SUMMER MOON: Sisterhood For the Ages
By Asata Reid-Luster
"Yes, luscious love!" exclaims Cree Summer as she and her
soul mate/best friend/spirit
sister, Lilakoi Moon
(a.k.a. Lisa Bonet), compose a list of words that
define friendship. We're sitting on the front
Lilakoi's house in the early summer desert sun discussing
the depths of their friendship and sisterhood in
Has there been a time when you felt like you weren't
there for your sister?
Cree: Yeah I've had times like that. I've had times where I
wished I could've done more. When [Lilakoi's] Nana passed
felt like I couldn't do enough, like I didn't know how
to do enough.
Lilakois: It seems we know how to take care of each other better
than we know how to take care of ourselves.
Cree: Hear, hear! I would say on that tip you're right. We do
know how to show up for each other.
through practice or just human nature?
Cree: Human nature.
Lilakois: Well you know I'm just 34, and I can finally say I love
myself and I love my soul. It's taken me all these
Cree: (baby voice): You have a beautiful soul, FYI.
Cree: I second that emotion. It takes a long time unfortunately
to learn that you have to care for yourself. Sometimes
it's easier to care for and show up and love some body else.
How has this bond allowed you to explore yourself?
answer in a tag-team, finishing each other's sentences
way that is completely unconscious to them, but becomes
Lilakois: When you feel loved unconditionally...
Cree: You let it all hang out.
Liliakois: Mm-hmm. And you feel totally safe and if you forget
yourself, your friends...
Cree: Remind you. Ha ha!
Lilakois: Yeah, and they're never going to forget you.
Cree: I have this portrait of (the goddess) Kali tattooed on
my back, and one of Lilakoi's famous lines is, "Don't
who you got on your back," whenever I'm feeling
a little less than full. Kali is the goddess of
death and regeneration
and disillusion, destruction and
creativity. She's [Lilakoi] very much like a big sister
to me in a lot of ways. So
much of the planet is un-mothered
properly, and I think for me I've found a lot of mothering
in my sister. There have
been moments where she's been
known to take literal care of me, and teach me things
that my momma didn't do like how
to cook, and how to do
this, and what's good for this. So in a sense I think
so much of the woman I am is due to this
Cree: It's true. And also bravery. I always say to
people, I'd much rather walk into a room with Lilakoi
by myself. She helps me get my strut on (laughs),
you know what I mean? It makes me feel more powerful.
Lilakois: You know what's amazing is that we're talking about
being in our early thirties and just getting to love
ourselves, but how Zoe (Lilakoi's daughter) has it. My
prayer for her is for the love that she has for her self,
she doesn't have to spend 20 years looking for it.
It's really astounding to see that. It's a beautiful
thing to see
young women who love themselves.
Cree: I love how she loves to be a woman. Unfortunately
so many women discover so late in life how great it
to be a woman and the beauty is in her woman-spirit.
She's proud to be a girl already, you know? She loves
The way we've developed adult relationships
with women that are so beautiful, she's got them
already, out of the box.
It's such a beautiful
thing to see. I'm jealous a little bit.
It's a beautiful gift to give to your daughter, a
Cree: She's so together. She just told me on the phone a
couple of weeks ago, "I respect myself." At thirteen
thought that was such a beautiful statement.
God, I was so lost at thirteen.
Cree: dig it. I didn't even know what "I respect myself" meant
Lilakois: No, no. I was already leaving my body at thirteen.
Cree: On purpose.
Lilakois: Yeah. Wow. (everyone nods and marvels at the difference
between Zoe's wisdom at thirteen and our own lost
Lilakois: She's really present. She's really enjoying her
What do you say to women who
believe that women just
can't be friends or trust each other?
Cree: I think it's another brainwash, another hangover from
history. Like men don't cry, or men make bad cooks, or
women aren't good fighters or whatever. We've all got
these notions that have been implanted into us by religion,
race, class, and one of the fucked up pieces of propaganda
is that women don't like each other. And I think that was
a very wise poison to implant into us, because when women
get together there's such a deep powerful support and
acceptance when you're loved by other women.
So I think maybe, unfortunately some people didn't
take the time to step
out of whatever their
conditioning was and figure out for themselves
if they want to be friends with women.
benefits from that?
Cree: (hesitantly) I guess the boys benefit. But who
benefits from any of these ridiculous notions that we
Chinese people can't drive, or whatever. All
of these things are the same, they may seem silly to us,
but these cliches
have affected us all in our perception.
Because there are women who say I can't get along with
other women. And that
breaks my heart. That's like I
can't get along with myself. I've been very lucky;
I've always had sister-friends.
the way you were raised make it easier for you
to define the types of friendships you have as an adult?
Cree: I'm forever going to be in the process of defining
myself. But I think I was really lucky in some ways
not spending a lot of time in school (Most of Cree's
education came from Homeschooling). I think a lot of
in therapy now trying to get over the
social implications that school had on their
development. I didn't have any
of that: who's the cool
kid, who's the not-cool kid. I couldn't wait to get
the hell out of there. So I think I was
that way. I spent a lot of time alone. I really
didn't start having friends until I was in my early
So I guess I was just too excited, I was like,
"I'll do anything to keep you guys to be my friends.
I finally have
friends, yaaay!" Just living so
isolated and nomadic a life. The roots I have now
are of my own making and I'd like
to think that
Lilakoi and myself and the rest of the pirates, we
kind of magnetized, and I like to think that the
brought us together to do some good work.
Cuz my intention really is in the love of this planet.
I really think that
I'm so lucky that I can't believe it.
And today was such a piratical day to be with all these
women, and so much beauty
every time I turned around.
Beauty behind the camera, beauty in the wardrobe room,
just beauty everywhere. (the entire
Fierce staff was
female for the shoot)
What space are you in?
Lilakois: I'm in a follow my heart space. I'm in a place where
I'm committed to assistinig the evolution of humanity
this planet. Totally devoted to the planet and to
spirit, and the projects (Lilakoi is focusing on her art)
participate in I hope will reflect that. These are
the alliances that I make with myself and with god. And I
contribute, and I want to make art. I want to
express my soul through my creativity.
Whose lives are you touching
Lilakois: I feel the more present we are and the more loving
we are with ourselves, then that energy, whoever
come in contact with, that's whose lives we are
touching. I get to be in touch with my own self-love
right and I feel
like I share that, and I connect
Cree: Yeah we're all in touch with everybody at all times
and that's something we have to be conscious of.
we do is some gift or pollution. It's all up to
us. We're all so connected. I think I'm in a transitional
think I'm in a space where I'm surrendering
a bit more, finding some faith. Definitely in a very
space. And in the process of indi-
viduating, never more in my life have I wanted to
authenticate and be my true self.
Really the one
I decide, not the one that my mom or my friends or
the world chose, but the one that I would've chosed
without any issue or any drama, so I'm just trying to
get to that sweetest spot on the inside of me. And I wanna
Lilakois: Be careful what you say.
Cree: She's very conscious of the witch in me and by
the time the article comes out...
How have these things
affected your friendship?
Lilakois: I couldn't imagine my life without her.
Cree: You know I'm really crappy on the phone, but if
she calls I'll run from wherever I am in the house to
it up. I talk to Lilakoi about five times a day.
The reflection of time in this friendship is depth,
And I'm always surprised. You know the
reason I think that we have so much time and that we've
been friends for so long
is because I'm always surprised.
She always learns something new and shares it with me.
She's always going deeper into
her art and sharing
it with me. This is really the only sisterhood-friend-
ship that I have that is creative. Lilakoi
and I make
things together and share it with the world. And that's
very important to me. And that's something that has
over time, trusting each other enough to
want to corroborate artistically.
Lilakoi: And times just lets you know that it's true love,
another year goes by and the love just gets more
Cree: I have so many cards from Lilakoi that say "Are
you still gonna love me when I look like this?"
wrinkly thing, and you're damn straight.
We've already planned it. It's forever.
Lilakoi: It's all around. We definitely have that. We live
in a real close vicinity to each other, but we both
our own personal space. And then we're all over
each other's spaces, you gave me that, you gave me that
you gave me
Cree: When the crew came over for the clothes fitting, they
were like, "Oh I love that." Lilakoi gave me that. "Oh
love that." Yeah Lilakoi gave me that.
So you're here when you're not here?
Cree: Exactly. In fact we talk on the phone so much
sometimes I forget I haven't seen you, and then I'm
shit I haven't seen you in two weeks we've been
talking every day. (laughs)
Cree: She is my family. Not to discount my primary
family, but in so many ways I feel like I'm been
and this is family. So I guess it was
crisis that drove me to make that choice in the
first place (laughs). I do feel
like she's my
chosen sister, my chosen family, and when things
go down in my family she's the first person
You know why? Not for coddling, cuz I do
get coddling, but I find that Lilakoi connects with
me on a deeper spiritual
level, and sometimes I find
it's not a crisis at all when I go deeper. And that's
something that she always gives
to me another light.
Not to just take the hit and take it on a surface
level, but to explore a little bit more.
Lilakoi: I grew up as an only child, so to stumble upon
my very wish. Oh my god. To have such an
generous, deep, intelligent, wise-cracking...
Cree: I got a wise crack!
Lilakoi: It just couldn't get any better.
Cree: I can count on Bandita for anything. She's got
my back. It's just something you know. I think
and crisis and family that's brought
me to the point where I know who's got my back.
Lilakoi: And it all goes hand in hand cuz you just
appreciate one. One feeds the other, you have
the crisis over
here so you go here and then
this feeds you and you have the courage to
go back and heal that. It always connects.
must be perfect cuz somehow it seems to work.
The very thing that pushes you beyond who you
think you are, to
find out who you truly are.
How do you express the strength that is
the root of your relationship, or do you?
you ever sit around and say "damn we're dope
Cree: I know I do. I see it in my
strut. She'll call
me and say, "Girl are we going to the movies?"
And I say, "Hell yeah we're going to the movies
I know that we're the fiercest (all puns
intended) bitches in the joint..."
L: And the loudest.
C: And the loudest. And I am proud of her, I'm
proud of who she is. I'm proud to my friend Lilakoi
did this, and
my friend Lilakoi did that. I get
my brag-on on a regular basis. I'm honored to
be her friend.
L: Amen to that. And just honored, and all the
place you've taken me and all the journeys we've
C: I love those powwow sessions when we're talking
about how fierce our friendship is. I went
somewhere and the
girls were mean, and I just
couldn't relate. I felt like I was in the
Twilight Zone, and I came running back to her
I was like, "We are the shit, can I just tell
L: We have a real tight crew, and I think of us
all in this big room having this big slumber party
and I can just
step over anyone and can just get in
the bed and cuddle with anyone and hop over to
somebody else. That is home to
The safety of your sisterhood has allowed you to
L: Oh yeah.
C: I mean, imagine if you walk into a room of 12
girls and you're like, "I'm not sure about this", and
go, "Are you kidding? You can do anything."
And those are 12 deep successful women that you can
respect. Well you walk
out of the door thinking you
can do anything, then you do anything.
L: Then there's the not so pretty places that you get
to go with them. Places where the grief is so big
think you're gonna die or the sounds that
you make are ugly and you're really not supposed to
make them and the people
around you are encouraging
you to go there and let it go...
C: Holding your shadow side for you saying "We'll take
L: Not only do you know that you are love, but you
learn that it's ok, and you learn to love yourself through
eyes of the people around you.
C: (character voice) I can't be so bad if they love me.
C: That's a statement I make. I can't be too bad
cuz I've got one kick-ass posse right here.
So who is Lilakoi to you?
C: She's my sister, she's my soul-sister. As a single
child, I grew up 10 years by myself before my
Every Christmas I asked for a sister.
When I saw Lilakoi on television on "A Different World"
I said I'm supposed to
be friends with her. So I
knew inherently or psychically that this was a person
that was supposed to be in my life.
But I had no
idea the depth of love that I would have for her. (Cree
pauses) Lilakoi sees me, and I see her too. (character
Naughty kitty too. I love naughty kitty. (Lilakoi
laughs) Oh this is making me cry. (whispers) Who is
Lilakoi to me?
Oh my god, my sister, my soul-sister,
my soul. I never question the future, so as a result I can
be fully present
with her right now. So she's my
sister my right here and now. My sister, my soul, my
friend, and she'll be the same
always. Of couse she'll
be changing the whole time, but we'll be the same. I
don't know how to say it. I think my heart
would do it
better than I could.
Who is Cree to you?
L: She's Mooch
C: And she's Earl. She's a mutt and I love her.
L: Oh, God, she's just so...juicy, this one. Her spirit
is so big, and she's poetry, she's song, she's roots.
ups the ante for me. She's funny as hell so she
lightens it all too. I think when I was little I wanted
a best friend,
but I never had it. There were some girls,
but they were different than what Zoe has cuz it
was like "oh you're not
my friend today." So really
to have gotten that wish and having a true best friend who
totally loves me, and to know
that she's just interested.
"Oh my god he called, oh he didn't call," you know?
L: She's just a rainbow so many colors. Like you couldn't
imagine a rainbow without yellow. I couldn't imagine
events in my life without her.
C: Hear hear.
L: You're always there. Good bad. All the big ones. (softly)
All the big ones.
So when you're old and you're
looking back on the
photographs of your life in your mind...
L: We're gonna laugh our asses off.
C: (old lady voice) Sittin' on the porch
in rocking chairs...
L: With some really good looking guys working in the yard...
C: I just wanted to add, one word that really embodies
Lilakoi is integrity. She has that warrior spirit. I
have this vision, you know she's so teeny, I
always have this vision of her fighting this big beast
with no concept of how big she is
or how little those arms are. But such a belief in spirit
and love and humanity that
she'll fight that beast all
L: (British accent) Except, now I've taken these
vows of non-violence so I'll have to do it with love...
C: With weapons of mass seduction. We'll make love to the
C: But I just wanted to throw in this word integrity
because she embodies it so much. There are lots of people
don't live in congruence with their soul. Not this one,
this one is always in line and when she's not in line she's
of that too.
Imagine a separate entity made of your joined energy,
an "us-we". Describe the "us-we" if it were a
(They communicate telepathically for a moment.)
C: (nods knowingly) Very much. Cuz. she's [Zoe] definitely
got a lot of her aunty.
L: That's so cute.
C: I have to say Zoe. Lilakoi's daughter Zoe. Like we were
saying before this is a very deep, spiritual woman,
what a capacity for the ridiculous.
L: I have to show you that picture she drew...(goes to get it)
C: I'd have to say Zoe cuz she's a product of our
hanging out together. Of course she's so much her own
but I definitely see a sprinkling of the
two of us in her.
(Lilakoi comes back with the illustration Zoe drew
she was nine or ten of the adventures of Chic
C: Look at this booty. Look at this guy tied to the post
with an apple in his mouth.
L: He's supposed to be cursing but it's all muffled
cuz of the apple in his mouth.
C: Goddess is in the details.
(lots of laughter)
Advice to the non-believers.
L: Seek and thou shalt find.
C: Hear hear!
L: Sometimes it doesn't come right away, so patience
is a virtue. But I really feel that if you are sincere
you really are putting that out in to the universe
then you'll find everything that you desire including
reflections of love and friendship. And
then you don't know what you're missing.
Why do we need sister-girlfriends?
C: We need to see ourselves. We need to see ourselves
as beautiful, strong, cared for. That's what they are.
are reflections of ourselves. What kind of sister
are you? What kind of person are you? It all goes
hand in hand.
L: What's that line you said about how women pick you
up when you're down?
C: Oh. The men drop me off and the women pick me up.
Always. Whenever I crumble it's a sister that puts
together again. So I say that's why we need
sisterhood. And like Lilakoi said, it's a clear-cut
desire that you put
out into the universe and I don't
think she'll let us down. I think the goddess will
send you somebody if you're honest
enough about your wishes.
When sisterhood spills out into the world, what will
be the effect globally?
L: Oh my God...
C: Where do we even begin? It'll be a whole new planet,
a whole new life. Imagine if everyone got over what I
womb amnesia. The whole world remembered where it
came from. Imagine what would happen to a collective
everyone remembered that we all have
to get on this Earth through the legs of a woman.
Everybody. No one gets here
any other way. Imagine
the reverence for the earth mother herself.
Ecologically things would change instantaneously.
be a whole new life, an amazing life.
L: Viva la revolution!
C: And yeah, we're life givers, not life takers, so
that'd be that for war. I can't imagine, actually
I can imagine
what kind of world that would be, and
I intend to keep imagining that world. A world
where Zoe's the norm.
L: There's that song "How could anyone ever tell
you that you're anything less that beautiful.
How could anyone
ever tell you that you're anything
less than whole. How did anyone fail to notice that
your loving connected to my soul."
C: Ooh, who is that?
L: It's just one of those songs. When you think
of these children...Imagine a world where
every child born into
this world felt welcome.
And that they recognized what a miracle it was,
(A full and profound silence as we sit and actually
envision such a world.)
C: I'll imagine that world, yes please.
This is one of my favorite interviews ever!!! :) It's so beautiful!