Bayou Black Witch Aesthetics, notsohumbly brought to you by King Bey.
I’m caught up in the Black Girl Magic- that hoodoo that only we do so well.
This is a different Beyonce than the maiden witch who ran through Louisiana fields not too long ago in Deja Vu, curious with wild magic and startled by her own power. This is mother witch Yonce and muva came ready to serve everybody the tea with their lenormand and tarot readings.
In her newest, and I have to say one of my favorite, incarnations, ConjureWoman!Bey serves up a vision of BlackMagicWomanhood that is collective, without eliding the individual Black woman’s right to be her own damn power for her own self.
In as much as it is all about us, it’s also all about her, and all the while she calls us to sing.chant.spell the words for ourselves and suddenly it is all about us (me) again.
I slay, we slay, all day.
She’s not being subtle about who she’s talking to and talking back to either.
Y’all all won’t understand it all, but for those of us who do, we know what kind of bone deep magic it is to hear the world’s biggest pop star come through declaring “I like my baby hair with baby hair and afros, I like my negro nose with Jackson five nostrils.”
I slay, we slay, all day.
Carefree black girls with puffy afros in white frilly dresses play chasing ancestor fairies around the room and their song isn’t one that ends with “ashes, ashes we all fall down!” because in this dreamworld somewhere across the road, a carefree black boy just cast a freezing spell on state sanctioned murder.
Formation, then, is a metaphor, a black feminist, black queer, and black queer feminist theory of community organizing and resistance. It is a recognition of one another at the blackness margins–woman, queer, genderqueer, trans, poor, disabled, undocumented, immigrant–before an overt action…To be successful, there must be coordination, the kind that choreographers and movement leaders do, the kind that black women organizers do in neighborhoods and organizations. To slay the violence of white supremacist heteropatriarchy, we must start, Beyoncé argues, with the proper formation. The proper formation is, she contends, made possible by the participation and leadership of a blackness on the margins. The celebration of the margins–black bodies in motion, women’s voices centered, black queer voices centered–is what ultimately vanquishes the state, represented by a NOPD car. Beyoncé as the conjured every-southern-black-woman, slays atop the car and uses the weight of her body to finish it off, sacrificing herself in the process. Like so, so, so many black folks in the margins in the movement for (all) black (lives matter for) liberation. This formation is brought to you by conjure. [We Slay, Part I – New South Negress]
And in the end saltwater takes everything (again), familiar with black lives lost but there’s a hope now that it takes the state instead (and the poignant reality of the lives lost to this fight).
Formation is a great way to educate folks about black history, especially the notion of a radical blackness that perseveres in spite of it all. So many people are unaware of the migratory histories that followed them to where they are, of the ways in which African symbols and rituals were secretly embedded in the American cultural fabric. Formation is post-Katrina New Orleans as techno was post-industrial Detroit. Similar themes emerge: African diasporic traditions, electronic music and the Kalunga line, a watery boundary between the world of the living and the dead in religious traditions of the Congo. The word Kalunga is Kikongo for “threshold between worlds.” It is often associated with bodies of water, with the Atlantic Ocean being prominent. – [Black Secret Technologies]
RIP Sandra Bland. RIP Trayvon Martin.
Rest in Power as you are risen to ancestor.