Sex: Local Performer Felicia Holman On How Black Women Are Perceived In The Media, Sexuality, And Other Musings
By Ester Alegria in News on Sep 21, 2014 4:15PM
Photo Credit: Tonika Toni Lewis
I spent Thursday afternoon of this week sitting in Rajun Cajun on 53rd Street in Hyde Park, trying their butter chicken, samosas, greens, fried rice, amazing sambharo, and speaking with a new friend, Felicia Holman.
Felicia is one of the founders of Honey Pot Performance, whose 2014 world premiere—Juke Cry Hand Clap: A People’s History of House & Chicago Social Culture—opens October 3rd at High Concept Labs in Mana Contemporary Chicago.
HPP’s 2015 work-in-progress is Proclivities —an excavating exploration, exuberant proclamation, and unabashed celebration of the influences on and nuances of the modern black woman's sexuality/sensuality. She’s also the Studio and Marketing Manager at Links Hall, as well as a burlesque dancer with Gorilla Tango Theater.
Her stage name is, Misty OrKYd—emphasis on the KY you’ll get the joke later—A very sexy Chewbacca for their “Boobs on Endor,” series.
After giggling a while on the main thing we gathered to talk about—sex—we started to ask questions about when we started to process our sexuality.
Felicia Holman: Thinking about black women’s sexuality, empowerment, agency— literally it goes back to the crib. For me, it goes back to the home I grew up in. My mother put a copy of the book called "How Babies Are Made" in my crib. It was published in the late '60s.
I remember it had pictures of how plants reproduced, it had pictures of how puppies reproduced, and it had pictures of how mommies and daddies reproduced. And she always reinforced my agency and my empowerment to make decision, including advocating for masturbation. She used to say, “You don’t need nobody to scratch your own itch. Bottom fucking line. Don’t be dependent.”
Chicagoist: I wish my mom told me that! She told me, “don’t put no hangers up there or don’t touch it or whatever!” What? Was I gonna give myself an abortion at the age of what, five? It’s so ironic because, in trying to tell me not to masturbate, she taught me how to. And from there, the skies parted wide. Wow! Life began for me.
FH: What age was that?
FH: I was six! I learned how to rub one out on the edge of a chair in kindergarten.
C: A bunny.
The two of us giggled, mouths full of the Indian-Soul Food mash-up, and feeling totally comfortable discussing an issue that often begins in the womb. Though, masturbation has been vilified over the years.
We continued the conversation about reclaiming our bodies, and owning our sexuality after sexual trauma, and dealing with constant negative imagery of black women in the media.