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afropunk solution sessions ep. 6: below the belt

July 11, 2018
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Black bodies are under attack by a government determined to control them. From forced experimentation on enslaved Black women, to the Hyde Amendment, America has a long history of policing marginalized bodies. And Black people are stil left out of conversations about reproductive health in the U.S. That’s why Black women created the framework of reproductive justice.

In “Below The Belt,” the sixth episode of AFROPUNK SOLUTION SESSIONS, we hear from Sister Song executive director Monica Simpson about the specific challenges Black women face when it comes to reproductive health. Planned Parenthood’s Alencia Johnson gets real about the false notions surrounding Black women’s pain and strength, and Michaela Angela Davis highlights just how powerful sisterhood is. The White Dress Project founder Tanika Gray Valbrun, organizer and campaign strategist Gabby Seay, and Three Point Strategies founder Jessica Byrd also share their stories and insights on reproductive health—showing that Black reproductive issues are real issues and that we do not have to suffer in silence.

We get into it:

  • The high maternal mortality rate in the Black community
  • What reproductive justice is
  • How the government attempts to strip Black women of their agency
  • The stigmas and shaming surrounding Black people’s reproductive decisions
  • How having conversations and sharing our stories helps de-stigmatize Black reproductive issues
  • Surviving through sisterhood


  • Center Black and queer people in conversations about reproductive justice.
  • Don’t be afraid to speak up about how you feel.
  • Take care of each other.
  • Fuck stigma and fuck shame.
  • Learn more about The White Dress Project.
  • Learn more about Planned Parenthood.
  • Learn more about Sister Song (and consider donating!)

Featured in this episode:

Michaela Angela Davis

Image Activist, MAD FREE

She is a writer, cultural critic, fashion, beauty culture editor, editorial brand director, commentator, speaker, conversationalist and community servant who engages in and expands the conversation of identity, race, gender and beauty across all media.


Alencia Johnson

Director of Public Engagement at Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Named to EBONY Magazine’s “Power 100” list of influential African Americans and PRWeek’s “40 Under 40” list, Alencia Johnson sits at the intersection of activism, progressive politics, and culture change — fighting for justice and liberation by rooting herself in love for her people.


Manushka Magloire

Director of Community Affairs, AFROPUNK

Manushka helmed a new initiative for AFROPUNK, the AFROPUNK ARMY, that to date has mobilized over 50,000 festival-goers worldwide as volunteers and social activists who donate time, passion and talents to nonprofits and social justice movements in exchange for festival tickets.


Monica Simpson

Executive Director, SisterSong

Monica Raye Simpson, a queer, black, NC native, has organized extensively against human rights abuse, the prison industry, racism, and systemic violence against Southern black women and LBGTQ people.


Jessica Byrd

Founder, Three Point Strategies

Jessica Byrd is a Black queer feminist and a relationship driven political operative working at the intersection of social justice and electoral politics at her firm, Three Point Strategies.


Tanika Gray Valbrun

Journalist + Educator

Tanika Gray Valbrun is an award-winning Journalist and Educator with a passion for Women’s Health. After her personal struggles with uterine fibroids, Tanika, created The White Dress Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing awareness, funding and education about the uterine fibroid epidemic.