If you haven’t seen this incredible Tumblrite on your dash, then I’m guessing you’re new around these parts or you just haven’t been properly introduced or the folks you do follow just don’t follow her.
Let me rectify all of these thing for you, and I’m going to say it like this: let me introduce to some—and present to others—rosasparks, our Crush Of The Week (pictured above).
Why is she so loved up?
Have you read her brilliant-ass Tumblr?
If not, go ahead and do so, then swing by the main blog for the first part of the interview, and come back here for the rest of it. Here, rosasparks talks about how writing at Tumblr made her “more comfortable with speaking [her] mind,” how the Internet gives voice to marginalized people, and why she <3s Mad Men.
Having written on Tumblr for about 3 years, do you think your opinions have changed over time? If so, on which issues and how? That’s interesting, I’ve never really thought about this, until right now. I’m not sure I’ve changed my opinions, per se, but gotten more comfortable with speaking my mind. I wasn’t sure about what I could and could not say on my blog when I started. Not that I was timid, but just finding a way to express myself, without a guide seemed daunting and weird. Then I just started blurting everything out, whenever, and I’ve tried to temper that a bit. Now I think I have a decent balance between silly, serious and whatever is floating around that I want to talk about. I used to want to argue more or get into it, but now I find it unsettling and really upsetting. Now if I feel when a conversation gets too heated, I remove myself completely and look at owl pictures and videos. (I am obsessed with owls.) I welcome respectful disagreement and honest discussions, but I can’t fight with someone over an issue on the internet. It’s ridiculous, stressful and weird. If you don’t agree with someone on the internet, okey doke. If someone doesn’t like something you do, it’s not a recrimination. It’s one thing to point out someone saying something overtly racist or misogynistic or hateful, it’s another to shout in all caps at someone because they don’t like the same TV show or author you do.
I think that, even with the stereotyping representations of women of color in the news, dramas, reality TV, comedies, the ‘net does offers a far more fuller fuller idea of the interior (and exterior) lives of WoCs because we are writing/broadcasting—even when we’re accused of, well, fulfilling stereotypes (I’m thinking of the pushback I see on Tumblr when folks want to start hollering about our “tone” or call us “angry” when we’re calling out an issue and/or a person for posting/saying/doing something foul). Your thoughts? I think blogging, in general, has given voice to so many people who speak honestly about themselves; be it queer, trans*, of color and all of the above. We are either grossly misrepresented, or not represented at all, in the traditional forms of media. With the opening of these worlds and the fantastic conversations being had on the Internet, you get a significant amount of pushback because no one wants to admit they’ve been inaccurate in their portrayals, discussions, and personal belief systems. Also, the traditional media outlets don’t want to be replaced or erased. It isn’t just about the superior format winning, it’s about commerce. The disenfranchised have the opportunity to set tone and spit truths. When we call someone out on their fuckery, we are accused of being angry because that can undercut us or invalidate our complaints. What better way to shut down our voices than to accuse us of being irrational and illogical? Well, we are angry about how we’re inaccurately represented. We’ve been angry and continue to be angry. But being angry doesn’t negate our feelings, it emphasizes them. If you’re only ever portrayed as a mammy, maid, sassy best friend or an unattractive, non sexual being, you’re fucking pissed. And if the world-at-large continues to perpetuate that mess, then we will angrily and gleefully cut through that bullshit with the actualities of our lives. The Internet has allowed for that. Is it reaching a broad audience? I don’t know, but I can only hope so.
I remember your mentioning that you lived in NYC for a while, you mom came from Queens, and you and your fam now live in New England. Are you originally from NYC? I moved to New York after college to see something completely new and different than my West Coast/Alaskan upbringing. I definitely did! Throughout her life, my ma was back and forth between the city and upstate and went to college on Long Island. My parents met during college and lived in the city for a bit, as well. My connection to NYC goes pretty deep. I doubt I’ll ever move back, but I love to visit and all of my friends live there and so I always have a couch to sleep on and the best times whenever I’m there.
These are more fun/silly questions: who are your favorite writers (online/offline)? Favorite musical performers? Knowing that you dig Mad Men, fave character? (I dig the show, too. And I’m down with Don and with Joan. And actor John Slattery makes me sexyhappy!) Your favorite ride at Six Flags?
Online writers? Not to be that person but I adore all of you on Racialicious. I fangurl over every post on Racialicious. I love Redlightpolitics. I love Garland Grey and Sady Doyle over at Tiger Beatdown. I love reading Michael K on Dlisted. He is hysterical and when he eviscerates someone, it is a beautiful thing. I always check Political Wire several times a day. And of course, I love everyone I follow on Tumblr. That is my crew!
My favorites include bell hooks, Toni Morrison, David Sedaris, Colson Whitehead, Jeanette Winterson and Barbara Ehrenreich. I am getting into Jeffrey Eugenides. I am late to the game, I know, but I’m currently reading Middlesex and I love it, so far. I’m excited to read Girls to the Front, by Sara Marcus. I got it over the holidays and put it to the side to read a bunch of other stuff, but it’s queued up and I’m ready. I am incapable of reading one thing at a time. I read books, my Kindle and everything all the time. Reading is my favorite thing to do, ever. I am never allowed to take out the paper recycling because I always end up standing in the yard or by the bins reading the contents.
Favorite musical performers?
I love Usher, The Roots, Kanye, Jay-Z, Lupe Fiasco, Big Boi, and Cee-Lo. But I also love Beirut and The Black Keys. Erykah Badu is my queen, as is Janelle Monae. David Bowie is my EVERYTHING and I have loved Michael Jackson for my ENTIRE life. I’m looking forward to seeing what Azalea Banks does. I also love a great deal of pop. I will never get enough of ABBA and Donna Summer. I made a playlist of 90s slow jams the other day and had the best day at work, ever. Dru Hill, 112, and Carl Thomas had me humming all day long.
My daughter listens to an obscene amount of Justin Bieber and I have grown to like him. I don’t even know anymore. I find myself humming Selena Gomez songs, without warning. I blame my daughter. It’s her damn fault I know all the words to ‘I Love You Like a Love Song’. By the way, if anyone knows what the hell that song is about, they should call me. It is the catchiest piece of nonsense.
I love Mad Men. That show makes me so happy, I get giggly just thinking about it. This season has been infuriating and really, REALLY good. No one is really doing particularly well, which seems to mirror the breakdown of everything in the world. As a character, no one will ever be as great as Joan and Christina Hendricks gives her a life that is larger than the universe. But a lot of the acting work is so incredible, I feel bad saying I hate Pete Campbell, even though I have never taken so much pleasure in watching a person get fake-punched in the face. Vincent Kartheiser needs to win all the awards. So does John Slattery as Roger Sterling, even though he is basically the world’s smoothest dirtbag. Mad Mendoes something that few shows do for me right now; it makes me laugh hysterically and makes my brain work overtime.
My favorite ride at Six Flags is the walk to Ben and Jerry’s for a cone. I’m a wuss and my daughter is a daredevil. She likes to ride all the roller coasters and I’d rather hang out.