Stitch Does Stuff in November 2019

What I’m Into In November:

  • Books: Queen of the Conquered, Speculative Blackness: The Future of Race in Science Fiction, Archangel’s War, BTS and ARMY Culture
  • Music: BTS, TXT, the Wicked soundtrack
  • Shows: Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo (again)
  • Movies: documentaries probably, definitely John Wick 3
  • Food: pizza and maybe Korean if I can afford it

The Usual Support Links


October sure was a month y’all.

You may have noticed that while I went “wow I’m going to make a lot of content”, the reality was that… I did not do that. If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you might not have picked up on why.

Unfortunately, when stressed, I tend to shut down and my output slows to a clear crawl. And I spent a huge chunk of October stressed beyond belief. Between the latest reminder that Black fans critical of anything aren’t welcome in fandom, the family car getting multiple flats and getting towed, and some renewed stress at Day Job (thanks to tasks I’m working on and stuff I’m trying to optimize) that I’m still trying to overcome, I was already slower than usual despite my desire to be Super Organized.

Then my birthday happened on the twenty-fourth and while I had an amazing time, I then promptly got sick. The reason why y’all are getting this post on the fourth instead of the first is because this is the first time since about the 25th or 26th that I’ve honestly felt up to sitting in front of a computer and putting my schedule together for November. As recently as last night, I had a debilitating sinus headache and couldn’t breathe through my nose.

But part of the way through my work day today, the stars seemed to align and right around the time when I threw my back out around lunch, my cold seemed to clear up.

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Stitch On NYAN’s “Chicken Noodle Soup For the K-Pop Lover’s Soul”

Not Your Average Netizens is:

A podcast dedicated to South Korean entertainment. Our goal is to be informative and to have an open and mature discussion about the things we love, hate, and love to hate. Most of all we want to have fun with Kpop and share that with others!

We are made up of netizens from all over the world and we gather weekly in our spare time. Sometimes we agree, sometimes we don’t, and we hope that you find yourself in each of our voices.

Not Your Average Netizens’ Links:

Facebook

Twitter

Soundcloud

Youtube

Instagram

At the start of October, I had the honor of guesting on Not Your Average Netizens’ episode “Chicken Noodle Soup For the K-Pop Lover’s Soul”. In the fun and fantastic liveshow, we covered cultural appropriation we see from idols and the antiblacknesss we see from fandom.

In both cases, we talked about “Chicken Noodle Soup” (BTS’ J-Hope’s take on the 2006 song featuring Becky G) and the fandom’s overwhelmingly blah and bad reaction to J-Hope’s gel twists or the art on the single’s cover and Black fans who were annoyed at or offended because of any aspect of the collaboration.

We also talked about how CNS is kind of exemplary of how Black culture/creativity isn’t valuable to non-Black people until other non-Black people partake of it and perform it. Like I’ve talked about this to a bunch of people – and we brought it up here too – that if you’re “acting hood” and dropping signals of Blackness in your video but you… probably have never had a significant and intimate relationship with a Black person… how authentic is your performance, really? Aren’t you just putting on a costume?

And why defend someone’s inauthentic portrayal of Blackness when you’re consuming their content?

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Birthmonth 2019 – State of the Stitch

Usually, I save the SotS statements for the end of the year.

But this year, I have been kind of overcome by how fucking much happened between my last birthday and this one and I kind of need to talk about how much I’ve done and gone through.

Friends, I am always somewhat surprised to make it another full rotation around the sun. For various reasons – physical health issues, my fear of accidents, one or more bad flights – I always wake up on the morning of my birthday like “huh, I made it”.

And I did make it, y’all.

I made it to twenty-nine.

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[Birthmonth 2019] Little Wolf, Big Red, and the Huntress – Chapters 1&2

There’s a werewolf in Granny’s kitchen and Red doesn’t know where to start asking questions. But this surprise visitor might just wind up being the best thing in Red’s life.

Note: I started (hand) writing this story near the end of last year. It’s been in the works for way longer than that. I wanted to write the werewolf story that I wasn’t seeing in the world: a story where a cute and tiny Black werewolf gets the (big and buff) girl and then – They get another girlfriend. This is one of the most self indulgent thing that y’all will see from me this year, especially if you dodged listening to the A/B/O post on Patreon. Thank you for coming along on my journey for yet another year. I love y’all like my little bossy werewolf loves baking. ❤

Chapter One

Red isn’t expecting the wolf that she finds in her grandmother’s sunny kitchen. It’s not like she’s never seen a werewolf before, this part of the country is lousy with them. However, Red has never seen a werewolf in her grandmother’s house before. Not with how… complicated the relationships are between her grandmother and the local packs.

Hell, Red has even worked with a few werewolves at the zoos she’s been working at across the years. They’re the best people to have at your side when dealing with the natural wolves that many zoos have, and they can handle the heavier predators.

The werewolf bending down in front of the oven doesn’t look like any of the werewolves that Red has worked with before. For one thing, Red thinks to herself as she watches the werewolf straighten up to a not-so intimidating height, this is the shortest werewolf Red has ever seen. She barely comes up to Red’s shoulders and she seems like such a tiny little thing.

Gold eyes meet green ones.

At some point during Red’s distracted observation, the werewolf has turned to face her. Oh, and what a face. Deep brown skin, high cheekbones and an upturned nose.

Full lips quirk up in a smirk.

“See something you like?”

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[Video] Appropriation, Appreciation, and Good Ole Chicken Noodle Soup

Video Description:

One of the recurring comments when K-pop fans talk about cultural appropriation as performed by idols is “so and so isn’t appropriating culture, they’re APPRECIATING it”. The idea that appreciation renders conversations about cultural appropriation null and void is clearly a belief that many of these people have and the thing is –

These idols probably genuinely appreciate what they know about Black culture, but when they go to take it into themselves and perform Blackness, that appreciation becomes appropriation.

This video talks about that appreciation often leads to appropriation in these circles, how j-hope’s appreciation in his and Becky G’s version of “Chicken Noodle Soup” sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and antiblack backlash in BTS’ big ole fandom, and why intent doesn’t matter when the impact is kind of harmful.

If you want to know more about my thoughts on the way Black hairstyles are appropriated within K-pop and why that matters, check out my video from August.

And of course, I’ve got my lengthy article on cultural appropriation for y’all to check out!

Cultural Appropriation in the Age of K-Pop
Part One: https://stitchmediamix.com/?p=8351
Part Two: https://stitchmediamix.com/?p=8361

Thanks for watching!


This isn’t entirely tied to the video’s content, but it’s related to what inspired me to put together this video:

The end of September, j-hope from BTS came out with “Chicken Noodle Soup” with Becky G. It’s an updated take on the 2006 song which was apparently one of his biggest inspirations as a dancer.

In the initial images that he shared (via BTS’s twitter account), j-hope appears to have some kind of twists in his hair that are clearly reminiscent of the kind of twists that primarily are associated with Black hair – as in, Black people‘s hair.

I’ve been in my feelings since I saw those photos.

But then, I am always in my feelings about Korean idols wearing hairstyles they think are necessary in their quest for authenticity in hip-hop. Every single time it happens – and it happens often – I find my feelings… bruised.

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Fast and the Furious Foregrounding

In this installment of What Fandom Racism Looks Like: Antiblackness in the K-Pop Industry and its Fandom Spaces, we’ll be doing some fast and furious foregrounding.

The point of this foregrounding essay isn’t to provide readers with an exhaustive and complete history of Korean and/or African American hip hop and popular music. 

Here are the goals of this furious foregrounding essay:

  • to provide some context when it comes to what K-pop generally is for folks with a wobbly grasp
  • To briefly cover the history of Black creativity being exported to South Korea and beyond without Black influence (but with antiblackness),
  • To foreground myself and my experiences with this genre and the fandom spaces.

Let’s start with a quick coverage of what k-pop is from two experts who’ve written books on it.

Context Matters

In the introduction to his monograph Sorting out K-Pop: Globalization and Popular Music in South Korea, Michael Fuhr writes that:

K-Pop is mainstream music in South Korea. Initially modeled for the teenager market, this music of the country’s youth has become the most pervasive music in Korea, effectively shaping the sonic public sphere, the musical tastes among different generations, and the imaginative worlds of its consumers and producers. (3)

Then in Suk-Young Kim’s K-Pop Live: Fans, Idols, and Multimedia Performance, she writes that:

In the broadest sense of the word K pop as an abbreviation for Korean popular music includes all genres of popular music that emerge out of South Korea. […] But in from 2009 onward, when the term entered a wide circulation, it came to designate a much smaller fraction of south Korean music. according to pop music critic Choe Ji-seon, it references “music dominated by idols dance music which strives to gain a competitive edge in the international market .in this respect indie music or rock or anything that does not belong to dominant Idol music usually is not characterized as K pop”. (8).

K-pop – as an industry and as a genre (smush), is a multifaceted [thing] that really dates back to just under thirty years ago with the term itself dating back to the mid-nineties. (Suk-Young Kim traces the term to Hong Kong’s Channel 5 in 1995 and mentions that it follows in the footsepts of the already coined and widely used “J-pop” [8]).

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[VIDEO] A Bitter (Sweet) Summer Package Unboxing

I promised y’all a bitter unboxing and that’s…

Mostly what you’re getting.

One thing I and other Black K-pop fans – especially those a bit further along on our own journeys to unlearn internalized antiblackness – have come up against as we make our way through these fandom spaces and enjoy content form performers is that we’re constantly put into positions where it feels like we have to choose between our identities as fans of a group or the industry and our identities as Black people.

So when a performer or a group of performers does something that’s antiblack or that makes Black fans feel like they’re not being seen as actual fans or even as people, that sort of feeling rears its icky head.

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What Fandom Racism Looks Like: PickMe POC

When I used to be on Tumblr, I’d get a lot of messages and reblogs from people who made it a point to let other people know that I didn’t speak for all POC.

I was never arguing that I did, of course, but it was imperative to these other people of color to let me and white people in fandom know that they were here, they weren’t white, and that they thought I was full of shit about fandom racism. 

Which is their right as people on the internet, let’s be real here. 

But it’s interesting:

I, a queer Black person with most of a lifetime in fandom and an entire academic career focusing on media criticism and representation, couldn’t possibly speak for every single person in fandom when I talked about racism I witnessed in fandom… but they could speak over me in order to let other people in fandom know that I was a POC Not To Be Trusted.

“Pick Mes” have a home on the internet. It’s a term borne from African American Vernacular English (AAVE) that calls to mind the mental image of people jumping up and down and begging to be picked for a game. (“Pick me! Pick me!”) Only, in the usual context, it’s someone leaping up and down and trying to get the attention of someone that treats them with disdain. 

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Stitch Does Stuff in October 2019

Dear pumpkins,

You can probably tell from the spoopy header I made just for this, but October is my favorite month of the year.

I’m gonna be real here: it’s Halloween month and Birthmonth wrapped up into one super spooky package and I always tend to go overboard with everything. It’s what we all deserve, after all. October is the real spiritual start of fall here in the US (sorry September) and I put my all into being the embodiment of that spooky, post-summer sensation.

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Urban Fantasy 101: Bitchin’ Witches (And Wizards)

I grew up reading Harry Potter in the Virgin Islands. 

I think Rowling’s work was the first “witchcraft and wizardry” book I read as a child. Despite all of Rowling’s many (many) faults, that book series that’s now viewed as part of the Western canon helped nudge me on towards a deep love of urban fantasy that’s still obviously present to this day. 

One of the coolest things about witches and wizards in urban fantasy is that there’s often an element of “anyone could be one” across the narrative. Even in blood-focused societies, there’s always a Hermione who doesn’t need to be genetically gifted because she has skills

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