Thursday, October 27, 2005

Emanuel Xavier brutally beaten, expected to recover

Emanuel Xavier at a recent police brutality protest

As far as exclusives go, this is not necessarily the type of news that you would want to hear. From the announcement that was just forwarded to this blog:
On the evening of Tuesday, October 25th, spoken word artist, openly queer activist and actor, Emanuel Xavier, was brutally beaten at random by a street gang in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn. On his way to visit his mother, currently struggling with cancer, the poet was surrounded by fifteen to twenty young Latino men and punched several times in the face. The crime has not been labeled a biased attack and - though one of his poems is set to appear in King’s Court, the Almighty Latin Kings Nation newsletter - no gang affiliation has been established and is unlikely. Though he declined hospitalization, initial statements described him as badly bruised with possible hearing damage to his right ear

Emanuel had shared news of the attack with a few people yesterday and I think he was struggling with how public to go with it. I know that in one instance in which a knife was held to my throat during a mugging that took place years ago, I also struggled with going public with it (I never did 'til now). Yesterday, I found myself sharing that experience with Emanuel as well as the surprising sense of rage that rushed through me when the mugger let me go, perhaps at having put myself in a dangerous situation in a dark alleyway, as my knees started shaking and almost let my body go.

Yesterday, I told Emanuel that he should eschew political correctness and only speak up if he wanted to do it and felt ready to talk about it and not necessarily because he is a public figure and should be expected to do so. But we also touched on the importance of raising awareness about violence in our communities, whether it's bias-related or not. Ultimately, I think that this last concern was what brought up this morning's statement from his publicist. So, if I didn't speak up back then when I got mugged, I am now doing so as well and applaud Emanuel for taking the lead.

I have previously blogged about the annual House of Xavier, but my admiration for Emanuel goes back a bit further, starting with the moment I picked up his amazing first book of poetry, Pier Queen. As someone of Latino heritage who nevertheless grew up in the United States and who spent hours in Manhattan's now gentrified West Side Piers - which was and still remains one of the few sites were queer youth of color congregate in this city - I felt the shock of having lived some of the same experiences that Emanuel so vividly expressed through his poems. A shock that I know others have also experienced since it's rare to see these words reflected on any page. Emanuel would go on to author Christ-Like and Americano, and edit a collection of spoken word poetry by different authors called Bullets and Butterflies. He has also appeared in HBO's Def Poetry Jam and the film The Ski Trip.

I will post updates as I get them and wish Emanuel a prompt and full recovery and the best for his mother as well.

UPDATES (click on hyper-links):

· October 30, 2005: Dispeling rumors regarding the assault on Emanuel Xavier (thanks Leo for the update)
· November 4, 2005: A Message from Emanuel Xavier
· November 15, 2005: Gay City News Cover Story - Emanuel Xavier
· January 15, 2006: Emanuel Xavier: New York Post OpEd
· January 27, 2006: This Saturday at the Bowery Poetry Club
· January 30, 2006: Butterflies with Emanuel Xavier and friends

6 comments:

Dino said...

It's a shame. My heart fell through my stomach when I found out. I hate when things like this bring people together but I look forward to reading more through your blog.

Elenamary said...

esperando lo mejor. mandando abrazos pa' emanuel.

Lito S. said...

omg, like dino, my heart fell to my stomach when i read this! I just met Emanuel recently in Austin, TX. And he was just the sweetest person as well as an engaging performer.all my love to Emanuel n his mom.

Phillip Esteem said...

Our thoughts and prayers are extended to Manny for a speedy recovery. You are a wonderful person love Phillip Esteem, Legends, Statements & Stars Magazine/Prideindex.com

Leo Toro said...

Emanuel would like to thank the many people who have sent him their love, prayers and support. He is healing both physically and emotionally. Medical examinations determined everything intact and he is scheduled to see an audiologist regarding questions and concerns over temporary hearing impairment.

I would like to personally take this time to dispel certain rumors. Though one of his poems recently appeared in the Almighty Latin King & Queen Nation newsletter, this was not an "initiation" by the Latin Kings or premeditated attack by a rival group. Emanuel is not affiliated with any gang. This was not a hate crime or biased attack. It was completely random. Emanuel happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. The incident occured on a street in Bushwick at around 8pm while Emanuel was on route to visit his mother. Despite a controversial past, Emanuel was not out hustling, buying or selling drugs or looking for trouble. He grew up, currently resides in Bushwick and has never feared walking the streets alone.

Emanuel has experienced much in life and has always persevered. He is a survivor and this unfortunate incident should only fuel his strength and courage to speak out against the injustices we all face in the world today.

Mario said...

damn...whats up? country goes to war. violence in our communities. i hope he is well. i've had a chance to read at a few of Emanuel's events and have been nothing but blessed to meet him. hope he can continue to turn his struggle into art and use his words to continue to transform the people. much love from the west coast.