Meet Ebony Utley
1) Write a six-word memoir to describe yourself.
Ebony is the woman with ideas.
2) Tell us about your blog.
I started blogging in spring 2010 for Ms. Magazine. Since then I’ve also blogged for Religion Dispatches and Truthdig. I blog about popular culture, race, and romantic relationships. My all time favorite is a guest blog that I wrote for a friend’s site: Dear Nicki Minaj: An Open Letter – http://mghardie.wordpress.com/2010/11/22/dear-nicki-minaj-an-open-letter.
3) What is your definition of digital sisterhood?
I define digital sisterhood as the use of technology to create safer spaces for women to discuss and disseminate their ideas.
4) What is your favorite 2011 digital sisterhood moment or experience?
This really isn’t shameless self-promotion (although I have been known to do so), but my favorite digital sisterhood moment of 2011 was the Digital Sisterhood Radio interview with Ananda Leeke about (wait for it) digital sisterhood: http://recordings.talkshoe.com/TC-42015/TS-493916.mp3. Although blogging is public, it’s essentially done alone. I write by myself at my computer, but having a chance to talk to another woman about my writing on women in front of an audience that I imagine was primarily women was super cool. Reading comments has its merits, but there’s nothing like a real time conversation to make the ideas come alive. I hope we will have more roundtables with more women on the air in 2012.
5) The 2011 theme of Digital Sisterhood Month is ‘Celebrate the 4 Fs of Women’s Health: Feelings, Food, Fitness & Fierce Living.” How have you lived fiercely in 2011?
I lived fiercely in 2011 by focusing on completing two of my major life goals. When I was 20, I decided that I wanted to write books and become a tenured professor. In 2011, I submitted the final manuscript for my book Rap and Religion: Understanding the Gangsta’s God [http://www.amazon.com/Rap-Religion-Understanding-Gangstas-God/dp/0313376689e] as well as my completed file for tenure. I did my part in making those dreams come true. Now I wait for the powers that be to take care of the rest. During this part of my life fierce living=focus.
6) How do you stay positive and maintain peace of mind?
I watch the Young and the Restless. I know. But I’ve been watching for 15 years, and I like being able to call my 88-year-old grandmother and talk about what Victor is doing now. I look forward to the running commentary on our Indiana University Gals Who Love Y&R Facebook page. The stories [soap operas] represent continuity, family, and community for me. I teach about them; I blog about them and try to help others see beyond the stereotypes into a woman centered world where the matriarch is celebrated. Popular culture rarely represents the diversity of femininity in the ways that the stories do. When my work is finished, for five hours a week, Y&R is my consistent escape. I’m enjoying it while I can before the last soap operas are no longer on the air.
7) What are your favorite healthy foods?
My favorite healthy food would have to be blueberries. I am obsessive about my super fruit. I freeze them when they’re about to be out of season so I can enjoy them all year. I also dig arugula and spinach salads.
8) How do you stay fit?
Staying fit is vital to my mental well-being. I can’t think without letting those endorphins escape, but I hate working out at a gym so I swear by pilates. I played tennis for years and I love biking by the ocean, but in 2011 I started practicing kundalini yoga and tai chi—both of which are excellent for centering and strengthening my core.
9) How are you planning to live fiercely in 2012?
I plan to live fiercely in 2012 by tackling new tasks that I think I will fail at accomplishing. It’s time for me to try things I’ve never done before and that I feel ill-prepared to execute. If failing is the worst that can happen, I am guaranteed to learn important life lessons, and living fiercely means embracing those lessons. I am musing on several promotional plans for Rap and Religion—all of which involve technology. And the woman with ideas also plans to blog about the role of religion not just in popular culture but also in politics just in time for the election year. Stay tuned. The best is yet to come.
10) Where can we find you online?
Web Site: www.theutleyexperience.com.