Happy February, folks! We hope you’re spending this weekend enjoying Garnet Gateau by Bay Area Kei. But if you can’t make it, the awesome folks of Finnish convention Hellocon will be holding Hello!Galaxy from February 19 - 21.
Aside from wonderful virtual events happening, this month is Black History Month. There are so many ways to celebrate, learn, and engage - even just within the J-Fashion community!
Alt: text image with faint Pretty Princess Club tufts and stars and clock logo in the corner. Text reads “How Will You Hold space for Black History Month?” and below “For the Lolita and J-Fashion Community”
While becoming anti-racist and promoting anti-racism in your community is a year-round job, February is a great month to get started. If you need a push in the right direction, this week’s blog post gives you many different avenues to start your journey.
There are tons of creative projects in the works for this month and beyond, including collabs like Marinakei’s Frill Talk, which we’ll take a closer look at next week. For now, let’s talk about resources and content made prior to February 2021 that will uplift, inspire, and educate year-round:
You may know Saxon Blues for her Taobao expertise, pan-hitting makeup reviews, and her gorgeous blue coordinates. Her Chronicles of a Black Lolita series from 2019 is evergreen and comes with advice on styling natural Black hair, coordinating for darker skin tones, and honesty about the good and the bad parts of being a Black Lolita.
Another classic - with a 2019 and 2020 edition! The prolific Marinakei centers Black J-fashionistas in 4-part series. Watch, learn your history, and engage with the contributions of Black J-fashion brand owners, models, and fashion fans.
In summer 2020, Black Lolita YouTubers from around the world collaborated on a multi-part video series centering their experiences. The link above points to the playlist for the first video in the series. You’ll want to watch all of those videos and make sure to click through to each creator’s channel for the next parts of the series…and watch the rest of their videos!
List of creators in the collab, in no particular order:
This was a huge collab, and if we missed anyone, let us know! (Comments are off, so hit up our direct line at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Do you need some pink energy in your life? Head to Jadedisland. Storyteller Jade discusses her personal experiences as a kawaii Black femme in her Noir 365 and Magical Girl series, and you’ll love her Artist Alley and Leo Insights series, too! Jade’s blogs are unfiltered, honest, and filled with softness and light. Her 28+ Days of Black JFashion series runs this month, and you can catch up on her 2020 series, too. You may also know Jade from her other big project…
Get intersectional! Kawaii Riot (whom you better be watching at Garnet Gateau this weekend! Or catch the VOD when it’s up) are a team of activists and advocates who publish resources, give talks, and share their personal experiences around social justice. Remember that marginalization doesn’t begin and end with race - we are all composed of intersecting identities, and if you aren’t paying attention to the concerns of queer and trans folks, fat and plus-sized folks, and disabled and neurodivergent folks, you’re not getting the whole story.
Shopping is an integral part of J-fashion as a hobby. Engaging with conspicuous consumption, shopping addiction, and elitism is going to be important to the future of Lolita fashion and J-fashion. However, this shouldn’t come at the expense of Black-owned J-fashion brands. We’d be remiss not to mention Buttcape’s lists of Black-Owned Kawaii Brands and Black-Owned Goth/Punk Brands - many of which you will have also seen in Marinakei’s 2019 in 2020 Black History Month series. Spending your hard-earned money thoughtfully, especially in a time of rampant unemployment and risk of poverty, is more important than ever. If you’re looking for a new accessory, a beautiful dress, or a special gift to yourself, start with those recommendations.
Black activists and radicals put out so many general resources that are available free of charge. If you have the means, you should absolutely tip and subscribe to these creators. The ones we list are only a small fraction of the breadth of creators working to promote racial justice.
Of note, you may see otherwise well-informed posts that frame white supremacy as “delusion.” We would be remiss not to say that this is an ableist framing that harms psychotic, paranoid, and delusional people. Racism and white supremacy are not mental illness, and mentally ill people can become anti-racist and unlearn anti-Blackness.
Kim Crayton provides outstanding commentary on systemic racism in big tech. While you may not be a tech worker yourself, you may have engaged with a big tech company’s platform to read this post - via your GMail account or your Chrome (or Chromium) browser, for instance. Engage with her Twitter posts, anti-racism resources, and podcast.
Sonya Renee Taylor’s book The Body Is Not An Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love is an amazing text that guides you through the work of healing your relationship to your body. Her social media - especially her IGTV videos - focus on distribution of wealth, reparations, and Buying Back Black Debt for real systemic change.
For perspectives from a practitioner of transformative and community justice, we highly recommend Walela’s social media. They advocate from a position of chronic illness and as a non-binary queer person. If you’re looking for people with lived experience describing how we move forward from carceral “justice” and a world of policing and prisons - Walela’s resources are indispensible.
Wear Your Voice is led by and made for LGBTQIA+ BIPOC, and their work centers marginalized perspectives on all aspects of life. Their challenging perspectives on beauty and desirability, their pop culture commentary, and their telling of news and current events are vital, refreshing, and important. You can subscribe to their Patreon!
28 Days of Black History from Anti-Racism Daily sends Black-curated moments in art and history directly to your email inbox. Reflecting daily on the works presented feels like a slowed-down museum experience. What a great way to hold space this month!
For white and other racially-privileged and non-Black folks, it is crucial to move your involvement beyond reading, beyond listening, and towards a lifelong commitment to action that achieves racial justice. Protesting and being present in the streets is not the only way to be involved (but if you choose to do so, be safe!) - you can also engage with local politics, support mutual aid efforts, and commit to active unlearning (with exercises like the Me and White Supremacy book and journal). We encourage you to find a means of engagement that works for you, whether it’s emailing your city council members, donating money, or giving your time. Activism comes in all forms, and we all have a role to play in this fight.
And now for a message from Nif, to her fellow white Lolitas:
It is more important than ever for you to engage with your learned anti-Blackness. This isn’t a statement of blame - society teaches everyone to uphold anti-Blackness. However, if you have racial privilege, it is incumbent upon you to unlearn quickly. Your responsibility is to wield your outsized privilege to drive social change. That means pushing past the defensiveness you may feel, the urge to say, “but I’m not racist!”, and figuring out where you fit in to the picture.
If you have resources to give - your time, your money - whom will you give them to? Where are the gaps in your understanding of race and racism? Have you talked to the white people in your family, your friends, and your comm about race?
If not, what’s stopping you?
Thank you all for reading to the end of this post. We at PPC are in a quiet, slow, non-growth-oriented phase, taking care of housekeeping, accounting, and other tasks to ensure the success of our future in-person events. Keep listening, keep learning, and take action - not just this month, but every day.
PS: You may notice that we took another shot on doing a text image with our PPC branding. The last time we tried this, Nif didn’t pay attention to the contrast ratio, and as a result, the image was virtually unreadable. This time around, she used the WebAIM contrast checker to figure out the right color for the foreground text and proactively lightened the background. It’s worth noting that often web accessibility is discussed in terms of the minimum amount of required accessibility and what is easiest for developers to implement - not in terms of what helps disabled folks experience the web. So tell us how we did! Is this better? Just okay? In poor taste? Send your feedback directly to email@example.com.