Issue No.11 May 27, 2002

IGNITE ~ Goddesses Brew
HOT GIRLZ ~ Cree Summer

ESOTERIC ~ College Sports
Media Fasting


intro and overview

Last week I received a note from one of my girls who was going through a lot of crap and feeling very defeated and depressed. At the end of her note, she hadn’t any resolutions, instead she was left asking herself (and me): “What do goddesses do when they get lonely?”

At first I didn’t really think about it seriously because the question itself sounds like something said at an open mic, spoken word soiree. But once I got past that, I started thinking about the number of women I’ve seen, in both my professional and personal journeys, who struggle with feelings of inadequacy and loneliness—myself included. And it seems like it’s always the strongest, fiercest, most live sisters that are unhappy or unsatisfied with the current direction of their lives. Even as I read this note I was so surprised because I was just hanging out with this same “lonely” sister and she was rocking the scene wickedly in her Italian 4-inch heels, with everyone trying to be up in her mix. But alas no amount of shoes, handbags or Mac LipGlass can make up for the bliss of self-love and determination. I recently read “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho (read it, if you haven’t already!) and it has completely changed how I live my life. What Coelho makes clear is that whatever we think we need, chances are we already have. The point is we must take the journey in order to not only discover what we’re made of, but also to better appreciate ourselves—our limitations and our gifts.

In this issue I hung-out with Cree Summer who was one of the dopest artists to grace the roster of Epic Records Group. But of course as things seem to go in the music industry she was dropped a few weeks after her record was released. Having gotten through what she considers one of the saddest and darkest times in her life, Cree now has a ton of stuff brewing in her kitchen. So what’s a goddess to do when things get rough? Hopefully we create, we rest, we love and above all, we continue.

Nicole Moore, Editor

inspired, creative and groundbreaking


Cree Summer
by Nicole Moore

Today’s she’s Honey Brown, the Seductress of the Seven Seas. Sporting a gray baby tee and low-rider jeans, Honey Brown is sitting on the ledge of her windowsill waiting for my arrival. “Good morning sister,” she shouts with her Jolly Roger flag waving in the warm LA breeze overhead. Last time I saw Honey Brown was back in 1999 at Jones Beach and on that particular day she was promoting her WORK Group release, “Street Fairie,” – opening for her fellow friend and producer Lenny Kravitz. Officially she was Cree Summer, but when she grabbed the skull and crossbone encroached microphone singing, “I need to slide deliciously down to where I hurt the least,” those in the know saw glimpses of Honey Brown shine through. Fast forward one month, the WORK Group closes and the Toronto native is left without a record deal. Depressed, she drops out of sight and doesn’t return phone calls, not even to Lenny. Fast forward again 3 years and suddenly the sister who grew up on a Indian reserve in Saskatchewan-- who we knew well as Freddie from A Different World, is coming out of hiding. Not that we see her anywhere, but we hear her voice everywhere. From her characterization of Suzie Carmichael on the Rugrats to being the voice of Princess Kida in Disney’s Atlantis, Cree at 33 is still bringing home the bacon big time. Sitting in her sunny dining area sipping lemon tea and looking out onto the backyard that resembles a Brazilian rainforest, Honey Brown shares with me her blues and her revelations. Coming full circle professionally and personally, she’s completing voiceover work for two movie characters and just recently shot a pilot for a new television show and is even writing songs for a new album. Cree Summer is back and Honey Brown, her pirate alter ego, has a lot to say.

theHotness: What’s the story behind your Pirate Movement?

Cree Summer: A movement?

tH: Yeah, girl it’s a movement now!

CS: You know it is a movement. Well I came here when I was 18 from Toronto, Canada. And I’ve been very, very blessed. I always meet lovely females. Just one of those charmed things in my life. I have great friends. So I’ve always had at least two wonderful sisters in my life at all times. And when I moved here I met Lisa Bonet and we fell instantly in love and started a very, productive, creative friendship. First we wanted to have a poetry circle because we write poetry and we going around to these little fuckin’ coffee shops where they have poetry nights—open mic nights. And we noticed there wasn’t a lot of listening going on. It was like everybody is waiting for their turn. And it was like who can be better then the next poet. And I always thought poetry was supposed to be about listening and appreciating that someone’s sharing their deep moments.

tH: I know what you mean!

CS: So we said ‘ fuck this, we’re going have to start our own circle.’

tH: Right cause clearly it wasn’t about the rhyme.

CS: So we started a circle where we allowed no applause and no set order. It was strictly based on vibe and love. We all sat on the floor in a circle and if in some way you had a poem related to the last poem read, then it was your turn next.

tH: Ooooh that’s hot!

CS: So you had to listen. We did that for years and started meeting incredible women poets and musicians and dancers. We took that another step further, got more exclusive and started a women’s group. And we meet on the full moons and we meet when someone has a baby and we meet when we miss each other madly. And what we do is just reflect back to each other our beauty and artistry. We call ourselves “pirates” because we do consider ourselves outlaws and pariahs and alternative livers. You know what I mean?

tH: Absolutely. Is there a sense of rebellion?

CS: Well definitely. Rebellion in the sense that we believe that you get two choices every millisecond this life—fear or love. And we chose to diligently pick love. And with each other it’s a lot easier cause you got someone who is powerful, beautiful reflecting back to you. How lovely it is to come from your highest place.

tH: How many pirates are there?

CS: At least 30.

tH: Get outta here!

CS: no kidding!

tH: Are they all women of color?

CS: Majority are women of color, but not all. Sophisticated Yoni, one of the Pirates, has a great saying for us. She says, “with weapons of mass seduction the pirates will make love to the world.”

tH: I like that.

CS: That’s kinda like our credo. And I wrote a little womanifesto.

tH: I know I read that. That’s why I said movement. You’re trying to act like it’s just a fried chicken gathering! (laughter)

CS: And it’s one of the best movements because it wasn’t planned. And another really important thing. I think it was born out of a general lack of mothering that I think I can assume a lot of women suffer from. You know it’s what your grandmomma’s grandmomma didn’t tell her and what your grandmomma didn’t tell your momma, so what you’re momma didn’t tell you. There’s generation after generations—heirlooms of shame and insecurity being passed down to women.

tH: Yeah especially about their sexual, sensual parts of their being. You’d be surprised how many sisters don’t even know what their yoni is. And that’s because no one talks about it. Maybe you’ll here about some cootchie in a rap song…

CS: (laughing) When you’re just someone’s homey, never sophisticated yoni!

tH: So there’s no pride or respect for one’s yoni. So many women don’t appreciate their own sensuality.

So many women don’t respect other women. When I’m confronted with animosity from another woman, because I’m spoiled rotten with my friends, I’m always so shocked. I can’t believe that we would have anything to possibly compete about. Women fighting each other. I mean who could possibly win? We’re creators. Just yesterday I’m out in the garden looking at these brand new flowers that sprouted out and said look no one makes colors like the Mother. And in those moments I think how could I ever be sad to be born Woman.

tH: It’s something to think about.

CS: It’s hard to be diligent. Everyday you have to ask yourself ‘what’s my choice? Love or fear.’ It’s so easy to forget because so many people connect on negatives. It takes a much a higher being to connect on something lovely, positive and deep. And that’s how we have to do this work. The pirates are here to obliterate womb amnesia. We want everyone to know where the fuck they come from—The Mother.

tH:“Street Fairie,” a record that you put a great deal of energy into, only to be dropped from the label a few weeks after its release. How did that experience affect you? And how did your experiences as a Pirate help you through it?

CS: Well in all honesty. We docked ship and jumped overboard. (laughs) This was my second experience. I was in a rock band for years called Subject To Change and we we’re on Capitol Records and I lost my deal there. I was a child and I had put in work, baby! I mean following Fishbone in a van to open for them. I mean playing up and down Sunset Strip for 2 years before we even signed a deal. You know, hard rock-n-roll dudes. And I lost that deal and went into a massive depression. Massive! And it was maybe two years before I even wanted to write again. Well I wanted to write the whole time, but I was in pain. But by the grace of God and the simple fact I have no fuckin’ choice. I have to make music. It’s no longer a choice in my life. So I started again and got that WORK deal. And when that deal fell though I was ridin’ very, very high. I was happy with the work I created. I had a beautiful, beautiful band that I love and adore anyway. And so when that deal feel through I got very, very quiet. There was not very much music in the house. Not much music in the car. There wasn’t much music in my spirit. And I felt victimized… which is all a sham and an illusion cause there is no such thing. I got to get really dark. I got to drink a lot and just went into heavy indulgence for about a year.

tH: You were having a Billie Holiday, Jimi Hendrix moment.

CS: Yeah, well mostly the ‘oh woe is me’. I was having a pity party, dressed to depress. But the best part about the sadness was I met my shadow side which does feel victimized, which does say, ‘oh poor me. If I was white only and doing rock-n-roll this would be easy, wah, wah, wah’. But the truth of the matter is you have to go through many deaths to become who you are. Lots a little parts of you have to die. There’s a darkness inside of us that we’re all going to have to make friends with one day.

tH: And we might run into it again and again.

CS: Oh I’d say She comes back around many, many times this dark sister. And now I know this Geechee. We party together! So now I feel gratitude for loss. It was the best thing to happen to me. I got time to be blue and to really indulge and time to meet a part of myself that I probably would not have looked at if I hadn’t experienced that loss.

tH: So it was a really good thing for you both personally and professionally.

CS: Oh definitely. I do believe that the music born out of this—not outta the pain—out of the gratitude, will be powerful and better than ever.

~ N. Moore




media bits and news bytes


College Sports

According to the most recent NCAA data, as reported in Northeastern University's Racial and Gender Report Card (Center for the Study of Sport in Society), among the 312 NCAA Div. I schools in 1997-98, African-American women represented 13.9% of all female student-athletes.

They were concentrated in basketball at 35% and track and field at 28.6%. In all other sports combined, African-American women were a mere 5.3% of the total of women student-athletes while Latinas made up 2.9%, Asians 2.3% and Native Americans 0.5%. Those percentages have all been growing, albeit slowly.

Place that in contrast to the fact that, excluding the Historically Black Colleges and Universities, there is not a single African-American, Latina, Asian-American or Native American woman as an athletics directors in Div. I at present. In Division II there are two African-American women and one Asian-American woman in AD positions. There are two women of color who are ADs in Div. III.




expressing ourselves


Media Fasting
by Christa Bell

I am becoming more and more disheartened by the apparent lack of self-esteem in African-Americans’ criticism of popular culture. From the protests over HBO’s non-diverse casting in “Sex and the City” to our overjoyed reaction at the Academy’s recent gesture of benevolent tokenism, it seems like our main concern is being included in, and validated by, white supremacist expressions of creativity.

Whoa, wait a minute! That phrase is so alienating you say? Only radical feminist scholars and Black-liberation types exiled to Cuba are still publicly denouncing the institution of Hollywood as the bastion of white supremacy that it is. Unfortunately as "progressive" people of color, we somehow have been lulled into believing that we have indeed overcome American-style apartheid in Hollywood. At our best, we pretend to fight against it as we attempt to claw our way into the consciousness and onto the screens of the dominant culture.

Recently, in Michael Moore's book, "Stupid White Men," Moore comments that in the real "Sex and the City" world there are no Black, Puerto Rican, or Asian people. We are invisible in shows like that because, in the lives of women like Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha, we are invisible. In the lives of the producers and writers who create their worlds we are invisible. In the minds of the advertising sponsors, we are invisible. In the eyes of the viewing public, who incidentally have not protested to death such unrealistic and blatantly segregated portrayals of America, we are invisible. My question is then, why are we still expending our energy attempting to persuade Hollywood that we exist in blazingly beautiful theatrical color?

It would seem more efficient to first convince OURSELVES that we exist. While one may argue that media has the power to define and project our identities, and therefore we should continue on our mission to make the blind see, I would answer differently. Imagine what would happen if we became as blind to their reality as they are to ours. What if we disconnected our cable, turned off the television, boycotted Hollywood produced movies, cancelled our subscriptions to white supremacist magazines and newspapers that only recognize us as afterthoughts? Like the Montgomery Bus Boycott of the 50's, our acknowledgement of our own humanity and complete withdrawal from the systems that don't recognize it, would be much more effective in the long run than trying to get the dominate culture to acknowledge us on their own.

The only way we will see real progress is when we stop looking to the dominant culture for its nod of acceptance. When we stop weeping and wailing and begging and bootlicking in hopes that they will recognize and include us in their creative projects, will we then be exercising real power.

Black people, people of color, and our allies, together have both the creative and economic power to create and disseminate loving, honest and self-reflective images of ourselves that aren't based on white supremist value systems and experiences (or non-experiences) of us. The question is, do we have the will and self-confidence needed to promote our own truths?

~ Christa Bell is a writer repping for the “sub-dominant” culture in Seattle.






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© theHotness 2002