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Ashanti Marshall

[SYLLABUS]: 195 Lewis

[SYLLABUS]: 195 Lewis

It’s essentially about a group of friends trying to navigate being black, queer and polyamorous in Brooklyn, New York. It really centers around one queer couple who decides to open up their relationship, and all of the drama that unfolds when that happens.
— Chanelle Aponte Pearson (OkayAfrica)

Episode 001: POP Party

[SYNOPSIS: The series opens with the happenings of individual characters at a dope house party. Yuri, played by Rae Leone Allen, is seen flirting with a woman named Simone. Yuri’s in a polyamorous relationship with Camille, played by Sirita Wright. We’re introduced to Kris, played by Michal Roxie Johnson. Yuri’s old friend, who just happens to show up at Yuri’s arts fundraising party looking for a place to stay after relocating to Brooklyn.]

A still from the webseries '195 Lewis', 2017. 

A still from the webseries '195 Lewis', 2017. 

  • How does joy connect people?
  • How do you communicate your lived experience with language, body gestures and dress? What is readily available for people to know about you?

  • What defines a safe space? List all physical and digital examples that you know.

  • How does the potential for queer media outlets and social gathering become an extension of the subculture’s living and lived experiences? Is there a clear distinction between the work we create and the life that inspires it?


Episode 002: The Morning After 

[SYNOPSIS: The morning after the ‘Paper Over Pussy’ party, Camille hints at uneasiness about her relationship with Yuri. Kris moves in with Yuri and Camille. Kris and Anne have a smoke session in the kitchen (so relatable). Yuri’s feelings for Simone (now known as “Harlem”) intensify while her career as an artist is in moral conflict.]  

A still from the webseries '195 Lewis', 2017.

A still from the webseries '195 Lewis', 2017.

  • When are boundaries both established and considered in a romantic relationship? What is the importance of boundaries?
  • Who is held accountable for exploring their individual desires within a relationship (apply to your circumstance, whether monogamous and non-monogamous)? In what ways?

  • When opening a relationship to new possibilities and potential, how is radical honesty best practed? Give examples that you live or aspire to.

  • Why do we decide to trust, in a relationship and with ourselves?


Episode 003: Femme of Color Brunch 

[SYNOPSIS: Anne and Kris go to a brunch for femmes of color — a casual yet intimate meeting. An enlightening conversation about the politics of sex ensues. Anne almost hooks up with a girl at brunch.]

A still from the webseries '195 Lewis', 2017. 

A still from the webseries '195 Lewis', 2017. 

  • What feeds, fulfills and starves the existence of femininity?
  • In what ways do you recognize and expand the expression of femininity in your own life?

  • Who informs your perception of femininity? List past and present influences.

  • Where is it comfortable to be feminine? Where is it challenging?

  • How do you actively practice the protection and preservation that femininity requires?

  • When did you accept femininity into your life?


Episode 004: Pussy Burnin’

[SYNOPSIS: Anne’s promiscuity catches up with her. Yuri hooks up with an artist she's featuring in an upcoming show. Camille’s insecurities are budding.]

A still from the webseries '195 Lewis', 2017. 

A still from the webseries '195 Lewis', 2017. 

  • How do you accept the consequences of your recklessness?
  • What triggers contribute to the distortion of reality?


Episode 005: The Harlem Renaissance

[SYNOPSIS: Yuri, her boss and Kris head to a party. The five types of lesbians are identified. Yuri and Kris smoke outside and have a talk about Harlem. The season ends with Yuri showing up at Harlem’s door.]

A still from the webseries '195 Lewis', 2017.

A still from the webseries '195 Lewis', 2017.

  • How do labels define how queer womxn engage another?
  • Which of the five types of lesbians are you? Why?


If you’re left swooning over the series, you’ll fall in love with the series tracklist. Get into the music that frames such dynamic and truthful storytelling here. Below, you’ll find a curated list of media that centers the lived experiences and narratives of queer women of color to further engage with in addition to 195 Lewis.

 

Books

loveconjure/blues by Sharon Bridgforth

the bull-jean stories by Sharon Bridgforth

Narratives: poems in the tradition of black women by Cheryl Clarke

 

Poems

my lover is a woman by Pat Parker

For Willyce by Pat Parker

On a Night of the Full Moon by Audre Lorde

Of Althea and Flaxie by Cheryl Clarke (page 15)

The johnny cake poem by Cheryl Clarke (page 45)

 

Movies

Pariah

A Luv Tale

The Color Purple

The Watermelon Woman

The Women of Brewster Place (a mini-series)

 

Podcasts

QueerWOC: The Podcast

SafeWordSociety

BoisMeetWorld

Do Tell

The Read

 

Events/Communities

Black and Brown Babes Collective (Chicago)

Hella Black Brunch (Bay Area, California)

Party Noire (Chicago)

Black Femme Brunch (Washington, DC)

Women Writers in Bloom Reading Salon (New York, NY) — a literary salon series centering queer femme voices curated by JP Howard

Dyke Bar Takeover (Washington, DC) — a pop-up series combatting the death of queer spaces

Makers Lab (Washington, DC) — builds and supports queer communities by creating spaces that celebrate life, art and queer culture

The Coven DC (Washington, DC) — queer community celebrating LGBT+ parties and more

Collective Sex (New York, NY) — an organization decolonizing queer and femme stories about body, sex, love and healing through art and community

Black Quantum Futurism — a new approach to living and experiencing reality by way of the manipulation of space-time in order to see into possible futures, and/or collapse space-time into a desired future in order to bring about that future’s reality

[CONVERSATION]: Remembrance and Reimagining with Shefon Nachelle Taylor

[CONVERSATION]: Remembrance and Reimagining with Shefon Nachelle Taylor