Tag Archives: Reclamation

VIDEO: Karmenife Paulino ’15 Delivers Powerful Comedy Set at Malcolm X House

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Content warning: the following post and video discuss sexual violence and assault.

[Updated 2/16/17, 11:53AM] Check the bottom of the post for photos of the performance from Jejomar Erln Ysit ’19

If you were on campus at any point from Fall 2014 – Fall 2015, you might remember Karmenife Paulino ’15 as being something of a legend. Here are a few ways you may be familiar with her:

  • She became a very public activist against sexual violence, openly talking about her assault at Psi U her freshman year.
  • She also spoke out against members of Eclectic (which she was also a member of) for allowing her rapist into their home and perpetuating rape culture. Along with controversy surrounding a racial slur on a membership application, this contributed to Eclectic losing their house for the 2016-2017 school year.
  • She, along with Tess Altman ’17, created a photo project titled Reclamation during the Fall 2015 semester. We covered the project in a 12,000-word interview with Karmenife, and then the photos went viral. Even Margaret Cho took notice.

Since graduating, Karmenife has gotten involved with numerous projects and collaborations. She created a portrait series of black icons and turned OKCupid harassment (and her comebacks) into art. She’s written and spoken extensively on how white feminism perpetuates rape culture. She’s a very active presence on social media. And, to top it all off, Karmenife has started to perform as a comedian.

She returned to campus last Friday for a one-hour stand-up routine, “Make Your Own Reparations 101,” and delivered a rousing set to the packed basement of Malcolm X House. Her jokes covered everything from the Wes administration, to casual racism at her workplace, to scamming white men on Tinder. Watch the video of her performance after the jump:

Karmenife Paulino ’15: On Reclamation and Other Things

Credit for this photo goes to Karmenife Paulino and Tess Altman at The Reclamation.

Credit for this photo goes to Karmenife Paulino and Tess Altman at Reclamation.

Note: This interview discusses sexual assault. It was also conducted prior to Winter Break and doesn’t reflect certain changes on campus since then. 

I knock at some small senior house right off of Cross street, and a muffled cry of, “Be right there,” can be heard from behind its chipping red door. The door opens, and this is the first and last time that I ever meet Karmenife Paulino ’15 – I follow curly, auburn hair up the narrow staircase as we say our hello’s and I am taken to her room. Her room is cozy and dim, with colored lights strung up on the left wall next to artwork and posters. My eyes graze over the mid-packing mess that I’ve interrupted, led to a mannequin in bondage gear leaning on the right wall.

She sits on her bed, crosslegged and comfortable, her body turned at an angle from mine, as I take a seat on the bottom most edge and gracelessly stumble through introductions. She’s patient as I rummage through my bag for my questions, and we begin.

What exactly is Reclamation?