In her 1970’s anthology In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens, Alice Walker asks, “What did it mean for a Black woman to be an artist in our grandmother’s time…Did you have a genius of a great-great-grandmother…whose body was forced to bear children (who were more often than not sold away from her)”? It is a question, she says, “with an answer cruel enough to stop the blood.” The question of the deferred artistic dreams of Black women ancestors is central to the new National Geographic Aretha Franklin biopic Genius, written by acclaimed playwright Suzan-Lori Parks. Genius attempts to peel back…


January 2020: Engaging teachers, administrators, administrators and family on Black LGBTQI youth experiences

As the Religious Right doubles down on its fascist grip on Midwestern and Southern state legislatures, the House recently passed the Equality Act, which grants historic protections to LGBTQI+ communities in the workplace, public accommodations, and public education. The Act now moves to the Senate, where it faces stiff opposition from GOP “Christian family values” bigots. The House’s support comes at a critical juncture in the pandemic, coinciding with the Democrats’ efforts to pass the Covid relief bill, increase the federal minimum wage (derailed by “Senate parliamentarian rules” bureaucracy and Democrats’ gutlessness), and institute a “child allowance”. …


Back in the day, before digital video and the Internet, independent filmmaking was regarded as a “mystical realm” dominated by charmed white boy wunderkinds and the “odd” man of color “maverick”. As independent film has exploded, so has the market for film festivals, such that there is one to fit every niche and predilection. Unfortunately, many of these ventures run on the same old cronyism, Eurocentrism, and hetero-norms that continue to tokenize and ghettoize women of color filmmakers. Case in point is the Philip K. Dick Science Fiction and Supernatural festival, a platform that boasts a standalone category entitled (direct…


By Sikivu Hutchinson

Black LGBTQI+ and Black female identified youth have some of the highest rates of sexual violence abuse in the nation, yet seldom receive culturally responsive mental health intervention, and are routinely victim-blamed/shamed and policed by law enforcement, Black churches, families, and schools. Although psychotherapy has gained more mainstream acceptance in communities of color due to the pandemic, Black women and girls who seek out therapy are still burdened with the stigmatizing cultural stereotype that they should be “strong”, self-sufficient, and supportive of others before they take care of themselves.


Sikivu and Mandisa @ Secular Social Justice conference 2016

Coming from historically religious African American communities, Black atheists are routinely marginalized and stigmatized. Although the number of Black religious nones is growing, self-identified Black atheists are approximately 3% of the atheist population. This reality exemplifies the steep cultural and social hurdles many Black folks in general, and Black women in particular, experience transitioning from religious faith.

As the founder and president of Black Nonbelievers, Inc. (BN), the only national advocacy organization for Black atheists, Mandisa Thomas is a trailblazer in the secular movement. In 2020, Mandisa, Ijeoma Oluo and I received the Harvard Humanist of the Year award. Over…


In 1967, Black Power activist Stokely Carmichael commented, “When you see an individual white boy, you are not afraid of that individual white boy. What you are afraid of is the power that he represents because behind him stands the local police force, the state militia, the Army and the Navy.” Yesterday’s bloodlust at the Capitol bore out Carmichael’s statement, as well as the power of state violence manifested in the protected bodies of individual white people across gender (white women played a key role in the terrorist attack. According to the DC police, eight of the current arrestees are…


After the four-year barrage of homophobic and transphobic policy rollbacks by the Trump administration, the Biden-Harris administration’s pledge to push queer-affirming civil rights policies is encouraging. Before the pandemic, queer BIPOC communities were already besieged by rampant unemployment, homelessness, and educational disparities. Since the pandemic was declared in March, 38% of LGBTQI+ workers have had their hours reduced (while 34% of the overall population have) and 22% have become unemployed. Biden has prioritized “corrective action” such as reversing Trump’s ban on transgender military personnel and aggressively advocating for the passage of the stalled Equality Act, which would amend the federal…


#Standing4BlackGirls: Rape Culture, The Election and The Pandemic

Leimert Park #Standing4BlackGirls march (Photo by Zorrie Petrus)

By Sikivu Hutchinson

Last week’s GOP Senate confirmation of dangerous theocrat Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court capped an epoch-defining year of unrelenting assaults on the bodily autonomy and reproductive rights of women of color. Barrett, whose fierce opposition to abortion rights and contraception is medieval, was Trump’s 220th federal judicial appointee. With Trump’s fascist judicial legacy firmly in place, Black women’s self-determination is even more imperiled. Nonetheless, in the runup to the November 3rd election, there has been little public engagement with how this historical moment of political turbulence resounds…


By Sikivu Hutchinson

As a Black feminist, secular, humanist, voter, I cheered the selection of California Senator Kamala Harris as the Democratic vice presidential nominee with great ambivalence. Harris’ prosecutorial record as California’s Attorney General has been justifiably criticized as conservative and harmful to Black communities under siege from police violence. During her tenure, she consistently failed to prosecute killer cops, pursued thousands of marijuana convictions and penalized parents of truant students.


According to the Human Rights Campaign 77% of African American youth have heard their family say negative things about the LGBTQIA+ community

From Author

A parent repeated the right wing slur that greater media representation of LGBTQ lifestyles is “turning youth out” and encouraging them to become gay. A South L.A. school employee said she had a problem with the use of the Black Power fist by a Black and Latinx GSA Network campus group during last November’s global Transgender Day of Remembrance. A Black father told his eleven year-old daughter not to display her Pride flag because it will cause conflict within the family. And, at a March LGBTQIA+ Youth of Color Institute with South L.A. …

Sikivu Hutchinson

Writer and educator, Founder of WLP, Author of Humanists in the Hood, the novel White Nights, Black Paradise and the speculative fiction podcast Sleep Dystopias

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