Category: Black Diamonds and Pearls

Now I’ve talked about Black Lolitas, let Black lolitas talk for themselves and all this good stuff. Now, I thought it would be pretty nice to showcase the Black Lolita (and some non-Black lolitas that I personally dig) blogosphere. Also, I thought this would be a fitting post to include all the stores that sell lolita – note, because Lolita is a fashion style from Japan and hence a lot of the clothes are from there and surrounding nations, a lot of stuff will be online stores unless otherwise noted – lolita accessories and anything else that would be found in the Lolita culture. If a store happens to be Black owned (ran by a Black person), I will note that as well.

Now! Let’s get this all underway! Granted not all these blogs are specifically lolita but definitely are part of the culture.

Black Lolita Blogs
Classical Rabbit – This is a Tumblr ran by a Black lolita, Summercello, that has tons of lolita pictures in all their glory. I know I always love looking at them and marveling at the dresses. This tumblr has a very good depiction of lolita as a whole.

Princessly Living – This blogger is actually a friend of mine and one of the first few blogs I have ever read written by a Black lolita. It’s really nice for those who don’t really like overly-princess-y and fluffy blogs like others I have read. However, right now she’s planning for marriage so there’s a few marriage posts for those who are interested.

AmaniKitty – A well known Black lolita in the Western lolita culture and Black lolita culture as well as a mod for the livejournal Black lolita community Lalolitas. She has a personal blog that’s very much well written and honest. Read her entry for this series

Shades of Lolita – A Tumblr dedicated to Black lolitas and other minority lolitas (I hate the term “Minority” and I also hate “____ of color”, we need a new term that doesn’t sound so condescending). I really like it because it’s nice to see Black lolitas all in one place, be it good, middle or bad, and in varying styles of lolita (and sometimes other offshoots such as Dolly Kei or Gal/Gyaru) culture.  Shades of Lolita has it all.

Fairy Chaos – A Black Brit lolita! It’s an adorable lolita blog filled with pictures, musings and happiness!  

Other Lolita Blogs
Hikaria/One Dessert, Please – Awesome and cute blog about deco, how-to’s and just all around interesting! Hikaria is no longer updated but the writer now has One Dessert, Please so check both out!

Alex Says It All – A blog that is fun, interesting and created by the noteworthy deco maker of Alice Deco. I love how the writing is done and the drawings too.

Ramble Rori/Geek Menina – Ms. Researcher of the lolita world. Need some stats for your papers or disserations? It’s all here! Also, so is interesting content, useful quips, pictures and more!

FYeah Lolita – One of the first lolita blogs and has a lot of good basic information such as how to tell good lace from bad lace and what makes a lolita a lolita.

Kawaii Frenzy – Great deco blog to learn all the basics! Hm, but the blog seems down though. That’s not good. I supplied a link to the Blog Lovin’ mirror of the site because it really is a very good blog.

Lolita Sites
EGL – International lolita community for everyone. It’s not exactly all sugar over there but a good place to start to see what’s going on in the mainstream lolita community and things like that. Every month you can submit art to be the community’s banner for a month and there are always themes and challenges rotating monthly. Also there’s great discussion and other communities that spring off from EGL, a few I will be naming here and all on livejournal.

LaLolitas – Black lolitas community on livejournal. This is where you can talk about issues about being Black in lolita (but read the rules: no incredible amounts of whining aloud. Yes you’re Black but no need to act like it’s a freakin’ cross to bear), as for hair and skin tips actually suited for Black girls in the fashion, talk about entertainers who emulate the fashion either poorly or perfectly (we’ve got a remarkable amount of Janelle Monae fans, we’ve pretty much latched on to her, said she’s EGA/dandy/ouji and called it a day). You can find it all here for Black lolitas.

Hello Lace – This is a good starting point for anyone who want to understand what lolita is. Originally I had Lolita on my site for “What is Lolita Fashion” but this one is more thorough. Also I love the clothes they have on the site to demonstrate what lolita fashion is.

Lolita Vids & Culture
These vids are funny, informative or just swept through the lolita community (such as Fits)

Kamikaze Girls – The very first full-length video featuring a lolita

Fits Gum Commercial – This was a competition to star in a Fits gum commercial, to emulate the dance and the most interesting won! There were a few lolita entries such as Lolita model and icon Misako Aoki

LoliGirls – A very good starter film about lolita. Click the link (WordPress is being obstinate)

State Of the Frills – One of the only videos that I could find that actually used a Black lolita as a central point (other vids may have at least a few seconds shot of one prancing about) and interviewed at that. It’s really well done and kept my attention easily.

I R Lolita – A weekly lolita comic of the cute and zany lives of lolitas. Updates every Saturday.

Lolita Stores
The main part of lolita, the stores where you can get your wares and become as pretty as your pockets will allow. Caution, a lot of the stores are very expensive (as you could guess if you saw Loli Girls and State of Frills) so I’ll be putting up some sewing books and Lolita books that can help. Also, unless otherwise noted, assume the stores I’ll be posting are in Japanese, which also means that the prices will be in the Japanese Yen (¥)

Baby, the Stars Shine Bright – One of the very first stores that sold exclusive lolita and still one of the top designers and sellers. They cover the gambit of lolita fashion from kuro to sweet and their dresses are very cute. If you’re in San Francisco, you can actually visit a physical store here. If you’re in NYC, BTSSB is coming to Lolita store, Tokyo Rebel.

Alice and the Pirates – An offshoot of Baby, they are more gothic or punk in feel. You can find clothing for pirate lolita, gothic lolita, basically the more darker or mature styles within the fashion. I actually own a dress from them, Masquerade Theater jumperskirt. It was pricy but very pretty.

Putumayo – My favorite brand of them all! Putumayo is a punk lolita brand with amazing cuts, screen prints and lovely accessories to pique any outfit, especially with their take on Alice in Wonderland.

Black Peace Now – Another brand much like Putumayo but more gothic in feel. They’re also fitting if you want to get into EGA (Elegant Gothic Aristocrat) and unique in their own flares as well. They also have a store in America!

Angelic Pretty – Just like BTSSB, one of the first lolita stores. They dominate the Sweet lolita culture with their bright and amazing prints that they’re known for. If you’re in San Francisco, you can visit a physical AP store here.

Bodyline – Yes, there are tooooooooons of lolita brand I could talk about but you can go to Hello Lace to see the full list, I now want to mention the not-so-expensive, actually-affordable lolita sites such as Bodyline. Bodyline you have to have a bit of a cautious eye for to make sure you don’t get something that’s a waste of money because it wasn’t your size, fabric or very poorly made. They have improved however so even the newest of newbs can shop there. However, do not sign up for their model contest, there’s been some unethical controversy swirling around that. This site can list prices in American dollars

Qutieland – Some may consider it overpriced but unless one can navigate the confusing world that is foreign language sites and working through shopping services, Quiteland could be a good starter.

Double Decker (English) – This is the spot for wooden rocking horse shoes (the alternative is foam, which bodyline sells and so does Zebrick) Caution if you have wide feet tho, you will have to stretch them out. I recommend making a solution 50% water, 50% alcohol and spraying the problem area of the shoe in and out and then stuffing it like nuts with balled up socks and leaving it overnight. Worked for me.

Lolita Accessories
What a lolita without swag for the swagger? Cupcake rings, fluffy stars hairpieces, hairbow and more, all that I’m about to list are original and handmade.

Paradise Rose – You’ve probably seen me with my cupcake rings in my videos or even in person. They are possible to make with clay and silicone but I love getting my rings from Paradise Rose. They’re affordable, cute and each and every one are unique. I’m into gothic lolita so I have a want for black cupcake rings and rings and necklaces that aren’t for sweet lolitas. Her rings last, have good weight to them and are adorable. But take note the rings can be uber weak at the base so what I do is actually pick it off and get some strong glue to put it back on sometimes. Be careful tho! The paint could come off too.

Strapya – If you’ve seen my phone, you know I have a lot of stuff hanging off it. A blue teddy bear (it’s actually J-Punk brand Algonquins mascot I got from Tokyo Rebel), a double scoop Hello Kitty ice cream cone and a huge exasperated usagi (rabbit) charm, all palm-sized as well as smaller charms that are just as cute. Strapya is a great place to buy from if you like little knick-knacks for your phone or even around the house (they have an adorable cat bank[link]), as well as deco kits[link] to decorate the body of your phone with.

DIY Lolita
Is this stuff too expensive for you but you want it anyways? Make it yourself! Here are some sites you can buy from and even a community to join as well as blogs to read!

DecoDen – LJ comm dedicated to learning and showing off any deco projects that you have. Great group for beginners, intermediates and experts alike

Sew_Loli – This is the place to stash all your lolita questions and answers. LJ Comm

3 Minute Lolita – A great way to learn how to grasp the basics of sewing!

Full Moon – Great for deco supplies

Strapya – Great for Sweet Deco supplies and any accessories you’d like! I love their cell charms!

I was asked by a reader to put up her stuff, a new sister style for Black Lolitas being the Debonair Style. This is how the reader Memette described it:

Similarly to how lolita was a response to ganguro, debonair makes an objective to respond to the American “ghetto girl” stereotype. Debonair is a fashion in the making that is slightly inspired by gothic lolita, aiming to utilize the same concept of bouffant skirts and dresses. However it resembles the air of a 1950’s vintage “jazz princess” rather than a childlike Edwardian lolita. Debonair aims to portrays the image of a modest, elegant young woman; with lacy gloves,  classy African batik fabrics, detachable neck collars, and fascinator hats. Hairstyles are typically braidouts with thick lolita bangs in the front; achievable with either natural or relaxed hair.”
~ Memette
An example of the Debonair style would be this:

Memette is trying to get up a facebook page but if you want to get in touch with her, her email is memette03 [remove space plz]

Of course, there’s more to Lolita than what I listed here but you’ll have to go to Hello Lace for that! And this concludes the series Black Diamonds and Pearls. Next week starts back up the normal Black Witch postings.

Written by Kristen S for the Black Diamonds and Pearlsseries on Black Witch. Normal BW posting resumes in October.

“… all those people are white.” Were the first words my mother, who is Caucasian, said when I showed her my new favorite fashion, lolita. This did not surprise me. My life was a balancing act. Race though usually downplayed and avoided in my family was an issue that would arise every once in a while to make everyone uncomfortable. My mother wanted me to have the best of each side of my heritage. She always made it a point to introduce me to a broad scope of interests and activates. She was cautious but usually tried to remain unbiased when I would form a liking to something that was of interest to predominately white or predominately black people.

I first discovered Lolita fashion during my junior year in high school, 2002. One of my friends in Japanese class had introduced me to his favorite Japanese rock bands. One of the bands I particularly formed a liking to was Malice Mizer. I went home and searched for pictures and more music by this band. I thought some of Mana’s outfits were adorable and wished that there were cute dresses like that in my local stores. I could not let it rest at that though. I had to know if there were actual stores that made similar clothing. I found some pictures and then a few brand stores. I was hooked on this cute and fluffy fashion ever since.

My mother never expressed any disapproval toward the appearance of the clothing. Nor did she ask if this fashion was college age appropriate. Her only concern was the race of the people that wore this fashion. I could care less of what people thought about my looks or fashion sense. But my mother was always worrying that people might think I was only raised in only mainstream Caucasian ideals. I, however, don’t think there should not be a stigma about people of color wearing alternative fashions. Yes, it was an oddity back in the 80s or 90s, but nowadays people are slightly more open-minded. I frequently see black punks and goths as well as Caucasian and Indian dressed like rappers. Fabric, thread, zippers, buttons, and toggles do not have a racial preference.

I personally believe becoming a lolita has made me happier. I was dissatisfied with the prominent and more societally acceptable fashions. Clothes marketed for tall women were always risqué, boyish, sporty, or homely. And I had no desire to be categorized as any of those. I always wished to be called cute and lolita was just what I was looking for. I do not find that being black has hindered my ability to be a lolita. I have been scoffed at by a few lolita because of my skin color. I even had a few blog followers unfriend me when they found out I was mixed. But I have yet to receive a negative comment about my skin color from a normal of any nationality. I have even written about one of my favorite encounters I had while wearing Lolita on my blog. A little African American girl was at the aquarium with her father. She had a T-shirt that read ‘Forget being a princess, I want to be the President’. She came running over to shake my hand and to take a picture with me. After thanking me she walked away for her father and I heard her say “Daddy, I want to be a princess too.”

Over the years I have become interested in himegyaru fashion. I find that style cute and a little coquettish. I have also become interested in the Eoljjang or Ulzzang look. I do not have any worries about what the participants of these styles will think about my skin color. These are always going to be people sore about something. They are wasting their precious time being negative, but I plan to enjoy myself in everything I do.

Kristen S. runs her own Lolita blog Princessly Living.

Next Friday is the very last post for the Black Lolitas series Black Diamonds and Pearls. It’s The Arts and there I will name plenty of shops, blogs and other things lolita!

Written by Amani for the Black Diamonds and Pearls series. Normal BW posting resumes in Oct.

Hello~ Amani here.

I am a lolita, born and raised in Brooklyn, NYC, and I’ve been into the style and active in the online & local communities since 2006-2007. I’m currently studying Event Planning and Design, working a full-time job, while moderating online groups such as New York Lolitas on Facebook, NYC Lolitas and Lalolitas on Livejournal. Getting into the Lolita style was a choice of mine that really ended up impacting me, helping me develop myself and open new doors throughout the years.

I was born the ‘oddball’ out of my family– besides my romanticist ways, and my tendency to dress up like this overdressed doll, I am the darkest out of my maternal siblings. My white German grandmother and my AA grandfather married 53 years ago, and had this new generation of light-skinned kids, and later on my mom had her own kids and all of them came out just as fair. Except me of course.

By the time I got into lolita, I had long passed that insecurity phase, where “I wish I was light-skinned too!/had a nose like mom/had straighter hair/etc.!” However, as a kid I never really understood why I had to be different. When I was tiny, people thought I was boarding a bus alone until they realized my mother was right there beside me, and in elementary school I felt some people were distant from me because back then I lived with my grandmother. Besides, what the hell was genetics back in 2nd grade?

Looking back at my life so far, I realized that I never really belonged to the groups I tried to mingle with, whether it was throughout school, or when I got my first Facebook and was attempting to be active in black-centered discussion groups. A lot of people, the generic black person especially, could never understand or accept the fact that you were interested in things different from the norm. ‘What, you’re obsessed with the Victorian Era? When black people were zoo exhibits, right?’ ‘Oh you’re into Japanese culture… you must be insecure.’ ‘lol why do you point out that you’re part German? YOU’RE DENYING YOUR BLACKNESS’– and I kid you not, I usually had these responses at the end of a supposedly serious debate. I was never the type of person who would do “BLACK” things for the sake of being ‘black enough’… for me, personally, the color of my skin was never much of a lifestyle inspiration for me (at first, anyways), compared to things I grew up with, things that were more connected to me through my closest cultural identity, which is my German bloodline. I’ve always pushed away the notion of “getting back into my roots” because as far as I know the rest of my family were descendants of black slaves– but then I had these random people sporting natural locks and ‘fros and Mother Africa paraphernalia, trying to rip me down, telling me to learn random African dances and to embrace something that I don’t even know? Get out of here!

Do not get me wrong, no offense towards those who do choose to have an Afrocentric lifestyle. Keep doing you because you do what you love, you love how you look, and it’s a passion for you! For me though, I love the frills, and I love being a black lady in frills. I don’t keep myself in a bubble either, I’m also interested in many ethnic or culture-based styles and food and music, from all the corners of the world.

That being said, if you want your identity as a black person to make an impact, then make it the reason to go sky high– and higher. The color of your skin should not put a cap on your education, on your career, your family, and definitely not your personal style! Your style is a visual interpretation of you, and I ask you hold fast to certain things, you’ll get respect and props for it, no matter how much your mother hates it, or how the random group of kids look at you.

There should not be a social expectation on how you want to live your life, based off of any physical feature you may have, especially your skin color and social background. Dark complexion is only skin deep unless you make it otherwise; it’s only ugly if you  think it to be, and it’s a hindrance if you choose for it to be. I am not ignoring the racial struggle in certain settings, but when you conform to a certain mindset or a way of living because it’s expected of you or it’s what everyone around you is doing, well… that’s when you lose the game. I find a lot of young people (myself included, at first) base their own lives around a particular thing, never really try to live and observe and take in your surroundings on different levels. Some always have this tendency of placing themselves around a particular thing and making themselves a part of it, rather than vice versa; making things your own, building your life and setting them in place.

When I started dressing in lolita, my little 16-17 year old self was sporting simple tank tops and jeans, my hair a frizzy fried mess, never caring about my appearance. At that point in time I was also going through the teenage angst, the family drama, and I was lost in myself and it affected my schoolwork and the way I lived my life. The spirit of elegance, of modesty and child-like wonder breathed through the images I looked at in the magazines. Lolita was a dream for me, it felt like the purest, most innocent form of escapism, and I wanted to go there.

I wanted to be in it so badly…  I was working my first job when I bought my first dress, and the feeling of being financially able to get what I want on my own was sweet as honey, despite the sweat and tears I had to literally shed that summer. Gazing at that Baby, the Stars Shine Bright logo and feeling the softness of the lace was all it took for reality to melt away. I didn’t have no sense of style whatsoever (matching socks and shoes, what?) but back then I could care less. Simply wearing the clothes was more than enough for me to feel fulfilled. From there I began to meet people, become more active and doing things with myself that I’ve never done before, and down the line I also had to learn the hard way about money management, budgeting and all that, and it opened my eyes to new things, whether it was related to the style, or completely opposite like the “Gyaru” style; it also opened me up to the world of cosmetics, beauty, and the lazy world of weaves and wigs, haha. It developed my sense of style and expanded it.

Did my 16 year old self ever think that I’d be wanting to rock Swarovski-studded nails, and weaves down my back? That every so often I’d have either pearls or candies stuck in my hair? That I’d be rocking pointed high heels? Hell no! But I think she would think the me today is 400% more sophisticated, evolving at a steady pace.

It simply opened up my understanding of things, pushed me to create my own life’s philosophy, push towards solidifying and building my faith and spiritual path, and helped me develop realistic long-term goals. I wouldn’t even have really seen my interest in event planning had it not been for the interactions I’ve had over the years. Sitting and observing and acting led me to realize things about myself that I’ve never tried to learn, and that helped me work on them and build myself up.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet at least more than a hundred girls, from the local tri-state, to chicks from different corners of the states, and even from different countries in the world. For a while I was very enthusiastic about sharing the style and subculture with other people, whether it was through fashion panels at conventions, or through rarer opportunities like the 2008 New York Times article featuring the New York lolitas. (Ignore the disgusting outfit coordination. (I was just a kid? Haha.)) I had the opportunity to meet fashion icons like Misako Aoki, the biggest ‘face’ of the Lolita world; the Isobes, creators of Baby, the Stars Shine Bright; BTSSB designers such as Masumi Kano and Mitsuba, American designers such as Samantha Rei of Blasphemina’s Closet, and so many more.

Slowly but surely I’m slowing myself down and trying to adjust into ‘adulthood’, from constant monthly hangouts with the girls to trying to create more formal occasional events, while I use my time transitioning myself from high-strung, loud black trick to a more composed, professional person in my fast-paced, sleepless metropolis of a hometown. Being more on my own nowadays have helped me gain a thicker skin, as well as a calm approach towards negative going-ons in life, and keeps me motivated to moving forward with myself in different areas of my life.

And inside, I am the princess I dreamt to be.

Amani maintains both Black Lolita community LaLolitas and NYC Lolitas on Livejournal and maintains her own blog A·M·A·N·I.

Written by Angry_Chick as part of the Black Diamonds and Pearls series. Normal BW posting resume in Oct.

My high school years were particularly difficult ones for me. I had just changed from school to school in a period of about 8 years, and I had never stayed in one place – some of it due to social promotion (changing schools but remaining in the same district), but others due to moving. High school was not only that difficult little period when school intrigue reaches its zenith, but if you are different in any way, be it for the positive or negative, you are ostracized.

I had been educated through very good school systems, though (unsurprisingly) they were in mixed White-Asian areas where many of my classmates were very upper-crust. There were a couple of years when some of my districts may not have been as good as others, but the one commonality was that they were majority White. It was through this time in these majority White districts where I became exposed to Japanese Animation and other subcultures such as goth, punk and the early days of ‘emo’. I was introduced to the worlds of conventions and gaming, worlds of Final Fantasy and Dragon Ball Z. My interests in such increased many times more by the time I reached high school.

During my Freshman year, I really became strongly engrossed in the interests of punk and such. At this time, I was at a majority Black school district, though it was, at the time, considered to be one of the better school districts in Southern Cook County. Even though it was majority-Black, there still existed a strong mix of classes, cultures, races and nationalities, which made being there a pretty good time. I also learned so much more there from different students that were way older and cooler than me.

It was when I transferred to another district that the hard times really came. The school district was 90% Black, and while the students tended to be wealthier, they were far more critical of anything different or unlike them. I became the only person that tended towards alt-cultures and fashions in my grade, and even when I wasn’t dressed too much differently than everyone else, my clothing would always bear a strong vintage flavor – Victorian, Edwardian, Jazz Age and Depression Era. Classic films and interesting forms of music was a part of my interests, and old-fashioned deportment, manners and wording peppered my interactions with others. Rather than saying “Whaddup”, it was always, “How do you do?” it was strange, to be sure, but it was me – and me being myself opened me up to a lot of criticism and hatred. Of course, the world for me was a lonely one. While I tended to hang around punks and rockers and such, I was still in a league of my own, and it was through the few anime fans that existed at my school that I learned about the Lolita subculture.

I immediately fell in love.

While I loved the idea of elegance, the one thing that I found a bit much for me was the shortness of the skirts. This is not to say that Lolita skirts/dresses are short – for they are not – but rather I found a lot of it not to my liking. I needed close to full-blown Victorian/Edwardian. Thusly, I came across Gothic Aristocrat as I enhanced my searches. I had finally found myself – the long skirts, cravats, corsetry and such, but ultimately, the elegance and refinement that I so craved.

I decided to go for it.

So, my final year of school, there were a few occasions where I would don Gothic Aristocrat. I was already used to the stares and huge heaping helpings of reproach that was my life with my fellow students. Of course, the sell-out comments flowed like failed floodgates. I didn’t fit in with the others, and to them, it seemed to be clearly that I disdained my own race. These were the same people that defined Blackness in the narrow box that had been set up for them by our society. I saw fit to defy that and it meant quite a bit of problems during those days where I wore EGA. With that said, however, the more that I wore it, and with the more combinations that I wore it with, a few minds were gradually being changed and others did become a bit more accepting of it, even if not entirely.

My college years meant me wearing EGA slightly more, as well as being able to be more active in the J-Fashion and anime-related subcultures. I had a job, I could make my own schedule and rules, and ultimately, I was on my own. I was much more active in the EGL Livejournal communities and spent more time preoccupied with the fashion and culture. I even attended Anime Central 2008 for the first time. One of the things that I noticed when I was involved in the EGL fashion was the relative tolerance of Lolitas towards those of other racial groups. Granted, there was a slight issue with size, but in general, I felt that to be a bridge that was, in time, easily crossed. While there were a few Lolitas that exhibited the worst that our society has to offer, in general, I enjoyed (and still enjoy) the openness of the Lolita fashion and culture in comparison to many other similar subcultures. The biggest problem that I had with the fashion, however, was the bitchiness. Still, such was to be expected in a fandom full of women where fashion was the focus and where massive amounts of money were spent.

With anything that makes its way to the West, there exists a certain degree of Whitewashing. While Lolita, as a fashion, has its basis in Rococo, Victorian and even 1950s imagery (which tends to be overwhelmingly White), it still has adherents that are more than just White and Asian. At the time, not much time was paid to Lolitas of color, and thusly, I created the Lalolitas community. The reason for the name escapes me – probably because I was a stupid girl in high school that couldn’t think of anything else, and I’ve just refused to change the name – not that it’d do a damn bit of good now. Of course, it is a community where we can share our stories, makeup tips and other such things that we wouldn’t see in the greater LJ Lolita communities. It started slowly but has since gained momentum.

In time, my love for the Lolita subculture began to run its course, and my life began to change. College became more of a priority for me and the eternal question of “How am I going to pay this bill” weighed far more heavily on my mind, and thusly, many of my EGA clothes were sold. I would check EGL and Livejournal less and less until I rarely check Lolita-related communities at all anymore. While I am now working a job where I am able to once again afford EGA clothing, I’m slowly getting back into the swing of things, but even so, it will never be to the point that it once was at. Still, if I were to return back to the fashion and subculture, and even with the new set of people around, I feel like I would still be accepted with open arms, just like when I was that young junior in high school.

A. (Yes, that is seriously how she goes by) is a 24 year old hermit from Illinois. Getting her BA in Psychology and Pre-Law studies from Bumfuck IL University hadn’t been much of an exercise, however, finding a decent job in her field has been. She has a random multitude of interests, including Ballet, Nightwish, Some Animes, Sleeping and her boyfriend of 4 years. She’s the mess responsible for unleashing the LaLolitas LJ on the world.

Today starts another month-long series titled “Black Diamonds and Pearls” which examines Black girls in the Lolita fashion, a street fashion from Japan. A good quick overview would be to click the “Lolita Fashion” link in my “Links of Interest”, which describes the fashion essentially.

I chose Lolita fashion to look into because it is the fashion style that I am involved with and looking at the racial dynamics are very interesting here. As any Alt-Culture Black person knows, there is a lot more to participating in any Alt-Culture that meets the eyes or is at all acknowledged. It is commonly disregarded that there is any bigotry or tokenization or any sense of minority reminders by those within Alt-Culture and in a way they are right. Alt-culture is more accepting than mainstream culture by some respects but not all. Just because someone likes their hair electric blue and with a deathhawk doesn’t mean they won’t say something incredibly stupid and very culturally wayward. There’s a reason why sites like Afro-Punk exist, after all. No matter how weird we all like to be or look, this is not a post racial society and won’t be for a few more decades if not centuries. Then there’s the acceptance by other Blacks, which make it exceedingly easy to develop self-hatred for the race.

Ah, I drifted some. Why I prefer to look at Lolita fashion besides the obvious listed above, it is because the face of the ideal Lolita is very doll-like, porcelain and overall, exceedingly White. Since the fashion stems from the Victorian Era particularly and other European fashion/cultural eras, it makes sense that the face of the perfect Lolita would be White – although some would disagree and say that the perfect Lolita is usually Asian because that’s where the fashion stems from but it is debatable since Japan does have a Western fixation that does shine through in its looks and even beauty ideals. Every magazine that is geared towards the Lolita styles such as Gosu Rori and the Gothic and Lolita Bible show countless makeup tutorials and hair tutorials suitable for the fashion but has nary a tutorial for Black hair. Granted, because the crowd pitched to in Japan are Asian hence it makes sense not to have a rainbow of girls, when the GLB finally made an Anglophone version of the exact same name, there were 0 Black hair tutorials and minorities were practically invisible throughout the whole series, with exception to the last edition. When the last English GLB came out, they actually had makeup and hair tutorials for White girls, Latinas, and Black Girls. The White girl’s tutorial was well done, the Latina was very well done and the Black girl’s was a disaster. Poorly written, the model clearly shabbily put together, no one knew how to work her tone, hair or complexion. It was a big disservice and quite the insult for any Black Lolita who wonders if their hair or skin has a place in the style. Instead of the people of GLB to find someone from a Black hair care magazine to ghostwrite or someone who actually knew Black hair and skincare, they trumped through it themselves, leaving the model to look like a wreck. It isn’t as if some Lolitas didn’t think Black girls should keep their “ghetto” ways out of the fashion anyways, the flub was just more fuel to the fire.

Constantly Black Lolitas new to the fashion ask should they wear wigs, how should they cover up their natural hair, is it okay to be a Lolita and have dreads, are they light enough and what clothes fit them. It is very disheartening that these girls think you have to be very close to the edge of buying bleaching cream and blond tracks just to participate in a fashion they like. There are very little clothes that can fit a Black girl’s body and there are just about no hair and makeup tips readily available for Black girls as just about every Western Lolita publication, even when they don’t mean to, practically assumes their readership is White, judging from the low representation of the Black voice in the fashion or how quickly it is mocked. Black newcomers to the fashion don’t know what to do and often take pretty racist comments disguised as constructive criticism. They internalize that what they already have isn’t beautiful enough, or maybe they’re fawned over like a doll because everyone romanticizes their background or race to the point it’s ridiculous.

Whenever a Western idol takes part in any part of Lolita fashion, the Lolita community is quick to bash that person or accept them – unless Black. For example, Lady Gaga wore shiro loli style, provided by Angelic Pretty. Even though Gaga turned out to be donning eye and face makeup that is so familiar with the Ganguro/Mamba style such as the super tanned skin and panda styled eyes, there was still some love for what she was doing. Yes, not everyone liked it but overall, reception is decent. When Katy Perry also donned a dark colored sweet Lolita dress also provided by Angelic Pretty  and wore the neckties wrong (they were across her chest, not her collarbone), some lolitas gave her grief but still overall reception was decent. Both Gaga and Perry were simply considered non-lolitas but didn’t mess it up completely and it was more a work of their creativity (or lack thereof, according to some) than anything. Then came Lil’ Mama and Nicki Minaj.  Lil’ Mama wore an apron skirt provided by Angelic Pretty (or Baby the Stars Shine Bright) to the BET awards with a red sports bra and low cut chucks. This was met with vicious reception and very little support. Lil’ Mama was called “Ghetto” and there were plenty subversive and not-so-hidden racial remarks about her wear, including someone saying that Lil’ Mama should have been lynched. Yep. Gaga walks in looking as if she fell into a cake, she’s unique. Lil’ Mama forgoes the traditional blouse and tea party shoes, she should become strange fruit. Lovely. Really. Nicki Minaj has also worn Lolita and donned it on the cover of Word Up magazine. The petticoat was incorrect, the gloves didn’t match and she was without a blouse for such a low cut jumperskirt that was provided by I believe Innocent World. Again, she’s called “ghetto” and racial remarks abound. Lady Gaga has never been called ghetto. No one has ever piped up and said we need to string Katy Perry from a tree. Lady Gaga has been in outfits just as outrageous as Nicki Minaj if not more (Minaj has never worn a dress made of meat) and Katy Perry has also her fair share of unusual wear, just like Lil’ Mama. The difference is race. Already a lot of the girls on the international forum EGL does not know truly know Black culture beyond what they have learned from media, which holds such a massively warped view of Black culture that is deeply racist and very backwards.  As I have said before, Lady Gaga is seen as unique, Nicki Minaj is seen as a freak yet the former has done more outrageous things than the later. Lady Gaga can be seen as very favorable in the Lolita community, it would take Nicki Minaj a very long time (and a few tubs of bleaching cream later) to get to Lady Gaga’s status of fashion respect. If ever.

In comparison to other forms of alternative fashion or even Western takes of Eastern street fashion, Lolita is pretty accepting of people and their differences as there are girls who are the minority but refuse to be shut up by those with very supremacist ideals. However, it is not always enough for Black girls who are still afraid to be Black. That’s why there are groups for Black Lolitas such as LaLolitas on Livejournal and Afro-Punk Lolitas on Afro-Punk, to provide as a safe place for Lolitas to talk about their hair issues, skin issues and racial identity issues which constantly impact the lives in these girls to the point that they don’t want to be Black or assume that the BET-styled Black monolith is all Black culture has to offer them. It is already enough to have to worry of acceptance from others within a group these Black Lolitas want to be in but to be a minority within a minority is wrenching since people call them “White” or other wack names implying that Black is not cultured, diverse and definitely not accepting.

This month will provide guest blogs from various Black Lolitas in the fashion sharing their perspectives of being Black and being a Lolita and what it all means to them. At the end of the month there will be a The Arts that shows where one can get clothes from the Lolita fashion, Black Lolita blogs and more. If you would like to ask any questions about the Lolita fashion or of the girls (and guys) within it, use the normal “Ask Black Witch” form or email.

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