Sexuality in Color: Two Amazing Pleasure and Radical Self-Love Teachers
It’s Chanté, back with more sexuality (in color) and intersectionality. If you appreciated last week’s definitions but are still curious or you want to learn even more, you may also find this video from Taryn Crenshaw helpful.
Today I’m eager to dive into something that is fresh in my mind: pleasure, body-positivity, self-love and self-acceptance. These are concepts that are important for people of all ages to explore, especially if you’re actively navigating and shaping your own identity.
Pleasure and Radical Self-Love
Last Friday, Heather invited me to attend an event (at Women and Children First!) with them, a reading by and discussion with the renowned adrienne maree brown -- Black queer feminist, pleasure activist, healer/doula and author -- who’s got a new book out, Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good. While I was aware of the breadth and depth of her work, I didn’t know much about her personal backstory.
All of that changed after last week, because during her event she referenced being a Virgo (no wonder she’s so damn cool!) and briefly touched on a variety of complex, multi-layered topics like somatic healing, metaphysics, astrology, yoga and self-love. These are all things I love learning and talking about so I felt as though I found a long-lost soul sister.
Watching and listening to adrienne live was such a treat! She has an amazing voice, vibrant energy and a great read on people. During the Q&A, someone asked a question about how to become more open and attracted to people we aren’t normally attracted to. adrienne dove into her thoughts about decolonizing our fantasies and desire -- for more details on that, check out her blog post about the 5 tangible tools of a pleasure activist. This is something I think we should all being doing as an act of reprogramming ourselves to be more inclusive and open our minds to new possibilities of what it means to be desirable, respectable, or successful. The more I thought about it, the more excited I got about this, and I hope to explore it further.
I could go on and on about her, but instead, I think this is an appropriate place to pause, share some links to more of adrienne’s work, and let her self-represent. For those who are just discovering adrienne and her brilliant work, I recommend these items below that showcase her personality and her emergent framework:
- First things first -- if you’re not following adrienne on twitter or Instagram (@adriennemaree) you may want to start there! Her content is diverse, informative and intriguing.
- Her website is full of a lot of great things! Speaking of which, she wrote a post about Beyonce and Lizzo! (Me too!) If you’d like to read mine, it’s right here.
- Since I failed to record a clip from last Friday’s event, I found a substitute: here’s a recent interview of adrienne featured on For The Wild podcast.
- adrienne and her sister, Autumn, who seems to be just as talented, co-host a podcast (together) called How to Survive the End of the World.
- Here’s a YouTube video of adrienne in 2017, talking about her first book, Emergent Strategy.
- Learn about Emergent Strategy Ideation Institute, an organization founded by adrienne that's based in Detroit.
Another intersectional powerhouse to add to your list of badasses is Sonya Renee Taylor. She's the Founder of The Body Is Not An Apology -- an amazing digital hub where folx can find plenty of content about “radical self-love for everybody and every body." Sonya is an unapologetic, radical self-love enthusiast; a disability and social justice activist and an artist who boldly shares her rendition of life — being Black, a queer woman, growing up in a military family, being a child of the 80’s crack epidemic, and her experience coping with clinical depression. Here are a few places where you can start exploring Sonya and her work:
- 5 Tools for Radical Self-Love on Valentine’s Day written by Miriam Zoila Pérez (@MiriamZPerez) -- a very talented Cuban-American writer, doula and podcaster who runs RadicalDoulas.com.
- For a long(er) and more in-depth look into her backstory, I highly recommend this interview of Sonya with Bitch Media’s Editor-in-Chief, Evette Dionne (@freeblackgirl).
- For the full (bodied) manifesto on these topics, I recommend grabbing a copy of Sonya’s must-read book, The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love.
- Here’s Sonya giving a keynote speech earlier this spring at The UGA College of Education’s Annual Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Conference.
One of many quotable quotes she dropped during this event:
The reality is we are all a list of things. A list of intersections of identities that converge with each other, that compliment each other, that contradict each other; that either give us access to privilege in the world or give us access to oppression in the world. And without actually raising to our consciousness these intersections, then we don’t actually have an opportunity to create a world that facilitates our ability to live wholly at these intersections.
My hope is that the more I explore intersectionality as a foundation to identity, the more you might too. Here’s to more pleasure, more body-positivity, more self-acceptance and more self-love for all of us. May we all come to know and embody these qualities a little more each day.