A Discussion of Afro-Atlantic Flight with Thomas Allen Harris

Filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris's documentary É Minha Cara/That's My Face figures prominently in Chapter 1 of Afro-Atlantic Flight. Thomas interviewed me earlier this summer for his blog, and it is now available: http://1world1family.me/michelle-commander-interview/. It's a long read, but please check it out when you have a moment. Thomas' newest project is the Digital Diaspora Family Reunion Roadshow. He is doing amazing work! -m.

Leaving "America" Behind

We are in the midst of an interminable bloody season. In the past few months alone, white domestic terrorists have heaped violence on the unsuspecting at an alarming rate, and even after the recent tragic events in Charlottesville, our elected officials are doing very little to tamp down this upsurge in outwardly expressed supremacism. Their collective failure to name racialized brutality for what it is along with their refusal to work earnestly to defeat it renders complicit each one of them whose sole actions are stale, pedestrian utterances of regret in the aftermath.

Read more of my newest public essay herehttp://avidly.lareviewofbooks.org/2017/08/24/leaving-america-behind/

Troubling the Silence

Last week, I wrote a short essay for the Sounding Out! blog about the United States' intentional silence about slavery. Included with the essay is an excerpt from the fourth chapter of my new book, Afro-Atlantic Flight. In Chapter 4, I examine the myriad ways that everyday African Americans and cultural producers trouble the silence by radically and creatively contesting master narratives.

You can read the essay+excerpt here: https://soundstudiesblog.com/2017/05/08/troubling-silence/



American Rage

 My childhood church was on Dylann Roof’s short list.

During his trial, it was revealed that Roof had conducted research about churches in South Carolina’s Richland County and identified five possible targets for his murderous rampage. He later selected Charleston, in part because he had heard that the city had a large Black population. The potential for mass bloodshed and the creation of a lasting sense of terror appealed to his depraved mind. So he traveled... 

Click here to read the rest of my newest essay for the LA Review of Books' Avidly channel

"Facing My Fear" Article

Today, The Guardian published a piece that I wrote about an attack that I experienced in one of my most favorite places in the world, Ghana. The near-sexual assault "impressed upon me the precariousness of my safety as a woman, the archaic expectations under which we are expected to make a life, and the ultimate failure of our societies – which often focus more on policing women’s bodies than policing those who harm us – to take our grievances seriously (I reported the assault to the authorities but, from the moment I entered the station, they treated me dismissively)." Check out the entire essay here:



Satirical Flights

Last week, I felt compelled to write a little something about the unfortunate, bigoted turn that I see the 2016 presidential campaign taking. I have been particularly struck by the ahistorical commentaries that devalue the contributions of people of color to the foundation of the United States. Focused on examples of Black American reactions to racism in speculative literature and satirical forms since 1965, "Satirical Flights" issues a warning regarding the unsustainability of senseless hatred. Thankfully, the editors over at the LA Review of Books' Avidly, saw the essay's promise and published it today. Here's the link: http://avidly.lareviewofbooks.org/2016/07/27/satirical-flights/