January 20, 2017
ShiShi Rose On Coretta Scott King, Boys Becoming Ballerinas + The Beauty Of Love (Not Marriage!)
Who: ShiShi Rose, Activist, Leader, Lover Of Children’s Books
Why She’s Foxy: She’s a former Jehovah's Witness who got the fuck out of dodge to pursue a life of justice, liberty + #lovetrumpshate.
On Awakening: "I grew up in Southern California. I was a Jehovah's Witness. It's very cult like — there’s a lot of brainwashing and shaming. Our whole job is to marry, have kids and be a messenger of Jehovah, preaching door to door. My mom got in it when she was alone and pregnant with my sister. She was ostracized because other women in the faith are scared of single mothers — they think you’re going to steal their men. I knew I didn't identify with the religion since I was ten years old. When I was fourteen, I decided that I wanted to leave and when I finally did, I was twenty-two. When you're in it, you're not allowed to be friends with people who aren't Jehovah's Witnesses. You can't celebrate holidays or birthdays. You can drink but you can't drink to get drunk."
On Moving On: "I moved to New York to get my books published. I came here with only $300 in my account. I'm writing three books—two of them are children's books. One is about how to talk to children about racism and privilege, to raise mini activists. The second is about how to raise children to not exist under gender stereotypes. It's about ten different kids and each kid has a hobby. One of the boys wants to become a ballerina.The third book is a memoir."
On Activism: "I am an activist. Everybody is an activist. For LGBTQ people or people
with disabilities, surviving every day is a form of activism. I believe every marginalized person is an activist because existing in these bodies is a form of activism. Taking care of someone's baby, or walking someone down the street because they are scared for their safety is activism. You don't have to be an organizer or a leader or doing all the big things. After Trump was elected, a whole school rallied to walk a fearful kid to class because she was getting threats for being black from another classmate. We need to be unifying constantly and protecting each other."
On Icons: "Assata Shakur is a hero. Coretta Scott King. And Elaine Brown. Viola Davis who came from struggle and dislike of how she looked but was able to make it. Lupita is my style icon. She always slays it."
On Weddings: "I like going to weddings, but I hate them for myself and don’t see myself ever getting married. It’s nice to see people’s joy on their wedding day, though. I just don't believe in the ceremony or piece of paper. I think people who just commit seem to last longer."
Fave Song: "My Girl by the Temptations."
Fave Movie: "The Notebook. I'm really into sappy movies. I was fourteen when it came out."
Fave Book: "Amazing Grace is about this little girl who loves performing, but they tell her she can't be a Peter Pan because she's black and a little girl."
Fantasy Wedding: "Coretta Scott King and Martin Luther King. I would take Fred Hampton or Stokely Carmichael as my date, wear a black a dress and spend the afterparty dancing to Beyonce."