our Sex Issue (Feb./March), your earth/wife/ride-or-die
chick Meshell Ndegéocello said you deconstructed
the whole idea of race. Can the same be said for your take
Well if she meant that I refuse to live my life according
to one of the racial scripts, i.e., victimized black person
or tragic mulatta, on offer, then yes, I would say the same
is true of my sexuality. I've never been interested in the
heterosexual script of boy meets girl, boy marries girl,
they have some babies and accumulate possessions until they
die. Or the homosexual script of girl meets girl, girl moves
in with girl, they get a sperm donor or a cat and accumulate
possessions until they die. I have always wanted my relationships
to be off the patriarchial grid. My script is more like
girl meets girl, falls in love with girl, fools around with
boy, makes art with girl, makes baby with boy, they all
live together in a beautiful space building, a great community/family
of friends. Then girl makes more art, boy goes traveling
to find himself in South Asia, girl builds a boat, the girls
take their child sailing around the world, stopping in at
an ashram to learn yoga, meditation and organic farming.
And that's only the beginning. I think relationships should
be about much more than procreation and status and even
romantic love; they should be about spiritual growth and
change and making art and building community and exploring
the full range of pleasure and sexuality.
does the term "bisexuality" mean to you? What
do you think of people who say that it's not possible for
a person to be emotionally and sexually attached to both
men and women, or that someone who is bisexual is just trying
to freak both worlds?
Being bisexual means I am attracted to souls, to people,
to individuals. It means eroticism is not limited to one
set of genitalia, but found in minds, hands, eyes, hips,
mouths, of all genders. I think it is sad that people often
try to trivialize or debase what they fear or don't understand.
have you learned about yourself with each lover you've had?
That I love to be loved.
your memoir about growing up mixed race, you reveal having
had sex at a very young age. How has sexual politricks changed
for you over the years?
When I was young, I was desperate for approval, for a
sense of belonging. And so even though I did not have actual
sexual desire, sex was much more about satisfying my need
to be held and accepted than actually feeling pleasure.
These days, I love and accept myself, and sex is an expression
of that rather than a substitute for it.
scores of so-called third-wave feminists have been criticized
by their elders for wanting to reconcile their sexual orientation
and femininity with, say, feminism. To borrow from rapper
Common, is there any way you can be "sexual and an
intellectual" and still be respected as a Generation
The sexiest women I know are the ones who know their
bodies and minds, and are totally comfortable taking full
responsibility for their own pleasure. We want that shit
to feel good, okay? And we are not afraid to break whatever
rules or taboos erected by someone else to make it happen.
In this culture that is still about satisfying the male
gaze and the male dick, being serious about your female
pleasure is a crucial womanist/feminist/humanist act. But
don't forget, those second wavers are the ones who brought
the female orgasm out of the closet. Without that, we might
not even be talking about sex right now.
you think sexual preference is genetic?
I think sexual preference is both genetic and socially
constructed. We are probably born with a predisposition
to a certain spot on the sexuality dial, somewhere between
totally homosexual and totally heterosexual. Once you get
here and grow up in a culture that sends very clear messages
about how you are supposed to identify sexually, you find
yourself being constructed and shaped largely by what is
deemed acceptable. I think most people in our culture have
not idea what their true sexuality is because we're not
allowed to explore different sexual feelings and impulses
freely. There is so much pressure placed on us from a young
age to be straight, to be hetero. It could be that many
"gay" people would not hold on to their homosexuality
if they felt free to move in and out of it. I am sure the
same could be said of so-called "straight" people.
This is sad, actually, because so much of our creative energy
comes from the sexual, and when that is colonized or imprisoned
or uncultivated, so is our creative, regenerative space.
see sex as being a nirvana-like spiritual, almost religious,
experience -- at least that's what I wish it were every
time. Do you see a connection between orgasm and spiritual
The French call orgasm le petit mort, the little death,
and in a way, a really good orgasm is like a momentary death
of the ego self, the self that is obsessed with the earthly
plane. In orgasm, a lot of that falls away and we get a
taste of a much sweeter, much more transcendent ecstasy,
a joy that has nothing to do with material things or notions
of ownership of any kind. It is amazing to me that we have
been made, designed, to experience this kind of pleasure.
It clearly is supposed to help us see some deeper truth.
Like, maybe joy is our birthright.
been the most romantic moment of your life so far?
I have romantic moments all the time! One of the great
things about being with a musician are the songs. I love
it when Meshell comes home and says, I wrote you a song
and it makes me cry. I like simpler things too, like when
she cooks for me, or when we fall asleep together in the
afternoon sun after reading each other sentences we like
from whatever book has our attention. I also like it when
she gives me a wad of cash and a kiss and says, Go buy yourself
a pair of those crazy expensive shoes you like!
and more mainstream rap music videos showcase glossy hyper-lesbianism
and equally homoerotic male fraternity. How do you think
hip-hop currently deals with sexuality and oddly enough,
Hip-hop has a long way to go before I can really feel
good about its relationship to female sexuality. As far
as I can tell from watching the endless booty clap videos
on TV, many men in hip-hop seem pathologically obsessed
with proving their heterosexuality to themselves and to
each other, a sure sign of deep homophobia. This obsession
leads them to embrace and mimic the ultimate supposed heterosexual
icon, the pimp. It is sad and frightening to me that so
many brothers have bought into the pimp script. I mean,
what is that about? In my city right now, pimps are kidnapping
12-year-old girls and getting them hooked on crack, and
beating them if they don't come home with enough money.
Am I missing something? This is quite an extreme to go to
in order to prove that you don't like dick, don't you think?
The current lesbian fetish seems like just another way to
assert the power of the male gaze, like being gay is acceptable
if it is for men's pleasure and consumption. I can't wait
for more men to reinvent masculinity like women have been
doing with femininity for the last 30 years. I am looking
forward to more expressions of the true diversity we are
blessed to have in our community. We've already mentioned
Common; let's quote some other brothers in hip-hop I love.
Let's get free, y'all!
can a man learn from a woman on how to satisfy another woman?
Slow the fuck down.