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Farah Tanis 2012 Closing Monologue

Farah Tanis 2012 Closing Monologue

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Published by: BlackWomen's Blueprint on Mar 31, 2012
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05/04/2012

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In Reclamation
Mother Tongue Monologues 2012For Black Girls and Stolen Women Reclaiming Our Bodies, Our Selves, Our LivesWritten By Farah TanisInspired by the work of Patricia McFadden A war has happened here; right here on this soil; a war and a multitude of battles to lay claim tothe bodies of our daughters, our mothers, our sisters—to lay claim to the body that is our own,has happened…here.Listen….”For so many Black women, the true
decolonized 
,
un-policed 
, de-
commodified 
connection between
their 
power and pleasure is not often recognized, and remains a largely un-embraced and undefended heritage. Yet an understanding of this connection is one of the mostprecious legacies passed on to us by our foremothers. In often obscure or hidden ways, it lies atthe heart of female freedom and power; and when it is harnessed and "deployed", it has thecapacity to infuse every woman's personal experience of living and being with a liberatingpolitical force.”
1
 
Patricia McFadden, Radical African Feminist, Writer, Movement Builder 
.So many stories, so many testimonies have gone missing, so many still left to tell that we didnot have the honor to tell today. A war has taken place here. A war has taken place here on thishere soil; Started on the shores of Africa…. and a multitude of battles won by brave women,race women, revolutionary women, Queen women, Goddesses,
Girls
…. Prophetesses andBlack Feminists and Womanists, by Artists, Lovers and Builders.Despite hundreds of days and collective years in the belly or on the deck of those slave ships to America, Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, to Panama, Brazil and elsewhere. Despitethe consistent tarring open of our thighs, Despite of the attempted erasure of these true stories,they have not won out. We know!We’ve heard told of the decisive plunging of our foremothers to the bottom of the ocean inultimate resistance to being kidnapped from the land where they planted their feet and took their first steps as girls. The news has spread of the hundreds, if not thousands of marches for freedom, the promulgation of liberation via literary works, organizing, art and outright emotional,spiritual and physical rebellion even today. And this--- indisputably fortifies, and is ringingaffirmation of the blood that courses through each of our veins.Let us claim the legacy of whom we have been and who we are. No longer do we need toremain in dark horrible places, suffocating places, closely patrolled not only by men, but even bywomen themselves from all classes, persuasions and social standings, no windows, no air, withseemingly no way out.Claim it. We can all seek spaces where we can begin healing, begin exercising our right tomake choices that involve much more than our options within hetero-normative relationships.We know that many of these are flawed by deep-seated misogyny that generates the despair that characterizes so many women's lives, as well as men’s lives.Claim it. We can be, do, act and say---everything that we have not yet begun to say and do aswomen who know that our lives can be different, if we only have the courage to step out of thecages of cultural practices and values that not only oppress us, but also presume to dictate theterms of 
our 
freedom, the terms of our bodies, the terms of our sexuality, the terms of our sensuality and the terms of our liberation.
1
 
Patricia McFadden, Sexual Pleasure as Feminist Choice, Feminist Africa: Changing Cultures.
 
You choose. Claim it. Healing spaces.
You
Claim it. Freedom.
You
Claim it. We stand on greatshoulders and together, we can tend to ourselves and each other in reclaiming ourselves, our bodies and our lives.In
this
war, in
this
battle,
we can
redefine sexuality as something beyond “conventional or reactionary narratives of commodified sexual relationships”, of simply power, or simply asmeans of efficient reproduction or simply as defenses against disease and violation.In addition to all of these, I have heard from my sisters tonight out in the audience and herewhere I stand--the shouts, the orgasmic moans, without shame, unabashed signs of release,sobs, soft hums and the possibility of the open and the “fearless underlining of our capacity for  joy ….of self-connection, of that joy which we know ourselves to be capable of feeling, areminder of our capacity for feeling. And that deep and irreplaceable knowledge of that capacitycomes to demand from all of our lives that it be lived within the knowledge that such satisfactionis possible,” on our terms. On—our--terms.To our brothers, allies, friends, family, community---“A denied right, misinformation, a frown, adisapproving scowl”, a leer across the street, on the subway, across the room, “a raised voice,an angry reprimand, a verbal insult, a shaken fist, a shove, a slap, a punch, rape, a slit throat –these are part of the routine processes of socialization and gendered identity constructionthrough which girls and women and our bodies are persistently reminded that they are chattel.”
2
Because your liberation is tied to ours and our liberation is inextricably linked, no longer do youor I have to comply with the taboos and strictures associated with the sexual realities in thesepatriarchal societies. Can we stop encouraging Black women and girls to “conceal what theyknow about their bodies, to express shame about their bodies, to apologize for their bodies, andto lose touch with what Alice Walker has called--the secret of joy?”Bolster 
our 
efforts as we strive to offer a precious gift to ourselves by opening a window of opportunity through which we could imagine the beauty systematically buried by centuries of hateful, supremacist patriarchal propaganda and violence and from centuries of cultural andsexual repression and denial, and from the racial vilification, appropriation and violation of theblack female body.
 
We no longer have to perform the imposed task and/or duty of gatekeeper,enforcer, imposer of a Black sexual politics that prevents us from being truly free. Stand withus in this journey of unearthing, un-silencing ourselves for ourselves and do this, because our liberation is inextricably bound with each other.Then finally, Black women, we can offer ourselves this---begin to work with ourselves and eachother to unpack, unburden, unload this crushing weight and seize our freedom. And for thosewho haven’t already---reclaim our bodies, reclaim ourselves, reclaim our lives. Black women, wecan say, “I dare to imagine my black, female body in ways that are both disruptive andexhilarating.” I can feel the surge of power and clarity that comes with the revelation that I—am—beautiful! I can embrace pleasure and embrace joy and self-love.My Body, your body is not to blame, my vulva, your vulva is not to blame, your clitoris is not toblame, your vagina is not to blame, your cleavage is not to blame, your breasts my dear are notto blame, your thick full lips are not to blame, neither is your tongue, your hands are not toblame, and neither is your ass--not to blame, your belly is not to blame. Your womb is not toblame, your neck, your back is not to blame. Unheave, unpack, unburden, unload it. As of tonight, you and I can lean on each other to begin embracing the joy of being free; And for those who have already made it, reach back, reach back for us so we can all embrace the joy of 
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Patricia McFadden, Sexual Pleasure as Feminist Choice, Feminist Africa: Changing Cultures.
 Patricia McFadden is a feminist activist and scholar who has lived and worked in various parts of Africa. She is currently undertaking research in theUS.

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