Support Urgently Needed
I have just sent this letter to Jezebel in hope that something comes of it. I know there are many great, strong feminist folk on this network, and I am appealing to you for help ASAP. The letter explains our plight - the artist, educator and poet Denise Jolly can be found here, at denisejollyspoken.tumblr.com.
This is the link in question.
I am writing to you with great urgency about an incident that occurred earlier today and is ongoing. Renowned poet, teacher and activist Denise Jolly, resident of the Bay Area, California, has had one of her poems uploaded on to World Star Hip Hop.com. The post, seemingly selected and published with malicious intent, is entitled, ‘Big Girl Does Poem On D**k!’
Denise’s poem is empowering and stirring, but has been framed in this environment in such a way that has invited thousands of commenters to body-shame and spew vitriolic hatred towards her. It has now garnered over two thousand likes on Facebook and appears to be going viral.
Here is the link to the video & quickly growing comments section.
As a fellow Bay Area writer I know Denise, and this was brought to my attention via her Facebook feed - she has already contacted WSHH asking them to take the video down, and they have not.
She posted this eloquent, dignified response on the comment thread as a reply to the hundreds of hateful statements made by the community there:
This my poem and that is me you are talking about. 25 pages of comments mostly consisting of hate about the size of my body or what any of you think you can or cannot do with it. Sex, feminism, sexuality, and challenging a masculine paradigm are all powerful things. Thank you to those who did not free range hateful misogynistic language all over my poem. Those who did take a minute and ask your mother, sister, daughter what is to walk through this world as female. Ask them if they feel safe walking down the street day or night. Ask them “when was the first time a man assumed he had right to your body”? Know the answer will come with a date or time or moment that lives in their bodies forever because we have all had those moments. I tirelessly work in communities to empower youth voice and challenge systemic racism, sexism, agism, and classism. While all you choose to do is take the time to smear hate and disdain all over this site. Choose to be more revolutionary than that. Don’t you know this is exactly what the powers that be want to have happen. They want us all to hate each other so much that we do not see they are killing us, race to race, class to class, gender to gender.
Optimistically, Denise Jolly Writer, Performer, Educator and Community Builder
This move was extremely courageous and graceful, however, the website is showing no signs of removing the video as per her request, instead, facilitating the outpouring of hatred that is continuing comment by comment, minute by minute. I feel this incident is not isolated, and needs to be brought to a greater audience with a community of support, and felt writing to you at Jezebel and asking you to highlight it in some way would be the right thing to do. I have spoken to Denise, and she has given me consent to bring it to your attention.
I know if any platform would rally in support of Denise and against this it is Jezebel.
I look forward to hearing from you, and hope you consider our plight, and helping us bring urgent attention to this issue.