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Black Voices and Copycats

Recently, it was discovered that Huffington Post’s Black Voices section doesn’t have any actual Black voices in them. Revealed by Lara Witt, here is the line-up:

Not a single Black person in sight. Apparently, there is just one Black editor but Huffington Post need to do a lot better than provide a token and call it such. Even Slate uses Black writers for The Root, a Black-centered publication. Read more about it on The King of Reads.

This is intensely problematic and a good representation of when I bring up that just a White person can be liberal, that doesn’t mean that they are not racist or prejudice. Their more conservative counterpart may stab you in the front but White liberal thinking is intended to stab you in the back and call it a back rub.

If it looks like a major jump of logic, let me break it down:

Huffington Post likes to present itself as forward thinking, and progressive liberal – they are the ally to the White ally. They are the New Republic’s less intense sibling, and Slate’s half-relative. Here’s the thing: they tend to spout  such rhetoric (and personally, I find anything “progressive liberal” hella suspect but that’s also because I lean Independent and find progressive liberals as wayward) but it all boils down the same: White is right, no matter what. Everyone else is just the extras and rail grease for the plot wheels of their personal life story, not people or individuals. They pass around and trade imagery of Black people being murdered, harmed, violated or just treated negatively like baseball cards and with a dehumanizing interest, like they’re watching a really long play of The Wire and Treme. They want to feel involved in such action – without getting seriously hurt and somehow maintaining the place of “narrative-setter”, of course – that it makes sense they would want to write the perspective and narratives of others that they don’t understand in a more human way. As far as they are concerned, it’s pretty easy: take a Black person – one that preferably can’t speak well and resembles as close to a possible Black caracture as possible (options are coon, zip coon (the educated coon), etc, etc) – add violence (preferably police violence or Trump/Nazi-related violence), add a clickbait title with a picture and there you have it, racism-induced yellow journalism at its finest. It’s the Huffington Post way. And the way of plenty other publications but Huffington Post is the one that got caught here.

Another problem is the fact that this white-washing of writers and writing means that worthwhile Black writers aren’t getting hired to write content. Not even about their own lived experiences, which means the info is always going to be secondary. Always. It doesn’t matter how many Africana Studies classes you take or even how many times you see Black Panther, that doesn’t make you any less racist or any more knowledgable of a Black person’s lived experience. And this is the thing that Huffington Post themselves would whinge on when others do it.

It’s not surprising that Huffington Post hires a crap ton of White-writers. They’re the exact same people thought this picture from Executive Editor Liz Heron and said “Notice anything about this HuffingtonPost editors meeting?” was an example of “diversity”:

I notice it looks like a Women of the Klan meeting, plus a couple tokens because “model minority”.

Granted someone will say “Hey! There are some Asian people in that room. You have to look a bit to find them but they are there.” That’s because White liberal thinking loves the “model minority” myth of Asianess (quiet, demure, won’t cause a fuss) so it really makes sense that there would be some in there, especially as human deflectors of “This room is not diverse! This place is not diverse!” It’s a popular go-to.

Actually, some people in HuffPo have noted this:

“[The Huffington Post] has taken a strong editorial stance in favor of diversity, but this diversity is not reflected among the staff.”

The Movement has a good article about this. It’s good that someone noticed but it doesn’t change the fact that no one further up the food chain listened. The quote and article are from 2016, it’s 2018 and nothing has changed. That and for some place so progressive, they have to fuss and gather just to get a union.* Huffington Post just can’t walk their talk and appear to have zero desire to do so. How can a place have a strong editorial stance in favor of diversity but not where it counts, in the hiring? That’s not a very strong editorial stance if the editor can’t look around their room and go, “Something is amiss…why does everyone here look just like me?” That is a willful blindness. And one that is getting them into problems more than once and over the same thing – Huffington Post’s non-commitment to diversity.

Omake!

This post posted early while still in WIP mode (sorry! I didn’t know). However, a comment by Ashlesha J was made:

Yea I noticed that about two years ago and spec following them. They were posting a lot of content about white women and bm ww interracial relationships, then attacking the commenters. It was obviously not a black person behind the account.

The poster alleged to be biracial but if that was their political stance, then idk…Seems like they were just white

Nothing surprising here, frankly. Actually, this version of “virtual Blackface” is pretty common more and more because everyone is more anon online buuuuuuuuuut there are usually dead giveaways that someone is not part of a particular social/racial group. The dead giveaway: they don’t actually know how real Black people think and talk, just whatever idea they picked up from media (which rarely, if ever, caters to anything outside the White gaze).  I’m not surprised that it happened. It’s almost like they want to shoehorn in their ideas while looking like they are presenting something else. 

*I had to get that dig in there, it’s just progressives are not that progressive. They’re just foolish and forget that the world is not Woodstock and Cochella combined.(I’m not a fan of progressive types, I am going to super self-disclose that. They just are not a reasonable lot.)

It’s ask black witch! This month, I’ve gotten a lot of “Help Me, Help Me” type questions. Remember everyone, I don’t do spell requests, paid spellwork, pay for pray or anything even remotely in that thinking. If you’re a dabbler, I’m not going to fix or make you a spell to do. Let’s get into it.

I apologize for the lack of information. Its a very sensitive matter and not sure how much information you needed. If never posted on sites. Would I be okay if I explain “in more detail” via email? Then I can explain the story behind the jar and the itchy palm

– Ceychelle R.

She sent me further detail but the long story extremely short is sort of a classic when it comes to dabblers in magick: middle of divorce/love they are with is falling out and fast, they ask universe to send them someone else, they meet someone who sweeps them off their feet – and married to someone else, get promised a million times for a million miles “I’mma divorce them and be all yours!” (The super classic for “how to maintain a sidepiece”), the eventually dejected person starts toying with negative magick because it seems the married person is doing one thing but saying another. And they think a side effect is an itchy palm, hence come to me.

Welp, this story is probably not gonna have a happy ending, frankly. The itchy palm might not reflect anything, it sounds like cogniative bias. And that cognative bias sounds borne from a guilty conscious (like, Lady Macbeth levels). This is why I tell people not to dabble. Besides the fact they run to anyone else to play clean-up crew, it is not always fruitful. Heartbreak sucks, it’s a real killer. But it happens. And dating someone who is married is always a bad idea. Even with magick involved – especially with magick involved. Acting on negative will to harm others because you aren’t getting what you want (and in the case of a married person, what you want isn’t even yours to start with) is just going to lead to other bad things. It would be one thing if it was an open relationship, but it isn’t. It’s cheating, you kinda reaped what you sowwed. It’s not you should never date again, you should just try avoiding non-single people extensively (including to the point you dump them point-blank when you discover their non-single status.) That may work out a bit better.

1st time talking no to a witch! I’ll keep it short. I talk to about 3 psychics and they all say the same thing. I wanted to see if you see the problem too. I supposedly have a negative block on me. Not cursed but they say by someone I guess a spell. I’ve worked with 3 spell casters and they tell me it didn’t work. Now I’m pissed for getting too obsessed about it. But there are too many things that have proven all the misfortune it’s just killing me. Your the expert, I’m tired of hearing about it and hearing from 3 spell casters telling me they’re sorry and referring me some where Elise. I cannot keep living this ay. I want it gone or confirmation from an expert if it’s real and how we gonna kill it. Sorry for taking so much time. My dob [redacted] if that matters. Looking forward to hearing from you
Thanks
Casey

First, let’s note the chicanery:

1st time talking no to a witch!

I’ve worked with 3 spell casters

It isn’t the first time. It’s time number four and as I, a Chinese speaker, note this as the fourth time, it’s time to kill this issue off so he won’t bother others.*

This is what I can best describe as being a “psychic hypochondriac”. There is some block on the person somewhere and it’s creating a 583674 car pile-up in their life. Unless they can find someone to remove it.

Chances are stupidly good nothing is too out of place with this person’s life. Unless they are going through serious storms in life (that can’t be ruled out by other life circumstances) it can very well be nothing. It also can be fixed possibly by guided meditation, they work well with removing blockages (assuming one exists). Doesn’t run folks broke but works just as well.

I’am a male but have always felt I was the wrong sex. Is it possible to become possessed by a female spirit? I would want her to have full control and would welcome her gladly. This is very serious for me and I do seek and desire this. Can you please help me to gain this. I fully would submit to this possession. Thank You so much for your help.


-Roy R.

Why do I get questions like these? This person needs to see a doctor about being trans, not bother a stranger over the internet for services they say over and over that they don’t do. (Don’t bother me about spell requests, ever)

And why be posessed? That hardly turns out well, especially when done for superficial reasons. (Being trans is important, yes, but not to the spirit that you are pretty much planning to keep in attempted bondage because somehow buying binders and finding support groups is much harder.) Just see a doctor.

In Chinese, the phonetic word for “four” is also “death”.

There seems to be a mini movement in pop magick – called such because it is very surface and fluffy bunny – where brujeria is getting the same treatment that voodoo, hoodoo and smoke cleansing/smudging gets: everyone wants to do it, no one gets actually what it is.

Let’s start with the facts: Brujeria is “witchcraft” in Spanish. That’s it. There are so many different forms of actual brujeria such as Dominican Hoodoo, Santeria, etc etc etc. There is more than one kind. And involves a wholly hell of a lot more than sage sticks and very threadbare, culturally appropriated flavors of feminism.

I want to call it “orientalism” because that’s what it sounds like but I’m certain there is probably a version of the word for Latin culture getting the same treatment.

Orientalism, for those that don’t know, is the “well-meaning” racist practice of treating a culture (usually the far east) as if it is window dressing to Western existence. It’s Buddha heads, “mystical” practices of feng shui or tai chi, saying one believes in the yin-yang but a) pronounce it wrong and b) doesn’t really get that it’s far more than “there’s good and bad to everything”…things like that.

Now, it’s Latin America’s turn and with people who honestly have no idea what they are doing.

I first was asked about it by Everyday Feminism. I was genuinely confused as I never mention brujeria at all on my blog (because I don’t generally practice it – I’m Afro-Caribbean American, not Afro-Latin American) but I’m being asked pretty in-depth questions about it as if I have. The article never got posted as far as I know. I think the person asking was hoping I’d be more “grrrrrrrrrrrrrl powwa! Sage away Nazis! Rawr!” than I have ever portrayed myself in the history of my blog but I gave the usual “here’s some info” that I portray more. It weirded me out because I saw inklings around Tumblr but I just thought people were…y’know, not taking it seriously. Or letting Latinx folks having their space. Newp.

Here’s the thing: I don’t mind cultural practice, it’s bullsh*t that concerns me more. If it smells pop, it probably is. I’ve now seen more people (non-Latin, not-Hispanic, nada espanol anything) toting it about, even other minorities/PoC who never touched anything remotely Latin outside of a midnight run for Taco Bell. It’s odd to go from one end to, now, all of a sudden wanting to work with Spanish magick…or just magick with a Spanish name because it sounds different – even if the practices they use are about as White or non-Latin as all get out. That’s a problem because Latin magick and witchcraft is an authentic and varied practice with a lot of backgrounds (*cough*and deities*cough*) but it’s getting condensed into stuff that is more fitting on American Horror Story when they had the witchy season (I have never seen the show but I always see it floating about, or at least its aesthetics when stuff like this gets mentioned). That’s not good.

I am not a fan of snatching someone else’s culture and parading it as your own because it sounds different. Brujeria is very general, and it sounds supportive of minorities but not really. It’s just a thin sheet of “we don’t know what you are because we don’t and we still want to take from you so here”. This is what happens all the time when folks lump indigenous practices together (“These stem from the native americans” – which one? Lumbee? Blackfoot? Sioux? There’s a lot of various tribes. We haven’t even gotten to Latin indigenous tribes like the Aztecs and Mayans) and act as if that is being inclusive when really it’s not. Spanish culture is already super different and diverse, so would be the magickal practices. Someone who is Chicano will have a different history from someone who is Puerto Rican, who will have a different history from someone who is Dominican, who is…you get the point.

Long story short, it sounds magnificent on the surface but you don’t have to get that far past the surface to see that it is something that it very much isn’t. It’s better to do your research than plow head first into being a foolish person that just wants to dabble and feel cool.

Race-Blinders

Ah, a group I was in had kittens over a complaint I had about lack of diversity. They simply booted me out without known warning. I didn’t think the response would be that bad but then, again, this is what happens pretty common in White dominated spaces, especially the ones that try to present themselves as “forward-thinking”.

They go “we don’t tolerate prejudice. We don’t like racism, sexism, etc etc” It’s usually a hint to what they will accept if it can be subtle. And not even super subtle, just simply omit the usual words that make it brash and they’re fine. In White dominated spaces, this is super true about racism. Saying the “n-word” is (sorta) not okay (I say “sorta” because it doesn’t stop them from trying) but using AAVE/ebonics and doing verbal Blackface is consider fine despite them being forms of racism. White dominated groups think they’re fine if they just avoid the usual slurs and that the Black person noting that it is not is a “troublemaker”.

When I brought up the whole “hey, this place has a diversity problem”, one person brought up that the subject of racism is a trigger for them (it’s a space for people with trauma disorders so the term “trigger” is appropriately used here) but here’s the thing, well, two things: a) the talk of racism is a trigger but acting it out is not? b) I’m usually okay with people having odd triggers because the traumatized brain works very, very odd (I explained this in a previous post) but a White person saying racism is their trigger is like Warren Buffett saying investing and money is his trigger. In a way, it is a bit odd because how could a White person be more troubled about racism than a Black person to the point it’s a psychological trauma trigger? They’re not killed as a result of it, they have far better opportunities in life from the existence of it, it really helps them out immensely. Not to mention, if anyone should have a trigger about racism, it should probably be the Black person. They’re the one that has to worry if the police officer on their street will turn into a cold-blooded murderer. They have to worry if a White person won’t try to mow a group of their peers down in a car or air out their business, place of worship or school because they feel entitled to do so. They have to watch videos and pictures of ice-cold murders or acts of prejudice of people who look exactly like them be circulated on the internet like trading cards. That is traumatizing. That could easily create a trigger for a Black person because it is a repeated enough trauma to very much count. To say that simply the subject of it is triggering but to engage in it all the same? That sounds less like an actual trigger and more like a “this makes me uncomfy as a White person”, especially since I hear this from other White people who also engage in racism and don’t have trauma disorders. They just don’t call it “triggers”, they just say something equally stupid like, “this causes bad vibes” or “ we don’t tolerate racism, you’re just blowing it out of proportion”. I know this because this is what I commonly run in to in White-dominated groups.

Here’s the kit and kaboodle, the trauma disorder group I was in usually has people in the chat all day long just going “I’m so gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay/traaaaaaaaaaaaans/queeeeeeeeeeeeer/etc.” Being happy in who you are in the face of adversary is fine but then there is this overdoing it to the point it practically seems like they’re not and they’re joking like cis straight people. That and given their uncomfiness with racism, I think if someone came in there and said “I have so much melanin! My skin is loooooovely. I’m so Blaaaaaaaaaaack,” it would probably make people act shifty. Like, the White folks in the group can chat about their family history heritage but it’s not as accepted to joke about how family history for a Black person is way more murky (I think I only know who’s who in my family up to my great grandparents and relatives on my mom’s side. Up to my grandparents on my dad’s side). It makes White people “uncomfortable” the realities of historical racism and institutionalized racism. Here’s the thing: it happened and it’s not that lava hot a subject unless it’s made to be. Not every time a Black person talks about their lived experience is a construct to induce White Guilt (which is a pathetic and selfish concept in and of itself). We don’t exist as walking life lessons to a White person. We are people also.

It’s really annoying that I can’t participate in the groups I want because if I bring up that there are any issues, it gets iced out as “she’s causing problems for our happy group!” but they also want to say “we don’t have problems and prejudice here and if we do, we root them out”. They don’t, they just root out the person that says, “hey, here is a problem.”

And this is usually a big problem in White dominated spaces. Even official ones. I remember being in a hospital for my disorders and was told that the idea of being afraid of police is an act of paranoia because police officers are here to help and be trusted. If you’re White, this is absolutely true, you get Officer Friendly, here to protect and serve. If you’re Black, you get Officer Jigsaw, here to maim and sever. It’s not irrational for a Black person to see a cop come near them and think, “Great, I’m about to die.” Then there’s the fact that you can’t talk about racism as a trauma because the doctors (who are usually White) get really, really defensive about that, especially if you note that they don’t have diverse doctors at all. Like, if you try, they say you’re getting aggressive, even if you’re calm about it. And if they think you’re aggressive, congrats, you risk getting snowed with pills (unless you’re good at knowing your patient rights) all because you brought up that prejudice does indeed exist and can indeed cause psychological damage to a person.

Having blinders on is acutely annoying, to say the least. Especially since a White person in the group made an all call saying, “Hey, we should have more diverse youtubers about trauma disorders” and it’s accepted politely but I mention, “Hey, we need more diverse voices because hearing White people use AAVE is annoying”, I am booted. Granted a person could say, “your version was harsh” but I don’t think there really is a nice way to say it. And the way said is already “nice” enough. It’s a problem, not a compliment, the basis of the statement isn’t “nice” in and of itself.

Frankly, what is it with White people and they wanting to appear forward-thinking and good but really don’t want to put in any effort to do so? Especially when it comes on the ground of racism? They want a trophy and ceremony for being non-prejudiced buuuuuuut when it is brought to their attention, they have a conniption about it at the person who said it is an issue, especially if they themselves are not White. If this is how groups keep their spaces “drama-free” or “problem-free”, it just builds an echo chamber that deludes itself in thinking that it is forward-thinking because they got rid of all dissenters instead of tackling the problem.

Firstly, before we get started! Sorry that there wasn’t a The Arts! for last week. I still am working on a separate project and sometimes the project goes into overtime!

Also, I just joined Instagram (despite the fact that I hate it). It will mainly show the 3D printing that I do, shill for my store, the BW Shoppe and bookbinding stuff. I prefer FB live over Insta so don’t expect live videos on Instagram. I’m @thisblackwitch on Instagram

And some cute art: Meowtallica! (It counts, someone had to be creative to cobble this up)

Moving on to the questions!

I know this is a question with a varying response depending on who you ask, which is why I’m curious to hear your opinions on the matter – what would you say are the limits of magickal practise?

After reading through your posts, I understand you get asked many questions relating to Hollywood-esque tricks and abilities (body swapping comes to mind), and I wonder to what extent, if at all, you believe these abilities are even possible, even with years of training and effort. As such, imagining someone asked one of such questions about weird or strange abilities, but worded it in a non-beggar, eloquent way that implied they were willing to work for it, and somehow proved they had done some research into the subject, what would be your general response? I would presume you would urge them to reconsider under most circumstances (seeing that taking part in something like body swapping is unethical at best in most circumstances) but I’m curious to hear your insight on the hypothetical.

Liam L.

Honestly, there are very few limits of magickal practice. If any at all. However, nothing comes easy, which is what gets a lot of people. Many have applied the thinking “If I can’t do it and I don’t know anyone who has, it can’t not possibly be done.” It’s self-limiting.

If someone asked in a non-gimme-gimmie way, I would suggest that they hit the books and to expect to put a lot of effort. Here’s the thing: most people who ask me are nowhere near the level where it should cross their mind. It’s pretty difficult stuff to learn – and for things like body-switching, we haven’t even gotten into the “another person is involved” part. I still stand firm on the fact that this site doesn’t do spell requests or anything of that nature so all I’m going to do is direct people to books, dense books that are not light reading.

My son and I have recently had a conversation about his childhood and things he never told me but I wish he had. He told me that he would see things… dark figures that were shaped with human forms. Some disfigured, scary creatures as well.
The thing is, I have had many simular experiences as a child and as an adult. Many people who know this know it about me, but I have never been able to find a way to understand whats going on with me. My dreams my thoughts.
I know that my son An I have been gifted with something, however I dont know what. Can you help is figure this out or just tell us that we’re two weirdos?

 

– Krystal

A lot of kids see things when they are younger – doesn’t mean what they see don’t exist, I’m just pointing that fact out. When we get older, we kind of will these images we see away because they are “not normal” in our current culture. Doesn’t mean that your kid is from The Shining, it is more normal than you think.

The best way to go about it is keep a dream journal and stay faaaaaaaaaaaar away from sites that cite Indigo Children, Eastern Star, etc etc because they are going to be less helpful and more likely to make you feel a lot more fantastical than you actually are. They’re mostly fluff marginally held together with little not-so-sticky bits of truth tape. Avoid and avoid! You don’t want to scare yourself, either, these sites are good at that.

Also, please remember that not everything in the universe is cute and cuddly Casper the Ghost. I would say the vast majority leans towards Pan’s Labyrinth than anything. Also, there is such thing as the mind tricking itself when it gets too wound up – hence why I said stay away from the fluff sites.

Oh, and meditate. That can really help get your mind right and make sure you get a better grip on yourself. You don’t want to be one of the many “I am the Anti-Christ” people that are walking around.

It’s no surprise that I get a lot of dabbling questions. We should revisit this and why it’s not a good thing.

Dabbling is the act of having a cursory interest in magick, witchcraft and the occult. And it staying cursory: you just want to cast a spell or raise a spirit just to see if it will work.

Now, while nothing is wrong with curiosity, dabbling is more “let’s see if this parlour trick works” versus “I have questions and I wonder…”. That and people seemed to want to work with dangerous magick, difficult magick or entities that even I would not work with. I have no idea why people want to raise Beelzebub for kicks but they do. Then they wind up in my inbox expecting a one-step solution to making such an entity go away. (There isn’t one.) This gets annoying. Fast.

Dabblers are a little different from fluffy bunnies but with omega overlap. The overlap is both are fairly gullible and know nothing. Dabblers don’t care they know nothing. Fluffy bunnies think they know plenty while knowing nothing. A lot of Pagans and Witches started as fluffy bunnies. Some fluffy bunnies slide back into Dabbler territory. Some fluffy bunnies actually go on to becoming real practitioners. Then you got your select few that are always in the middle: The know enough to not count as a fluffy bunny but they don’t care enough or have the patience or brains enough to be a real practitioner.

Here’s the thing: I’m not of the “if you don’t believe it, it won’t happen” crowd. I’m more of the “you mess about enough, something bad will happen out of your aimlessness”. Whether you believe or not I don’t think needs to be too much of a factor but what you put together does. However, I have gotten letters from people who just bought a Baphomet shirt to be edgy and after something inane happens, they write to me thinking they mistakenly summoned the devil. It’s a mix. Either way, I tend to get letters from people who are very much the “let’s see if this works” and find out that, oh wow, it does.

It’s better for people to do one of several things:

a) don’t dabble (seriously, don’t)
b) do at least some research before dabbling. Outside of watching The Craft and Harry Potter
c) if you summon something, get rid of it yourself. Don’t bug other people. Can’t get rid of them? Congrats, you have a roommate until you can figure it out.
d) if you’re going to dabble, don’t call yourself a witch – you’re a dabbler

Pretty simple, no?

Another issue with Dabblers is that they spread their misinformation everywhere. They don’t know what they’re doing but they talk about it as if they do and it becomes a case of the blind leading the blind. They cite spell recipes that make honestly no sense, they slap at least three different cultures together, no care or concern to as what happens. And some make their way to my inbox because somehow, the search bar on my website magically doesn’t work or appear to them (I’m being snarky here, dabblers, use the search bar). Watching a television show and burning a stick of sage (dabblers don’t even know the history behind that! Or the different variations!) doesn’t make you an expert on anything. Not even close. It’s just absolute nonsense.

Frankly, I would suggest to not dabble. Do your homework. Know that burning sage over everything is pointless and borderline cultural appropriation (*koff*hint: indigenous people*koff*). Be smart and don’t bother others pointlessly. And most of all, do some off-line research.

8 Years of Black Witch

Yesterday was the 8th anniversary of Black Witch. I am super surprised at how much time has passed. This past year was a few changes for me personally but the blog has remained mostly the same.

I still try to post on time. Black Witch is supposed to update every Friday but sometimes I get too tuckered to do Fridays. But still! That’s the goal.

Today is the last day of the BW Shoppe Anniversary sale. So far it seems that bookbinders have really been taking use of it the most! All my 3d printed bookbinding equipment (sewing cradles, awl guides, etc) have been flying off the racks. Still working on those prints as we speak.

In this past year, Black Witch has been on Vero but I am considering an Instagram (despite the fact I hate the app enough to not want to use it for its ads and algorithms) but that’s so I can keep up with people that I like and care for. It still might be awhile.

Either way, thank you so much for sticking about and reading Black Witch.

Before getting started, please note! There is going to be an FB livestream chat for the 8th Black Witch anniversary on June 9 at 2 PM EST. In the Black Witch Shoppe, there is free shipping from today to June 10. Huzzah, get 3D printed things, Black superhero icons and hand stitched journals.

Moving on to our regularly scheduled program:

Ahh, I know a problem is a big problem in music when it is from a genre I don’t really listen to and it still floats to me. I am couched firmly in the world of Rock, living my life. When something from a different music world floats its way to me, it’s notable.

Earlier this week, rapper Pusha T had shown a photo of rapper Drake in Blackface during a beef. It caused discord. I wanna talk about it because it seems this is pretty superficial and ridiculous, even when discussing Blackface.

Where to begin, where to begin.

Well, here is the picture in question:

It is Drake here in his younger years wearing classic Blackface while wearing a Jim Crow shirt from Too Black Guys. It’s from a line called “Jim Crow Couture”.

It’s actually a dual picture:

We will unpack this later. But first, let’s consider the source, Pusha T – a rapper that honestly could easily hit on all pins of stereotype without the burnt cork. But we’ll unpack that as we go along as well also.

Actually, we shouldn’t first consider the source (though it is very, very important), we should first talk about what and who Jim Crow is and the same about Blackface. And how you don’t have to smear grease paint on your face to emulate what it is trying to portray, unfortunately.

Alrightie, before beginning, I gotta say this post is going to be depressing so expect kitties.

Let’s get this started, with the assistance of the digital Jim Crow Museum of Ferris State University A great go-to for understanding anti-Blackness in all it’s depressing, humanity-crushing, non-glory!

The Start of Jim Crow, From Character to De Facto & De Jure Laws

Jim Crow was a character created by Thomas Dartmouth “Daddy” Rice. At the start, he was a struggling sort-of actor – he only did solo skits between play scenes at Park Theatre in New York, nothing big. He happened upon a Black person singing a song:

“Come listen all you galls and boys,
I’m going to sing a little song,
My name is Jim Crow.
Weel about and turn about and do jis so,
Eb’ry time I weel about I jump Jim Crow.”

“Inspired” by this, Rice decided to darken his skin with burnt cork and hop on stage in 1828 as “Jim Crow”. His act was a hit with crowds that he started traveling all over the United States and even in the United Kingdom and Ireland. By 1832, Jim Crow was a stock character in minstrel shows, as well as the counterparts Jim Dandy and Zip Coon. He would act like a simple fool, spoke with a very exaggerated and distorted crude imitation of African American Vernacular English (look at SNL or youtubers like Shane Dawson, Jeffree Star or Lily Singh if you want to hear the modern version of it). Rice sang “Negro ditties” such as “Jump Jim Crow” and the character became a very popular one to mimic among White comedians.

The reason the show was such a smash was because White audiences were really receptive to the portrayal of Black people as singing, dancing, grinning fools, regardless what they’re doing. Just like now. This is part of why psychological horror movie Get Out was considered a comedy (and nominated as such!) by White audiences. Which was extremely horrifying to Black people.

By 1838, the shows helped “Jim Crow” became more of a household word as a slur but that was only roughly half a century. By the end of the 19th century, it was less used as a term to describe Black people and more of a term to describe laws and customs specifically designed to oppress and harm Black people.

This section on the museum website puts this part well:

“Rice and his imitators, by their stereotypical depictions of blacks, helped to popularize the belief that blacks were lazy, stupid, inherently less human, and unworthy of integration. During the years that blacks were being victimized by lynch mobs, they were also victimized by the racist caricatures propagated through novels, sheet music, theatrical plays, and minstrel shows. Ironically, years later when blacks replaced white minstrels, the blacks also “blackened” their faces, thereby pretending to be whites pretending to be blacks. They, too, performed the Coon Shows which dehumanized blacks and helped establish the desirability of racial segregation.”

History website, Black-Face, expresses a similar sentiment:

“White America’s conceptions of Black entertainers were shaped by minstrelsy’s mocking caricatures and for over one hundred years the belief that Blacks were racially and socially inferior was fostered by legions of both white and black performers in blackface.”

Now, I’m sure someone read the fact that Black folks did Blackface, think about Drake and want to screech “Pusha was riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight!” I’mma need you to pump your brakes. And put on the Emergency Brake because it is not that simple. We got a lot more to go through. Note that we are still on the first kitty picture.

It didn’t turn out all shiny for Rice. He did become rich and famous because of his minstrelsy but because of his avarice, he died a poor man in New York, 1860.

And nooow, the kitty picture

Drake, His Point, and the Problem of Blackface in Media

The picture was explained by Drake:

He actually has a point. Explained by Black-Face: “White audiences in the 19th Century wouldn’t accept real black entertainers on stage unless they performed in blackface makeup.” It’s like that, even today. They don’t have to have the makeup on, but they certainly have to play the stereotype. Ask Kenan Thompson of SNL. When he was younger and on All That, he had more, varied roles to play that weren’t captured in stereotype such as Pierre Escargot and SuperDude. There was even the show “Kenan and Kel”. Once he got on SNL, they weren’t exactly big on doing the same, which was strongly emphasized in practically all of their “Black Panther” skits. Why, SNL actually had used Blackface on Fred Armisen when they would lampoon Obama in the president’s early years. Their justification? They didn’t have enough or the “right” Black actors to do the job. By the way, this was 2008, not 1888. That was ten years ago.

Black-Face mentions that one of the first Black people to perform in Blackface for White audiences was the man who invented tap dancing, William Henry Lane, also known as Master Juba. He was born a free Black man and a talented and intelligent performer but he was deeply restricted to depicting Blackness the only way his audience wanted: a Jim Crow. A dumb Black person happy to be foolish, enslaved and inferior. Charles Dickens wrote about his experience of seeing one of Lane’s shows:

“…Marshalled by a lively young negro, who is the wit of the assembly, and the greatest dancer known. …In what walk of life, or dance of life, does man ever get such stimulating applause as thunders about him, when, having danced his partner off her feet, and himself too, he finishes by leaping gloriously on the bar-counter, and calling for something to drink, with the chuckle of a million of counterfeit Jim Crows, in one inimitable sound!”

Though a freed man, he had to take on a stage name that implied bondage. “Juba” was a popular name for Blacks in enslavement, a life Lane never knew. But it was a life he had to emulate if he wanted any popularity and stage time. While later in Lane’s career could he perform in his own skin, no blackface needed, it was short lived – Lane died at the age of 27 in 1852. He worked himself to death, literally. He worked night and day, his diet consisted mainly of fried eels and ale, hardly took breaks, it pretty much broke him. This was the norm for Black performers, just to depict themselves. But for White performers such as Rice, they could live in the lap of luxury. (Remember, it was living an over-extravagant life to the point he spent himself poor that killed Rice. And he lived far longer than Lane, who basically died from overexertion.) It still is quite a bit of the norm for Black actors. Spike Lee’s film Bamboozled explores that deeply. Oh, if you’re going to watch the film, just gear up Black Panther behind it. You’re goooooonna need to. Also, Kitten Break!

Things are a teensy bit better but not by much. And it can always slide back.

Let’s talk about the clothes Drake wore, created by Too Black Guys

The picture was not taken for Too Black Guys lookbook but it did feature one of their shirts. It was from the Jim Crow Couture line.

The line started in 2008 and there was a photo shoot featured in HypeBeast about it when it was first released. The current picture on TBG for the line is just Yasin Bey/Mos Def (he’s just wearing the Jim Crow hat, no blackface).

The line was created [reason of why line was created, prolly in HypeBeast] because Too Black Guys wanted to make a statement. Thing is, while these images are hurtful, they are part of the Black identity (more like “brutally attached” but you get my point). They’re Black, they can tackle the concept of minstrelsy and Blackness because it is something that affects them and the Black people around them deeply.

The shirt served a good purpose and focal point in Drake’s picture because that’s pretty much how Hollywood wants to exactly see Black performers. Over-saturated with Whiteness, Hollywood, and theatre in general, doesn’t want dynamic Black actors, they want more, modernized Master Jubas. You could study at Julliard and still, the casting director will try to fit you for a stereotypical, feeble-minded role.

The Problem of Pusha T or “You Are What You Eat”

Ahhhhh, Pusha T. A person who probably never heard of the phrase “he who lives in a glass house should never throw stones”. Because he loaded a ball machine, selected “a million fungoes” and blasted away.

Pusha T being a rapper is not the inherent problem here. Being a rapper doesn’t make you minstrel automatically. Not at all. To assume such would be – you guessed it – racist because of origins of Hip Hop and Rap.

The problem lives in how he depicts himself and his lyrics. Drake was in Blackface for one picture and for artistic commentary about how you have to be stereotypical to be considered if you’re Black in acting (hence the Blackface). Pusha T turned the concept into a career and his reputation. Black-Face puts it best:

“Blackface is more than just burnt cork applied as makeup. It is a style of entertainment based on racist Black stereotypes that began in minstrel shows and continues today.”

This is why I said at the start “consider the source”. Blackface is a whole lot more than having distasteful grease paint on your face. It’s a concept and an entertainment style based on a prejudiced belief about a group of people. Drake is getting static for a picture. But the person saying it, not the same but basically espouses the same thing, just in a more, long form way.

This isn’t to say that Drake is a mindful, rhyming Malcolm X. That dude has miles to go to be even remotely declared as such. But the picture he took shouldn’t be that shocking to Pusha’s general audience – it is a snapshot of the kind of exact media they are used to consuming from Pusha, but the literal Blackface created a knee-jerk response in them. I guess it should have been a tad bit more subvert.

Here’s the thing about Black media, especially media that wades super deep in profiting and continually displaying Black stereotypes: I’m sure if someone brought this up to Pusha T, that he also engages in modern minstrel, he would say, “Hey, I’m just talking about my life. This is real life in the streets.” Because we all know that the hood is where literally everyone is destined to be a dealer, gang banger, thug, or some other type criminal that lives a bleak and gritty life as they harm and/or poison the very community they claim they “care” about.

Believe it or not, it’s not 100% Pusha T’s fault to as why he thinks this way (more like 73%). Black-Face expresses:

“The American minstrel show was effectively dead by WW1, yet some old-timers continued to peddle the same blackface stereotypes later in vaudeville, films and television. It’s one of the interesting twists of history that in the first half of the twentieth century, the main purveyors of the old-fashioned blackface minstrel tradition were Black performers, who’d began in show business wearing the blackface mask — either literally or figuratively — and were reluctant to give it up.

But they also had little choice in the roles they were offered. Until well into the 1950s, Black male actors were limited to stereotypical roles: Coons,… and Toms….Likewise, the only film roles for Black women were maids and mammys….”

It wasn’t because these performers internalized effectively that Black people were the identities they performed on stage, it was because they knew the crowd they were working with and to change and try to be dynamic may very well ice them out of jobs. All they had were the walking stereotype roles. It may not have been fun to do but it was better than doing nothing. Minstrelsy was dead but the racist ideas, audience, and desires that fueled them were definitely still around.

The problem with this is that it also inadvertently created a dunk chamber for future Black generations to come. Because this was the media they saw of themselves, it subconsciously steered them into thinking, “This is Blackness, this is a reflection of the Black identity”. Internalized racism is very much a thing. Think about how many things that are believed to be “Black”/”Not Black” are based in these media depictions. The idea that Black people don’t swim or surf is a good one.

This was depicted in media that Black people are water-adverse (because of our hair, we don’t know how to swim (pulls from the “stupid negro” trope), etc) However, the reality is that Black people were banned a lot from pools out of Jim Crow laws (ahhh, he shows up again). There were even instances of acid being poured on them for being in the pool. But it’s a lot neater to display in White media that Black people don’t swim or surf because they just don’t like water. Instead of “they don’t like water we constantly put acid in so they won’t swim.” The former sounds more “normal” to a White audience, the latter sounds like you’re trying to accuse them of racism, which would be dead accurate.

Kitten Break!

Applying this to Pusha T, he is a product of that dunk chamber. He raps about stereotypical subjects, doing stereotypical things, so on and so forth. Since the targeted listener of modern day hip hop is not Black people but White people, preferably suburbanites, Pusha has a ready audience. He’s not really deriving from what is expected of him, socially, so there’s money there. He can project an effective image of the “Other” in Arabian Nights fashion (To the White suburban listener, Pusha T depicts a tale of an oft-distant land of fast living, fast women and lawlessness with the right amount of griminess.) It honestly would not be a very hard argument at all to say he’s performing modern minstrelsy.

This is why I said earlier to “consider the source”. Yes, the visual display of Blackface is jarring. (I had to see a crap ton of it just to write this post) However, if only the visual display of Blackface is the problem but the performed depiction of it is fine then that’s a major problem in and of itself. It’s a knee-jerk response that thoroughly misses the point. Especially since the use of visual Blackface was an artistic expression of the severe limitations Black people have in entertainment. Blackface, whether presented or performed, is problematic no matter what. It shouldn’t take an application of black grease paint to be the dividing line because it’s far too past where that line should be if the media-displayed denigration of Black people is hurtful or a problem.

hi i need to ask a question, Do you grant wishes?

because if you do could you do me a favor?. I don’t want any harm or harms anyone but i would really really love if i had the power to move somthing to help out, to help people to guide them i know this soundd stupid but i just really wanted to be this superhero that helps people in need i am jus a cringey teen, that wants something fun to do in life, i wanna have a great life. If i could i would choose ice powers, cure powers, growth power, tk moving things fighting bad people without doing harm, god thi sound stupid i hope you answer and that you dont think im a psychopath 
 
– Gabi Y.

Ok, everyone. I say time and time again: I’m not a genie. Genies grant wishes. Witches don’t.

No wishes, no favors, no nothing. Not anything I do. At all.

Here’s the thing: asking how to get into metaphysics or psionics is ok(-ish. I say “ok-ish” because, again, I do expect people to do some of their own research) but just going “hey, do this thing for me” is not ok.

Nothing is wrong with wanting to be a superhero and help people in need but that can really quickly turn not fun super fast. I think even the Iron Man trilogy showed that. (It was all fun and games and then Stark wound up with PTSD because it’s not fun and games). If you want to do things that are fun and can help others, it might be better to find other things to do. Psionics is difficult to learn (very difficult, I’m talking from experience here.) Even harder to maintain. You’re not going to go from regular person to Ms. Marvel or Ice Man in a week or less. That’s laughable.

You’re free to learn things like these but it’s going to be very arduous. It actually doesn’t make you a psychopath, but asking the questions like this can be very vexing and shows an incredible lack of desire for doing footwork.

I found an inverted 7 point star drawn on my computer monitor with a finger. no one has been in my house but me. what does it mean?
 
– Eric B.

Nada. I get a lot of questions that basically is “is something occult happening right now? I literally don’t engage in any occultism but I think something spooky is happening”. It’s not happening, most likely. The average person is not doing higher levels of magick (like ceremonial magick) as much as everyone would like to think.

The Arts!: Tre Watson

Tre Watson
Good Metalcore is hard to find nowadays. Tre Watson’s music is definitely a great snapshot of the evolution of the genre. The screaming, the melodic singing, hard drums and driving chords are dynamic. Here are a few songs.

“Harrier”

My personal favorite is “Erection Injection” (yes, I know. The title is a bit risque, welcome to Metal.) I also dig the Senpai hat.

“Bakemono”

Check out Tre Watson’s music here:

Bandcamp
FB Fan Page
Instagram

It’s a short selection this month! I’ve been working on my other project, MultiMind, so it’s been sucking time from me. That and there’s the BW Anniversary that is coming up on June 9th. Nothing too wild planned, just an FB live stream.

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