Keep That Same Energy
Dear Crochet Cousins,
Some of you may, or may not know who I am. If for some reason you don't, where have you been? I am a African American author, crochet doll maker and all around crafty Queen.
The purpose of this blog, is to send a message to everyone, to "KEEP THAT SAME ENERGY."
Are you paying attention? Do you see how some of these major yarn companies and organizations are suddenly taking a stand to support the Black Lives Matter Movement?
Miraculously, everyone, well almost everyone, is voicing their opinions and using their platforms, to push how they are against white supremacy & racial injustice. Some (I said, some) are even featuring POC to promote their products and "new found agenda." Before you start to recite the song, 'Oh Happy Day' read this...
Last year, I received yarn support by a popular fiber company. I used my bounty in a tutorial as well as a giveaway. I didn't "yarn hoard" I believe in sharing my "yarn wealth." This was after sending my resume, crochet experience, and social media handles to over 50 major yarn companies. Some never responded. Others simply said, no. Of course they weren't direct. They danced around their words and wouldn't say directly, "we don't want you black business." I have a Caucasian Crochet Cousin, who loves my crochet designs. She suggested that I send my information to a magazine that is very popular in the fiber community. I did. Within 48 hours I was told no. My friend was confused they specifically told her to refer business to be featured. Should we have assumed they meant "white" businesses.
...Before you say, perhaps your work isn't that good. I would like to invite you to check out my entire portfolio. Here-> www. instagram.com/thechristiancrochetaddict
Most Caucasian makers with a huge following are monetized through social media platforms.
They get yarn support, features, stipends, discount codes, and sponsorship from yarn companies. They are afforded the opportunity to act as a representatives or promoters of major yarn businesses. They host classes all around the world and are paid well to do so.
There are so many talented melanated, independent, yarn dyers, crafters, crochet designers, knitters, and other fiber artist across the world. However, we are hardly ever recognized.
To start off, here is a group of black doll makers featured regularly.
There are very few POC (People of Color) that are monetized, let alone - published in any major fiber friendly magazines. I have one friend that was published twice in a popular European magazine.
That is it!
Now, since the pandemic people are beginning to notice us. I say us, because POC are being spot lighted more recently then I have ever seen Although I appreciate the "new enthusiasm" I'm not sleep!
Black people are trend setters, however, this isn't one of those times we should be on someones platform just because we are trending.
For quite some time a friend of mine has coin phrased the term,
"love who you are, even when it's not trending." -Aniqua J. Wilkerson
We don't want to be a trend! I want to be recognized for my skill set forever. I want my taste style, color way, my heritage, my culture to be represented in all my designs and never fade in the back ground.
Trends are ever changing. Just as quick as they become a fashion statement, they quickly move on. Like a nose I refuse to be put in the back of the closet, until someone gives the "thumbs up" for me to wear it again.
In order to really support creative BIPOC you can't jump on the bandwagon and treat us like every other trend. You can't request a feature today, then don't feature a person of color until the next wave of injustice.
We have been overlooked for far too long. Something has to give, our businesses and talent need more recognition.
To the awesome BIPOC shakers and movers. DON'T STOP! DON'T QUIT! WHEN YOU THINK THEY ARE NOT PAYING ATTENTION AND NO ONE CARES, KEEP AT IT. Rest if you must, change things up if you have to. Invest more money into you if needed be. You have to spend money, to make money.
This isn't about me, it is about us! Just as you are delighted by the recent features of all black business, I'd like to leave you with this quote, " keep that same energy!"
Don't let us fade in the background.
Don't switch up when police brutality is no longer aired on the 10 o'clock news.
Don't switch up because encounters with racism is no longer posted on social media.
Image by: Blair Ryan www.wordpress.com
"The erasure of blacks and other minority cultures from art history has been demonstrated through a lack of presence in major auctions, museums, galleries and art history curricula. It encompasses not only an absence of minority figures in the art itself, but black artists as well. The issue isn’t that black art is rare or that black artists are less talented, so why is there such an absence of black representation in art? And it’s not just a local problem; take a walk through the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Gallery in London or the Louvre in Paris and it will quickly become obvious. This absence seems to imply that black people were either not around or played no, or very few, significant roles in the history of the world even though that is far from true."
- BlackArt Matters
Why Our Creative Visual Contributions Should Be Valued And Represented More Widely
Thank you for reading what's been heavy on my heart. For quite sometime, I thought about the backlash of making these statements, but this is my platform! I don't care! They aren't featuring me anyway. I don't want to play the "man's" game. I'm not ok with the quick POC highlights, erasure of black art and neither should you be! I want us all to win.
As I stated before "Keep That Same Energy!"