Atlanta, GA –The student newspaper at the historically black Morehouse College is set to release ‘The Body Issue’ in response to ongoing discussions about the apprehension of black colleges and universities to discuss issues related to black bodies and sexualities.
Last December, a piece entitled “Who’s Afraid of Black Sexuality?” appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education. It received sustained attention. The article detailed apprehension in academic communities to candidly discuss Black bodies and Black sexualities. Nearly a year later, despite some advancement, the apprehension remains.
Reluctant to speak more candidly about black bodies and sexualities, many conservative institutions seem to have slowly begun entering previously uncharted waters regarding sexualities and identities. The changes, though sluggish in comparison to other institutions, are noticeable. A year ago, Morehouse added to its curricula a course on LGBT studies. Other black institutions, in a variety of ways, have followed suit. National discussions concerning mental health and physical wellness have also ensued.
‘The Body Issue’ has emerged as potential for an important rallying point for discussions related to identity, sexuality, mental health, wellness, and radical self-love. The special edition, and first of its kind for a college publication, will feature thirty students from Morehouse and Spelman who agreed to pose nude and tell their own stories of overcoming abuse, addiction, depression, and a variety of other issues. For others, this was an important moment to challenge and affirm their identity.
“I must challenge all of these internalized norms in order to become a better person and I think that’s something that would help everybody: to challenge the things we grew up learning, or the incidents or experiences that shape us, to see how big or how better of a person we become,” junior Spelman student Chi Singletary said. Singletary also noted this moment as one to reclaim her body from her past experiences with sexual abuse.
The 12-page edition will feature a variety of articles on topics ranging from cultural perceptions of weight in other countries to personal narratives of overcoming eating disorders to simply reclaiming black bodies from negative perceptions.
Marcus Lee, a junior at Morehouse College and President of the sexual and gender diverse collective SafeSpace, sees this edition as an opportunity to utilize the progressive moment to initiate important discussions on black identity.
“This special edition of the Maroon Tiger was done in the spirit of Black self-making and reclamation—in the spirit of rawness, candidness and progressiveness,” Lee said. “The students pictured not only share their stories with you, but also join in and transform a long tradition of claiming Black bodies and utilizing Black agency.”
So who’s afraid of black sexuality and identity? Not these Spelhouse students.
Release Date: Wednesday, October 30, 2013
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Click here to see the released online edition.
–This release was written by The Maroon Tiger Editorial Staff. Marcus Lee, President of Morehouse College’s SafeSpace, also contributed to this press release.