February 25 2020

Ericka Hart on Self-Care, Black History Month & Beyond

London-Stand Up
Activist and sexual educator Ericka Hart brought her unstoppable energy to the Library Lounge this month. But before her spirited call-to-arms, we asked the icon a few questions of our own

We’ll set the scene. It was a rainy Saturday afternoon; the Library Lounge fireplace was ablaze and our chamomile tea runneth over for an afternoon with Liv Little of gal-dem and the unstoppable sex educator, Ericka Hart. What took place was a riveting Q&A session with topics spanning mental health, sexual wellbeing and what it means to be queer, Black and femme today.

If you don’t already know Ericka Hart, she’s a force to be reckoned with; an activist, poly cancer-survivor, Instagram icon and sexual educator. With unique experience and self-taught knowledge, Ericka Hart teamed up with the gal-dem crew to lay down some truths and guide us with self-care and sexual empowerment gems, packaged with plenty of warmth and confidence.

The Standard

We loved having you talk at The Standard, London. Liv from gal-dem and yourself were a dream to listen to. How did you spark such a great relationship with gal-dem?
I loved being there, so thank you for having me! I think whenever two Black queer femmes are talking to each other, it’s always pretty effortless and perfect. I also knew I would be speaking at Anti-Diet riot festival, so I wanted to connect with some Black English folks, and my team found gal-dem and it was just a match! 

What do you have planned for the rest of the year as far as activism goes?
Well, I am currently working on an Instagram series curated by myself and partner, Ebony, for Black History month called #ihartBlackhistory. Where every day of the month we or one of our friends talks about an aspect of Black History. It’s been truly so beautiful and a labour of love that it might spill over into March. Other than that, I am doing another speaking tour beginning at the end of February through March. My activism lives in my teaching.  

The Standard
The Standard

What hints and tips would you give our readers on self-care?
Self-care tips: masturbation – it’s free! –  sleep, rest, giving yourself permission to do nothing, leaning on your community. 

What’s the importance of sexual empowerment and owning your sexuality, no matter what anyone may think?
The importance of owning your sexual empowerment is that you are owning a piece of yourself. Your sexual empowerment is not separate from you, it is a part of who you are. It's challenging to do that in a world where everyone is not honoured for who they are. The work to constantly move away from the world’s ideals and into your own is spiritual and sacred work. 

The Standard
The Standard
The Standard
We loved hearing about your passion for teaching and imparting knowledge to the younger generation. What would you say is your biggest accomplishment when it comes to teaching?
I honestly think my biggest accomplishment is being able to teach this long. I have been teaching for almost eleven years and Black educators are so often overlooked that I am just glad that I am able to continue doing this work. Being able to teach is not always promised and a lot of work to stay in the game. 

You spoke about being queer, femme and Black in a mostly white, patriarchal world. How do you effectively navigate your way through life on a day-to-day basis and what inner mantras do you tell yourself?
Loudly and unapologetically! I spent a lot of my life hiding from who I was and I always have to speak to that younger person in me and remind her that “I'M THAT BIHHH!” I gotta live this life or someone will rewrite it and say I lived another way! Paraphrasing Zora Neale Hurston. 

The Standard
The Standard

Finally, how did you like London? What surprised you about this city and will we ever see you again?
I freaking love, love London! Ebony and I were talking last night about how we could move here! Should we? I think what surprises me is that "tea time" really does happen. Issa thing and I love it! And absolutely I will be back, and I’m staying at The Standard! 

Writer
Adryan Abii-Smith