Birmingham Fashion Week 2013 kicks off Saturday, Feb. 23, and if you’re a fashion blogger you know this is an event you shouldn’t miss.
There’s often chatter on some of my favorite blogs about whether superstar Beyonce is or isn’t a feminist. Her girl power anthems, all-female band and determination to be independent lead some to say that Bey is absolutely a feminist. But some look to her sexy persona and performances and say she’s a pawn to the male gaze. Some folks even complain about her decision to name her upcoming tour “The Mrs. Carter Show.”
It really pisses me off that women don’t get the same opportunities as men do or money for that matter because let’s face it: money gives men the power to run the show. It gives men the power to define our values and to define what’s sexy and what’s feminine. And that’s bullshit. At the end of the day it’s not about equal rights it’s about how we think. We have to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves. We have to step up as women and take the lead and reach as high as humanly possible. That’s what I’m going to do, that’s my philosophy and that’s what “Girls” is all about.
|Image by Stephen Barnett via Flickr/Creative Commons|
When I was a teenager I believed no one could love me like my radio.
It was always there for me. I listened to the radio while getting ready for and riding to school each morning. My radio made evening homework sessions go by faster and every night my radio sang me to sleep.
I still have fond memories of calling my favorite DJ to request my favorite song and then waiting by the radio with a blank cassette in the tape deck so I could record the highly anticipated track.
R&B ballads by the likes of Mariah Carey gave me fuel for all the sad, angst-filled love poems I wrote back then. And the anthems sang by girl groups like TLC stirred within me a sense of self-pride that would eventually blossom into my feminism.
Then one day everything changed. Radio and I grew apart.
I could try to blame it all on mainstream music. I could say rap music became too sexist and senseless and that pop and R&B became too trite. But, truthfully, I’m the one who changed. My favorite artists became folks like Ani DiFranco, musicians who don’t get mainstream radio airplay. And most club bangers started to give me a headache.
So I turned off my radio.
Then you came along.
I admit that in the past I was never a huge NPR fan because I felt the radio was supposed to be a source of escape and entertainment. As I grew older I started tuning in to NPR for updates on major news events, but was still far from a loyal listener.
But when I moved back to my hometown of Birmingham I decided to give you a chance. You impressed with your programming and with events like I quickly got hooked on station’s programming and was impressed by events like Issues & Ales.
Radio and I began to rekindle the flame, and I owe it all to you.
I am a fan of good music for the same reason that I am a writer — I love stories. And you are always there telling me an intriguing tale whether it’s about life for children in Palestine or the story of a gay man being reunited with his siblings after being cast out the family by his ultra conservative father. Just last week I learned about the evolution of hand dryers. You’re so awesome that you can make hand dryers interesting! And two weeks ago, thanks to you, I began my day with an inspiring interview with Sonia Sotomayor.
Because of you I am more informed, more empathetic, and more motivated.
What I’m trying to say is you make me a better person.
And I can’t get enough of you.
I’ve become one of those people who are almost late for work because they’re sitting in the parking lot in their cars enraptured by an NPR feature report. Every weekend I look forward to listening to the word game Says You.
And you don’t forgot that I love music too. If it weren’t for you I would have never learned about the artist Kendra Morris, whose album Banshee was one of my favorite releases of 2012.
I am so happy we’re taking our relationship to a new level and making things official now that I’ve signed on to be the Race & Diversity blogger for your website.
And today is Valentine’s Day, so let’s celebrate and dance to our song.
A version of this post originally appeared on The Writeous Babe Project.
|Image by Andre Natta via Flickr/Creative Commons|
Monday morning I received an email that made my day. Actually, it made my week.
The message was from a young woman who is a senior at Harvard University interested in journalism. She contacted me because after she graduates she wants to move to… wait for it… Birmingham!
She came across my name and contact information via the See Jane Write blog and said that she’s eager to get involved in See Jane Write once she moves to the Magic City.
The fact that a student at Harvard (who’s originally from the D.C. area) wants to move to Birmingham may come to a shock to some, but not to me. This young woman has figured out something that, unfortunately, took me three decades to learn — Birmingham is a good place for writers.
This month’s issue of Birmingham Magazine features a list of 22 reasons to love the city. This list, along with the aforementioned email, inspired me to create a list of my own — 22 reasons women writers should love Birmingham.
Read on to see if your favorite things about Birmingham made this list.
|Snapshot from the See Jane Write event Blogging and the Future of Community Journalism
Photo Credit: Sherri Davidson Ross
Writers in Birmingham believe in building community. Some local organizations for writers,
journalists, and bloggers include:
1. See Jane Write (Of course, I had to include this group!)
2. Alabama Bloggers
3. Alabama Media Professionals
4. Write Club
5. Birmingham Association of Black Journalists
Believe it or not, Birmingham has a thriving magazine scene. If you want to break into the world of glossy publications but don’t want to deal with shoveling snow or living in a studio apartment that costs you more than $1,000 a month, the Magic City is the place for you.
6. Southern Progress Corporation (home to magazines such as Southern Living, Health, and Cooking Light)
7. Birmingham Magazine
Most writers know that one of the best ways to improve your work is to spend time reading the works of others. Birmingham is for lovers — book lovers, that is. Some of our best bookstores include:
9. Jim Reed Books
10. Little Professor
11. 2nd & Charles
Studies have shown that crowded coffee shops can actually help fire up your creativity. Birmingham has plenty of great coffeehouses to get your mojo going.
12. Church Street Coffee and Books
13. Urban Standard
14. O’Henry’s Coffees
15. The Red Cat Coffee House
In Birmingham writers don’t just sit home alone writing behind closed doors. In our city writers take the stage with spoken word nights and storytelling events.
16. Bards and Brews, presented by the Birmingham Public Library
17. Arc Light Stories
Smart writers know it’s good to get inspiration from all of the arts, including the culinary arts . In Birmingham we have a great art museum and wonderful performing arts centers such as the Alys Stephens Center, but we also have grassroots festivals and conferences and locally owned galleries to set our imaginations to work too.
18. Naked Art Gallery
20. Sidewalk Film Festival
21. Eat Drink Read Write Festival
We creative types typically don’t do well working a traditional 9 to 5 job and we tend to want to strike out on our own. If you’re ready to set your entrepreneurial spirit free, Birmingham is eager to help you do just that.
22. REV Birmingham
What do you love about Birmingham?
Cross-posted at The Writeous Babe Project.
- Our typical monthly meetings are the second Thursday of each month at 11:30 a.m. at the Homewood Public Library. Occasionally we have special events at other times. Our members attend for free. Guests must pay $5.00 per meeting, but may apply the fee toward membership dues, should they decide to join.
- Our focus is professional development. AMP is the local chapter of the National Federation of Press Women (our membership includes men, too). We enlist highly-qualified speakers for meetings and workshops.
- We enjoy networking. AMP includes a diverse network of colleagues (PR representatives, broadcasters, freelance journalists, corporate writers, bloggers, etc.) throughout Alabama.
- We maintain an AMP Website providing meeting information/activities. It includes a public listing of members’ professional profiles, which has resulted in job leads and assignments.