Archive for Scottie Lowe

Breaking the Shackles: Committing to an Enduring Black Love

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Women's Interests with tags , , , , on March 2, 2013 by Gary Johnson

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By Scottie Lowe

There is a war going on.  A war is being waged between Black men and Black women.  Black women want to blame Black men for the demise of Black relationships and Black men want to blame Black women.  Over and over again, I hear Black people saying that they have given up on love when I’m not even sure we as Black people have a clear understanding of what love really is.  Sure, people can say that they still believe in love but if we don’t know what love really is believing in it is sort of a moot point.  Our models of “love” are based on an inherence of dysfunction passed down from slavery, oppression, racism, bigotry, and patriarchy.  Our models of “love” are based on repeating our parent’s dysfunction.  Our models of “love” are based on what Hollywood tells us is romantic.  I think the fact that we don’t know what love really is, that we can’t define it, that we don’t understand its parameters is what’s keeping us from it, not if we believe in it or not.

People are quick to say, “Slavery was in the past, what happened back then doesn’t have an effect today.”  Well, Black people have been raised, socialized, and programmed for generations to internalize every pain, heartache, and tragedy as if it is nothing more than just another drop in the bucket and it has tragic consequences on our relationships.  It’s Black people who suppress our emotions, who treat depression like it’s a normal way of life because we have been taught that to do anything less is paramount to a sin and a shame.  The messages that black people have passed on, that we wear as badges of honor, aren’t healthy.  In fact, they are the key factors to us having high blood pressure in outrageous numbers, of us dying from heart disease exponentially more than any other race, and that prevent us from forming healthy relationships.  It is our legacy from slavery.  Since Africans landed on these shores, we have been told to suffer in silence in order to make it to another day.  To feel pain is to be considered weak; it’s not even an option for many of us.  The toll of that belief system is feeling so angry inside, so disconnected, that we are afraid to open up, to reveal our true selves to our partners so we pretend to be something we aren’t and we suffer for it by never knowing true and abiding love.

Failure to process pain isn’t a good thing.  Constantly projecting an image of hardness isn’t a healthy thing either.  African Americans are so conditioned to be the emotionless and hard that we fail to realize that we are living in a constant state of depression that is killing us.  We can’t even grasp the concept that there is a better way to live, that we can live life more abundantly, joyfully, and peacefully if we embrace our vulnerability rather than just pushing down the pain until it eats us up.  We will forever be tied to slavery, and a slave mentality, as long as we as a people refuse to accept that our pain isn’t the foundation of our identity.  We have to start loving ourselves enough to admit that it’s okay to break down, to cry, and to admit when we are overwhelmed, process those feelings and then HEAL.  The objective is not to wallow in our despair but to acknowledge that we have been hurt, that we need nurturing and love and to find that source of love inside first and then to seek it out in potential partners who will help us move to a higher plane.

Black men don’t suffer with depression in the same ways as Black women.  Men are obviously affected in different ways because they seem to internalize and rationalize in different ways.  It’s more than apparent that black men don’t have the same ability or potential to be as introspective as women do so they appear to live rather contently with their refusal to look at their own lives.  They’ve mastered the art of displacing any sense of personal responsibility onto the backs of black women and seem pretty content with rationalizing how faultless they are in the process.  Black men are depressed, but they show it by numbing the pain with adrenaline, women, drugs, and denial.  Rather than facing responsibility, they run away from it.  Women are tied to our depression through our umbilical cords, through our wombs.  We can’t hide from the sexual abuse that has scarred us emotionally.  We can’t run away from the pain of rape and the abortions and the children that are our daily reminders of the accomplishments we didn’t achieve, our dreams deferred.

The vast majority of us don’t come from loving, two parent homes.  When we do come from two parent homes, in far too many instances, the relationships aren’t loving but full of fighting, resentment and anger.  We can’t build a healthy relationship if we don’t even know what one looks like up close and personal.  What’s worse, we aren’t even interested in changing our behaviors in an effort to move to a different place, we want to hold on to obviously dysfunctional and destructive patterns, justify them, and then blame other people for hurting us. It seems almost incomprehensible that it’s 2013 and people are not even willing to make efforts to examine their lives in a conscious effort to build stronger relationships.

Being loved means being supported and encouraged, being accepted, cherished and honored.  Being loved is a feeling so indescribable, so comforting, so encouraging and it’s based on someone else cherishing your feelings, caring about your entire being just for who you are.

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Define love.

What does love look like to you?

What does love feel like?

What makes love last?

Describe what your perfect loving relationship would be like.

Those are the questions we need to be asking ourselves as a community if we want to end the war and choose to open ourselves to an enduring love.

Scottie Lowe is the founder, CEO, and the creative driving force behind www.AfroerotiK.com, THE most unique website dedicated to showing the true beauty of Black sexuality in all its many facets.  Tired of erotica that portrayed black women as man-stealing gold diggers and brainless nymphos, and black men as thugs, players, and emotionally immature dick-slingers, she decided it was time to write erotica that represented the complexity and full spectrum of African Americans.

Scottie Lowe (2) Scottie Lowe is the owner of www.AfroerotiK.com, a website dedicated to showing Black people in a positive sexual light and the creator of Sensu-Soul, the groundbreaking erotic video that shows the depth, intensity, and passion of Black love.

The State of Black Erotica

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Links, Black Men, Black Men In America, Women's Interests with tags , , , , on February 26, 2013 by Gary Johnson

Sensu_Soul

By Scottie Lowe

From the rhythmic tales of the sagacious griot, weaving colorful, hushed tales of slaves whose love endured the horrors of dehumanizing captivity, to the Harlem Renaissance with its unapologetic yet poetic examination of those mysterious elements that made our natures rise, to the soul-stirring harmonies of R&B that have been the soundtrack to seduction for decades, African Americans have always had a long tradition of erotic expression.  In 1992, an editor by the name of Miriam Decosta-Willis, published an anthology of erotica called Erotique Noire that was not only groundbreaking, it truly was a celebration of Black sensuality and set the stage for a new genre of expression.   Today, if one is brave enough to venture into the African American section of any bookstore, they will find it’s filled with shelf after shelf of degrading, crude, and offensive books that don’t even deserve to be called erotica.  We’ve come a long way baby, but it certainly hasn’t been an erotic evolution.

Writing Black erotica is a lot like rapping.  Anybody who can come up with three words that rhyme can call themselves a rapper; anyone who uses the words dick, pussy, and fuck in a sentence can call themselves an erotic writer.  Black erotic today consists of the same storyline told over and over again: super-beautiful women with abnormal libidos and superficial standards who seduce their super-rich, basketball-playing lovers who always have super-sized genitalia complete with matching, heightened sexual appetites, and a non-existent commitment to being in a relationship.  Throw in several dozen references to capitalist trinkets and you essentially have every Black erotic story on the shelves today.

Black erotica has made being ghetto equivalent to being Black.  African Americans have a unique culture and experience that have the potential to come across on the page in the reflections, words, and perceptions unique to the Black experience.  That, however, doesn’t have to include baby mamas, visiting day at prisons, spelling the words boys with a z, or eroticizing the N word.  Instead of writing about the beauty, pain, and history of descendents of slave, Black erotica has become little more than cliché tales of dysfunction with a few sexual escapades thrown in for good measure.  Yes, our stories need to be told, but glorifying behaviors that are unhealthy isn’t art.  There certainly is more to Black life than what we are being force-fed.

The road to where Black erotic currently resides has been paved with immaturity, ignorance, and fear.  So terrified are the Black middle class of being associated with the freaks and nymphos depicted in Black erotica, so distanced are African Americans from a healthy example of sexuality, they sit in complicit silence, never demanding more, never complaining about the proliferation of erotic literature that reduces Black sexuality to nothing more than a sweaty, recreational activity.  Rather than talk about sexuality openly, mature conversations about the subject are shunned in an effort to diminish the impact and scope of what goes on behind closed doors.  So desperate are Black Americans for any sort of erotic imagery and representation that reflects the lives of melanin-rich people, that that they know no better than to embrace the vulgarity that denigrates and diminishes the humanity of the entire race.

Erotica is not pornography no matter how much the conservative talking-heads want to insist it is.  Erotica is ART created to arouse the senses.  There is subtlety, nuance, emotion, and creativity in true erotica.  Porn has no subtlety; it’s graphic, it’s hardcore, it’s about arousing one region only.  Pictures of oiled booties and close up shots of a woman’s labia are not erotic.  Women being used, slapped, spit on, choked, and degraded is NOT erotica.  “Erotica is tasteful but porn is tasteless,” is how porn star Linda Lovelace described it.  As the old folks used to say, “She ain’t neva lied.”

The images of African Americans in the adult industry are largely atypical of the true Black experience. The perpetuation of racist and stereotypical images prevalent in the adult industry work to foster unhealthy perceptions of African Americans and render the majority of Black people without an avenue for healthy erotic expression. The perpetuation of the Black woman as the ghetto bitch, ghetto whore, and ghetto freak is not reflective of the vast and overwhelming majority of Black women. The perpetuation of the Black man as the barely literate, one-dimensional bull is offensive and steeped in sick prejudices that are not reflective of the vast majority of African American males either.

When our literary diets consist only of poorly written, grammatically incorrect, inane tales of ghetto sex, when the commercial objectification of Black women’s bodies can be downloaded for free 24 hours a day, that’s not feeding our souls, it’s poisoning our minds.  It’s crippling for Black people to subsist on damaging and dysfunctional depictions of intimacy.  We MUST raise the bar when it comes to what we are feeding ourselves erotically, when it comes to the sensual sustenance with which we nourish ourselves.

Even with the proliferation banal Black entertainment and the horrendous mediocrity of porn, there are still those who value the melodies and harmonies of jazz, who feel the angst of Morrison’s Beloved, who treasure the beauty of Alvin Ailey’s Revelations, and who appreciate the artistry of true erotica.  Long gone are the days when we dog-eared the pages of Erotique Noire and quoted passages to our lovers in steamy late-night phone calls.  Truly empowering erotica lifts us up, paints a picture of our lives and our sexuality that have nothing to do with exchanging sex for money or adultery but that allows us sensual release and to mentally travel to a place of sights, sounds, sensations, and tastes that arouse all of our senses.

Scottie Lowe (2) Scottie Lowe is the owner of www.AfroerotiK.com, a website dedicated to showing Black people in a positive sexual light and the creator of Sensu-Soul, the groundbreaking erotic video that shows the depth, intensity, and passion of Black love.

Click here to see a short video.

My Love/Hate Affair With My Country

Posted in Black Interests, Guest Columnists, Women's Interests with tags , on March 14, 2010 by Gary Johnson

By Scottie Lowe

I am to be counted among the small percentage of the population who harbors a simultaneous deep love and a heart-wrenching disappointment with my country.  I can’t say that I hate my country by any stretch of the imagination because I adore the people, places, and events that have shaped my identity but to suggest that I have a God-Bless-America-Of-Thee-I-Sing blanket patriotism would be disingenuous as well.  I love my nation but I see her flaws and shortcomings.  I do not hate my country but I hate some of the aspects of it that taint its supposed greatness.  I see myself first and foremost as a citizen of the world; my life and my story are reflected in the eyes of people from all around the globe.  I’m not of the belief that man-made borders make the particular land I was born on more sacred; more deserving of peace, or that this soil somehow grants its inhabitants greater rights than any other human being.  I can’t wear red, white, and blue colored glasses and wrap myself in Old Glory, blinded by visions of apple pie and baseball that distract me from the harsh realities of this country’s past, and present injustices.

I live in a country that I willingly acknowledge affords me personal freedoms that I take for granted every minute of every day.  I love that I have a constitutional right to practice any religion under the sun in this country.  Hell, I can create my own religion, recruit members, and be tax-exempt in this country if I so choose and it’s perfectly legal and I don’t have to worship in secret or fear late night storming paratroopers arresting and torturing me for my beliefs.  I detest the fact that the commonly held perception is that this is a Christian nation and that oppressive, repressed, and tyrannical religious zealots have decided that their moral misinterpretations of the bible are the standards by which I should be judged.  The only voices considered valid in discussions of faith are those who claim that Christianity is the only, true, and right religion for America and that the vast majority of my fellow citizens have no respect for my first amendment rights to religious freedom.

I love my country and the unparalleled sense of community and togetherness that arises when we face collective tragedy.  I also love that I can speak my mind without fear of prosecution.  I hate the fact that when I use my God-given common sense, logic, reason, research, and information to suggest that there are factors that surround September 11th that don’t add up, I’m persecuted and labeled a lunatic, conspiracy theorist, and unpatriotic.  I will never forget the innocent lives lost on that fateful day but I don’t think those lives have more value than those lost during Hurricane Katrina or those lost en masse anywhere else in the world for that matter.  I mourn for the families of those that died, and even those that survived but I recognize that millions upon millions of enslaved Africans who were kidnapped and enslaved and brought to this country have no monument, have no movie, no lobbyists in Congress, have no yellow ribbons on SUVs for their loss of life, liberty, and their pursuit of happiness.

I feel safe in knowing that I have the right to own a gun to defend myself even though I have not even the tiniest inkling to do so.  Gun violence has proven itself to be an epidemic in this country and radical militias are plotting at this moment to kill people like me because their particular brand of patriotism deems me expendable in their pursuit of a purer nation state so that safety seems a tad bit misplaced but I accept that I have the right to bear arms.  I’d much rather live in a nation where differences are celebrated and respected, where people can live comfortably in their own skin without the need to try to control, dictate, or annihilate anyone who makes them mad or disagrees with them.  I understand that there are nations in this world where I couldn’t even express my displeasure without imprisonment or worse so for that I love my country.

I appreciate the fact that I can live freely as a woman in the United States without fear of having my genitals mutilated, state sanctioned rape, or being considered a second class citizen just because I possess a uterus.  I’m troubled by the fact that I can’t turn on the television or radio without being insulted or denigrated for my gender.  I hate the fact that misogyny is a multi-billion dollar form of entertainment in this country.

Unlike some other places on earth, I have the right to love anyone I desire, regardless of their gender here.  Regrettably, I don’t have a right to marry whom I choose because some people believe that I will infringe upon their heterosexual rights if I do.  I’m not gay.  I’m not even sure I will ever have an overwhelming need to get married again.  I just can’t stomach the fact that a country that proclaims to want the tired, poor, and huddled masses from all over the world doesn’t have tolerance and acceptance for our very own neighbors who want to share in a committed, loving relationship with all the benefits and privileges thereof.  The very same people who claim that homosexuals are immoral and promiscuous are the ones who are working to ensure that they can’t ascribe to matrimonial monogamy.  It’s difficult to understand why in this great land, we can’t live and let live.

I feel incredibly blessed to live in a country where I have a right to choose what to do with my reproductive body.  Right to lifers in this country not only want to take my ability to control my body away from me, they also want to ensure that my child and I won’t have access to adequate affordable health care, housing, education, and opportunity.  Their concern for my fetus ends when I give birth.  Then, it becomes their mission to see that I’m denied every social benefit that ensures the well-being of my offspring and the community at large.  It’s precisely that hypocrisy that infuriates me about the USA.

There can be no question that the U.S. stands alone as the richest, most alluring country in the world.  People from other nations see this as the Promised Land.  It’s here they want to move and migrate in order to realize their dreams of wealth and prosperity with vision of streets of gold and the land of milk and honey.  My country has laws in place to ensure that I don’t have to toil in a sweatshop for a month and only bring home $7.00.   The United States protects my rights if I’m injured on the job, if an employer harasses me, if I lose my job, and when I retire.  The people of the United States, a very large portion of them rather, want to demonize people who come to this country in pursuit of a better life in this country.  The disdain and hatred for undocumented workers, who work in jobs no one else would want, who receive a mere pittance in exchange for back breaking labor, and who have no rights as even human beings let alone employees is was makes me ashamed of my country.  With all the wealth, with all the resources this country has, the greed and selfishness of people who think there isn’t enough to go around and who actually feel justified in their beliefs that we should build a wall to prevent people from having access to providing for their families is despicable.

I love that here in America I have access to museums and libraries and some of the best educational institutions in the world.  I am incredibly blessed by the fact that my friends are from virtually every corner of the globe; I belong to a community of activists and artists who are passionate about fighting for justice, diversity, and truth.  As an American citizen I can vote and participate in the political process however liberal my agendas.  I hate that my ancestors had to shed their blood and in many instances, give their lives in order for me to be a part of that process.  My heart soars that I could be a part of an election in a country with such an odious history of racism elected an altogether brilliant man of color to this nation’s highest office.  I hate that racism is at the core of the right-wing criticisms against him.  I love that I reside in a country where the freedom of speech is protected.  I hate that Fox News isn’t seen for the hate-filled, racist, liars that they are and shut down with public outrage and a demand for more fair and accurate reporting.    I love the sweet summer peaches of Georgia and the electricity of New York City at 4 a.m.  I love the heartbeat of Washington D.C. and the shrimp etouffee of N’awlins.  The music and culture of Miami’s Latino population infuse me with vitality and I’m equally moved by the traditions and food of the Chinese people of San Francisco.  There’s nothing better than waking up on a brisk Chicago spring morning and going running by the lake.  I love the Midwestern fields flowing with amber waves of grain and the purple mountains with their majestic views of my homeland, I love the Redwoods, the Grand Canyon, and the flowing Mississippi River.  I hate the fact that the indigenous people of this land have been marginalized and disenfranchised with the acts of genocide that have been ignored and erased from the history books.  I love Florence, South Carolina where I would go in the summer and spend time with my cousins and get bitten by mosquitoes the size of quarters and eat the best food I’ve ever tasted at The Thunderbird Inn.

I hate the projects of the inner cities where people are piled on top of each other like rats with no plan to provide them with affordable, decent housing, as if they deserve to live like that simply because they are poor.  I hate the segregation of the south where Blacks are kept in their place with imaginary boundaries and intentional mis-education.  I hate that the soil of the south is stained with the blood of my ancestors who hung from the trees like strange fruit for the entertainment of others.

I love my country because it is my home.  To be born in this time, in this place is to be considered fortunate.  Simply because I am a United States inhabitant, I know that my voice has a greater opportunity to be heard and, moreover, respected around the globe.  Listening to the American art forms of jazz, the blues, and Negro spirituals soothes my soul.  If only they weren’t born of the horrendous history of chattel slavery that has been sanitized to appear little more than a mistake and not one of the most egregious acts of terror against humanity that it really was.

Our founding fathers saw fit to ensure that each and every person born in this nation had the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  The irony that plagues me is that during that very time individuals with beautiful black skin were considered 3/5ths of a human being, little more than animals, who labored to make this country the wealthiest in the world.  I want desperately to love my country because it is the bastion of principles that it proclaims. Oh were it truly the land of the free and the home of the brave with liberty and justice for all.  Sadly, they are empty cliches.  Injustice reigns freely from sea to shining sea based on race, gender, income level, physical ability, age, and sexual orientation.  I can’t, in good consciousness, give my unconditional love to a nation that perpetuates wars on concepts where innocent people are victims of capitalist agendas but I can love the potential for my United States of America, a beautiful jewel with flawed facets, to live out its mission so that all its children might be one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Scottie Lowe is an author, activist, and she is also the creator of www.AfroerotiK.com.

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