My husband Sacha Jenkins is a creative dude. This doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. Check out the series over at mass appeal

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Cheo Feliciano, who died this morning in a car accident, was a masterful storyteller. He provided a soundtrack for our history, one we never learned in school, and through his music, we were encouraged to take pride in where we came from. Even now as ancestor, Feliciano continues to illuminate our history. So, so honored to have met his acquaintance. I wish him a peaceful transition.

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Rest in Peace Gabriel Garcia Marquez

by admin on April 17, 2014

    There is always something left to love.” ~ Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 

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The Film Grant Gods Have Blessed Us!

by admin on April 17, 2014

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The Film Grant gods have blessed us! It was an awesome moment finding out we’ve received grant support from the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) to move our documentary Deconstructing Latina (working title) forward! You can read the full press release here.

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Playing catchup folks! Have been busy (re)writing a book proposal (so excited about the subject and cannot wait to share it with you all!!!), training for a forthcoming fight (as a master’s division amateur boxer), and applying for a handful of grants.

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of sitting on a panel at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, moderated by my homegirl Farai Chideya, and featuring political scientist and professor Christina Greer, professor Lonnie Isabel, and me. Here is the panel, below, for your perusal.

 

Black Ethnics: Covering the New African Diaspora from NYU Journalism on Vimeo.

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This Bridge Called My BackIn between writing another round of a section for a new book proposal—wo/man, writing book proposals are tedious, especially when you have to justify your mere existence to editors, explain your language, your culture, your self, your…—I found myself in dire need of inspiration. So, after about two decades, I decided to pick up an anthology I had not visited in almost two decades: This Bridge Called My Back.

Reading the pages were kismet, somewhat sad, and an illustration of just how little things have changed despite the best efforts of those women who came before us to explain us. Twenty years. In this span of time, I birthed two children, embarked on a writing and filmmaking career of my own, married my best friend, gotten a miseducation, spent a good deal of time unlearning things, unteaching my daughter the same things, talking to people, traveling, finding my self, reconciling with my father, learning about motherhood by not having my own be a present figure in my life. I learned how to have pride in the potential of where I come from as a dominiyorkian, and at once, be okay with hating that our potential has yet to be realized. I’ve met people of all races—those that Viktor Frankl identifies as belonging to the “decent” and “indecent” categories—I can go on.

As I read the book, I suffered a momentary bout of despondency because, well, the walls many of these Sheroes—Gloria Anzaldua, Cherrie Moraga, Mitsuye Yamada, Audre Lorde—have devoted their lives in knocking down, are well, still mostly impenetrable. Communities of color are still suffering from an identity crisis, one that, until we overcome it, will keep us divided and unengaged with each other and society. Until we learn to love, to make peace, with who we face in the mirror, I think that another two decades will pass with little spiritual progress.

So many passages felt as if someone were reading me, if you will, from another dimension. I felt as if I were having a conversation with women I knew well, with mothers I’ve not known and with friends struggling with the same issues. Anzaldua herself, a child of Yemaya and now, posthumously, a spirit guide for women who refuse to live in a box, read me with the following passage:

The mixture of bloods and affinities rather than confusing or unbalancing me, has forced me to achieve a kind of equilibrium. Both cultures deny me a place in their universe. Between them and among others, I build my own universe, El Mundo Zurdo. I belong to myself and not to any one people.

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Earlier today, Dr. Brenda Greene (hip-hop artist Talib Kweli has inherited his mother’s brilliant oratory genes) and I were guests on Here and Now on WABC-TV, hosted by Sandra Bookman. We were there to promote the forthcoming 12th bi-annual National Black Writers Conference, going down at Medgar Evers college in Brooklyn, where I’ll be sitting on a panel titled Shifting Identities in Africa and the African Diaspora. I took a precious minute to talk about the paperback release of my book, too, and to talk about what I think it means to be Latina, or as I identify, a dominiyorkian, today.

There are so many cool things happening at the conference this year. For details on all the events, visit the Center for Black Literature’s website.

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Cepeda_Word Up Bookstore

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