“Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender.”

 

—Alice Walker

Brown Sugar is an online womanist literary magazine for women, womxn, and womyn of color, of any nationality, sexuality, religion, or cultural diasporas that are misrepresented and underrepresented. This is a platform and space for womanists to take command of their creative expression. We aim to capture and promote the diverse cultures and living voices of women with all kinds of backgrounds and identities through poetry, prose, and art.

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Dear Reader,

Brown Sugar began with an off-hand comment—Ashley belted, “Let’s start a literary magazine!” after expressing her disappointment with the lack of diversity in the publishing industry. The comment led to an uber ride between friends as we discussed what we’d want from the magazine and what our aesthetic would be. We talked for hours about our name, our colors, our dream for the magazine. After weeks of planning and stressing about all the logistics of starting a literary magazine, we finally launched in June of 2020...

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Brown Sugar Presents our third issue,

"Nymphaea,"

inspired by the Nymphaea caerulea flower. With It's essence of beauty and transformation, we at Brown Sugar would like to use this issue as an exploration of its significance. 

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 Print and PDF version available!

Alice Walker’s Definition of a “Womanist” from In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose Copyright 1983.

WOMANIST 

1. From womanish.  (Opp. of “girlish,” i.e. frivolous, irresponsible, not serious.)  A black feminist or feminist of color.  From the black folk expression of mothers to female children, “you acting womanish,” i.e., like a woman.  Usually referring to outrageous, audacious, courageous or willful behavior.  Wanting to know more and in greater depth than is considered “good” for one.  Interested in grown up doings.  Acting grown up.  Being grown up.  Interchangeable with another black folk expression: “You trying to be grown.”  Responsible.  In charge. Serious.

2. Also: A woman who loves other women, sexually and/or nonsexually.  Appreciates and prefers women’s culture, women’s emotional flexibility (values tears as natural counterbalance of laughter), and women’s strength.  Sometimes loves individual men, sexually and/or nonsexually.  Committed to survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female.  Not a separatist, except periodically, for health.  Traditionally a universalist, as in: “Mama, why are we brown, pink, and yellow, and our cousins are white, beige and black?” Ans. “Well, you know the colored race is just like a flower garden, with every color flower represented.”  Traditionally capable, as in: “Mama, I’m walking to Canada and I’m taking you and a bunch of other slaves with me.” Reply: “It wouldn’t be the first time.”

3. Loves music.  Loves dance.  Loves the moon. Loves the Spirit. Loves love and food and roundness.  Loves struggle. Loves the Folk.  Loves herself. Regardless.

4. Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender.