In January 2021, Black Femme Collective asked Black Queer Femmes a few simple questions:
What personal acts of rebellion still linger on your tongue?
Whose fragrance makes you salivate?
When did your taste for freedom overwhelm the thirst for safety?
How do you want to be consumed, devoured, tasted?
We provided a few simple definitions:
1. the sensation of flavor perceived in the mouth and throat on contact with a substance.
2. the ability to discern what is of good quality or of a high aesthetic standard.
v. To have the experience of.
We hoped that our questions and definitions would provoke self-curiosity, -excavation, -celebration. This container reflects Black Queer Femmes authentic and lived experiences correlating to one or more of the questions and definitions above. It centers our stories, our histories, our lives. Enjoy, TASTE!
Almah LaVon Rice was born and raised near the Ohio River and now lives at its headwaters. Her work has appeared in Colorlines, Lambda Literary Report, Tomboyz Quarterly, Washington Blade, The Feminist Wire, Color Bloq, Xtra Magazine, Oh Reader Magazine, Airbnb Online Magazine, and GUTS: A Canadian Feminist Magazine, among numerous other publications. Her writing has also been published in the Lambda Literary Award-winning does your mama know?: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Coming Out Stories (revised edition); Queer Magic: Power Beyond Boundaries; Solace: Writing, Refuge, and LGBTQ Women of Color; and Black to the Future: A Collection of Black Speculative Writing. Her fiction is forthcoming in Unfettered Hexes: Queer Tales of Insatiable Darkness.
Camille Colpits is a Black-mixed Mama, southern-born, queer-fem writer who recently returned to the Southwestern Desert. She spent her teenage years in the Netherlands and lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 13 years. Her writing focuses on living through trauma, navigating wellness, intersecting identities, motherhood, and love. At her MFA program at Goddard College, she is nearing completion on her memoir–a testimonial of love, written for her son after a cancer diagnosis. Writing from both non-fiction and poetry works can be found in The Electric Rail Literary Magazine, Mixed Mag, Variety Pack, and more. She loves laundromats, excessive napping, Andes mints, and seeing people in real life. Find her exclaiming things on IG & Twitter @ofwafflesandmen.
Sunah Nash is an 18-year-old writer from Newark, New Jersey. She is a lover of stories, whose proudest writing accomplishment is receiving a 100% mark from the toughest undergrad literature professor of all time. (She’s deadass). She writes essays, fiction, and poetry and believes moments and feelings have souls, and a writer’s job is to listen and translate them into words. Sunah is an active writer in her local arts community and a member of the Black Girl Magic Writing Fellowship with Urban Word NYC. She studied Black history and developed her craft for four years at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York as a part of the Junior Scholars Program. Sunah is a sophomore in college and plans to double major in Fine Arts and Anthropology when she transfers schools in 2022.
Layla Benitez-James is a translator and editor based in Alicante whose essays have appeared in Tenderly Mag, EuropeNow Journal and Asymptote Journal. Poems are forthcoming in Virginia Quarterly Review and Bennington Review, and translations and poems have appeared in Latino Book Review, Poetry London, The London Magazine, The Acentos Review, Hinchas de Poesia, Guernica, Waxwing, and elsewhere. Her audio essays about translation can be found at Asymptote Journal Podcast. Her first chapbook, God Suspected My Heart Was a Geode But He Had to Make Sure was selected by Major Jackson for Cave Canem’s 2017 Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize and published by Jai-Alai Books in Miami.
Taneasha White is a Black, Queer lover of words, inquisition, and community, and has used her role within both literary and organizational spaces to make room for folks who are often cast aside. She is the Founder and Editor of UnSung Literary Magazine, a flash fiction and poetry publication focused on offering artistic space for marginalized voices, a guest editor with Quail Bell Magazine, and she also co-hosts a podcast, Critiques for The Culture, where media is dissected through humor and a socio-political lens. You can find pieces of Taneasha’s in Prism, Well + Good, Rewire. News, Black Youth Project, them., and more.
Briana Ladwig is a Black, queer, mama illustrator based in Lawrence, Kansas whose work centers around Black Liberation, decolonizing storytelling, generational healing, and afrofuturism. She grew up learning to draw on the floor of her dad’s art studio, receiving a natural education from closely watching his work as a master book illustrator. She now draws inspiration from the cycle-breaking work of her ancestors and Black speculative fiction, especially the works of Octavia Butler. Bri’s favorite medium is lush, textured watercolors under detailed pen lines. Bri is currently working on an illustration/design degree at the KU while doing freelance illustration work from home.
Jasmine Holmes, BFA, MFA, is an artist who creates drawings through a variety of media. With subtle line work and minimalistic approach to color theory, she creates work that invokes feelings of uneasiness within the viewer. These works are inspired by consumerist culture and its appetite for devouring the colored body. With an emphasis on the Black figure she draws from social constructs, such as race, class, and creed, in order to bring forth an image that both disturbs the viewer and procures contemplation. Her artworks are often about personal contact with Eurocentrism and its effects on the marginalized psyche. The human figure is the centerpiece, taking up space and showcasing a performance of multilayered hyper-visibility within spaces that often marginalize them.