In July 2021, Black Femme Collective asked Black Queer Femmes to bring us their deceit and deception, their fairy tales and fabrications, their fantasy and their whimsy — to share their journey to manifesting new realities and universes.
Whether they centered the eerie and fantastical to elude capitalism’s weight, or they disrobe from deception to forge their own paths to freedom— we wanted to hear it all.
We wanted the stories they were afraid might be too much, too Black, or too queer.
We provided a few simple definitions:
1. be, remain, or be kept in a specified state.
“the church lies in ruins today”
1. an untrue or inaccurate statement that may or may not be believed true by the speaker or writer
“the lies we tell ourselves to feel better”
Is a lie the same thing as make-believe?
1. the action of pretending or imagining that things are better than they really are.
“she’s living in a world of make-believe”
We let the pages speak for themselves — the truth (or lie) will be evident. Enjoy, LIES + MAKE-BELIEVE!
Sheree L. Greer is a text-based artist living in Tampa, Florida. In 2014, she founded Kitchen Table Literary Arts to showcase and support the work of Black women writers and is the author of two novels, Let the Lover Be and A Return to Arms, and the short story collection, Once and Future Lovers. Sheree is a VONA/VOICES alum, Astraea Lesbian Foundation grantee, Yaddo fellow, and Ragdale Fellow. Her essay, “Bars” published in Fourth Genre Magazine, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and notably named in Best American Essays 2019.
Named one of Ebony.com’s “8 Dynamic Black Women Editors in New Media” in 2013, Andrea Plaid’s work on race, gender, sex, and sexuality has appeared at Newsweek.com, Vogue.com, In These Times, On The Issues, Bitch.com, and Rewire. Her commentary has appeared on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, Chicago Tribune, and Washington Post. She is writing the forthcoming stylebook, Penning with the People, for the TFW/University of Arizona Press’ book series. She lives in Philadelphia, PA, where she is training as a sex educator, riding hard for the Oxford comma and em dashes, and eating fried okra…a lot of fried okra.
Asia Calcagno is a writer and educator from Chicago. She has utilized writing as a tool for liberation and dialogue for the past 10 years. Her work has been featured and is forthcoming in Poetry Magazine, The Golden Shovel Anthology, Smartish Pace, Hartskill Review, Learn Then Burn 2, and Respect the Mic Anthology. She has taught, coached, and performed locally and abroad. She was featured in The Limited’s national New Look of Leadership campaign which features women-identified leaders in the Chicago area. Asia holds an MFA from Bennington College and spends her time educating, consulting, and centering storytelling to create more effective educational spaces.
Casira is a Black feminist writer and traveler who tries to spend most of her free time in other countries. She writes primarily cultural essays and media reviews about a range of issues pertaining to race, feminism, LGBTQ+ experiences, and other relevant topics for outlets like ZORA, Sorella, and Black Girl Nerds. Her goal is to explore unique perspectives on relevant issues in an accessible way. In addition to writing, she became a trained facilitator in 2019 through the YWCA’s Racial & Social Justice program and has led discussion series on issues of racial justice and equity. She’s currently obtaining a Master’s degree in Social Justice and Community Action from the University of Edinburgh.
Danielle Buckingham, affectionately known as Dani Bee, is a Chicago-born, Mississippi-raised writer and creative based in Oxford, Mississippi. A 2021 Lambda Literary fellow, Dani’s work has been published or is forthcoming in Midnight & Indigo literary magazine, New Orleans Review, Raising Mothers, and elsewhere. When Dani isn’t writing or tending to her plants, you can find her talking Black spirituality, growing up in Mississippi, and pop culture on the Hoodoo Plant Mamas podcast. She is currently a Southern Studies graduate student at the University of Mississippi where she working on a memoir-documentary project centering Black & Queer Southerners.
Khalisa Rae is a poet. activist, and journalist in Durham, NC that speaks with furious rebellion. She is the Gen Z Culture Editor at Blavity News and Blavity U. Her debut collection Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat released from Red Hen Press April 2021. Her essays are featured in Autostraddle, Catapult, LitHub, as well as articles in B*tch Media, NBC-BLK, and others. Her poetry appears in Electric Lit, Pinch, Art Lib Lab, Frontier Poetry, Florida Review, Rust & Moth, PANK, Hellebore, Sundog Lit, HOBART, among countless others. She is the winner of the Bright Wings Poetry contest, the Furious Flower Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize, and the White Stag Publishing Contest, among other prizes. Currently, she serves as Assistant Editor for Glass Poetry and co-founder of Think in Ink and the Women of Color Speak reading series. Her second collection Unlearning Eden is forthcoming from White Stag Publishing in 2022. khalisarae.com.
Morgan Christie’s work has appeared in Room, Aethlon, Hawai’i Review, the Coil, and others, and has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes. Her poetry chapbook ‘Variations on a Lobster’s Tale’ was the winner of the 2017 Alexander Posey Chapbook Prize (University of Central Oklahoma Press) and her second poetry chapbook ‘Sterling’ was released by CW Books (2019). Her first full-length short story manuscript ‘These Bodies’ was published by Tolsun Books (2020) and was nominated for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in fiction. Her most recent poetry chapbook ‘when they come’ was released by Black Sunflowers Press (2021) and is featured in the Forward Arts Foundation’s National Poetry Day exhibit.
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.