He–Prince–didn’t exactly come to me in a cloud of purple divinity and command me to do so, mind you. I had been on Tumblr, largely out of pedagogical dedication, sporadically reblogging things and scrolling and refreshing pages for hours on end, since the end of 2011. I was a late-adopter of social media, having only joined Facebook in 2009 because as the youngest member of the Executive Committee of the Association of Black Sociologists at the time, I was drafted to make sure we “reached out to the young folks on the face books.” I joined Twitter in 2012 because I lost a bet with former McNair mentee Kimber Thomas, and even then I kept my account private and tweeted sundries when the mood struck.
I ain’t against new technology. I know how the shit works. I’m good. at. the. shit. *I* am a misanthrope and would rather not see folks in person, online, on the phone, in the cloud, or anywhere else. Don’t pop up and visit me. Don’t come to my office. Unless you bring pie (homemade, sweet potato, I’ll kill you if you bring pumpkin, nigga) or money.
Still, Prince did make me start this blog. And he made me when he did this on the twenty-third day of September, the year two thousand and thirteen:
Prince. You cain’t be tweeting things in the middle of the night that I am writing and calling them “interesting reads” when I’m just over in my own black girl corner of the Internet on Tumblr. Because then I will get fiddy leben notifications from Tumblr that I have new followers. And I will wonder why. And I will worry if, by accident really and only, I have posted a nude to my Tumblr. But nobody will know it’s me on Twitter except for folks like the ***flawless Evette Dionne who know that I am both Superman and Clark Kent, Yoncé and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, New South Negress and @zfelice. And I will get straight up out the bed and finish building this blog site and googling html codes and thangs way above my pay grade knowing good and gotdamn well I got to be up to get my child to school in a few hours. And then I will have to start putting stuff on said blog site regularly so I won’t be a raggedy ass.
But you know I’m a raggedy ass, Prince. And you ain’t even on the Twitter no mo.
So, I migrated from the Tumblr Delta to the big city, to this new house I bought and built, New South Negress. And I brought a few things with me from there, including my all-the-way-to-the-side side eye of Lifetime’s Negresses of Steel, my rumination on the language of black girlhood and Honey Boo Boo Chile, and of course, the interesting read. And I’ve written some more things. And I have re-learned a great deal about writing that non-writing-ass social scientists tried to make me forget. And because I’m a black girl, a black girlchild, a negress, a black woman, in the process of re-learning about writing, and remembering why and for whom we do it, I have learned some things about myself.
This is why I am certain that I am a misanthrope. Don’t try to reframe it for me. I know who and what I is.
New South Negress began, in earnest, as a space for me to think about the intersections of race, class, gender, region, and sexuality, intersections that undergird my academic work because they are the matter of my structural being. It is also a space where I adjudicate between my structural being–those categories in which I am inscribed–and the lived experiences and feelings that come out of that–ontology, as it were. I tried, for brevity’s sake, to specialize, and to keep things in that race-region-culture box. However, one of the things that I re-learned about myself and writing is that no matter what we write about, we are always writing about ourselves, about the core of our being, and about the things that interest us. Going forward, I aim to do more of just that, here and elsewhere.
So, welcome and look around if you’ve never been here before. Get reacquainted if you have but you ain’t been here in a while because, well, I ain’t been here in a while. You can find out about my teaching, research, and service work, plus see where I am at and where I’m posed to be on the calendar. Have a question or want me to come for a lecture, workshop, or consultation? Contact me.
Write on, write on, and write what you like. I do. If you do, maybe Prince will make you start a blog, too.