I was honored when undocuqueer artivist Julio Salgado emailed me about wanting to collaborate on a project about my biggest influences. He drew portraits of me embracing my heroes, and I provided words about their significance in my life.
These images moved me to tears, and I am grateful to Julio for creating them with me.
Audre Lorde was the first black lesbian feminist writer I was exposed to in college, and she blew my world up. Her body of work, from her poetry to her prose, pushed me to transform silence and define myself.
I first read “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” in the 10th grade, and Maya Angelou pushed me to make freedom my lifelong quest. She wrote about being a black girl who was touched without permission and protection, and it emboldened me to share my most uncomfortable truths.
Our elders are our greatest untapped resource, and Sylvia is my blueprint. Without the work and legacies of my foremothers (including Marsha P. Johnson and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy!) I could not and would not be able to thrive as a young trans woman writer of color.
ZORA NEALE HURSTON
Without Zora Neale Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God” there would be no “Redefining Realness.” Zora was a revolutionary woman and writer. She centered a black woman’s quest for identity and love, making Janie Crawford my No. 1 heroine. This book is a lifemap!
I adore no man more than James Baldwin. I’ve devoured all his writings and find myself seeking his guidance by watching footage of his interviews. There is no better orator and thinker than Baldwin. He slays, all day, every day.
Janet Mock at Buzzfeed LIVE, 9/4/14
So cool! Thanks Kate Gavino for this sketch of me from last night’s reading hosted by BuzzFeed + The Toast!
My new essay explores how Beyonce’s feminist stance in pop culture helped frame my own feminist awakening:
"I am in my 30s and was emboldened by Beyonce’s feminist stance on that stage, and can’t help but believe that that image will be equally as powerful to young people who witness that moment, whose first engagement with feminism will be that moment. Maybe, just maybe, Beyonce will serve as the bridgebetween pop culture and feminists like bell and Barbara and Audre, maybe some young woman bobbing her head to ‘Blow’ or ‘Partition’ or ‘Flawless’ will do so while reading Ain’t I A Woman? or Homegirls or Sister Outsider.”
—FROM my new essay: My Feminist Awakening & the Influence of Beyonce’s Pop Culture Declaration
Last night I was back to cohost TakePart Live!
I’ll be co-hosting TakePart Live all week. Tune in at 7pm PT/10pm ET on pivot tv.
You can watch the full episode here.
Three years ago, I first told my story in Marie Claire. Today, I am proud to announce that I am joining the magazine’s editorial team as a Contributing Editor. In my role, I will write for the print and online versions of the magazine, act as a brand ambassador and contribute insight and ideas about culture and beauty, politics and pop culture.