Sunday, August 30, 2009

From Staceyann Chin

PLEASE POST ON YOUR BLOGS, SITES, LISTS etc. Help us reach the folks we need.

Many of you have already heard about our film, Baby Makes me. For you, this is an update. But for the folks who have not heard Tiona and I are making a documentary together.

For years, I have wanted to become a mother. But the timing has never been quite right. Either my partners weren’t ready, or I was scared, or I couldn’t find a donor or something. There was always something. By the time I rolled into 35, I was tired of being afraid, tired of waiting for the right woman with whom it would be the right time, tired of watching every Christmas roll over another Birthday, tired of watching my peers get knocked up and months later appear with the most amazing little bundle of potential—I was tired of waiting and ready to make the leap, and I was ready to make it alone.

I began the research with great heart—only to discover that there were little no resources for women who either wanted to, or had to embark on the journey of motherhood in the solo. There were one or two essays and a few books on artificial insemination, and some were even directed at lesbians—but most, if not all assumed that the mother would be operating from inside of a partnership, be that partnership heterosexual or homosexual.

The idea for the film came out of a conversation with Tiona to film the pregnancy/labor, assuming that there would be one—because no one, least of all me, knows if my body will cooperate in doing such a thing as conceiving. I envisioned Tiona asking a couple of heartfelt questions and spinning the light to create a high-end home-movie I could show my child at eighteen. She agreed and we began to flesh out some ideas. That conversation, coupled with the lack of resource material out there spurred the project now known as Baby Makes Me.

Baby Makes Me, a feature-length documentary, will explore the challenges and triumphs of Single Motherhood, particularly in the lives of women of color, lesbians and women who make a conscious choice to be mothers in the absence of intimate/romantic partnerships with men.

The film will use as its narrative skeleton, the journey of activist/writer/performer, Staceyann Chin, as she navigates her personal choices with reference to motherhood. Author of the memoir, The Other Side of Paradise, Chin now brings her talents to the medium of film as writer and Executive Producer.

The Director, Tiona McClodden, is a champion of promoting positive images of women in media. Her last film, “Black./womyn.:conversations…”, garnered much respect in both accolades and awards. She now brings her attention to the issue of women and motherhood.

It is our intent to interview a series of women from all the demographic cross-sections. Issues of financial, ethical, medical, cultural, and political relevance will be fore-grounded. We hope that clinics, hospitals, families, children of Black lesbians, straight Black women who want children, mothers of gay women who lament the loss of grandchildren when they discover their daughters are gay, and anybody who seeks to have a clearer picture of the family that includes gay women will see that our lives go on, that women who are single, be they lesbian, or Black or poor, can and do have babies, and that we are simply another group of people who live and laugh and grow. We hope to paint the subjects in the film as human and likable characters who, though they are dealing with slightly different challenges than the women we traditionally see as mothers, are not very different from any other group of people considering parenthood.

We are going to need all the help we can get. We need help in reaching out to folks who would like to be interviewed; other single mothers, women who have been inseminated, women who are thinking about it, women who work in the medical field, women who work in the administrative world of policy etc. We are on the hunt for the all the voices that could represent our story in the film.

We have recently been awarded a grant from ASTREA Lesbian Foundation for Justice and are set to move forward. We write to you now, in the hope that you will want to be involved in this groundbreaking project in whatever capacity you choose: we need space to host fundraisers and screening and other events connected to the film. We need people to fundraise, to promote the film, to host community talks, to suggest topics for discussion in the film—we need to secure additional investors, we need the help of people who are experts in the business of making films, and we need the counter-perspective of people who have never made a film. We are hoping to make this a community effort; from start to finish we want the ideas to be representative of the various factions in our diverse village of the women who mother our children. If you are sure you are unable to do any of the above, we only ask that you make room for our fliers, questionnaires, invitations, and other promotional materials for the film.

We would be honored if you would join us as we attempt to break more ceilings, level more walls to make room those of us who are too frequently left out of the history and imagination of the world we live in. We look forward to a spirited journey with you, from the opening shot to the ending credits—complete with your name listed among the most stalwart of our supporters.

Thanks again to the women who have already offered assistance. We look forward to your being a part of our process.

Staceyann Chin
Executive Producer/Writer, “Baby Makes Me”
Tiona McClodden
Director/Producer, “Baby Makes Me”

Please send all inquiries and requests to:

*I love Staceyann Chin! Is it bad I considered having a baby so I could meet her? Yeah, you're right, too much lol*

Friday, August 14, 2009


I'm just feeling this song, right now.

I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind
There was something so pleasant about that place.
Even your emotions had an echo
In so much space

And when you're out there
Without care,
Yeah, I was out of touch
But it wasn't because I didn't know enough
I just knew too much

Does that make me crazy?
Does that make me crazy?
Does that make me crazy?
Possibly [radio version]
probably [album version]

And I hope that you are having the time of your life
But think twice, that's my only advice

Come on now, who do you, who do you, who do you, who do you think you are,
Ha ha ha bless your soul
You really think you're in control

Well, I think you're crazy
I think you're crazy
I think you're crazy
Just like me

My heroes had the heart to lose their lives out on a limb
And all I remember is thinking, I want to be like them
Ever since I was little, ever since I was little it looked like fun
And it's no coincidence I've come
And I can die when I'm done

Maybe I'm crazy
Maybe you're crazy
Maybe we're crazy

Uh, uh

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Being the angry black woman isn't so bad

I've been thinking a lot about this past year and the many ways that I've changed and haven't been myself. I realized that this past year I have not been as angry as I have been in the past. I'm an angry person, and its actually not as bad as it sounds. I've always been accused of being angry. I was the angry baby, I was the angry Black woman. I've never seen my anger as a bad thing, its been the outward expression of my passion for all things that mean anything to me. I realized that I've lost some of my anger this past Sunday when I got angry again and it felt good.

This past Sunday I was in central park for the summer stage concert series. I was having a good time, enjoying the music hanging with friends and laughing at the hot mess that was Jon B's performance. Then the DJ asked the audience if we wanted to hear reggae, the crowd started cheering and after the next performance her played a reggae mix. Which of course had to include Buju Banton's Boom bye bye. I'm not even going to post lyrics google them if you haven't already heard about this song. Basic message kill the gays, they're nasty. I got so infuriated that I went up to the WBLS table who was sponsoring the event to complain, but the guys there were just volunteers. I still voiced my complaint and went back to my friends trying to be easy but when he played TOK's song Chi Chi man, same premise as Buju's song. That was it, I went up to the VIP area closest to the stage and asked who I could speak to about the DJ. I ended up talking to the venue manager and I went the fuck off. It felt so good. I told him about how offensive the song was, I told I wanted to find out why the DJ felt like that song would be a good one to play. He said its freedom of speech and people can say whatever they want. That really got me, needless to say it went back and forth for a bit more, before I walked away with the manager saying he'd pass on my complaint. He probably didn't but what was important is that I got it out and it felt fucking good. Now don't get me wrong I was still mad for a good while after, but once I calmed down it felt fucking good. I got back in touch with my anger, and I've missed it.

This past year instead of getting mad at the people who deserved my anger I've been internalizing it and I've been worst off for it. So I'm getting back in touch of my anger, I'm gonna yell when I need to, scream when I need to and cuss people out when they deserve it because being the angry black woman isn't so bad.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Reclaiming me

I'm in the process of reclaiming me. This past year I've been really in a funk and not doing what I need to do and what I know to do. I've let a lot of things that I consider intrinsic to who I am slip away. I've given up fighting and surrendered to every negative thought that's cross my mind. I realize that I'm not clear on exactly who I am and even my picture of who I want to be has contaminated, but still I've stopped moving in any direction. I've just curled up in the fetal position in a corner and prayed that all the bad stuff would be gone when I woke up. There's still a lot I have to deal with and process, but not so willing to lay down and give in anymore. I'm really trying to reclaim some space in my life that isn't dedicated to family, friends and other people and just making some me space. I'm trying to make an altar but I have no idea how. But I'm really trying to make some changes in my life, and blogging again is a part of that. So that's all I have to say for now, but I'm really gonna try and blog more. I miss this space.

I'm really feeling this song by Maya Azucena right now

“I remember how being young and black and gay and lonely felt. A lot of it was fine, feeling I had the truth and the light and the key, but a lot of it was purely hell.” ~Audre Lorde