living legends

This post is a tribute to a few of the women that have been a big inspiration in my life. They are all living, and they continue to inspire me every day.


blanche brown n me
Blanche Brown and me, 2015


Blanche Brown. My first dance teacher in the bay area. (She currently teaches Afro-Haitian dance at ODC.) She’s in her 80s and is still tearin it up like a boss on the dance floor. If I’m anywhere near as awesome as she is at that age I’ll die a happy woman. She also makes the best dance bags around.




Judy Grahn

Judy Grahn. Woman of my heart. Poet, teacher, activist, and foremother in the “Women’s Spirituality” movement. She has written many books of poetry, including two (which i love) based on archetypes from the tarot: The Queen of Wands, and The Queen of Swords. She also wrote an incredible and mind-bending book based on her theory of ‘Metaformic Consciousness’; Blood, Bread, and Roses; How Menstruation Created the World. Now just stop and think about that for a minute.

Luisah Teish


Luisah Teish. Woooo nelly she does not fuck around. Activist, teacher, writer, dancer, and priestess of Oshun in the Yoruba Lucumi tradition. I’ve featured one of her rituals here on my blog. Her book; Jambalaya: The Natural Woman’s Book of Personal Charms and Practical Rituals was my introduction on how to practice magic.



(I had the extreme privilege of learning from Judy & Teish in grad school. Together they taught a course called Uncommon Kinship, an examination of the ways in which we all play the roles of victim and oppressor. It made us look at our own inner racisms, as well as they very specific peculiarities of our individual family cultures, and how that shapes who we are and how we deal with each other. it was deep, confronting, and amazing.)


Patti Smith. Oh I wish I could say I know her personally! But every time I watch an interview or performance of hers I feel like I do. She is so real, authentic and humble, even after all of her fame and success. I love this performance she gave at the Nobel Prize ceremony, singing Bob Dylan’s ‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’. And I love what she had to say about it afterward.


And lastly, another woman I don’t know personally but would be thrilled to meet…
Bell Hooks. I love this woman and her work. Activist, author, teacher, feminist. I highly suggest pouring yourself a tasty beverage, cozying up, and watching this video (or any of the videos you can find of her online) …and having some juicy discussions afterward [:

wishing you all a brilliant and inspired 2017!




2 thoughts on “living legends

  1. Sami, this is the first thing I read on the first morning of 2017.
    It has so touched my heart.
    Patti’s singing made me cry and her words about her experience did too.
    I have never heard that song so clearly and realized that all Dylan saw in his dream has come to pass.
    The hard rain he saw has fallen on us all.
    The other women were all inspiring.
    And you are an inspiration to me, sweetface, following your heart, moving through your world with doubts and courage.
    Huge love,

    Liked by 1 person

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