“Cleva” by Erykah Badu
When Mama’s Gun was released early in spring of 2001, I was ecstatic about this track, dancing around roommates and trash-picked furniture in my college digs in Allston, Massachusetts, belting out lyrics along with Badu. No make up, sagging tits, shitty hair, pot belly, who cares? All that matters, according to Badu’s singular voice, is creative power. Life is all about making shit fly, not just looking fly. Returning to this track many years later, I think not only about personal/social values and expectations around beauty, but also about the ethos of small press publishing: “My dress ain’t cost nothin’ but seven dollars / but I made it fly.” Exactly.
Emily Brandt is the author of three chapbooks: Sleeptalk or Not At All (Horse Less Press), ManWorld (dancing girl press) and Behind Teeth (Recreation League). Her poems have appeared in The Offing, Apogee, Sink Review, The Atlas Review, and other journals. Emily is a co-founding editor of No, Dear, Web Acquisitions Editor for VIDA, and a contributing writer for Weird Sister. She lives and teaches in Brooklyn.
Contact Jackie Clark: jackie [at] coldfrontmag [dot] com.
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