The Origin

Briana Ladwig

Rest assured, we gon be alright! Don’t you love my resting bitch face? Rest up, you have a long journey ahead. You see the magic that happens when I stop rushing, and start resting? 

Black Femme Collective called for creative nonfiction submissions from Black Queer Femme Storytellers engaging in the theme REST.




  • the refreshing quiet or repose of sleep.
  • refreshing ease or inactivity after exertion or labor.


  • to refresh oneself, as by sleeping, lying down, or relaxing.
  • to relieve weariness by cessation of exertion or labor.

We wanted your meditations on how capitalism has caused personal unrest…your daydreams that do away with demands to produce every second of every day. We wanted your personal stories that centered rest as the most holy form of resistance.

Enjoy, REST!

The Contributors

Literary Artist | On Rest and Restraint
Stephanie Andrea Allen

Stephanie Andrea Allen, Ph.D. is a southern writer and scholar living and working in the Midwest. She is Assistant Professor of Gender Studies at Indiana University, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief at BLF Press, co-founder of the Black Lesbian Literary Collective, and co-editor of Serendipity Literary Magazine. Her work can be found in various online and print publications, including Star*Line, Inkwell Black, Big Echo: Critical Science Fiction Magazine, Sinister Wisdom, and in her two short story collections, A Failure to Communicate and How to Dispatch a Human: Stories and Suggestions. In her spare time, you can find her baking southern delicacies and debating the merits of the Oxford comma with her cat Mango.

Literary Artist | Woe Is Angsty, Tired Little You
sheena d.

sheena d. is a black essayist, humor writer, and comfort shoe femme who lives between Brooklyn and South Florida and likes to squeeze lime on almost everything. Reoccurring themes in her work are girlhood, junk food, dread, and the absurdity of black life in the U.S. Her words have appeared or are forthcoming in The Delacorte Review, Zone 3, Split Lip, Ms. Magazine, and elsewhere. sheena’s writing has graciously been supported by The Seventh Wave, Hedgebrook, Aspen Words, and St. Nell’s Humor Writing Residency for Ladies; learn more at

Literary Artist | Rest, Rest, Y’all: A Conversation with Eboné McCloud on Unwinding Intentionally
Jasmin Benward

Jasmin Benward (She, Her, Them) is a Multi-Hyphenate Storyteller (author, writer, playwright, singer-songwriter), Educator, and Family Wellness Instructor. Jasmin is repped by 22MediaWorks (manuscripts) and is currently writing her first, commissioned feature film. Jasmin is concurrently co-writing a one-man stage play and works as a staff writer for Black Retail, an urban comedy web series slated to begin production in 2022. Jasmin is hell-bent on creating all things queer, especially with a Black femme lens. Jasmin can be found trying her hand at beat-making, thrifting, and book-shopping her way through LA. She frequents New York City and Atlanta as she considers all three places home.

Literary Artist | God Rest His Soul
Ashley Danielle

Ashley Danielle is an award-winning educator and story-sharer born in Maryland, raised in Virginia, and made a woman in Carolina. Currently based in Charlotte, her work is inspired by her ancestral connection to southeastern land. She believes deeply in the healing technology that is southern black femme storytelling, thus founded SISTORIES Litmag—an interactive Black feminist/womanist literary magazine and community writing workshop. She was the The Roll Up CLT’s 2020 resident artist and has received numerous grants for her literary work, including Press On’s Southern Media Movement Fund, and several from her local arts council.

LITERARY ARTIST | An Essay in Seven Sacraments
J K Chukwu

J K Chukwu is a writer and visual artist from the Midwest. Her debut novel, The Unfortunates, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in August 2022. She holds an MFA in Literary Arts from Brown University and was a 2019 Lambda Fellow. Her work has appeared in Black Warrior Review, DIAGRAM, TAYO, and elsewhere.

Literary Artist | The Sanctity of Sundays
Ka'Dia Dhatnubia

With a B.F.A in Writing from the Savannah College of Art and Design, Ka’Dia Dhatnubia has published memoirs in Blue Marble Review, music critique with My Goddess Complex, and a feature with Savannah Magazine. Currently, she works full-time as a teaching artist for the Deep Center’s Block by Block program, a creative writing and community leadership program for high school youth in the Savannah, Georgia area. When she’s not writing, she’s trying to coax her black kitten Moon from his hiding places for cuddles.

LITERARY ARTIST | Book Review: Ace of Spades
Shivanee Ramlochan

Shivanee Ramlochan (she/her) is a Trinidadian poet and essayist. Her debut collection, Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting (Peepal Tree Press, 2017) was shortlisted for a 2018 Forward Prize for Poetry. Her second book, Unkillable, a hybrid essay/memoir narrative on Indo-Caribbean women’s disobedience, is forthcoming from Noemi Press in 2022. Her writing has appeared in Poetry, The Asian American Literary Review, The Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day, and others. She is the Book Reviews Editor for Caribbean Beat Magazine and has written critically about Caribbean literature for the past decade. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Millay Arts, and the Catapult Caribbean Arts Grant. Shivanee’s first queer crush was Xena: Warrior Princess.

Visual Artist | Reckoning with Ghosts • Vaginismus Taught Me That My Body is Carrying Too Much of Other Peoples' Expectations
Briana Ladwig

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.

Visual Artist | 101 Reasons / Tell the Truth • Milan Past Midnight • God Visits Me in a Dream • Tapestries
Jasmine Holmes

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.