Booker, Producer, Talent Buyer
November 17, 2016
How old are you?
Where are you from originally?
I was born in New Orleans but I grew up in Mississippi.
What brought you back to NO?
I wanted to work in music after graduating college and the culture, the music, the soul here resonates with me. It’s an incredible place.
Do you remember being taught or told anything about your behavioral expectations as a woman growing up?
I feel that being a product of modern day civilization in America you are everyday ingesting cues and comments that are affecting your perception of yourself and how to navigate as a female in society. As long as I remember my mom has taught me independence and dominance in a male space. I grew up in Louisiana and Mississippi, two states that are definitely influenced by Christianity and conformity to male dominated America and being a wholesome southern girl. In my high school, it was very much like that. I grew up in a small town and a lot of wealthy people in my neighborhoods and the “cool kids” are still there and they probably got jobs from their parents and they have the white picket fence and Barbie wives and that’s it. I feel like even when I just said that, it’s living within these constructs. Go to school, get a job, raise babies. I’ve definitely been influenced by sexism in ways that are so buried that I am still digging and cleansing the layers and how I view myself and my own self-worth. I’m sharpening my tools to help other young women my age that don’t see their powers because there were powerful women who showed me that I need to find my own super powers and shine that light. That’s the presence that we need for ourselves and our society today.
Can you define sexism as it presents itself to you?
Sexism is the inequality of women. It is from the generations of oppression and brainwashing of how to view women. The over sexualization and objectification of women is one of the largest issues perpetuation this in modern day society. I listen closely and observe people’s comments to each other and can point out a product of sexism literally every day. What’s fucked up is that for a long time I would laugh at it because I didn’t know how to address it. I have been spending my time learning how to undo it on a personal and public level.
How does being treated in a sexist way make you feel?
Angry as fuck. After getting over the hump of my own insecurities, it just fires me up. In every space I walk in I notice that at least one man is consuming my body. I am there for him to consume and glare at. It changes the way that I navigate and am in that space and men don’t have that problem. I go to work out, I get hit on. I go to the grocery store, I get hit on. I go to pump gas, I get hit on. I walk down the street and people yell out from multiple directions. There are many instances of harassment and most women don’t feel that they are able to speak their minds because they don’t want to compromise their jobs. They are also most likely paid less than a man in that position. In my life, it has made me completely standoffish to men. I feel like I always have to carry myself with my guard up and establish a certain level of dominance. If I can be their colleague and that’s it, then we’re alright. But I feel like I have to accentuate my dominance for that to happen. I work in an industry where I can speak my mind more so than in a corporate environment and I have still always struggled with self-esteem issue likes most women. When you become woke, you are more aware of people’s day-to-day interaction and how it influences your environment.
If broken down into subtle and blatant sexism, do you react differently to both?
This makes me think of the conversation about calling girls pretty. It is an underlying form of sexism that a lot of people don’t feel harms anyone. “It’s harmless, right?” Wrong. The influence this comment has on young women only fuels sexualization and the superficial bullshit that most young women live for today. Instead of being complimented on real things like your brain or things you care about, you are being complimented on your appearance. I brought this up with people who were friends and they didn’t get it at all. They thought I was a total bitch for saying it and didn’t care to hear me out. I was trick-or-treating the other day with my nephews and this woman was calling my nephews beautiful and she goes, “I don’t think I’m supposed to call them beautiful but they are.” It fell within the constructs of gender roles and how we can and can’t compliment people. Humans—penis or vagina—can be beautiful.
Do you think some forms of sexism are so engrained in societal and cultural norms that both men and women have a difficult time registering it?
If you turn on the television or open a magazine, it’s not real. It’s not diverse, it’s not flawed at all. It’s polished as fuck. I will state that within the several feminist movements we’ve had we have come a long way but there is a lot more work to do. The U.S. is far younger than other countries in the world and, yes, we are witnessing a shift more liberating to women, but to me I feel like we are still navigating a patriarchal society within our government systems and workforce. How come men and religion continue to take power over our bodies? We’re closing down abortion clinics and women’s health clinics. If we continue to not give the proper education and health opportunities to young women, how will we be empowered in our bodies? We won’t. Everyone that I am close to has been sexually abused. That includes my mom, my dad, and most of my friends. It’s so much trauma that takes so long to heal from. Because our society is so surface level in terms of psychological effects from things we don’t know how to talk about it.
Can you recall any specific occasions when you experienced sexist behavior against you?
What I want to talk about is that although we are in 2016, feminine empowerment has taken new forms. We are now finally addressing trans and non-binary liberation. My experience is different than a black woman in the United States. White women have a lot to say about their experiences and their bodies but when liberating oneself as a woman you have to make room at the table and hold space for women of color and other experiences that are very different from your oppression. If you’re white, you still have more privilege and we are just starting to open the spaces up to everyone talking about their experiences in one room. The word feminist has become a sour taste in everyone’s mouth because there are a group of women that are bashing men and hating men. There are broken down sub groups of feminists. There’s black feminists and there’s white feminists. It’s not all together because everyone liberates their own experience and we all have to open up further from our own experiences and that’s hard as fuck to do.
Everyone is arguing over who gets to hurt more and I do feel that if we all stopped fighting and trusted people when they said that something hurts, there would be a lot less suffering.
I hold space and empathy and compassion for your pain even though it’s not the same as mine. But I think that with technology, with social media, with all these things that are thrown at us on a daily basis we can’t even sit and acknowledge that pain and have our hearts process it because we’re so distracted. That is what is keeping people from trusting each other. It’s harder to find those groups of people that trust each other and are trying to move forward and build. That’s what I’m trying to do right now. It’s something that has been on my mind and now that we have this super fascist, sexist, crazy man as our president, it’s time to do the fucking work.