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ISSUE NO. #13
 

Moonbeams! Hello.

When I originally started this week’s letter, I was in a very different frame of mind. I was prepared to talk about Black exhaustion — about how this year has taken so much from us, down to even our fictional heroes. About how the weight of racism and violence and pain weighs upon our shoulders and hangs in our guts but somehow we’re expected to still get up and go to work and smile in the faces of our white co-workers and pretend that everything isn’t just being ripped from limb-to-limb inside of us. (It was going to be a real party lol). 

But then! No less than five minutes after I originally sat down to write this — Niecy Nash announced that she married Jessica Betts. And within another five minutes, every queer Black person I knew was blazing through my Slack, group chats and Twitter feeds; all of us exchanging crying emojis and heart emojis (and sure, a few sex jokes) and celebration memes. Then, a few hours after time stopped, we all gathered back again — to the record breaking tune of over 1 million! — to watch Brandy and Monica rehash 20-year-old battles on a cavernous Tyler Perry soundstage, that’s also somehow our living rooms. 

Now it’s midnight, technically already Tuesday (Wednesday by the time you read this). I’m laying against these navy blue sheets, stretching my toes. My body’s revved like an engine. I’m still exhausted. Every time I close my eyes, even for a second, my shoulders still slope downwards. But damn...there’s such unexpected joy in sorrow.

Wishing you some peace on these last slow ass days of summer (yes, technically it’s September, but Labor Day hasn’t happened yet, so we can pretend).

Carmen

Bangers
a split image with Audre Lorde on the left, in a black brimmed hat and velvet scarf and a small closed-mouth smile, and Jehan on the right, hair loosely up, in a white shirt, sitting in front of peach flowers and a similar small smile on her face

Year of Our (Audre) Lorde: August’s New Spelling of My Name by Jehan

On her way out of New York City, Jehan finally digs into Lorde’s Zami: A New Spelling of My Name to say goodbye to several different versions of the city. She considers how New York has changed her, and the self-mythologies about selfhood and desire that she and Lorde shared while living there.

The Allure of Chola Femininity by Cortez

The path that people of color take to arrive at the aesthetic of their queer identities is so fascinating and so smart, even when it’s just intuitive. Cortez talks about chola femininity — its strength, its confrontational power — in contrast to white femininity, and how integral it is to understanding who they are.

Anatomy Of A Mango: Seed by Dani Janae

This is the last piece in this series, and the end is as deep as ever! Dani talks about the roots of both her desire for sexual exploration and the shame that clouds her ability to see herself as somebody worthy of pleasure — all in her signature style of hot, hilarious and heartbreaking.

How a New Wave of Black Activists Changed the Conversation by Jenna Wortham

In June, as Black Lives Matters protests arose nationwide, Jenna Wortham went to Minneapolis and spoke with the Black queer leaders of the Minnesota Visions Collective about their dreams for an abolitionist future. Her piece was published the same weekend we learned about the police shooting of Jacob Blake and is now a resilient, hopeful salve for our pain.

How the Women of the  Brown Berets Created Their Own Chicana Movement by Vanessa Martinez and Julia Barajas

A word from our history: “We have been treated as nothings, not as Revolutionary sisters.”
While We're Here

📚 124 Black-Owned Bookstores by McKenzie Jean-Philippe

Nerds, do ya thang. Get your read on.

🍚 The Dyke Kitchen: Biriyani Our Own Way by Kamala Puligandla

It’s one of the easy joys in my life, that I get to date another half South Asian woman who can learn and explore South Asian cooking with me! And biriyani just feels meant for the kinds of dykes who are chill with a whole-ass process.

an orange poster with two Black femme faces almost nose to nose and big swirls of green and blue hair swooshing up over their heands and curling into bird-like figures beneath their faces

🎞️ The Black Femme Supremacy Film Festival Sept 4-7th

If you’re an A+ member then you’ve probably caught the scintillating church romance story that has been brewing on S L I C K by Nia Hampton. Hampton organizes this film festival and this year’s theme is Legacy! ”We are exploring the legacies of Beauty, Black Magic, Craft, Righteous Anger, and WAP (shout out to Cardi B and Megan thee Stallion) through our short film programming.” Get your tickets, and treat yourself to Black femme film greatness.
  
Note To Self
a screenshot of Neice Nash's tweet of Mrs. Carols Denise Betts and Jessica Betts in white wedding garb, waving and smiling as they leave the alter

Listen, Mrs. Carol Denise Betts said “love wins” and who are we not to believe her?

The girl is mine,
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