I wouldn’t necessarily mind people not knowing I’m gay, but I don’t like being thought of as straight — in the same way that I don’t mind people not knowing I’m a writer, but it would be awkward if they assumed I was an extreme skateboarder, because that’s so far removed from the reality of my life. But there is no blank slate where orientation is concerned; we are straight until proven otherwise. And if you’ve never seen how dramatically a conversation can be derailed by a casual admission of homosexuality, let me tell you, it gets awkward.
Today is the first day
of the rest of it.
Of course there will be other first days
but none exactly like this.
Nobody is saying anything at the dinner table tonight,
because everyone is too angry.
The only noise is the clinking of fine silver on bone china and
the sound of other people’s children playing outside
but this will give you poetry.
There is no knife in the kitchen sharp enough to cut the tension
and your grandmother’s hands are shaking.
The meat and yam stick in your throat
and you do not dare even to whisper, please pass the salt
but this will give you poetry.
Your father is breathing out of his mouth
he is set to beat the spark out of you tonight
for reasons he isn’t even sure of himself yet
You will come away bruised.
You will come away bruised
but this will give you poetry
The bruising will shatter
The bruising will shatter into black diamond
that you will use to make your eyes shine.
Maybe your life will work.
Most likely it wont at first
will give you poetry.
she says she cries over me on the train to and from work and one day it will be better but it isn’t better now. she is just like my mother, but alive. knows how to love
something about the way black women hold your heart. you can leave them all you like but you cant stay gone.
Nicki Minaj is not a woman who easily slides into the roles assigned to women in her industry or elsewhere. She’s not polished, she’s not concerned with her reputation, and she’s certainly not fighting for equality among mainstream second-wave feminists. She’s something else, and she’s something equally worth giving credence to: a boundary-breaker, a nasty bitch, a self-proclaimed queen, a self-determined and self-made artist. She’s one of the boys, and she does it with the intent to subvert what it means. She sings about sexy women, about fucking around with different men. She raps about racing ahead in the game, imagines up her own strings of accolades, and rolls with a rap family notorious for dirty rhymes, foul mouths, and disregard for authority and hegemony.
While Beyoncé has expanded feminist discourse by reveling in her role as a mother and wife while also fighting for women’s rights, Minaj has been showing her teeth in her climb to the top of a male-dominated genre. Both, in the process, have expanded our society’s idea of what an empowered women looks like — but Minaj’s feminist credentials still frequently come under fire. To me, it seems like a clear-cut case of respectability politics and mainstreaming of the feminist movement: while feminist writers raved over Beyoncé’s latest album and the undertones of sexuality and empowerment that came with it, many have questioned Minaj’s decisions over the years to subvert beauty norms using her own body, graphically talk dirty in her work, and occasionally declare herself dominant in discourse about other women. (All of these areas of concern, however, didn’t seem to come into play when Queen Bey did the same.)