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This is Major: Notes on Diana Ross, Dark Girls and Being Dope with Shayla Lawson and Natasha Marin

Event date: 
Saturday, July 25, 2020 - 7:30pm to 9:00pm

Charis welcomes poet and author Shayla Lawson and artist and curator Natasha Marin (Black Imagination: Black Voices on Black Futures) for a discussion in celebration of Lawson's new collection, This is Major: Notes on Diana Ross, Dark Girls and Being Dope, an insightful and riveting debut essay collection on the richness and resilience of Black girl culture.

In this collection, Shayla introduces her fierce and humorous new voice to the world as she shares a unique mix of personal stories, pop culture observations, and insights into politics and history. Lawson takes on workplace microaggressions, the trials and tribulations of dating, the meaning and pitfalls of “Black girl magic,” and much more. In exploring all of these issues, Lawson looks for the side of the story that isn’t always told.

This is Major sheds light on the many ways Black women and girls have influenced mainstream culture—from their style, to their language, and even their art—and how that culture has ultimately short-changed them. While discussing personal experiences, her anecdotes lead to discussions about urgent issues, such as: American blackness abroad, colorism, mental health, and more. Shayla is at once hilarious and enlightening, honest and authentic.

This event takes place on crowdcast, Charis' event platform. Click here to register.

This event is free and open to all people, especially to those who have no income or low income right now, but we encourage and appreciate a solidarity donation in support of the work of Charis Circle, our programming non-profit. Charis Circle's mission is to foster sustainable feminist communities, work for social justice, and encourage the expression of diverse and marginalized voices.

We will be archiving this event and adding closed captioning as soon as possible after airing so that it will be accessible to deaf and HOH people. If you have other accessibility needs or if you are someone who has skills in making digital events more accessible please don't hesitate to reach out to We are actively learning the best practices for this technology and we welcome your feedback as we begin this new way of connecting across distances.

By attending our virtual event you agree to our Code of Conduct: Our event seeks to provide a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), class, or technology choices. We do not tolerate harassment in any form. Sexual language and imagery are not appropriate. Anyone violating these rules will be expelled from this event and all future events at the discretion of the organizers. Please report all harassment to immediately.

About: Shayla Lawson is the author of three books of poetry—A Speed Education in Human Being, the chapbook Pantone, and I Think I’m Ready to see Frank Ocean. She was born in Rochester, Minnesota, grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, studied architecture in Italy and spent a few years as a Dutch housewife—milkmaid braids and all. She teaches at Amherst College and lives in Brooklyn, NY. Twitter/Instagram: @blueifiwasnt

About: Natasha Marin is the curator of Black Imagination: Black Voices on Black Futures (McSweeney's, 2020). Marin is also a conceptual artist whose people-centered projects have circled the globe since 2012 and have been recognized and acknowledged by Art Forum, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, NBC, Al Jazeera, Vice, PBS and others. BLACK IMAGINATION-- a series of conceptual exhibitions—amplifying, centering, and holding sacred a diverse sample of voices including LGBTQIA+ black youth, incarcerated black women, black folks with disabilities, unsheltered black folks, and black children is her bravest work thus far. Her viral web-based project, Reparations, engaged a quarter of a million people worldwide in the practice of "leveraging privilege," and earned Marin, a mother of two, death threats by the dozens. Find more online: Follow on IG: @tash1k0


Event address: 
This Is Major: Notes on Diana Ross, Dark Girls, and Being Dope Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062890597
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - June 30th, 2020

A National Book Critics Circle Finalist in Autobiography * Named one of the most anticipated books of the year by USA Today, Bitch Magazine, Parade, Salon and Ms. Magazine

I Think I'm Ready to See Frank Ocean Cover Image
ISBN: 9780989979788
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Saturnalia Books - March 1st, 2018

A Speed Education in Human Being Cover Image
ISBN: 9780982156032
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Sawyer House - September 1st, 2013

"These poems, this book, has hardwood floors, beautiful lines and doors and windows. They are built from organic steel and marble paper. Step between these pages and into a house-no, a village-that love built and decorated with keepsakes from all over the alphabet." - Frank X.

Black Imagination: Black Voices on Black Futures Cover Image
By Natasha Marin (Editor), Steven Dunn (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781944211844
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: McSweeney's - February 4th, 2020

Recommended by Jason Reynolds on PBS News Hour

Event Summary: 
Poet and author Shayla Lawson and artist and curator Natasha Marin in celebration of Lawson's new collection, This is Major: Notes on Diana Ross, Dark Girls and Being Dope.