On my YouTube channel, I set up a rasx() context playlist that only has five videos in it. In stereotypical fantasy, I literally rolled out of bed this morning fired up about taking direct action without elaborate preparation. I need to make some videos about my poetry—especially the work I did when I was in college.

Specifically, I was remembering the spoken-word/rhythm-rhyme piece I made called Ida B. Wells: Agitation against the Lynching Evil. I have not released this work on the Internet or in print because it is meant to be heard first. This choice is completely under the influence of one of my mentors/elders Sekou Sundiata—most of his work was released by record labels.

My problem is the huge, multi-decade-long delay between developing the material and releasing it as originally intended. I need to escape the all-or-nothing trap and at least do a solo Google Hangout and re-live the material. Now, I will show myself a bullet list of things I should hit whenever this happens:

  • The young people need to know that Ida B. Wells was the first investigative journalist—not the first Black investigative journalist—but the first investigative journalist. Period.

  • I need to reference the documentary about Ida B. Wells, featuring Toni Morrison the voice of Ida B. Wells.

  • Of course her autobiography, Crusade for Justice.

  • Two events from her life stand out to me: (i) her husband sold his newspaper to her instead of giving it to her and (ii) one of the most poignant moments in all of American history is when a young Ida B. Wells—born in freedom—was thrown off of a train as Jim Crow began to rise. It is exactly like being in a dystopian sci-fi horror movie.

  • Ida B. Wells crusaded primarily in response to black businessmen being murdered for living the American dream. This history flies in the face of the 20th-century, child-of-European-immigrants arrogance about their grandfather coming to America with a nickel in his pocket to build an empire—and why can’t these Black people do the same.

So getting this done is less tragic than not doing anything publicly at all. At this moment in my miserable life I assume that I will no longer fall into more private-life spider webs so I can continue to get the work done to get the work out there.

Update: in typical Bryan un-fashion, I see that I failed to actually hit upon my poetry. I went into the history (which I love). Let’s try to fix that:

  • I need to explain every single line of my work (which sounds artsy-egocentric until we start thinking about the children that use YouTube like a terrifying, never-ending episode of Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood). This suggests strongly that the Google Hangout should be (mostly) a screen share, instead of me showing my (artsy-egocentric) face.

  • I make a reference to the1997 movie Love Jones (which demonstrates just how old this work is).

  • The used vulgar language was not unconsciously habitual out of socialization. I was well aware of fluent, Shakespearean English as well as vernacular forms. The use of this language was for its percussive efficiency as well for an intended audience.

  • This first line of the piece was a direct quote from Ida B. Wells. It was the saying she intended to make famous. My poem about her is following her instructions an example of my respect for her. (However, I am more than certain that she would not approve of my use of vulgar language—but Ida B. Wells would not know how far from the grace of non-white God her people has fallen since her death.)

Last month we ran through a little drama about losing our podcast, the kinté cast. This month we can find the kinté cast on my sleepy, retiring YouTube channel. Based on my limited knowledge of YouTuber expertise, I have serialized the kinté cast in my rasx() context playlist.

The latest episode of the kinté cast (from 3/2010, yes over seven years ago) punctuates my playlist:

I intend to continue this podcast. This project was effectively stopped in its tracks soon after I was laid off at UCLA (my subsequent day jobs got more demanding) and was further delayed by my Steve-Jobs-inspired move away from Flash.

BTW: posting audio-only videos on YouTube is an approach I have seen from such YouTubers as:

We are curating these channels here at kintespace.com under Film/Gaming and Culture/Vlog.

This is not the first time the kinté cast was hosted on YouTube. Over seven years ago, my homeboy, R/Kain Blaze, helped me out by hosting segments on one of his channels. Back then, I had no idea how to encode for YouTube on a PC. Blaze was (and is) on Macs. Many thanks for that…

This tweet from @PamelaCouncil caught my eye:

She introduces to the contemporary catch-phrase, “creative connection.” I like it. I see that this phrase is used quite often—especially among young people. I think that this phrase includes the world of ideas—that there are people all over the world—and when I say “people,” I am usually referring to women with strong African features who are yearning (in the bell hooks sense of the word) to write to people (to correspond in the old-fashioned sense of the word) about this world of ideas—their world of ideas.

This means that I can look to social media as the garden where this correspondence is blooming. Failing that, I can look at, say the timeline of the @PamelaCouncil Twitter feed, and find at least a screenshot representing an excerpt from this sort of creative connecting. (BTW: the actual guy) that invented Twitter intended it for this purpose.) Maybe there is a link to a YouTube video where creative people are on a panel or in an interview. I should see signs of these creative connections online. I should be able to find people exchanging ideas and developing a positive addiction for each other, openly.


I have been on the Internet before there was a World Wide Web and I have never seen people—especially young people forming creative connections around ideas—especially when words are the fundament. Not audio, not video… just words. What has happened instead is the meme—and the site 4Chan.org has been the primary engine of online-generated memes. But, let’s go back to my definition of people and 4Chan.org starts to fade away.

Out of my continuing, decades-long research, the for colored nerds podcast is the only example I can present of a creative connection on record and available for digital download. Their episode #31 with Kim Drew (@museummammy) is close to what should be everywhere. And @PamelaCouncil would be pleased to know that the hosts of the show are not sexing each other up.

Now, way down here in this paragraph lies my real motivation for writing this Blog post: whining of course. I have spent years sending incredibly clever, insightful and truly inspired words to people (remember my definition of people) and have gotten mostly nothing as a response. I am sticking my whining way down here to easily make the point that these non-responses are not really personal. The only thing that is personal is my particular approach to interacting with people online.

After years of reaching out online, I can barf up a list of reasons why people fail to respond to me:

  • The recipient has a small, mobile device with an annoying keyboard and is generally reluctant to respond to anyone (my generation and older).
  • The recipient is no longer active on the social media account I am trying to contact.
  • The recipient has too many contacts and cannot effectively monitor their social media accounts.
  • The recipient receives my message but does not “know” who I am—and my social media profile is socially unacceptable—so no response is necessary.
  • The recipient knows exactly who I am and has so much respect for me that they feel unworthy to respond (I am not being sarcastic here—the @PamelaCouncil tweet explains why).
  • The recipient thinks they know I am (through the ironic prejudice of gender politics) and decides that it is safer to not respond to me at all (the @PamelaCouncil tweet explains why).
  • The recipient thinks they know I am (through the ironic prejudice of gender politics) and decides that it is safer to respond to me with a terse response (like the classic response from Saul Williams: “huh?”—even though he is not my definition of people).

The way my people are treating me when they think they know me betrays their ignorance. Often when I attempted to open a dialog with my peoples (remember my definition of people), I would open it with words about ancient African women. I do this deliberately to avoid the @PamelaCouncil misunderstanding. Now I understand that most of the people I have interacted with under this ancient-knowledge umbrella fail to connect their contemporary creativity with this ancient root. Even those that did understand where I was coming from responded to me like a person that has made a New Year’s resolution about losing weight, eating right and taking more exercise—and all I did is remind them of that resolution. Such a reminder is not pleasant and aversion is the easy way out.

Let’s get back to that ignorance thing in the previous paragraph (and @PamelaCouncil’s tweet). A woman-centric, pro-African man cannot by the sake of his ideals be a sexist predator, seeking to dominate people. So I must have reached out to a person that is not well culturally educated (my fault) or something else is going on… It follows that these have been some of the reasons (apart from the aversion mentioned previously) I have come up with to explain why my advances are non-remembered:

  • People are largely socialites and a socialite will measure worth based on its social gravitas. “Everybody” knows that ancient African women have less than zero gravitas in the socialite ‘space’—even contemporary women from the continent of Africa make this calculation and find no interest or value in my approach.
  • In the same manner that we Black people do not “allow” non-Black people to say “nigger” in our presence, my peoples will not “allow” a male to socially intercourse with them about any topic related to women—especially when I fail (and I will fail) to send acridly strong signals of gender “fluidity.”
  • My approach was formed in an academic setting and I have failed to understand what has happened in the academic world since the early 1980s: this world is not as egalitarian as it once was—so I must be qualified in some way before my words are actually read.
  • My approach is multi-dimensional (confusing) and my online presence in general is easy to misunderstand because it is not branded into simplicity (e.g. kintespace.com should be called AncientAfricanWomen.com)—moreover, my approach is itself becoming historical (I am getting too old to reach new peoples).
  • My approach is deliberately based on the need to have a positive relationship with unknown which flies in the face of billions of media dollars spent every year to associate fear with the unknown. (This basis will never change by the way.)
  • Mufukkas are just plain lazy—especially when you are giving away nothing but ideas.

The most horrible reason to not respond to me (which I have found from kintespace.com entering the lives of people that I actually know in person) is because you know the white folks are not going to “accept” me (which is really going back to all that stuff I wrote about being a socialite). In effect, you know that I am going to die—so what’s the point? This attitude reveals the self-censorship that many of my peoples have flaunted for decades. Now that Don Trump has offended your “white friends” suddenly you have permission to say a little more but not too much.

I have always known from the beginning that kintespace.com is “too much.” I realize that I am asking too much when I start an online relationship based on creative connection through ideas born in words. Words such that the definition of word itself becomes alien in a traditional social media context.

Now that this little thing is written down. I can find closure and move on to other approaches. Let us watch again how my people will respond/non-respond.

Saundra Quarterman was the only Black, woman, professionally-trained artist that would talk to me freely about her work and her process. I now recognize this as extremely precious and unusual because I am older now and have experienced many Black women artists—and, inside many feminist histories, one should be surprised about how “careful” (not intimidated) these people were to withhold.

Perhaps Saundra was so open to me (metaphysically) because we met when we were teenagers. Nevertheless, I assume that Saundra respected me—and she respected dearly her heritage. It is a tragedy—for the both of us—that Saundra is so unique.

1990s SQ and BW

As an actor, Saundra could have exposed a powerful revival of Nina Simone to a new generation, get the voice-acting baton passed to her from James Earl Jones in a future Star Wars movie, carried an entire franchise by replacing Leslie Jones in the latest Ghost Busters installment and start work on her epic biopic on Ida B. Wells—the world would be eagerly anticipating Saundra Quarterman.

And what is deeper is knowing that Zoe Saldana, Lupita Nyong’o and Leslie Jones would want to be Saundra’s close friend—in spite of being outclassed—because of a strange mixture of girl-like admiration and professional jealousy. As a very zealous and devout Christian, Saundra would try to reciprocate—and my guess is that only Leslie Jones would be tolerated the longest—because Saundra is a reclusive ingenious artist and few folks (even self-described Black folks) will be prepared for her ‘seasons.’

I met Saundra Quarterman in Baltimore at the NAACP ACT-SO competition in the late 1980s—just before she was off to a full scholarship at Juilliard School. I was in Baltimore as a poet—and she was there as the best young actress any of us had ever seen. She lost the competition to a boy—because, I assert to this day, they wanted to ‘encourage’ the boy. Her career, therefore, started as she self-ended it: she was not the political preference of the moment—and she is the kind of fiery and prophetic person that does not tolerate the Roman politics for too long.

Since Saundra has been so reclusive. I have already written too much about her here in public. To dial it down a bit, here are some highlights:

  • Saundra taught me to think of the words spoken from the script as notes in a music chart.
  • Saundra taught me that there is a theatrical place to go after Shakespeare: Anton Chekhov.
  • Saundra is a badass chess player and a lifelong dog lover.
  • Saundra loves to watch again and again Cate Blanchett for her “mathematical” finery.
  • Saundra notes that Meryl Streep’s ferocious power began to wane after she had that baby…
  • Saundra told me that all that great acting in The Deer Hunter was helped with a lot of booze—a lot of booze.
  • My 20-year career as a “computer guy” started with me working as Ms. Quarterman’s assistant in the early 1990s.

I planned, by the way, to work with Saundra for the rest of my life. She’s one of a kind.

1990s SQ and BW during Shak’n

Listening is for subordinates and hearing is for human consciousness. Since you probably know that a Black guy is writing this, let’s start with William Shakespeare, his Othello Act 2, Scene 1:

William Shakespeare, his Othello Act 2, Scene 1

We can see that list me translates into listen to me. What this is saying is, “Hey! Get ready for a list of items I am going to dump into your memory! I fully expect to get these items back from you, fully processed, at a later time!” Now, in my pre-millennial Black world, children were trained to listen by memorizing a list of items they must get at the local grocery store for their mother (who would likely beat the child for forgetting anything). Do you notice a trend here? Listening is shit out of slavery! It is a weapon of warfare! To put it in more millennial terms, the invocation of listening is imperative.

There are all kinds of people who do not listen to other people. In my experience, it is the dread of the cognitive load that stops people from even starting to listen to me. In fact, I notice I often teach people to be averse to the sound of my voice because it means work! Simultaneously, almost every “love of my life” has exclaimed something about me “never” listening to them. In my experience, it seems more natural, casual and perceptual to hear people. I often hear a person by listening to them once (but I’ve failed to continually and ritualistically communicate that this single event actually happened).

Here, in the rasx() context, hearing is declarative. I always hear other people—I often do not listen to them. Hearing is part of the process of constructing a ‘conceptual model’ of another person. I do agree that another person may be “unknowable” but this does not mean they cannot be modelled. Racial stereotyping is the worst kind of conceptual modelling—I would prefer to build a model and share it (declare it) with the other consenting person. One would assume that the consenting person must be an adult but I’ve done this sort of thing with children.

My models of children are simple. Children have always been what the documentary (or reality TV show) camera is now: little, playful observers, absorbing things to be processed (often through play) later. So, before they open their mouth to speak, I am ready to hear them within a conceptual model related to this playful absorption. Within my modelling, children hold the promise (or threat) of taking all of this stuff they absorbed over the years and using it (vigorously) for constructive/destructive purposes. These models ‘control’ how I approach children. In the context of listening, the need for control mostly lies with the person being approached with the list—the onus is on them to carefully remember details.

So it is understandable that a listening-biased person (which should be almost everyone in Western/imperial society) would assume that “bad listeners” are careless—they don’t care about you. This could be mostly true but it may be a great and wise thing to check for whether this “careless” person hears you—especially when this person is not doing work for hire.

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The Missing Persons in the Conversation