Monday, April 20, 2009

A Tale of Two Diaz's

What up mi gente!? Glad to be back in NYC after spending a few days at the EMP Pop Conference in Seattle.

I just saw this YouTube video of reactions to Gov. Patterson's calls to legalize gay marriage.

Now, those of you who know me personally know I am not a big proponent of marriage (gay or straight) because of its normative and capitalist underpinnings. Nonetheless, I still support people's rights to get married if that is what works for them and respect the struggle for the legal protections that marrigage offers. Despite my ambivalence about gay marriage, I still foam at the mouth when I hear about/see State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr.'s homophobic publicity stunts. Back in 2004 (if my memory serves me correctly) Diaz Sr. staged a protest in front of the Bronx County Courthouse that garnered a large crowd in opposition to gay-marriage. Earlier this year he was part of a rally by anti-gay Latino/a clergy that was less successful, but nevertheless garnered more attention for Diaz Sr. and his religious political platform.

In February Gary Axelbank, posted a video on West Bronx News calling out Diaz Sr. on issues related to homophobia, a woman's right to choose, and separation of church and state. Check it out below (h/t Blabbeando):

I agree with Axelbank on many of his points, specifically about Diaz Sr.'s need to recognize where his duties as a minister end and his duties as a senator begin.

I'm not really into making the son pay for the sins of the father, but how should we be thinking about Ruben Diaz Jr.'s current run for Bronx Borough President?

When Adolfo Carrion Jr. was selected for the position of Director of the White House Office on Urban Policy by President Obama, Diaz Jr. quickly stepped in to fill the vacancy left by Carrion. Now with the election just around the corner and no contenders it's pretty much safe to assume that Diaz Jr. will be the next Bronx Borough President.

So what does his mean for LGBT Bronxites? Potentially a lot. While Diaz Jr. is not as conservative as his father, and he has supported measures to protect LGBT populations from discrimination, in June of 2007 he voted against same-sex marriage. Again, while I don't think that gay marriage should be the main struggle of the LGBT movement, I will say that it tends to be a good barometer for measuring a politician's homophobia and biases against the LGBT community.

So on the eve of a new Bronx Borough President and presumably more antics by Ruben Diaz Sr. and his group of conservative Latino/a clergy, I guess the theme is be prepared. While the Bronx's LGBT community is gaining more attention, I doubt that will stop both Diaz Sr. and Jr. from opposing the gay marriage measures that Patterson is pushing for.

The question is how will we see this as affecting Bronxites and how will we respond?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Queer Intimacies Panel @ EMP Pop Conference 2009

What up mi gente!?

I've been missing in action from the blogosphere for the past couple of weeks trying to catch up with work and prepare for this paper I'm presenting next week at the EMP Pop Conference 2009 in Seattle.

I'm on a panel entitled "Queer Intimacies in Hip Hop and Reggaeton" with Elliott Hunter Powell and Laurence Ralph, and Gayatri Gopinath who will be responding and moderating.

Peep the panel abstract:
The papers in this panel address the rich and vibrant queer relationality and intimacies that exist within hip hop and reggaeton. Dominant discourses construct an image of hip hop and reggaeton that depict these genres as spaces of unabashed homophobia and misogyny. In attempting to address the ways in which misogyny functions in hip hop and reggaeton, scholars have largely failed to interrogate heterosexism and privilege in their critiques of these genres. Furthermore, when queerness and queer desire are made visible, it is typically through the problematic representations of DL/Homo Thug identity and practices. The panelists seek to expand the discussion of queerness in hip hop and reggaeton by exploring spaces and performances that on the surface seem to exude contradictory ways of being and embodiment, but actually enable the development of queer(ed) intimacies. We use queer not only to describe same sex relationships, pleasures, and desires, but also to describe disruptions to normative practices and structures. Marisol LeBrón focuses on reggaetonera and hindi-vocalist Deevani as a case study for examining the complicated roots/routes of “socio-sonic circuitry” and affinity that operate in reggaeton. Placing Gujarati American vocalist Raje Shwari at the center hip hop’s recent engagement with South Asian music and artists, Elliott Powell explores the ways in which a turn to the sonic opens up possibilities for South Asian female queer desire and subjectivity in this post 9/11 era. Finally, Laurence Ralph examines the epistemology of the closet in hip hop and forms of homosocial intimacies among rappers.
My paper has changed quite a bit from when I submitted the abstract, so while in the larger paper I do discuss Deevani, in this conference paper I will be looking at how bhangraton queers reggaeton by disrupting the normative logic of cultural nationalism that surfaced during 2005-2006 at the height to reggaeton's boom.

Hopefully, people will think the paper's dope and I will get a chance to see some old friends and meet some new ones. If you're in Seattle check the conference out it should be off the chain this year.

hasta pronto...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Fat Joe - Cupcakes

I got really excited when I saw the title of this video because I figured since it was Fat Joe he might be talking about eating cupcakes. Instead he had to go the wack and predictable route and talk about pushing weight rather than gaining it.

I get it Joe, you're singing about slinging yae BUT I'm sorry singing about cupcakes just ain't gangsta, UNLESS you're gangsta enough to crack a joke or two about shutting down Crumbs or Magnolia.

This is why crack music needs to stop because now Fat Joe is rapping about cupcakes in a totally unironic way.