More about Alexis Gumbs

Alexis is the founder of Brilliance Remastered, an online network and series of retreats and online intensives serving community accountable intellectuals and artists in the legacies of Audre Lorde’s profound statement in “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House” that the preceding statement is “only threatening to those…who still think of the master’s house as their only source of support.” Through retreats on ancestor accountable intellectual practice, and online courses on topics from anger as a resource to transnational intellectual solidarity, Alexis and her Brilliance Remastered collaborators have nurtured a community of thinkers and artists grounded in the resources that normative institutions ignore. 

All of Alexis’s work is grounded in a community building ethic and would not be possible without her communities of accountability in Durham, NC, the broader US Southeast, and the global south. As a co-founder member of UBUNTU A Women of Color Survivor-Led Coalition to End Gendered Violence, Warrior Healers Organizing Trust, and Earthseed Land Collective in Durham, NC,  a member of the first visioning council of Kindred Southern Healing Justice Network and a participant in Southerners on New Ground, Allied Media Projects, Black Women’s Blueprint and the International Black Youth Summit for more than a decade, she brings a passion for the issues that impact oppressed communities and an intimate knowledge of the resilience of movements led by Black, indigenous, working class women and queer people of color. Her writings in key movement periodicals such as Make/Shift, Left Turn, The Abolitionist, Ms. Magazine, and the collections Abolition Now, The Revolution Starts at Home, Dear Sister and the Transformative Justice Reader have offered clarity and inspiration to generations of activists.

Alexis’s work with her primary collaborator Sangodare has shown the world a Queer Black Feminist Love Ethic in practice. Over the past 11 years they have nurtured the Mobile Homecoming Project. This experiential archive amplifies generations of Black LGBTQ Brilliance, and has consisted of listening tours of the United States (in a 1988 Winnebago!), 7 intergenerational retreats and pilgrimages in the Southeast US, a media and audio archive of many Black Feminist LGBTQ elders and is now in the land stewardship phase of building a living library and archive that serves as an all ages independent and assisted living community of intergenerational learning and love. Sangodare and Alexis are also the co-founders of Black Feminist Film School, an initiative to screen, study and produce films with a Black feminist ethic.  Sangodare and Alexis have also collaborated on the exhibition Breathing Back at the Carrack Gallery in Durham, NC and more than 50 visits to campuses, organizations and conferences in the United States. 

Alexis was honored by the Anguilla Literary Festival as “The Pride of Anguilla,” a small country where her grandparents Jeremiah and Lydia Gumbs played key roles in the 1967 revolution.   She identifies proudly as a queer Caribbean author and scholar in the tradition of Audre Lorde, June Jordan, M. Nourbese Phillip, M. Jacqui Alexander, Dionne Brand and many more. She was the first scholar to study the papers of Audre Lorde at Spelman College, of June Jordan at Harvard University and of Lucille Clifton at Emory University during her research for her PhD in English, African and African American Studies and Women and Gender Studies from Duke University. Her work has been published in dozens of edited collections and academic journals on topics ranging from black coding practices to queer Caribbean poetics, to mothering in hip hop culture. She speaks as a Black feminist expert in a number of films including Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth by Pratibha Parmar.

Alexis’s poetry and fiction appears in many creative journals and has been honored with inclusion in Best American Experimental Writing, a Pushcart Prize nomination, and honors from the Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize and the Firefly Ridge Women of Color Award.  She has been poet-in-residence at Make/Shift Magazine and is currently Creative Writing Editor at Feminist Studies.

Alexis’s work as a media maker and her curricula for participatory digital education have been activated in 143 countries.  Her digital distribution initiative BrokenBeautiful Press, her work as co-founder of Quirky Black Girls, and her loving participation in the Women of Color Bloggers Network in the early 2000’s established her as one of the forerunners of the social media life of feminist critical and creative practice.   Alexis has been honored with many awards from her communities of practice including being lifted up on lists such as UTNE Reader’s “50 Visionaries Transforming the World,” The Advocate’s “40 under 40,” Go Magazine’s “100 Women We Love,” the Bitch “50 List,” ColorLines “10 LGBTQ Leaders Transforming the South,” Reproductive Justice Reality Check’s Sheroes and more. She is a proud recipient of the Too Sexy for 501C-3 trophy, a Black Women’s Blueprint Visionary Award and the Barnard College Outstanding Young Alumna Award.

From 2017-2019, Alexis served as visiting Winton Chair at University of Minnesota where she collaborated with Black feminist artists in the legacy of Laurie Carlos to create collaborative performances based on her books Spill and M Archive.  During that time she served as dramaturg for the award winning world premiere of Sharon Bridgforth’s Dat Black Mermaid Man Lady directed by Ebony Noelle Golden.