“Black Talk”: Exploring Nikki Giovanni’s Speeches for the Undergraduate Writing Classroom

The following talk was delivered at the third annual Symposium on Teaching Writing at HBCUs, held at Morehouse College, September 27. *    *     * The most memorable lecture I have ever attended was delivered by Nikki Giovanni almost 20 years ago. Giovanni was in her late 50s then and had recently tattooed “thug life” on her forearm as homage to the slain … Continue reading “Black Talk”: Exploring Nikki Giovanni’s Speeches for the Undergraduate Writing Classroom

Furious Flower + Nikki Giovanni: from the Black Arts Movement to Planet Mars

In the beginning was the Word. But I promise you, I have no words to express my week long adventure at Furious Flower’s The Living Truth: The Life and Work of Nikki Giovanni, a professional development seminar for college professors & high school teachers. Words just won’t do; they are inadequate. But I will try my best. For six days, I–along w/circa 50 other professors, … Continue reading Furious Flower + Nikki Giovanni: from the Black Arts Movement to Planet Mars

big CLIT energy

Last Fall semester, my writing students, all English majors, & I were discussing Barbara Jordan’s 1976 Democratic National Convention Keynote Address. In classical rhetorical fashion, Jordan begins her speech w/an ethical appeal that explains to & convinces her audience that her presence as keynote speaker signals a radical shift in not only the ideals that the Democratic Party holds, but in the notion that every … Continue reading big CLIT energy

13 reasons why NOT: season 2

It’s been approximately one year & a month since I actually sat to my computer to write a blog post. & here I am, at 8:35am, Wednesday morning, writing about got damn 13 Reasons Why: Season 2. There’s so much more to which I should be lending my writing attention–like Bill Cosby, illiteracy, & Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon. However, Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why: Season 2 … Continue reading 13 reasons why NOT: season 2

TBT: in a daze

I wrote the following post October 12, 2010, while I was a doctoral student teaching Professional Writing at University of South Florida, Tampa. *     *     * I remember working at FAMU’S Writing Center, when one of my most stern, yet caring, English professors shared with me her frustration regarding a student’s desire to argue with her about a grade he DESERVED in her class. As … Continue reading TBT: in a daze

“Self Destruction”: Black Student Writers in the Social Media Age

The following paper is the first half of a conference presentation I delivered at the 2018 “Symposium on Teaching Composition and Rhetoric at HBCUs” hosted by Howard University and Bedford St/Martin’s.  *      *     * According to this year’s conference call for abstracts, “One HBCU scholar once described managing student literacies and the technological resources afforded HBCUs as ‘trying to make a dollar out … Continue reading “Self Destruction”: Black Student Writers in the Social Media Age

A Sonnet for Black Mothers & Their Girls Who Understood “Is-ness” before It Was a Theory, w/Kind Regards to Thich Nhat Hanh

I remember sitting at Momma’s feet— my shoulders held captives between her knees, two pillows supporting my back & seat, while I cupped a jar of Blue Magic grease that seemed to put magic in Momma’s hands. She tackled my head like her weekend chores: scratching out dandruff like scrubbing stained pans, & greasing dry scalp like mopping stained floors, & parting my hair like … Continue reading A Sonnet for Black Mothers & Their Girls Who Understood “Is-ness” before It Was a Theory, w/Kind Regards to Thich Nhat Hanh

remembering daddy, remembering me: a 5-paragraph writing assignment for intermediate composition

Daddy told me I was a revolutionary w/no cause. I don’t know what I was doing at that very moment he made that comment. Maybe I was reciting a poem I wrote about crackers makin it on black folks’ bended backs. Or maybe I was organizing a showcase for Black History Month. I probably was just sittin at the dining room table wearing a dashiki–most likely … Continue reading remembering daddy, remembering me: a 5-paragraph writing assignment for intermediate composition

#TBT “no es facil”: tryin to capture President Barack Obama

I spent two years trying to paint President Barack Obama. My first attempt was a lightweight disaster: However, my Instagram responders were supportive: So, I tried again: But I stopped. I was afraid to continue painting–afraid that if I kept going, I would lose him. ‘Cause this looks like Barack Obama, right? I left that painting unfinished, & I placed it–as well as the one … Continue reading #TBT “no es facil”: tryin to capture President Barack Obama

“Up, you mighty race!”: from the African American Museum Inauguration to the Black Panther’s 50th Anniversary

Martin Luther King held fast to dreams, while Huey P. Newton gave all power to the people, & Jesse Jackson insisted we keep hope alive. Thru each of them, & many others, Barack Obama assured us we can— Be young, gifted, & black. Be unbought & unbossed. Be revolutionary. Be-long. In light of the #icantbreathe #amInext #blacklivesmatter movement, the inauguration of the Smithsonian’s National Museum … Continue reading “Up, you mighty race!”: from the African American Museum Inauguration to the Black Panther’s 50th Anniversary