Why “Get Out” Was So Damn Real

If you haven’t heard already, the all-too-realistic horror flick Get Out premiered this past weekend and made some serious impact…

Jordan Peele, of the comedy duo Key & Peele, made his film and directorial debut about a black man named Chris visiting his white girlfriend Rose’s parents for the weekend at their remote, seemingly cozy home. Despite Chris’ discomfort with the goings-on at the family’s estate, he stays to be polite and internalizes the microaggressive comments expressed by Rose’s folks and their friends. When Chris gets fed up with the funny business, he attempts to leave the creepy home but is met with violent resistance from the whole family.

What made this film so on point were the constant unassuming metaphors in every scene. I won’t name all of them for the sake of not spoiling this must-see, but my favorite example was the concept of the “sunken place”: where Rose’s psychiatrist mother hypnotizes Chris against his wishes, which leaves his body paralyzed but his conscious mind awake. This, to me, represents black people’s physical inability to do anything about our oppression although we are somewhat conscious of what’s going on.

Another one was the family’s collective act of luring in successful black men, grooming them, brainwashing them, and then, ultimately, becoming them (through a process I’d rather have you find out in theaters, sorry not sorry!). The abducted black people then went on to become servants and soul-less, hollow shells. If this analogy isn’t already clear, it is totally an allusion to modern and historical slavery. We were taken, forced to work, pressured to assimilate, made to believe lies, and we lose a bit of ourselves every time we deny this still exists. And also, this was completely in reference to how white people possibly want to be us; whether it is for our physical and mental strength, natural beauty, or innate talents.

Okay, I wasn’t going to mention another metaphor, but this one is definitely the best! At the end of the movie, after all the shit that’s happened to Chris, the person who saved him was his best friend Rod. Rod totally looked out for Chris the whole time and knew some weird shit was going on at Rose’s childhood home, and he truly stopped at nothing to make sure his friend was still alive. I think this shows that we black people have to have each other’s backs, and the only people who will save us are ourselves.

I’ll admit it, I’ve seen this movie three times since its launch and every time was a different outlook, but the third viewing was the hardest. It feels satisfying to see a movie you wholly relate to but it’s depressing because it pretty much sums up the black experience. We are constantly being told through messages in media that we’re “other” or “sub-human” and once we confront that, we’re gaslighted into believing that we’re exaggerating or that we should get over ourselves. Please, spare me that bullshit.

Hell, sometimes I even believe the emotional abuse that white supremacy has plagued me, because it’s easier to think that white people have your best interests in mind rather than be suspicious of every one of them. After a while, you want to stay silent about your own oppression so that the oppressors won’t belittle you anymore than they already do, but fuck that. Though many black people are vocal about their negative experiences in the U.S., this movie definitely touched on topics we must all discuss.

There was a happy-ish ending though because Chris was able to escape with his buddy, but where’s our escape? How do we release ourselves from this demon called white supremacy? I’m sure there’s no right answer to that, but I wish it was that easy to get out.

What are your thoughts about the movie? Lay it on me!

 

Herbal Craze: My Experience with Cannabis and Thoughts on Legalization

It’s 4:20 pm on my side of the world and it inspired me to not only pack a bowl, but to share my experiences with marijuana to my fellow stoners and cannabis-curious folk out there. Now that I have my lungs full, I think it’s time for my testimonial…

It wasn’t long ago that I started experimenting with the magical plant; beginning when my sister (being the saint that she is) bought me vegan special brownies for my birthday three years ago. For my first time ingesting edibles, I think I did well, but lawd were they strong and tasty!

I was surprisingly not frightened and loved the psychedelic yet relaxing effects. However, my face did feel like it was melting off and my thoughts were jumbled as all hell; but again, I had no fluffy expectations of how my first time would pan out. It was still super chill nonetheless!

Then I moved on to smoking. I’ve always been against smoking for health and environmental reasons, but how does one resist when bongs and pipes exist?? I absolutely love glass for my after-work toke sessions and doing that for a few years gave me lungs of steel 😉 And don’t get me started on how it alleviates symptoms of my anxiety and depressive moods, especially on incredibly busy or emotional days. In all honesty, I just fucking love weed and that’s how it is! Recreational, medicinal, you name it.

It’s not always fun and games, though. Being a social justice activist means that I have to recognize the downsides and possible oppression that goes into my actions, so I can’t smoke herb without also talking about the drug war and its devastating effects on Black and Brown communities. Over the past couple of decades, our leaders have decided that it was drugs, namely marijuana, that causes spikes in crime in inner-city neighborhoods rather than crippling poverty due to a fixed social hierarchy.

This drug war strengthened in the 1990s and has resulted in millions of petty incarcerations and broken lives. Did I mention that it mainly effects Black and Brown communities? Well yes, even though Whites, Blacks, Latinx, etc., do recreational drugs an equal amount, it is more common that the darker-skinned of the crowd will be busted for it; which then feeds into the mass incarceration of Black folk (see the movie 13th on Netflix for more details) for cheap labor and controlled domination.

Also, there are many contradicting studies (mostly positive) about cannabis and its effects yet many will still hold on to the belief that it’s dangerous because it’s criminalized. From a legal standpoint, I would agree, but there has been no true evidence stating that marijuana is lethal in itself, even though it is considered a Schedule 1 drug right next to heroin. Heroin. DAFUQ?

I think I know why weed is illegal, but I really could be over-speculating. This herb that induces so much pleasure indirectly causes pain because of fear of its mind-altering qualities. I feel like it helps us see things for what they really are, which I’m sure is a huge threat to our leaders. Cannabis has seriously aided me in questioning the world around me and to be proud of not conforming. Of course I didn’t need it for those purposes but that was a lovely perk from my high times. Then again, that’s probably not everyone’s experience though developing consciousness is a definite side effect of weed.

To close out, I heavily fuck with marijuana and encourage y’all to learn more about the drug war and mass incarceration. Yes, I’m a mega biased stoner with a knack for conspiracy theories but that’s all the more reason to research and experiment for yourself. Just remember that not everything is a coincidence!

What are your experiences with cannabis? Good? Bad? Let me hear it!

 

 

Where Have I Been?? Lawd, Lemme Tell You…

If it hasn’t been apparent already, I’ve been M.I.A (on many things actually) for quite some time now. It’s not my fault, though! A LOT has been going on…

After I graduated from Bowie State University last Spring, I got the opportunity of a lifetime by accepting a position at a mainstream vegan organization. Exciting as hell, right? My job includes grassroots outreach tactics like leafleting, touring the Southeast for HBCUs, tabling, organizing events, community building in Black spaces, etc, which got me flexing my activism muscle hardcore. I never knew I had the courage to do any of this before, but now I can’t get enough of grassroots activism! Organizing, writing, and educating are perfect outlets for my desire to tackle social justice issues, so I’m privileged and pleased to have a platform to do so.

My outreach schedule wasn’t the only thing that kept me from blogging all this time, I’ve also been learning more about myself and my beliefs. In reading my old ass posts I discovered that I’m a completely different person now; I have different opinions and character traits, and use different language to describe them. I am never the same person twice and I constantly evolve based on new information. So good to know!

These wild experiences and newfound biases has me mega motivated to build my own as a confident Black, queer woman. We are totally under-represented in most social justice spaces and deserve to have a voice. Marginalized folk of all kinds (Black and Brown, LGBTQIA+, and differently-abled people, and women) are usually excluded from conversations that especially pertain to them because of the West’s obsession with the straight, white, cisgender, middle-class, male template of a human being. Naw, I’m not going to accept that.

So, I’m going to follow my calling and hopefully watch it grow. I have no choice but to go full-force into it if I want to see progress, so I’m going to keep organizing and writing and educating my peers about intersectional justice until I’m purple in the face! NOW is the time to resist, learn, and undo all the conditioning we’ve endured. I refuse to sit idly by while the world is crumbling and will use my platforms to make shit happen. Best believe.

Are you into social justice, too? If so, follow my activism adventures on Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and Snapchat!

 

Your Perfect Smoothie Bowl Awaits!

Smoothie bowls rule! They’re another perfect meal for the lazy cook but are sometimes wayyy too pretty to eat (not really). It takes some creativity, but you don’t have to be an artist to enjoy this tasty treat! Try it out 🙂

What You’ll Need: 

  • High-speed blender
  • A big ol’ bowl
  • Approximately 3 (or more for each) fresh AND frozen bananas
  • Other fruit of your choice
  • Vanilla extract
  • Water and/or plant milk
  • Oats and granola (sugar, salt, and oil-free if possible)

Instructions: 

Add about 4-6 ounces of water and/or plant milk to your blender. Toss in an equal amount of fresh and frozen bananas and blend on high for around 10 seconds to prep. Then add any other tasty fruit (like strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, mango, etc.) along with 1/8 tsp of vanilla extract and blend until you are pleased with the consistency. Pour the deliciousness in a bowl and decorate with oats, granola, or more fruit. Be creative and have fun!

 

My Simply Delicious 3-Ingredient Pancakes!

I’m not going to blab too much because I’m excited to get this recipe! But I can’t stand making complicated dishes, especially for breakfast. I believe that the most important meal of the day should be the easiest too, so if you’re on-board with me then this is the meal for you!

What You’ll Need: 

  • 3 cups of old-fashioned oats
  • 1-2 bananas
  • 1-1 1/2 cup(s) of plant milk of your choice (I used almond milk)
  • High-speed blender
  • Non-stick skillet
  • Spatula

Instructions:

Blend your oats first for about 30 seconds until it becomes its own flour. Then add in the plant milk and bananas to the blender and let it run until it turns into a thick batter. Transfer 1/3 cup-sized portions of your batter to a medium-heated skillet. Toss in some sweet spices and proceed how you normally would with pancakes and voila! You got yourself an SOS-free, cruelty-free, and super tasty breakfast! Enjoy 🙂

Why Intersectional Feminism is Automatically Vegan

Not your mom, not your milk

Let me just get this out of the way: I am NOT a typical feminist. To me, feminism has kept its ties with its first-wave in America, focusing on the political equality of middle-to-upper class white women beginning in the 19th century. That’s cute and all, but what about the rest of us?? There’s definitely more than one type of woman who needs peer support and equality, then why not include all of them? And that’s where intersectional feminism comes in! The term was established by American professor Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989, defining it as “The view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity…Examples of this include race, gender, class, ability, and ethnicity.” 

Although I focus closely on womanism, which is feminism for women of color (mostly Black) and all abilities, intersectional feminism is a great way to understand the challenges of all types of women (and men, too) regardless of our biases. And when I mean ALL types of women, I’m talkin’ ’bout the non-human ones also. Not following me? Well, plainly, I feel that intersectionality amongst females shouldn’t have to be reserved only to humans, especially since it supposedly accepts all ladies despite their differences. Just like denying a disabled woman her rights is ableist, assuming a cow doesn’t have rights is speciesist and should be against the “code” of acknowledging all female issues.

Think about it, all animals have genders just like we do; we are not unique in that. So it only seems fair to recognize and challenge the human-made exploitation of female animals in the intersectional feminist movement. Like how dairy cows are raped repeatedly for impregnation so people can have a glass of milk, how hens are forced to lay close to 300 eggs a year when they would only do so about 10-15 times in nature, or how sows are locked in tiny cages where they can’t turn around with their only purpose being to breed more piglets for slaughter. The list goes on and on, just so we can blindly consume their body parts and secretions. Vegans can’t be the only ones who think this is a huge social error!

And of course male animals probably perform behaviors in nature that seem unfair to their female counterparts, but we have no say in that because those actions are most likely instinctual. We can’t control what animals do in nature amongst themselves, yet we do have control over how we treat them and use them solely for profit. I won’t assume that intersectional feminists will pick up this cause and that the world will go vegan, but I am hopeful that people will see the injustice in the animal agriculture industry (amongst other industries) and will match their morals to their actions.

To wrap it up, it is quite hypocritical for feminists of all kinds to consume animal products, especially if they’re educated about the exploitation of female farm/fur animals. I totally get it if it never crosses one’s mind due to lack of education, but no true practicing intersectional feminist would take this injustice lightly. Don’t forget about the males though! Males, human or non-human, face issues that are similarly daunting, so we can’t leave them out in our message of equality. Regardless of the labels we identify with, we all know that we should treat others with compassion, respect, and love; so it’s time we align that notion with everything we do.

Is Pet Ownership Vegan??

Pets

I can’t speak for other vegheads, but I have never truly been an animal lover. That sounds like a terrible thing to say, but I have always either been scared of them or felt like I was hurting them when I pet them haha. So it’s easy to say that I’ve remained disconnected from domesticated animals, however, that did not tarnish my respect and secret adoration of them. I’ve always found them super cute and snuggly though their living situation with humans made me feel uncomfortable deep down; I just thought it was because I was an apathetic bitch, but being vegan for a while has made sense of those odd feelings…

I just recently figured out that I see domesticated animals as slaves like I do with farmed ones. It took me a minute to come to terms with these thoughts, just because I thought dogs and cats and hamsters needed humans to survive as if they have never sought to be in the wild. But with my new knowledge on dog breeding for entertainment’s sake and their behaviors in the wild, I made the connection that most pets would probably rather explore in nature than to be locked up in a house.

Of course there are situations where these animals are rescued from horrible living conditions, physical abuse, vivisection, or just haven’t been taught how to live solo in the woods, and I can totally understand that. Regardless of my opinion, there are times that call for domesticated animals to be sheltered and I can never dispute that; but I’m talkin bout people who own pets solely to have a plaything. I guess that’s all well and good if someone is truly lonely but no animal should be bred for the purpose of entertaining a human; that’s almost as lame as holding animals captive in zoos or aquariums.

Nowadays when I see a person walking their dog on a leash or getting upset when it doesn’t obey a command, I cringe a little because I feel like it would rather run free without having to follow weird rules. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very impressive when a dog sits on command, but I would be pissed off if someone told my ass to sit down! I would rebel like any other creature though they don’t have much of a choice. And although I can’t relate since I’m not a dog or a cat, I just think it’s really important to put myself in their place to see how I would feel because why not? They’re sentient beings like I am so they deserve sympathy where it’s needed.

So is owning a pet vegan? I mean, I guess it depends on the situation. If someone adopts a domesticated animal for completely selfless purposes, then I don’t see much of a problem. If someone wants one because they’re cute and cuddly, then holy shit…not cool. The issue with that is the speciesism that is so prevalent in our society; it’s as if we see animals as objects or machines rather than lifeforms like us. It’s unfair to use them for our benefit (be it food, entertainment, fashion, etc.), especially when we would complain if we had their exact experience. No one wants to be caged, commanded at, skinned, leashed, raped, tortured, or eaten, so why is it fine and dandy when we do it to our non-human counterparts? Trick question, it’s not. So I advise anyone to re-evaluate why they have their pet(s) and remember that they deserve freedom as much as you do.

My Calming Journey to Sirsasana (with Back-bend)

As we all know (or at least hopefully), yoga is not just about the physical; it is the union of the mind, body, and spirit. It’s just as much of a meditation session as it is an exercise, so asanas (poses) like these create small mental shifts with every achievement of them. I didn’t complete this task because headstands are cool as hell, but because I knew I would overcome a mental roadblock along the journey to it.

For me, this pose represents my new-found ability to sort through troubling thoughts and unwanted emotions. The headstand itself pushed me to achieve this mental clarity and the back-bend allowed me to be flexible during the mindset change. In the past I would give into neurotic and irrational thoughts, always trying to make a solution to every problem I faced, but I realized that not every problem has a solution that’s in my control. Also that problems are only problems based on my outlook on life: I can see them as negative and wallow in my pain or see them as positive and know these struggles will help me grow; and there’s NOTHING negative about growth!

So, thanks to my practice on this asana, I have been more aware of my monkey mind and choose to not allow it to take control of my emotions. I am calm, I live presently, and my mind is tranquil.