STAY SOFT AND SHARE, BELOVED: my take on radical softness
Radical Softness as a Weapon’ as a term was coined by queer poet Lora Mathis and developed further by friend and fellow softie, Leah Abraham. Lora’s initial idea was that accepting your vulnerability in a society that considers it a weakness is a radical act. Leah extends this idea to black womanhood, using Solange’s ‘Cranes in The Sky’ as an example. She says, and I quote, “It carries forth a message that we are entitled to celebrate our trials of surviving, developing and coming into being of our black and brown womanhood, whilst being unafraid to open up and embrace the full extent of emotional vulnerability.”
This theory instantly resonated with me. I’d consider myself a creative of some sort and being vulnerable as an artist can be hard, excruciating in fact. To reveal the deepest parts of yourself and relive them over and over again is not an easy feat. I live with the double-edged sword of only being able to create work that exposes me. You could say Radical Softness is my art, & life, philosophy. Erykah Badu calls us ‘bleeders and cutters’ and it renders so true. It feels as though you’ve torn at your heart to get the words on the page and when I’ve read my poems back; I am transported back to that exact moment and I walk around in it, again. I often wish I could draw it back slightly and not quite say everything. But I always say e v e r y t h i n g.
Why ‘radical softness as a weapon’? What’s so revolutionary or fierce about vulnerability in art?
We, as black and brown women, are not awarded emotionality in our society. Our cries are deemed as
complaining. Our softness is disregarded. We are told to be strong, to take it, as that is ‘what we are created to do’. We are silenced. But when we boldly showcase our softness, when others are able to peel at the outer layer and see what’s within, we throw off the limiting lens we are viewed through. We proclaim that we are human. We assure other black women they are human. We, collectively, are able to heal, and replant, and bloom again.
So to all my beloved black woman artists, stay soft and share. No matter how awkward or painful, the world needs it.
for more: bylyds.tumblr.com
Abraham, Leah. "Decoding Cranes in the Sky: Radical Softness as a Weapon | Gif". http://girlsinfilm.net/features/decoding-cranes-in-the-sky-radical-softness-as-a-weapon.