Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Transformative Representations of Love

Cross posted from my Media Justice column

Many of my friends were surprised when they received Valentine’s Day cards from me. They thought I wouldn’t have contributed to a “made up” holiday centered on having us consume more than we need to and spend money. Yet, I find the idea of offering love to others on a specific day (even when we do this throughout the year), to be very satisfying. This year is no different. Instead of sharing media that I love and adore, I wanted to share media with you all that centers love. Love for our community, our social justice agenda, our creative spirits, and ourselves.

Each year I’ve sent cards to folks I always quote the same phrase in the cards. The quote was made by Ernesto “Che” Guevara and

At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality... We must strive every day so that this love of living humanity will be transformed into actual deeds, into acts that serve as examples, as a moving force.
Guevara was an icon in my home that I grew up with, and to this day many of the images that I’ve seen of him are of him smiling, happy and content. I found this idea of “revolutionary love” to be something that shook me to my core, but that also made me make an important choice in my life: to work for change. I also decided to use this idea in the graduate work I was perusing. That’s when I found Chela Sandoval’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed (this book is hard for me to read and I’ve read it three times! It’s “high theory” but it’s also amazing!). In the text Sandoval, a Chican@ feminist scholar and theorist, talks also about revolutionary love. It was like my life and the work I wanted to do made sense and had purpose! She concludes her book with “Love as a social movement is enacted by revolutionary, mobile, and global coalitions of citizen-activists who are allied through the apparatus of emancipation” (p. 184).
These ideas are central to the person I am and have guided me to the work I’m producing and am a part of today. This year I’ve decided to add a new phrasing to my snail mailing for next week. Instead I am quoting a classic film, The Matrix (I can’t believe it’s been over a decade since the film was released!). If you have not seen this film, I encourage you to do so as soon as possible. Consider this Media Justice homework! Watch them in order because there are three parts, yes, a trilogy.
This year I’m quoting The Oracle from The Matrix. Many of the snail mail I’m sending has this quote from her:
No one can to tell you you are in love, you just know it, through and through.
Check out Gloria Foster, who is The Oracle (that’s right! A capital “T” in The) talking to Neohere. Sadly, Foster died while filming The Matrix Reloaded in 2001, a decade ago.
The first video I’d like to share with you all was brought to my attention by one of my homeboys who posted this video on Tumblr. His comment accompanying the video read:
“Asian youth anti-bullying pink-shirt flash-mob in a Vancouver shopping mall (viaangryasianman).” When I went to the video, titled Anti-Bullying Flashmob January 2011, I read the description that was uploaded with it which reads:
In honour of International Anti-Bullying Day, two schools came together to create a message about Acceptance and challenge others to use social media as a positive tool. Choreographed by Jheric Hizon, Directed by Anita Perel-Panar - A Star Studio Productions
Here’s the video:
Shortly after seeing the video, it was live all over social media and ColorLines even added it to their Celebrate Love series. The youth who are participating really do an amazing job of representing all of the powerful things we can do with media. They are all media makers as are the folks who are watching. Take a look at all the people who are recording with their cell phones alone! All of the perspectives we see, from an aerial view, to audience reactions, to folks performing in the center of the mall; all of them represent the multiple people who are recording and consuming this media.
I’ve written about how I see dancing as a form of media making, and what I love especially about this video is the inter-generational inclusion. You see folks from all ages as participants and dancers, but also the folks who are watching and enjoying themselves. Media does not always have to be something we critique, it is something that can give our lives meaning and make us feel affirmed.

Along the same lines of anti-bullying is a new single by R&B performer
Marsha Ambrosius who was one half of the R&B duo Floetry. Her video centers on highlighting same gender relationships within the Black community. I wrote a piece about this video earlier this year and how we can use it as a form of media to begin discussion. Check the video out below:
Another film that I came across was created by my homegirls Mia and Stacey. I’ve mentioned them often as they work to build a home together as queer disabled Corean women living in the US. Here we get an update from Mia and Stacey, learn about their experiences, and hear a bit more about what help they need to build the home they need to live sustainable lives together:

Asking for a Lift ...From the Bathroom TOSD from Mia Mingus on Vimeo.

One of my favorite parts about this video is their honesty and discussion of love. Stacey shares:
“The exciting thing is we’ve been having a lot of community support out here, and so different people have been coming everyday to help me do attendant work getting me out of the bed in the morning. And it’s really cool because it feels like for the first time access isn’t an individual thing I have to figure out by myself, but something that community is really committed to making happen, so I can be included.”
This speaks volumes to me about how important community is, especially community that is supportive and centers on inclusively. Stacey sharing how she has been able to experience access and not from an isolated and individual space, is testimony that love comes in various forms and can be collective. She also is hilarious when she says right before the video ends that “if we don’t look cute, we can’t post this.” I adore them! If you can help them please do, even if it means sharing this video with your communities!
This February, I’m going to trust my instinct and enjoy the love that surrounds me. I choose to imagine a world where we are loved and we are reminded of that each day. In case you have not been reminded yet: you are loved!
Share some of the media that is inspiring you or that is centered on love!

No comments:

Post a Comment