If you ask me where I’m from, I’ll tell you South Carolina. If you ask me where my family is from, I’ll name some towns in Alabama, counties in Carolina. Beyond that, my knowledge of my ancestry is pretty rudimentary, and honestly based on assumptions that center on one thing that’s common for GRITS—I am descended from enslaved peoples.Read More
I once saw this meme equating natural hair to a disrespectful child—you feed it, grow it, and take care of it with your hard-earned money, and still it has the unmitigated gall to have you out here looking stupid on a constant basis. Personally, that constant basis has gotten to be enough, considering it’s been six long years since my big chop.Read More
Gabriella: There are a lot of age-old black Southern traditions that seem to be going out of fashion—ironing, wearing stockings, cranking that Soulja Boy, respecting your elders, and the like. We never really thought, or realized, that Juneteenth was one of them.
Michaela: For those of y’all who don’t know, every 19th of June (Juneteenth, get it), black southerners celebrate the emancipation of the last slaves in the Confederacy, who were down in Texas. News of the Emancipation Proclamation traveled slowly throughout the South, since infrastructure was poor, especially in rural areas, and so it was years after these slaves were freed that they knew it.Read More
I think of summer as my time for financial, spiritual, and emotional recovery from the school year, and a large part of this recovery involves catching up on all the media I’ve missed. With the slower pace of the season, I’m reading a lot more, and will probably review some of the books I’ve enjoyed soon. Before we get to this, though, I’m sharing what I’ve missed in terms of television.Read More
One of the founding principles of this blog is that in general, Northerners don’t know how to write about the South because in general, Northerners know nothing about the South. New Yorker staff writer Lauren Collins must have Southern roots, then, because her popular piece, “America’s Most Political Food” hit the nail on the head. piece Barbeque is, indeed, one of the most contentious foods in the United States—take for proof the fact that a boy from DC (not the South) and I once had a ten-minute argument about whether my preference for pork barbeque made me a fake barbeque fan or not. Outside of the arguments about which meats belong inside the categorization, Collins takes a moment to discuss which people are welcome at the barbeque table—and which of us are excluded.Read More
I’m not a big fan of over-sentimentality, and neither is my sister. You could blame it on being raised as Baptists, meaning we can tell when people are more interested in being seen testifying than living their testimonies. We’re good at lots of things—telepathy, social media investigations, tag-team babysitting at church and reunions, and so on. Saying how much we love each other? Not so much.Read More
Easter in the South means big hats, pastel pantsuits, and Sunday services packed full of CME Christians (for you CME Christians and heathens: that’s Christmas, Mother’s Day, and Easter attendees.) I have never been a CME Christian myself—I grew up going to church on Tuesday nights, Thursday nights, and twice on Sundays for three hour long services where I was expected to wear pantyhose and not fall asleep. I went to church every Sunday I was home, even when I was sick, because according to my mother, the best heart fixer and mind regulator is the One who you don’t have to make an appointment with. Even when I went to boarding school, I went to church about every other week, but now that I go to school out of state, I rarely go at all. I have become the CME Christian the girls I went to Sunday School with used to side eye during service, and it bothers me more than I realized it would.Read More
This is a memorial for Sherrell Faulkner, a 46-year old woman from Charlotte, North Carolina, who deserves to be remembered as fully human, and not merely as a headline. It goes almost without saying that Ms. Faulkner’s death is one in a tragic continuum of black trans women who are victimized, brutalized, and murdered just for their very existence. It needs to be said, however, that Sherrell Faulkner’s life is worth specific recognition and celebration. In every way that her death is systematic, it is also deeply individual, and should be treated as such.Read More
It’s fairly likely that by now, you, your mother, and your church’s mother are hooked on Greenleaf. It’s one of the shows my entire family watches, and it’s an informal way of keeping us all together. Being part of a first family myself (albeit of a thankfully smaller congregation), much of the show hits home in ways that I’m still unpacking. After a million conversations about what the show gets right and wrong, I think it’s about time to address the latter.Read More
Hey y’all!! We decided to end our Lent fast from writing this blog a bit early, since we’ve been doing it since before the summer even ended. We know we pretty much missed the presidential apocalypse, seven Drake albums/mixtapes/creative projects, and three national championships for the home state and most supreme athletic nation on the planet. We left y’all alone to witness the cancellation of nearly all of your aunt’s faves (Juanita Bynum, Kim Burrell, Vicki Yohe, etc…), the rise of thigh high boots (which are like...almost pants right?), and a massive increase in black people’s general agreement that we really gotta find a way off this continent.Read More
As a black woman (specifically, a woman who was raised in a black southern church), the women I grew up around were powerful. I grew up watching my mother raise me on her own, work a full time job, go to school, take care of her mother, and still somehow make it to church four times a week. I grew up around women like my aunts and grandmothers, who were funny and beautiful and hard working, who let the stresses of life roll off their back and seemed entirely put together while they hosted big family meals and only yelled to discipline children, and even then, only privately. I grew up in a world where the women I admired most were present constantly, where they worked full time jobs, raised smart and respectful children, supported their husbands, took care of their parents and in-laws, kept spotless houses and flawless appearances, volunteered at church, and did it all thanklessly. Did it all quietly. Happily.Read More
By the time this post goes up, we will have almost entered Virgo season, which means it will almost be my 18th birthday. Now that I’m almost a legal adult (despite having the impulsivity and tender-headedness of a fourth-grader), I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a black woman raised in the South, as opposed to a girl raised there. This means I’m thinking about what separates the women from the girls in my life, specifically those of us who are in the 15-24 age range where we are constantly growing but never entirely grown. One of the ways I’ve been studying this transition is through our beauty rituals.Read More
A few weeks ago, I detangled my mother’s hair while she did some work at her desk. It wasn’t a long process—my mother has about a 3c/4a texture, and her hair was pre stretched, so it wasn’t really a burden for me. While she edited a video, i pulled out our detangler of choice, Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle (which at only 4 dollars a bottle is some of the best rinse out conditioner in the world), and went to work.Read More
As many of y'all may have noticed, we took the longest spring break possible from 2BG, and are just starting to pick up the pieces. You can blame our absence on attendance at schools that give students more work than they should, the all-consuming search for resume-friendly summer employment (and then wallet-friendly summer employment), or the age-old predisposition to operating in CPT. Despite all these excuses, we’ve missed y’all more than black southern grandmothers miss days when baptism services came before ESPN pre-games—well, almost as much.Read More
So, as all you GRITS know, the February meeting of the Black Coalition just occurred. It was a great meeting, and though it started twenty minutes late, we got a lot done. There are a lot of minutes to go over, but I think it’s important that we get the big and controversial topic out of the way. This month’s meeting was focused on what the Black Coalition would be willing to accept in exchange for Black History Month. While we all know that Black History Month is truly invaluable, we also know we are tired of hearing white people (and other non-black people of color, to be honest) complain that we’re the only ones having all the fun, and we might as well see what we could get out of a deal. It was a long and arduous process, but we’ve narrowed the list down to five things we’d accept in place of Black History Month.
We don’t want to give y’all too much homework all this month, but we’re also committed to not exploring the same old same old with black Southern history. As you could imagine, this commitment often requires outside sources. This week, we’re actually encouraging you to leave our blog (who would’ve thought), open your podcast app of choice, and download the second-to-most recent episode of Gravy.
I didn’t grow up listening to Stevie Wonder or Marvin Gaye. My mama was raised in the church, and so was I, so most of my early musical memories are religious in nature. I can probably identify the sample of any gospel song in the background of your favorite rap battle, and recently, a friend texted me to find “an upbeat gospel song the mother of the church sings while washing greens,” and I was able to provide her with Be Ready When He Comes Again, and I think it fits pretty well. All the music I listened to (pre-Kanye West) all had a great effect on my understanding of my blackness and my history. I viewed music religiously, as the thing that differentiated my loud and interactive church services from the short and contemplative sermons I heard in my private school chapel. But I also viewed music as something political, and that’s probably due to Sweet Honey in the Rock.Read More
Soon and very soon, we’re going to see The King, in all her Texan Negro-Creole (we recognize there may not need to be a distinction here) glory. By we, I mean the rest of y’all, seeing as how there’s already an indispensable portion of the world that has always been aware of how Southern Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter is. For us, her most recent video, Formation, was just a reminder of what we already knew. Now, I could spend this post talking about how several folks not worth their weight in salt have been quick to jump onto this video without recognizing that it is just as unapologetically Southern as it is unapologetically black, but I feel like we’ve dragged on Northerners enough—at least for this month. So, instead, I think we should take some time to celebrate the first artist since Big K.R.I.T. to put Texas Pete and the region that perfected it back on the map.Read More
Harambe! What’s good? What’s really good? Happy Black History Month Y’all! We’ve come out of our South Carolina focused month to transition into the best (and shortest) month of the year, and we here at 2BG are excited to celebrate our first February with y’all. As the Negro National Anthem reminds us, our history has been a bit dark and difficult (you know, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered and all), so we decided to start off the month with a lighthearted post that will get you in the mood to celebrate our heritage and culture together.Read More
We’re overjoyed to end our month with an interview from one of our new favorite GRITS, Latria Graham. We first were introduced to Latria through this (wonderful) Guardian piece, and we’ve been in love with her work ever since. Luckily, she agreed to talk with us about her home, art, family, and several other things. Check it out below!!Read More