Tag Archives: revolutionary art

$ex Machine

by Lyla June Johnston, ’12

I wrote this poem on an airplane a few years ago. It’s been sitting in my notebook for a long time. I took it out the other day and decided I wanted to make a hip-hop track of it. I wanted to reclaim hip-hop as the healing force it was born to be by making it flashy, sexy and truthful. It’s main message is that we are not the sex slaves that pop music tells us we are, we are human beings that deserve love and respect.

How it developed was pretty interesting. I found the beat to go beneath it from the creative commons search on soundcloud.com. It was produced by a man in Sweden whom I’ve never met who goes by the name of “Dr. Mess.” I asked him if I could overlay some lyrics on it and he was fine with it. This is the beauty of making art for the people, not for the profit, under creative commons license as Dr. Mess does. The greed and fear that comes with copyrighting is relinquished and so we can collaborate more freely, even from across the ocean. Continue reading

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Why Culture Shows Make Me Cry

by Sammie Wills, ’16

dance
There are few things I find more beautiful than the ability to resist oppression through happiness. There is a certain strength and grace in creating joy despite aggressors’ attempts to diminish hope.  This joy can be embodied through the dance and song and art of a culture, passed down to remember and celebrate the resistance engendered by a people.

This very mode of resistance demonstrates why I love culture shows.

First, I must be careful to note that there are indeed multiple problematic aspects of culture shows. The culture show itself is, and will always be, a highly-romanticized, typically-westernized performance of native cultures and traditions. Continue reading

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On Art, Activism, and Journalism

by Katie Brigham, ’13

I’m used to hearing various iterations of the question “What are you going to do with that?” It’s not annoying, it’s a totally reasonable response given my academic choices. I’m an International Relations major with a shockingly broad concentration (“Comparative Culture and Society”) and a Studio Art minor. I’ve spent summers volunteering abroad, summers doing research, and summers holed up the darkroom working on myriad analogue photography projects. As of late, I’m also a Journalism co-term. Given that the title of this degree is also the title of a professional field, I’ve been getting the “What are you going to do with that?” question less.

But: I really don’t know yet if I want to be just a journalist.

So if I’m not in a talkative mood, I’ll answer That Question in a sort of, “Yeah man, I don’t know, LOL!” kind of way. But if I’m feeling more expansive, you’ll hear all about how genuinely exciting I think the intersection of art, culture, and international affairs is. I’ll muse about journalism as an art form. Potentially talk about how using both photography and journalism to tell unbiased stories has made me feel more productive in addressing issues of social justice than any other experience in my life.

Hence my latest answer to That Question is that maybe I want to be a multimedia journalist. Continue reading

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The Road

by a Stanford student

This poem is about my mother, who tirelessly juggles traditional roles of an Indian wife with professional demands of working in the Silicon Valley. I constantly wonder how India will progress if its women remain in the kitchens, and in the shadows.  

Roll it out, roll it slow
Make no holes in the dough
Make it round, make it thin
Make it flat, make it spin

Watch it swell
Watch the heat
Make it fast
So we can eat

Take a second, maybe two
Lie down, for a few?
Nope, take it back
Get ahead of the pack Continue reading

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A Breakup Letter to Stanford University

by Alok Vaid-Menon, ’13

you are eighteen — give or take a few
shots of espresso and one night stands —
and you are sandwiched in the backseat
of the car with the six suitcases you somehow convinced your mother
to let you pack for college — let’s call it,
being upfront to your roommate that you are
coming with baggage

and you never were one for cliches, but you felt
part of something bigger than yourself,
your parents — called it “becoming an adult”
but you called it staying out past your bedtime dancing
called it holding his hand on the street,
called it safe, and sometimes even
freedom

Continue reading

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White Fetish

by Janani Balasubramanian, ’12

whitefetish

A failing of the word ‘activism’ is its designation of certain activities as political engagement and the rest of our lives as some other floaty and apolitical space.  In reality, we are always enacting and interacting with the structures of power and social positions each of us inhabit.  My friend Alok and I were at a queer conference this weekend in Atlanta to facilitate the same workshop that we’re presenting tonight: ‘Because You’re Brown Honey Gurl!: A Dialogue about Race and Desire’.  Our intention was to bring to bear a conversation on spaces where desire, sex, and romance circulate as political spaces.  The project of queer liberation isn’t limited to our policy engagements or our organizing work — it is also about considering how we desire and are desired in white supremacist realities.

We use the term ‘sexual racism’ to describe the ways that racism and racist traumas inflect our romantic and sexual relations. Continue reading

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Our Challenge

by K. Blaqk, ’14

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The title of this piece is “Our Challenge.” Over fall quarter I discovered the “Nu Rainbow,” which replaces the traditional ROYGBIV spectrum with one representing the variety of colors  of human beings. This move felt especially important to me, as I was starting to see the urgency in queer politics taking on an explicitly anti-racist agenda as well. Lumped into queer issues and racism are also structural class inequality, problems of imperialism and militarism. So, “Our Challenge” is first to build a coalition of marginalized and oppressed peoples and then to channel that organization into a form of resistance and way of remaking the world around us. Continue reading

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Nepantlera

by Aracely Mondragon, ’13

"Nepantlera" – Celia Herrera Rodriguez

quedan 4 minutos con 36 segundos en esta llamada

The process of calling my ‘ama
Acaso no vivo en esa llamada?
esperando desde el otro lado
viviendo en mi fantasía
que tengo alas y vuelo
muy pero muy cerca del sol
adonde abro mis colores
que bailo
con la mujer de libertad
prentendiendola
hasta cruzar su mirada
y otras más frías
hay a quienes
les molesta
todo mi revoloteo
me quieren enjaular
convertir mi jardin en invierno
y cuando eso pasa
solo sueño
que vuelo sur
y allí vuelvo a nacer Continue reading

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Collective Healing

by Aracely Mondragon, ’13

“Chicana Birth” by Irene Jor, ’13

My name is Aracely Mondragon and I am…

I am stories
Of arduous walks
Across a cruel and thieving desert
Of being smuggled in a stereobox
Holding your breath
Praying to the virgencita

I am fetters
On my parent’s wrists and necks
That keep them immobile
Their humanity defined
In terms of legality Continue reading

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