Visiting writer Akiera Xavina Charles reflects about her Groundation Grenada residency thus far. She writes about this first journey back to Grenada since she left at age five. She also writes about the first events that she hosted as part of her Dreaming Sexuality of Grenadian Women & Girls creative writing series. Akiera is a recipient of the Gallatin Global Fellowship in Human Rights.

DSC_0535

As the plane skidded down the tarmac, I dreamt of Mexican Avocadoes.

If only Grenada had the creamy

veggie tasting avocadoes I buy in the States.

This tropical, fruity avocado is not cutting it.

Sheesh …

Being in Grenada is very uncomfortable for me.

I feel my privilege everywhere I go. As my mashed up southern drawl meets New York Black millennial slang with a touch of Caribbean somewhere in between, I still feel unable to fully fit in here. Either my too glammed up attire, iphone or my doubled nose piercings give me away as a foreigner or indicate my class.

However, since most Black millennial women in New York typically look like me when it comes to fashion aesthetics, all this unwarranted attention I have gotten feels scary and unnecessary.  Sometimes I feel the eyes of those secondary school girls zoom in on me when I walk pass Andall Shopping Center in Town. Somehow I guess their taking note of my sunglass, shoes, lipstick, demeanor, and face; but still I feel uncomfortable.

IMG_1642

from: DutyMan101@yahoo.com
to: axc210@nyu.edu
subject: What’s Your Nationality 

What this gyal better not be Grenadian. Wow … she cannot be Grenadian, she does not answer back to me when I told her of how hard I want to fuck her and make her cum all over her herself. I made sure to turn around in the bus seat so she could see that I was talking to her, but still no response came from her mouth. This rude ass gyal could not have been Grenadian. How dare she not respond back to me.

Much Love,

Bold Disgusting Man From Bus # 5 to Town

DSC_0645

Anyways I felt super awkward presenting about my residency during Yoga/Film Night.

Since all eyes were on me waiting for my magical facilitating skills to come alive. I felt my nervous lips quiver as I read aloud part of Alexis Pauline Gumbs’ short story in Octavia Brood. Once four minutes passed of me still reading aloud from the book, I was sure everyone had lost interest in whatever I was saying. Yet, perhaps my initial facilitating style was to blame, since my readings came off as too teacher-like and  “jargony.” Currently, I am looking for “afro-futurism focused lesson” plans for additional help in simplifying and condensing my material; however, the developing stages for these lessons plans are still a work in progress. In this sense, I thought cultural barriers made it difficult to explain afro-futurism, but as my writing friend from NYC recommended – these writing series should be more interactive and relatable.

DSC_0610

from: GrenadianWoman1@gmail.com
to: axc210@nyu.edu
subject: Re: Note To Bourgeoisie Black American 

This seems impossible: this writing/memories
series thing. She said that something about
“Af-fruit-or-ism,” but what exactly does that
mean? We Grenadians don’t do those sort of
things. Perhaps she should have gone to
Africa instead to do this writing series.

xoxo,
Grenadian Woman 1

DSC_0600DSC_0615

I have been holding my tongue, thus far,
to survive.

Still unfamiliar with Grenada’s law, I fear being that “ignorant, entitled” Black American who is too sensitive about Grenadian sensibilities; too quick
to revolutionize about everything. Sometimes I wonder whether
it’s my place to critique as harshly as I do about
sexual harassment, fat-phobia, colorism and patriarchy in Grenada.
If people are used
to coddling men desires in Grenada
I then don’t know where
exactly my politics would fit in this Island.

While wanting to “licks” every man
who brother me with their “sweet talk” or cast shunning eyes
at dark-skinned sistas, wide-nosed sistas,
nappy hair sistas, fat sistas, masculine centered sistas,
women-loving-sistas and other
sistas who make colonialism
uncomfortable,
I recognize how my love, pussy and eggs
serves as a passage ways to the U.S., economic and job security and patriarchal dabs (ouch).

DSC_0617

from: axc210@nyu.edu
to: anescro@gmail.com
subject: Re: Electricity & WaterMummy for the longest I wondered why Grenadians were “bitchy” about turning off their lights. You know already I am fond of brightly lit rooms. Anyhow I over heard someone last week saying that electricity is expensive in Grenada, can you imagine? Shesssh … I miss having bright lights and hot water.Love & Light,
Akiera

 

from: anescro@gmail.com
to: axc210@nyu.edu
Re: Electricity & WaterAkiera stop sounding like a privileged brat. If you actually paid the electricity bill in NYC, you would not say such things. Expenses are different in Grenada.Love,
Mummy

DSC_0646

 

from: axc210@nyu.edu
to: anescro@gmail.com
subject: Re: Electricity & WaterSo is this why my Grenadian father always get a pass from his responsibilities, like paying for part of my college tuition? Why does he think 60 USD is enough to take care of me every month in the States, especially in NYC? That’s around 162 EC. Idk … how to feel Mummy, I understand he is trying, but Grenadian survival money is a different amount in comparison to the States.Love & Light,
Akiera

 

DSC_0616

DSC_0643Last week’s writing workshop was the first in the series.

It was actually super chill and spectacular.

Everyone present was warm, kind and extremely fun to be around. Interestingly, moments before setting up for the first session, I was struggling up market hill in Town while carrying four bags full of supplies. Anyhow by the time I got into front of the Priory, I had done sweated out my edges and was blessed with help handing hands from one of the participants. Fortunately, as soon as we set up the space for the workshop more people trickle in. With the backyard location almost feeling like a picture from Solange’s wedding photos, the vibes of the space immediately turned black girl magical. There was so much laughter and smiles in the space that spoke wonders to my kindred spirit. Eventually, introductions led into random conversations about various sexual orientations, asexual desires, lipsticks and Broadway shows. We wrote letters, talked about our least favorite animals, whispered in each other’s ear and wrote responses to how we imagine Grenadian women.

This day was special, magical and peaceful.

FullSizeRender (1)

from: grenadianwoman2@gmail.com
to: axc210@nyu.edu
Re: Mission Fatness Failure in year 4000Ehhh … I though you were going to be fat as a cow, like how your mudtha was. Remember when you last came to Grenada in year 1000 you were “big, big like a whale.” Gyal what happened, I wanted you to be disgusting, obese and ugly, but shessh … those dreams did not come true.xoxo,
Grenadian Woman 2

FullSizeRender (2)

Akiera Xavina Charles
Groundation Grenada Writer-in-Residence

Hailing from the concrete jungle an ocean away in the overly gentrified, Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, Akiera is a Grenadian born, mango-loving, queer woman.  As a 2015-2016 recipient of the Gallatin Global Fellowship in Human Rights, Akiera has been selected by her institution, New York University’s (NYU) Gallatin School of Individualized Study to take part in documenting the dreams, desires, and experiences of women loving women in Grenada. Her research delves into the realms of afro-futurism, magical realism and speculative fiction. Feel free to poke and prod her with questions about creative writing stuff, survival as a queer twenty-something year old, love, sex and any other random ‘destroy white supremacy’ tidbits.

Akiera Xavina Charles’ Writer Residency – Week 1 Blog Post
  • Ayisha Needanewtat John

    Wow can’t wait to read about week number 2