Category Archives: WRTGs17

Black Men Are Ballerinas Too

When I saw this photo series on my Twitter timeline I was in awe. The regality and beauty in these photos left me speechless for a moment. They’re poised and strong, creating lines with their bodies that look like art. What captured me most about this photo series was that these ballerinas are black men. The very idea of black men practicing ballet, defies that very thing that society tells black men that they are. Society tells black men that their nature is harsh, violent, aggressive, hard edge. this photo series shows black men in a soft, loving, elegant, beautiful nature, everything that I’ve always known black men to be but everything society tells them they are not. Secondly, black men practicing ballet,such as in this  destroys the preconceived notions, thoughts, and ideas perpetuated by hyper masculinity. The idea that men and especially not black men, shouldn’t be practicing traditionally “feminine” activities such as ballet is outrageous to me. Inside the black community and outside of the black community, masculinity is extremely fragile and the intersection of race and masculinity make it even more fragile. This world is and has been harsh and cruel to black men and from the time they’re raised they aren’t even given a chance to explore their innocence and soft nature because they’re groomed to be hard edge from a young age because for them its a serious matter of life and death, they are taught that being soft will get you killed. These photos were from Alvin Ailey’s Dance Theatre Company; Alvin Ailey was a world renown choreographer, dancer and one of the most famous african american male ballerinas to date. I hope these images encourage young black men to pursue the arts, and more particularly activities that typically seen as “feminine” because yes of course, black men are strong, heroic, brave, and determined but black men are also soft, loving, caring, elegant, poised, artistic, regal and sometimes ballerinas; that is more than okay.

Analysis of Fleming’s City of Rhetoric: Preface

In City of Rhetoric, David Fleming illustrates in the Preface the relationship between political relations and the Built Environment. He claims that the growing spatial stratification of the built environment such as things like decentralization and polarization is the cause and effect of increasingly impoverished political relations with each other. Fleming thinks that the built environment matters because it is reflective of our political state and relationships with each other as citizens of the United States. He also points out the fact that our physical landscape and the buildings that we are choosing to build in our environment are becoming increasingly isolating, which is pushing farther away from others different from ourselves. This exclusivity and spatial form is  allowing us to have less interaction with others and this is weakening the relationship between citizen. This built environment matter to Fleming because he recognizes that it is a matter of our future as citizens and as a successful and cohesive nation; if we continue to build structures that push ourselves away from others that aren’t like us it will only be more detrimental to us as a whole.

Analysis of Schindler’s Architectural Exclusion Theory Pt. 1

In Part I of  “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Designs of the Built Environment,” Sarah Schindler makes two claims. Schindler’s first claim is that, architecture is being used and designed to exclude certain groups of people. The second claim is that  this type of exclusion should be under just as much scrutiny as other forms of exclusion by law. According to Schindler “The Built Environment is defined as man-made physical features that often make it too difficult for certain individuals – the poor and people of color to access certain places” (1934). Schindler points out that historically when people wanted to make decrees that prevent certain groups of people from entering certain spaces this was backed by the law. Additionally, when people from different areas of towns in cities were blocked from getting to the other side of town by  physical barriers, this also was backed by the law. Architectural design that  Schindler determines to be just as exclusionary as discrimination has not gotten any attention from legal scholars.

Schindler provides the simple example of a park design being discriminant against homeless people. If the bench has three arm rests, dividing the bench into three seats, it may not have been put there for comfort and convenience like many assume but to prevent homeless people from being able to lay down and sleep on it. It is noteworthy to acknowledge that the people constructing the built environments and the people responsible for designing this exclusionary architecture, almost always, design it not only in a way the keeps certain people away from a space but also to advance a certain political agenda and focused on flow of traffic. Nicholas Bloomey points out that civil engineers tend focus on how people and cars and other traffic will flow around a city or an environment rather that thinking about how its going to effect the citizens living in this environment; the goal of these politicians and engineers  is efficiency and commuting, thus making money , rather than citizen approval. Some scholars, such as Elise C Boddie and Stephen Clowney, claim that some places have purposeful racial meaning and attached to marginalization by race, which also lawmaker continuously overlook and make no efforts to make amends even when brought to the attention of lawmakers.

Architecture that continues to be exclusive that makes ups a built environment that continues to keep certain people away based upon race, ethnicity, socioeconomic standing, and any other identity is extremely detrimental to citizens of a community it enforces a problematic behavior and mindset of othering and a power structure based upon race which then encourages human behavior that is racists and classist. Additionally, if law makers continue to ignore this then not only does it become acceptable on a citizen to citizen level it becomes the “law of the land” and acceptable at a legal level, leaving these citizens  are being excluded,  unprotected and alienated from society.

Queen Bey

I’ve always  been a little puzzled and confused about the world’s insane obsession with Beyoncé. Not to be misunderstood, Im always proud to see any black woman flourishing and just doing the damn thing, but an obsession? Really? There are people that want to be this woman. She can be 2 hours late to her own concert and people will still wait for her then cry, cheer, and  scream for hours at her show. People will spend 4 months worth of rent to even get a seat close to the stage she’s performing on. Some people treat her like a God and wear t-shirts that say “Beyoncé is my Religion”. So of course you can imagine that when she posted this picture on her Instagram account February 1st nearly broke the internet. This picture was posted, announcing that she is pregnant with twins, being a twin myself I think this is pretty cool. The photo got over 10 million likes on Instagram already, which to be honest, is a tiny fraction of her 94.1 million followers in total! The photo is soft  and aesthetically  pleasing. In typical maternity shoots, the partner is also featured in the photo but this is just the “Queen Bey” herself; Its a classic floral background with a contemporary “hippie” like vibe with the mix match bright colors. The vail adds a tone of regality over the entire photo, playing to her nickname “Queen Bey”. Of course a pregnancy is  a big deal and reason for celebration but I’m convinced that this Beyoncé could do just about anything, take a photo and the world would go bonkers. Her star power is out of this world, but like the 94 million other people, I want to wish her a congratulations on her expected blessings!

Marvel’s Luke Cage

Marvel’s newest superhero has already been turned into a number one hit show on Netflix, many are tired of all the basic superhero action and crime fighting movies but this was is like absolutely nothing seen before. Luke Cage is a middle-age tall dark-skinned black man that plays an ex-police officer that wrongfully went to jail after being framed. The gag is that he doesn’t wear a cap, he doesn’t wear a special suit, Luke’s superhero outfit is a hoodie; and it gets better….he’s bulletproof. The show is entertaining and the series was great but the social commentary was incredible, the show is about a bulletproof black man that walks around in a hoodie trying to bring good to New York City and he is completely bulletproof. The timing is almost too perfect amidst the myriad of shootings of unarmed black men. The hoodie is more than an article of clothing, it is a symbol. When I see black men in hoodies I can’t help but think of Trayvon. Trayvon Martin was wearing a hoodie when he was gunned down and murdered in cold blood. This show puts a black man on a pedestal where he is literally invincible and completely unstoppable and he adorns the very two things that in reality seems like a target: a black body and a hoodie. I just wish 14 year old Tamir Rice was bulletproof, along with Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Walter Scott, Jamal Brown, Oscar Grant and Philando Castile. I wish Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, and so many more that were murdered, had superhuman strength that made them impenetrable to any bullet, choke-hold, or baton-beating that came their way. It almost seems like to be a black man in America he to be Luke Cage in order to survive, black men have to be superheros, black men have to be bulletproof, otherwise he can’t be sure he won’t be the next trending hashtag or his dead black body won’t be the subject of a video on the 6 o’clock nightly news. Luke Cage is a quick escape from a painful reality that allows young black boys and girls to dream again, even if its just for a moment they can feel like they’re safe and even unstoppable.