Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Alycee Lane

Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Alycee Lane. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.

What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Alycee Lane and I’m from Buffalo, New York.

Nice, I’ve been to New York once. What is the most annoying habit that you have?

I laugh loudly at my own jokes, including the ones I tell in my own head.

Lol. What was your childhood dream?

My childhood dream was to be a doctor who would cure cancer. That dream ended when, at the age of six, I was spanked vigorously for having poured my secret cure into my mother’s milk at the dinner table.

Oh wow. You rebel you. What skill would you like to master?

I really would like to master playing the saxophone, but I’d actually have to learn how to play the saxophone.

Lol. I love it. What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?

I think it would be amazing to venture off to Antarctica. On the other hand, I left Buffalo, New York for a reason (spoiler: it wasn’t because of buffalo wings).

Speaking of wings, what’s your favorite food?

Anything with pork, which is why being a vegetarian, is pretty damn hard.

Oh Alycee. That was not the right answer. Anything but pork! Don’t do it lol. What kind of music do you like?

I can’t get enough of jazz and blues.

What do you wish you knew more about?

Black holes. The idea of them really blows my mind.

In your own words, define racism.

Voting for Donald Trump.

LOL. What TV channel exists but really shouldn’t?

FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS.

Are you religious Alycee?

Yes. I attend Bedside Baptist every Sunday (this is one of those moments when I am laughing at my own joke).

Alycee’s NEW book, The Wretched of Mother Earth: The Handbook for Living, Dying, and Nonviolent Revolution in the Midst of Climate Change Catastrophe is available now on Amazon

Rofl. You are a trip. Let’s talk about my favorite subject. How long have you been writing? Tell us a little bit about the journey thus far.

I have been writing earnestly since 2012, though I had written some academic papers before then. A few months before my dad died in 2010, he asked me, “when are you going to write?” He knew it was my life aspiration. What he didn’t know at the time, however, was that, in my mind, I had decided to let that dream go. I was done. When I reflect on that moment, I’m inclined to believe that, on some spiritual level, he did know that I had given up. Those who are facing death often see and know things quite clearly. And if they’re your parents…well, then they see through you as well. I remember shrugging, in that way children do when they’ve been caught. The question bothered me enough that, two years later, when my mother’s health began to fail, I was writing like crazy.

In some ways, then, my writing has been a journey through grief, as well as a return to who I really am – the person whom my father clearly knew and saw. For that reason, the journey has also been a powerful one.

That’s powerful. What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer?

The most difficult thing about being a writer is keeping a muzzle on the little critic who sits on my shoulder and pretends to be my muse. The most exciting thing is creating that perfect sentence, the one that sounds right.

“Once I was willing to step out of the closet and be completely vulnerable – to expose myself knowing that I could very well become (even more) an object of hate and of violence from people who looked like me and from those who didn’t– once I allowed myself to be that raw, I became absolutely and devastatingly powerful.”

-Alycee Lane, The transformation of vulnerability into power and action

Why is writing important to you?

I don’t know. It is. I think I would talk too much if I didn’t write. Or –or, I would finally learn how to play the sax.

I understand that you specialized in African American literature and culture of the civil rights and black power movements. You also explore political issues through the prism of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s philosophy of nonviolence. I love the Panthers as well as Dr. King. What attracted you to this kind of work? Can you tell us a little bit about your inspirations?

Okay, so not the easiest questions for someone who’s spent the whole day with a five-year-old.

Lol. Answer the question Alycee!

I come from a very political family, so I naturally gravitated toward studying the literature and culture of the CR/BP movements (plus, I am old enough to remember the Free Angela Davis movement, and I used to shout “Black Power” out of my school bus window while being bused across town. To this day, I remember the “White Power” sign that hung from one of the houses I passed every day to get to my integrated school).

So, my main inspirations were my parents, as well as my brothers and sister. Then there were my professors at Howard University, mainly Patricia Jones Jackson and Claudia Tate, from whom I took Howard’s first Black Women Writers class. I went to Howard intending to matriculate for law school and ended up leaving there with a Ph.D. on my mind. Good teachers can do that to you. Also among my influencers: Valerie Smith, Richard Yarborough, and Kim Crenshaw.

Oh, yeah: Toni Morrison, Barbara Smith, Alice Walker, Gloria Anzaldua, Cheri Moraga, Audre Lorde, Sweet Honey in the Rock, John Coltrane, Sarah Vaughn, Nina Simone. Countless women I have loved and who have loved me.

With regards to my blog writing: an “ex” did me two favors. The first was gifting me a collection of King’s work. The second was keeping a copy of Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh’s Peace is Every Step in her bookcase. Reading both radically changed this deconstructionist’s heady, cynical life. Having said that, I like to think that I arrived at this place of a commitment to nonviolence and engaged Buddhist practice through the influence of the Panthers, Fanon, Malcolm X, and others.

Now, my five-year-old is my main inspiration. Every day she teaches me how much work I have to do. There’s nothing more humbling than having someone who has been on earth for merely 1800+ days tell you that you don’t know anything about nothin’. Just plain dumb.

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Nonviolence Now!: Living the 1963 Birmingham Campaign’s Promise of Peace is available now on Amazon.

If you had one superpower that could change the world, what would it be?

My superpower would be this: I would make men cry simply by showing them the hand. Why this power? Because I suspect that much of the world’s violence can be attributed to the fact that too many men are unable to cry, to live from the heart, to be vulnerable, to be tender.

What genre do you write in, why?

I primarily write nonfiction, though I suspect this is a cop-out. I don’t know – I’m kind of with Arandati Roy on this: these are not the times for fiction.

I disagree, there is always a time for Fiction!

Alycee, thank you for spending this time with us! We enjoyed you.


Copyright © Alycee Lane

Bio.

Alycee Lane is an Oakland, California-based writer and blogger.

A graduate of Howard University, Alycee studied English literature and later obtained her Doctorate of Philosophy from UCLA, where she specialized in African American literature and culture of the civil rights and black power movements. From 1995 to 2003, she served as an Assistant Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara, after which she obtained her Juris Doctor from UC Berkeley (Boalt Hall).

Alycee is author of the award-winning book, Nonviolence Now! Living the 1963 Birmingham Campaign’s Promise of Peace (Lantern Books, 2015) as well as the blog Coming in From the Cold, where she explores political issues through the prism of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s philosophy of nonviolence. Her newest work, The Wretched of Mother Earth: The Handbook for Living, Dying, and Nonviolent Revolution in the Midst of Climate Change Catastrophe, was just published on April 4, 2018.

Alycee has also written a number of scholarly and other articles on subjects ranging from the Black Panther Party to mitigation evidence in death penalty cases to climate change. In 1993, she was awarded the Audre Lorde Quill Award from the Black Gay and Lesbian Leadership Forum for the essays and interviews that she produced for BLK, a news magazine dedicated to the African American gay and lesbian community, as well as for her work as editor of Black Lace, the first ever African American lesbian erotic magazine.

Be Sure to Follow this Author Online:

Twitter: @AlyceeLane

Blog: http://blk2buddah.wordpress.com

Amazon page: amazon.com/author/alyceelane


Are you an author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE!

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Great Love, Huey P. Newton

Huey P. Newton, February 17, 1942 – August 22, 1989

“I think what motivates people is not great hate, but great love for other people.”

– Huey P. Newton

Formation

I wasn’t going to comment on this, but I’m tired of hearing about it so I thought I’d weigh in. Hold your breaths. In fact, you may want to click that nice x button over in the top right corner of your screen. This is not something you want to hear.

Colors have always been strong symbols. Today, almost everything can be recognized or interpreted by its color. When you see red you think stop. When you see green you think go, nature, life, wealth. When you see yellow you think sunshine, light, happiness, peace. When you see pink you think girly. And then there’s black.

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Since the Black Panthers, the color Black has been resurrected to be a symbol of power, strength, and rebellion. Rebellion against a system that has defined Black people as something dark and animalistic since the institution of chattel slavery. Today, black people who wear Black are seen as people who embrace black pride and become symbols for the African American rebellion against unjust systems.

However, everything that glitters is not gold and everyone wearing an Afro is not “revolutionary”. In witchcraft, the color black was used to indicate authority and power. It also symbolizes death, fear, and (wait for it) ignorance. Like any other symbol, when you see the color black it causes a trigger in your mind. For African Americans, it causes us to think about The Black Panther Party or Blackness in its relation to Black pride in general.

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Why is Beyonce’s Formation being compared to The Black Panthers? What you saw in the half-time of the Superbowl was not a showcase of racial pride. It was not an image of strength and courage it was a coven of witches casting spells. This same thing happened back in 2014 when Solange rocked an Afro at her wedding. A group of people who are collectively worth billions of dollars held a wedding in an old crumbly building in New Orleans with chipping paint and stood like statues with blank stares. The whole thing made no sense and was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen but because they wore Afros y’all praised it like it was something profound.

Am I a hater? Yes. I hate when people jump on bandwagons because of the appearance of something that looks positive but that they have no knowledge of. You weren’t shown Black Power, you were shown Black Cat Power and any Wiccan can tell you there’s a difference. Back in the day people worshipped the Sun and Moon and considered them Gods. Later, these worshippers associated specific animals with them. Concerning the cat, they believed certain Goddesses took the form of cats (cats are very sensitive to spirits), specifically, the Egyptian Goddesses Bast. Not only are cats sensitive to spirits, but black cats were symbolic of magic and darkness after the Goddess Diana (Known as Queen of the Witches) cult was said to have went underground.

By wearing all black, rocking Afros, and throwing clenched fist into the air you were made to believe something profound happened, just the same as when Solange threw an all white wedding. White, a symbol of purification and light. Thus this wedding gave you the perception of purity.

Black History Fun Fact Friday

Hello there loves, and welcome back to Black History Fun Fact Friday the one day we set-apart to highlight some of the most influential African American men and women of time.

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Panther1995_movie_posterToday’s Black History Fun Fact is the movie Panthers, the 1995 document of The Black Panther Party as narrated by Kadeem Hardison as Judge (based on the real life persona of Bobby Rush), and directed by Mario Van Peebles as adopted from his father Melvin Van Peebles. The film portrays the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (aka The Black Panthers) tracing the organization from its founding through its decline. I must admit I’m going out on a limb by recommending this movie. I may soon be deemed as a promoter of militant anti-government sentiment. However, that is the opposite of why I recommend you add this movie to your collection. For the record I’m not in the business of advocating for militant behavior.

free_breakfast_programI like this movie because it showcased a lot of The Panthers outreach programs: the food distributions, medical assistance, education, and variety of businesses. Mario Van Pebble’s Panther is one of my favorite movies for the same reason Malcolm X is one of my favorite movies, not because I’m Muslim, which I am not, but because of the passion for the uplifting of the black community and the way the actors seemed to literally cement themselves into the roles. I mean, Denzel Washington may as well have been Malcolm incarnate. It’s not everyday you get a bomb story, with truth, AND actors to play it to the letter. Movies like this are very inspiring to me and keep the fire I have to restore the forgotten heritage to the forgotten people going. Just watching it alone compels you to get off your butt and do something, feed the poor or tutor some children, anything to promote progression in your communities; fueled by the passion of the youth before you. Speaking of which, you can’t miss the cast in this one: From Angela Bassett, to Kadeem Hardison, Marcus Chong, Chris Rock, Tucker, the list goes on and on with A list actors and act they did. This film is a must see.

Thank you for stopping by and checking out this week’s episode of Black History Fun Facts! We’ll see ya next week.

In the meantime, go buy that movie 🙂

Today marks our 3rd week in this series so here’s a recap in case you missed it:

Black History Fun Facts: Hair Story

Black History Fun Facts: Ray Charles