters on the rising of Brista(s) as a term of endearment and its
linkage to the nature and politics of race, sexuality, spirituality and gender

Submission Guidelines:

Cover Letter

Brief Biography

MSWord electronic submissions 12” Times New Roman Font (11 pages maximum) to: (all documents should be saved and submitted as your last name_Brista to Brista) Your submission may include a single or series of letters to one or more different bristas, again, totaling no more than 11 pages. Also please include the date and time in which your personal letters were written.

Title Example : My Dungeon Shook: Letter to My Nephew on the 100th
Anniversary of the Emancipation by James Baldwin from The Fire Next Time (1962)

Warmest Regards,

Dr. Darius Omar Williams, editor
Brista to Brista: Letters of Affirmation by Black Gay Men

Deadline: August 7, 2012

Contact, inquiry and submission information:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Words Hurt, Words Heal....

There's a video I've seen posted on facebook and I suppose it's been circulating on the internet titled, "Children singing Ain't No Homos Gon' Make It To Heaven"

I haven't watched it and don't plan to watch but that video coupled with the one showing the Pastor talking about killing off gays by putting them behind an electric fence touched something very deep & visceral in me. In my essay, "Let The Healing Begin" included in the anthology, "Mighty Real" I talk about how I didn't receive many personal abomination messages but by their actions and the secrecy of the way things were handled, you knew being gay was something to be kept under wraps. The church back then (and today)is full of Same Gender Loving people and it's unfortunate and sometimes fatal when they hear messages that not only will they not have a place in heaven, but while they are living here on earth they should be placed behind an electric fence and left to die.

The bible and its multitude of mis-interpretation has been used for so long to explain so many things that I feel have nothing to do with a divine plan for us individually and as a society. Even ideas about heaven, hell, devil, and other things are open for questioning for a liberated believer.

About 6 weeks ago I was up late and was doing some searching on youtube and ran across about a movie called, "Prayers For Bobby". I'm not sure if I'd heard of the movie before. Full disclosure it was a movie that originally aired on the Lifetime Channel and to be honest I am biased and occasionally prejudiced about movies/shows on there. I think they are mostly cheesy, very weepy, woe is me kind of stuff. I don't mind a good drama but not something that is formulaic and intended to tug at your heartstrings. I was fully awake and ended up watching the entire movie.

It was a story of a teenager, Bobby is who just opening to the idea that he is Same Gender Loving. He lives in a suburban area small town in the Bay Area. A city named Walnut Creek. It could be anywhere USA and even though I thought I wouldn't be able to relate to it because the family was very white it turned out since the story is so well told it none of that mattered. Bobby experiences some liberation but could not turn off the messages drummed into his head from his very religious mother, which of course makes him devalue his self worth. He eventually kills himself and the latter part of the movie is the story of his mother coming to grips with not only the role she played in her son's death, but also understanding human sexuality as it relates to spirituality.

The movie is set in the early 80's when the city of Walnut Creek is considering having a Gay Liberation Day celebration. Mary attends the City Council meeting along with some other members of PFLAG and delivers this moving & very touching speech about how what we say can have an impact that we don't consider:

Thankfully there is hope. I saw another video of a young boy reading a speech on a local news station in NY that he wasn't allowed to give at his school. His words don't give me hope for the future, because tomorrow is not promised, it gives me hope for now because if he can get it, anyone can.....

He and his mother have received some negative feedback but I believe that the goodness of his intentions will far outweigh any negativity that will come his way.

Always remember Words Can Hurt but thankfully they also have the ability to heal....