PJ Samuels is a poet, educator and LGBTQ human rights activist whose work interrogates issues of race, gender, patriarchy, identity and belonging. I first encountered her searing, moving and beautiful poetry in the Sista! Anthology, a collection of essays and poetry from women-loving-women of African and Caribbean descent. She is an emotional and intellectual force. Today, we discuss her relationship to God and with Christianity and the way both religion and Blackness have historically been weaponised against Black people. She elaborates on her refusal to make her life and her Blackness performative, and how she does this through a tenacious yet gentle pursuit of joy. She takes us back to her origins in rural Jamaica, how her experience as a refugee made her reevaluate all of her relationships, how she remembers to engage her wonder and her curiosity, and her thoughts on roots, freedom and love.This conversation is big and it is beautiful. There are some long pauses throughout this conversation because PJ literally rendered me speechless with her thoughts, passion, intellect, and her absolute commitment to Black women.
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