Posts tagged Toni Morrison
Posts tagged Toni Morrison
Start at 38:58. Toni Morrison talks about her play Desdemona, why Iago didn’t survive her cut, what it means to excise “the white gaze” from one’s work, and how doing so opens up creative space.
[This is what] has been happening more and more and more in my books, actually all of them, and that is to take away what I call ‘the white gaze.’ Whose eye, whose language is controlling this? Well, in Othello, it’s Iago…
… In the traditional African-American novel the oppressor is the white man, or the white idea, or the captain, or the plantation; that’s who they were confronting. [Ralph] Ellison, [James] Baldwin, Richard Wright—you understood they were responding to, defending themselves, or aggressively attacking that idea of the white oppressor.
And I thought: I can’t do that. What is the world like if [the oppressor’s] not there? the freedom, the open world that appears… it’s stunning. And I notice most African-American women writers do the same thing. Toni Cade Bambara, not always Alice Walker but many times, Maya Angelou… and the poets…
There was this free space opened up by refusing to respond every minute to the gaze, someone else’s gaze.
The clipping that inspired Toni Morrison to write Beloved
This photo of Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou is so utterly epic that I can look directly at it. It would be like staring into the sun.
“Black women have always been friends. I mean, if you didn’t have each other you had nothing.”
*weeps at the perfection of this photo*
“Some historians told me 200 million Blacks died during slavery. The smallest number I got from anybody was 60 million. There were travel accounts of people who were in the Congo—that’s a wide river—saying, ‘We could not get the boat through the river, it was choked with bodies.’ That’s like a logjam. A lot of people died. Half of them died in those ships. Slave trade was like cocaine is now—even though it was against the law, that didn’t stop anybody. Imagine getting $1,000 for a human being. That’s a lot of money. There are fortunes in this country that were made that way.”
— Toni Morrison (via sonofbaldwin)
Toni Morrison on the White Gaze and How She Pays It DUST.
the importance of the freedom of the literary imagination, esp. to black am’s…brilliant.
Break it down.
My Queen. My Queeeeeeeennnnnnn…….
Toni Morrison’s eulogy at James Baldwin’s funeral in Dec 1987.
The season was always Christmas with you there and … you did not neglect to bring at least three gifts… You gave me a language to dwell in, a gift so perfect it seems my own invention… . The second gift was your courage, which you let us share: the courage of one who could go as a stranger in the village and transform the distances between people into intimacy with the whole world… The third gift was hard to fathom and even harder to accept. It was your tenderness – a tenderness so delicate I thought it could not last, but last it did and envelop me it did.
You knew, didn’t you, how I needed your language and the mind that formed it? How I relied on your fierce courage to tame wildernesses for me? How strengthened I was by the certainty that came from knowing you would never hurt me? You knew, didn’t you, how I loved your love? You knew. This then is no calamity. No, This is jubilee. “Our crown,” you said, “has already been bought and paid for. All we have to do,” you said, “is wear it.”
And we do, Jimmy. You crowned us.
Wow. I love this.