DarkMatter….poetry,politics,fashion and more

DarkMatter is a platform of spoken poetry started by two Asian Stanford students :Janani Balasubramanian and Alok Vaid-Menon. Both identify themselves as brown and transgenders. They are known for their bold and bright style statements and  powerful poetry about their lives as queer and trans south Asian themes.Courbitterbanner

Image Courtsey: AC Voice

They started of their journey in 2009 in Stanford and both of them started working as DarkMatter independently in 2013 after joining slam poetry club at Stanford and also performing at C.U.P.S.I.( college Union Poetry Slam Invitational). They were inspired by lack of representation of colored people in realms of trans activism and decided to focus on their issues drawing their personal experiences. They openly say that is is highly political and they are opposed to “homo nationalism”  an idea which in guise of queer welfare evidently biased towards colored queers and only benefits white queer. This has made them one of the most powerful artist voices in U.S especially in New York where they are based.  In addition to political performances both of them are also engaged with various organizations which are working for Queer people, Alok works as a Fund raiser and Communication  coordinator for Audre Lorde project an organization for queer people of color activism.alokjanani-copy

Read more about them on this great articles by Tammy Danan on BitchMedia: Spoken Word Duo DarkMatter Talks Race, Gender, and Imperialism

and By Jamilah King for Colorlines: DarkMatter: ‘We’re Proud of Our Resistance’

also AC voice at wordpress:Politicizing Art: DarkMatter and Words of Resistance


The sartorial subversion by Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo, the 20th century painter from Mexico, was a non-conformist in every way possible. She defied ideas of femininity all through her life. She was rebellious and audacious refusing to be subdued just because she was born a woman. She was bisexual and led a sexually adventurous life.Her paintings are known for their intense and painful frankness. Her dark unibrow and thin moustache have found an honest representation in each of her widely acclaimed self portraits. She was full of the lust for life which even the pain of a terrible accident could not take away from her. She loved dressing up and her flaming clothes are well known and a curated extract of her wardrobe can be found here.

What is lesser known is that she would sometimes even give up her bright colourful Mexican skirts and don men’s clothing.

One such self-portrait of Frida Kahlo
Here she is rocking a man’s suit in family photograph

Frida Kahlo appears more like a son than a daughter in this family portrait. Its not just her dress but also the cocky way she stands right next to her father.

Here she is, surrounded by her very feminine sisters


The difference between the other women in the pictures and Frida Kahlo is not just the attire but also her posture. Her confident open stance is in stark contrast to the delicate womanly postures of others. Her strong personality seems more at home in these clothes. It helps us to better understand the life that she led- uninhibited by her gender.

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