South Africa’s Lesbians Fear "Corrective Rape"

By Pumza Fihlani | BBC News, Cape Town

Noxolo Nkosana, 23, is the latest victim of a series of violent attacks against lesbians.

She was stabbed a stone’s throw from her home in Crossroads township, Cape Town, as she returned from work one evening with her girlfriend.

The two men – one of whom lives in her community – started yelling insults.

“They were walking behind us. They just started swearing at me screaming: ‘Hey you lesbian, you tomboy, we’ll show you,'” Ms Nkosana tells the BBC.

Before she knew it a sharp knife had entered her back – two fast jabs, then she was on the ground. Half conscious, she felt the knife sink into her skin twice more.

“I was sure that they were going to kill me,” she says.

Continue Reading @ BBC News

Black Woman Redefined

Lynn Neary interviews Sophia Nelson | Talk of the Nation

On the surface, it might appear that many black women have achieved the American dream; they’re excelling in politics, business, media and academia.

But Sophia Nelson, a political commentator and author of Black Woman Redefined: Dispelling Myths and Discovering Fulfillment in the Age of Michelle Obama, says that despite these women’s having achieved a level of success that their mothers could only dream of, their accomplishments aren’t being reflected in popular American culture.

Continue Reading and Listen to the Interview @ NPR

The Central Park Jogger Case Revisited

By Maggie Nelson | The New York Times

In the wake of the 1989 rape and near-fatal beating of a 28-year-old white woman named Trisha Meili (known to many as the Central Park jogger), and after the arrests, confessions and eventual convictions of one Latino and four African-­American teenagers for the crime, the media relentlessly asked: How did this happen? In her slim but ambitious book, “The Central Park Five: A Chronicle of a City Wilding,” Sarah Burns tackles this same question, but with a changed referent. “This,” rather than signifying a horrific gang rape in New York City’s bucolic backyard, here signifies a preventable miscarriage of justice that put five Harlem teenagers behind bars for a crime they didn’t commit. Each of the boys — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Korey Wise and Raymond Santana Jr. — served between 7 and 13 years. Their convictions were vacated in 2002 by the New York State Supreme Court, after a confession and DNA analysis linked a serial rapist, Matias Reyes, to the crime.

Continue Reading @ The New York Times

Michelle Obama, First Feminist, Takes on ‘Women’s Issues’—Carefully

By Sharon Lerner | The Nation

I was among more than 1,500 people who braved the 102-degree heat in D.C. Thursday afternoon to hear what Michelle Obama had to say about work-family issues and other matters close to women’s hearts. The occasion was, officially, the 40th anniversary of the National Partnership for Women and Families, a major player in health care, paid leave, and workplace flexibility advocacy. But the event felt more rock concert than fundraiser when the first lady took the stage, dressed in hot pink and bangles. The audience immediately stood, craning our necks to catch sight of the woman who is to many a feminist megastar. The eruption of adulation in the giant ballroom made my eyes tear.

The First Lady spoke warmly and respectfully of the women’s movement. Referring to 1971, when she was just seven and the National Partnership was founded, Obama noted that “The ceiling wasn’t just glass back then, it was more like concrete.”

Continue Reading @ The Nation

The Real Value of Rihanna’s "Man Down" Video

By Akiba Solomon | Colorlines

Nowadays, when I see the phrase “the controversy over” connected to a black pop culture moment, I tend to tune it out. Too often, the outcry smacks of Christian morality, bougie* respectability politics (“See, now this is what’s wrong with our community…”), and empty role model talk.

Plus, a lot of folks don’t closely watch or listen to what they’re critiquing.

Such is the case, I believe, with the video for Rihanna’s latest Loud single, “Man Down.” The video begins with a tense Rihanna perched in the upper balcony of a crowded train station. When she spots a tall man with a “buck 50” scar on his cheek (in this context, visual code for “badman” or gangsta) she shoots him in the back of the head then winces. Toward the end of the clip, we learn why the tearful singer “shot a man down, in Central Station, in front of a big old crowd”: Because the night before, at a sweaty dancehall, she sets physical limits with him and he retaliates by following her home and raping her.

Continue Reading @ Colorlines