What A May… What a May…

May was such a freaking busy month for me. But beyond that, it was also just a very big career boost for me in terms of who I got to talk to and how widely my work was shared and read! 

Last month, I got to talk to… a lot of very cool people. I didn’t just get to talk to a bunch of other Black women and femme k-pop fans for my PCA 2021 project (which I’ll be presenting Friday and making public Monday/Tuesday on YouTube), I also got to talk to celebrities!

For KultScene, I interviewed rapper pH-1 over email and he did an excellent job of answering my questions. I loved learning about the creative process, how he writes for his different audiences, and where he’s heading next. 

Then, I got to have a lovely conversation with one of my favorite rappers period: Sleeq! She’s just so cool and we talked for hours – two of which then makes up the body of the episode of my podcast she features on! Sleeq is one of the coolest people I’ve ever spoken to and I just… want to be her friend actually? 

For Teen Vogue, I got to do two huge interviews. First of all, I did a phone interview with my favorite non-nieceling member of Gen Z: Lil Nas X. That interview was then turned into a pretty solid mini-profile that was super timely and came out right before “Sun Goes Down” came out. It’s all about vulnerability and queerness and I just… really loved the experience of talking to and writing about Lil Nas X. What a good dude!

Then, I interviewed Kelly Marie Tran over Zoom as part of a “whoo Raya the Last  Dragon is out on home video/streaming” & Asian & Pacific Islander Month press round. Kelly is one of the sweetest people ever and it was incredibly empowering to speak to someone who knows what it’s like to experience harassment from any portion of the Star Wars fandom. You can read a lightly edited portion of our conversation right now!

But then I also had two Fan Service columns in May as well. The first one was about parasocial relationships and fandom – and how they’re actually very normal! The second was about the antiblackness and misogynoir aimed at actress Laci Mosely and how it really is part of a pattern of harassment present across multiple fandoms over at least a decade. 

These are both things that mean a lot to me and have shaped my engagement in different fandoms. The header for the parasocial relationships piece showcases several artists I have a PSR with (most notably BTS’s leader RM and rockstar Miyavi because of the length and depth of the investment on my end). Then, with the piece on misogynoiristic harassment, I called back to one of the things that sparked my actual writing career: the still ongoing harassment Candice Patton has gotten because she plays Iris West-Allen on The Flash.

When it comes to my website, I did… some stuff? I applied Barthes’ “The Death of the Author” to fandom, made a meme about how fandom is out of touch when it comes to who’s actually talking about racism, and did a piece that showed the way fans of color (especially when we talk about racism) are expected both to curate our space… and to understand that we have no safe space (because “fandom is not our safe space” as this old and aggro Tumblr user points out).

For Patreon, I think I hit most of my goals for the platform for the month. Biggest things are the research methods video I did, a poem wondering if being cut to pieces by the haters will finally give me peace, and this audio piece about what we actually normalize in fandom

I did a lot of work in May 2021. A lot. Lots of emails, lots of interviews. Lots of meetings. I started putting together two separate book proposals – and hey, any interested agents looking for a niche non-fiction book should hit me up via email. I applied for jobs. I wrote… so much.

But with all that good… came a fair amount of bad at the end of the month.

I also, promptly after the Kelly Marie Tran interview went up, promptly got harassed by the same people from February (largely antiblack Rey/Kylo shippers like Amber C. Goldsmith, but the same “anti censorship/pro-antiblackness” weenies that want to make fandom great again… but just for themselves). People started planning to try and get me fired from Teen Vogue and suggested also writing Kelly Marie Tran’s publicist to tell on me (because of a 2018 post they harassed me for back then and that I can’t delete despite not vibing with it now, because then they’ll just lie about what’s in it).

Like I said in the interview with Kelly, “It’s always been really weird becoming part of a story.” I spoke with Kelly candidly about harassment and representation and… got harassed for days on end by people who care more about fictional characters than real people. How do you read an interview like that about harassment and then choose to brigade and harass the interviewer for about a week at this point… because they don’t like your silly star wars ship?

Wow.

Here’s just a taste of what I dealt with this past week:

Ultimately, you do not have to like me. You don’t have to like my work. You can even criticize it and go “hey, this is actually incorrect, here’s how this works”.

But what I’ve experienced from queer white people, white women, random PickMe POC who love the taste of a good boot in the morning… that isn’t criticism. Calling me a “whore“, trying to get me fired, lying about/misrepresenting my work to collect clout from haters, insulting me, saying I’m an abuser, insulting me/my work, block-evading to screenshot my tweets, harassing literally ANYONE who supports me and saying that I’ve got some kind of brainwashed army of supporters…

That’s not criticism. That’s brigading, lying, bullying, and harassment.

These people keep saying that they have to do this because I’m not “the” person who should be talking about racism in fandom. Because I’m so harmful and mean and… Oh wait, it is actually because they think I don’t like their ship and any comments about Rey/Kylo and the fanbase that spent months harassing John Boyega validate their attempts to get me fired and the stalking and the insults. That’s what it is happening here. This is about ships… for them. For me? This is my career they’re trying to tank.

I did a thread about what I’m going through that sums up the trajectory. (And this one about how every time this happens people assume that because they are so irrationally angry at me, everyone else is.)

If you can’t see them because you’re blocked and you know it’s because of blockchain, have someone who I know ping me. If you know you’re blocked because we don’t each other or, more accurately, you’ve decide to try and make me eat your beef with me… log out and look at the tweets 🙂

I also did an IGTV video showing how people who are actively antagonizing me act like I’m silencing them by… not letting them insult me, lie about me/celebrities I’m talking about, and misrepresent me/my work… in my comment section or my mentions.

At the end of the day, no one is entitled to my space or my platform. If you want to publish something on my site that badly, I take guest posts. But I’m not publishing hate and the expectation that I suck it up and let people actively lie to and about me on my website or in my mentions is disgusting. How dare anyone expect that of me?

And while I’m here: please both talk to your friends and share this stuff widely because people across fandom as a whole are being lied to/letting themselves be lied to in order to perpetuate a culture of antiblackness that would rather destroy me and silence criticism than do better.

So many people are being led through a loopdiloop of actual white supremacy in fandom and I am tired of being attacked because people across fandoms are too sensitive to understand my work, but not sensitive enough to clock that they’re being manipulated en masse by racists and their pawns.


Anyway: Beyond the unending harassment because all of fandom has made me its ideological enemy and whipping boy because “racism is bad, stop that shit” is too scary/mean for them… I have no idea what June will bring. 

I have a loose schedule, a loose sort of… plan. For my website, I plan on starting Fandom Racism 201 with a look at the Teen Wolf fandom and uploading the next Fandom Racism 101 piece about femslash fandoms/shipping.

I have a piece about white silence and violence in fandom going up later today as well as one at the end of the month that looks at how, a year after the fact, the OTW/AO3 have not done anything to show they actually care about all fans of color who use the platforms.

For Patreon, I’ll be sharing the start of the next WFRLL piece about how caring about racism in fandom is viewed as a crusade (and mocked for it), the next set of Rafael chapters for sporking, and the usual round of content for my tiers. At least one thing somewhere will be about Netflix’s Castlevania series, I promise.

And of course, more work with Teen Vogue and EatKS and hopefully new cool conversations with celebrities at every level.

I’m trying to figure out when I’ll be taking a break because as it’s been pointed out to me (by a bunch of y’all): I’m going to need one. I took January off and slowed down for February in the face of that racist abuse from fandom weirdos, but I am going to try and take a real vacation where the only things I do are light and fun and freeing. I’ll keep y’all posted because hopefully it won’t take too long. 

Also don’t forget that there’s stuff you can do to help me against the harassment. You can and should archive/document people you see lying about me/my work. Actively push back against people who are saying I did something you know I didn’t do – like run Tumblr blogs/events period aside from my main account or condone/urge people to harass others – even if they’re your pals in fandom, and let them know “hey, you don’t even know Stitch and the “proof” you’re sharing is literally made up by people who’ve spent months or years harassing them”.

Stand up against racism in fandom. Please.

(And of course go positively engage with that Tweet because public support is so very needed as public harassment and lies are constantly cropping up.)

Anyway, at the end of the day, I love writing and I’m glad that I can do it for a living. I’m glad that for now, this is where I get to be and this is how I get to create good content. While the harassment is always upsetting and I think I’m officially going to be looking into ways to curb it where it comes from people who happen to share a state with me for sure, I’m glad I can create.

I’m so happy that my style of writing, my knowledge about fandoms and my accessible writing that blends criticism and celebration, has a home somewhere. I’m glad that I can inspire other people of color to speak up and fight back against racism and I’m glad that my work has gotten white fans to go “oh i can be better and push back against what I was taught”.

Thanks again for another great month of support and remember to share and hype up anything that you find valuable, interesting, or just plain fun since my reach is curtailed since I’m still locked on main. 

Anyway, here’s to the cool content I’ll be creating in June.

I’ll be around.

About Zeenah

Zeenah writes about comics, nerd history, and ridiculous romance novels when not working frantically on her first collection of short stories and complaining about stuff. One day, she'll settle down and write that novel.
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3 Responses to What A May… What a May…

  1. militantlyromantic says:

    I’m glad you’re looking to find space for a vacation, that is a good plan. I’m also happy that you’re getting to do some really cool interviews. The rest, well. *headdesk*

    Like

  2. Pingback: What A May… What a May… — Stitch’s Media Mix – Geeking Out about It

  3. Suze says:

    Thanks for linking to your other articles! The interview with Lil Nas X was really cool.
    Will you be cross-linking to your other articles in the future? I subscribe through RSS to your site and sometimes manually check, and that’s usually the only ways I find out about the things you write.
    Every article, I’m always glad you write them. I think other people are too, because your work inspires and validates people’s experiences, and sometimes when I see other people write about fandom with an eye to racism, I think maybe they were inspired by your work.
    I read your interview article with Kelly Marie Tran and I agree that getting chances to be off of social media does wonders to improve mental/emotional/physical wellbeing.
    Anyway, congratulations on getting all those music interviews!

    Like

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