[PCA 2021 Presentation] “What Are You Even Doing Here?”: Unpacking The Motivations & Experiences of Black Women & Femme K-pop Fans

I had to change some things because of the YouTube copyright crap – so there’s no music in this version and so I can’t include the edits, challenge, or song I included when presenting this live. But aside from the things that had to be changed to avoid a copyright strike and messing up my video, this is the presentation I gave for PCA 2021.

Thank you all to everyone who filled out my survey or did video or text interviews a few months ago (okay so like… in May) and who supported me as I tried to put this together. Being in fandom has been super hard and very upsetting at times, but actually one way I was able to cope with what I’ve been going through from other fandoms… has been to engage deeply with ARMY (BTS is my primary fannish interest) and fandoms for other Korean artists.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to talk about a fandom space I’m in and to share insights about the communities I’m in and that other people like me are in!

I will NOT be going anywhere with this presentation beyond this post (like in terms of a long-form write up). Any future writing about Black k-pop fan experiences will get a new survey, no interviews outside of experts in these spaces, and a closer look at my direct experiences in these fandom spaces. I just wanted to do celebratory fandom piece for once – one that didn’t ignore that there are VERY valid criticisms to be had on the way there.

Below the cut is the abstract I used when applying for the conference! Thanks again for participating and watching and supporting me! And thanks A TON for your patience with me actually remembering to post this publicly!

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[Guest Post] Alison the Beloved (Part Two)

In the first part of this essay, I explored the portrayal of Black women in Doctor Who, using the example of Alison Cheney. She appears in Scream of the Shalka, a 2003 web animation. Preceding the 2005 TV reboot by two years, she is the first broadcast non-white companion. 

I wrote about Alison’s role as the Doctor’s beloved, a status unusual for Black characters, and how she could have challenged the New Who’s portrayal of Black women as largely disposable victims. At the same time, SotS’ refusal to give Alison the lived experience specific to a Black London woman in an all-white small town reduces her revolutionary potential.

Alison’s ability to change the Whoniverse is also limited by SotS’ — and Alison’s — unpopularity. In this part of my essay, I dig into fan characterizations of Alison, using the AO3 corpus as a representative sample. An examination of SotS fan content on AO3 reveals that Alison may be the Doctor’s beloved in SotS, but she’s largely unloved in fandom.

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[Guest Post] Alison the Beloved (Part One)

The Black companions in the rebooted iteration of Doctor Who have it rough, especially the women. 

Think of Martha, who suffers Simm Master’s mockery and his enforced servitude of her family in Season 3’s Sound of Drums. Think of Bill, who endures a decade of medical abuse and slow Cyber conversion (i.e., being made into a cyborg) at the hands of Razor Master in Season 10’s World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls. Think of Grace, who dies of electrocution and fall after defending the Thirteenth Doctor from a gathering coil in Season 11’s Woman Who Fell to Earth. The New Who’s Black companions are generally treated as more disposable and less important than the white characters.

But what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if New Who’s first companion had been a young Black woman — cherished, celebrated, integral to the narrative? How might the experiences of Black companions be different if Alison Cheney had been the first?

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[Guest Post] Searching for Black Mothers: Looking in the Margins of Black Panther and Into the Spider-Verse

This awesome guest post comes courtesy of Samira Nadkarni! Images in the header are from ComingSoon.net (Spider-Verse) and KissThemGoodbye.net (Black Panther).


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Earlier this week, I read Zina’s post on Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, the character of Miles Morales, and the idea of authenticity. While agreeing wholeheartedly with the post itself, I found myself struggling to articulate my current position, which is that while these films construct nationalistic racial and cultural narratives in ways that allow for reclamation and representation, the process of these claims seem to hinge on specific connections between fatherhood, masculinity, and nationality.

While women are present, and while mothers are present, they’re somehow not part of that narrative. This is a complex and confounding thing because these films aren’t being positioned as inherently patriarchal or lacking in female characters, yet the underlying implications of its narrative suggest extremely traditional patriarchal ideology.

My hope is that I can briefly trace this out here, and maybe that we can consider the ways in which films like Into the Spider-Verse and Black Panther centre Blackness, authenticity, heritage, a coming into oneself, and national identity, while also seeing how this amazing intergenerational space is somehow all about Black fathers and isn’t necessarily leaving a whole lot of room for Black mothers.Read More »

What Fandom Racism Looks Like: Misogynoir – Introduction

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The most disrespected woman in America, is the black woman. The most un-protected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America, is the black woman. – Malcolm X, from a speech he gave May 5, 1962 at the funeral of Ronald Stokes.

Fandom hates Black women – real and fictional.

Fandom can’t stand Black female characters, the actresses that play/voice them, or the Black women who go hard for characters that look like them.

Misogynoir is alive and well in fandom spaces and few people seem willing to acknowledge it or listen to Black women talking about this specific form of racialized misogyny in fandom.Read More »

[Review] A Duke by Default (Reluctant Royals #2) by Alyssa Cole

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I only recently bought Alyssa Cole’s A Duke By Default so I missed out on months of basking in this glorious and delightful novel (because my local library never got around to purchasing it on my request). But I have read this book and it is everything I’d hoped it’d be.

Now, I’m a diehard Alyssa Cole fan. I seriously stan her because she’s a wonderful writer, a fellow Caribbean islander, and she always manages to get me super invested in her characters. She’s another writer that could write a grocery list and have me pleading to read it because it’d be art on scratch paper.

So it can’t be a surprise that I genuinely loved the second book in her Reluctant Royals series, A Duke by Default.Read More »

#NowWeRise – Children of Blood and Bone Blog Tour (Moodboard + Blogging Bits)

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You know, I think this might be the first time I’ve ever done a blog tour?

When I got the email about possibly doing something for the release of Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone in its release week, I kind of like got all giddy. What a great opportunity to do something fantastic in order to celebrate one of my favorite books of 2018!

In Tomi Adeymi’s Children of Blood and Bone, the Ìwòsàn Clan is the clan of the Maji of Health and Disease. As a result of this totally awesome “Discover Your Magic” graphic, that clan is… my clan, but my majj power isn’t that of healing, it’s of inflicting disease.

My maji power (Cancer) is the magical equivalent of Typhoid Mary.

Which I find fitting because of my relationship with illness.

I’m honestly always sick.

Or suffering from something.

Right now, I’m actually pretty sure that I might even have the chicken pox. (Though… probably not as I was vaccinated as a child and I think that’s supposed to stop that from happening.)

So for me, there’s something absolutely captivating about the idea of maji whose power centers around causing illness instead of healing it.Read More »

Black Girls Next Door: Four changes I’d like to make in Spider-Man: Homecoming

 

Black Girls Next Door_

I loved Spider-Man: Homecaming way more than I probably should love a film that takes a huge chunk of what (little) I liked about Brian Michael Bendis’ origin story for Afro-Latino Spider-Man Miles Morales and… gives it to (a still white) Peter Parker.

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The things I loved about Homecoming are simple. Tom Holland’s Peter Parker is adorable. Jacob Batalon, playing his best friend Ned (OBVIOUSLY based off of Miles Morales’ best friend Ganke) is pure and perfect. The movie gives me even more fuel for my Tony Stark hate shrine. I think we’ll be fired up and full of rage against the man in the iron suit until 2020 at least.

But most importantly… Spider-Man: Homecoming gives us little glimpses at BlackGirlExcellence with Laura Harrier’s Liz Allan and Zendaya’s Michelle Jones (MJ apparently), two of three female characters with semi-significant screentime and importance to the plot. However, the film doesn’t do enough with those two female characters to satisfy my desire to see Black girls represented onscreen.

So here are four things that I wish Spider-Man: Homecoming could’ve done differently for Michelle and Liz (whether or not they’re even remotely plausible because of time constraints or whatnot):Read More »

[Book Review] All About Mia by Lisa Williamson

All About Mia Cover

Title: All About Mia
Author: Lisa Williamson (Twitter)
Rating: Recommended
Genre: Contemporary, Black heroine, Diverse, Coming of Age, Young Adult,
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Release Date: September 12, 2017

Buy Links: AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE

Note: Please message me if you require trigger/content warnings for this novel beyond the alcohol abuse I reference in my review.

SYNOPSIS

One family, three sisters.
GRACE, the oldest: straight-A student.
AUDREY, the youngest: future Olympic swimming champion.
And MIA, the mess in the middle.

Mia is wild and daring, great with hair and selfies, and the undisputed leader of her friends – not attributes appreciated by her parents or teachers.
When Grace makes a shock announcement, Mia hopes that her now-not-so-perfect sister will get into the trouble she deserves.
But instead, it is Mia whose life spirals out of control – boozing, boys and bad behaviour – and she starts to realise that her attempts to make it All About Mia might put at risk the very things she loves the most.

REVIEW

A good summary for All About Mia is:

LOCAL MIDDLE CHILD HURTS HERSELF AND OTHERS ON HER WAY TO FIGURING OUT HER PLACE IN THE WORLD.

I mean… at least I think so at least.

I’ve got complicated (but mostly positive) feelings about Lisa Williamson’s All About Mia.

Caught between her “perfect” older sister Grace and her “primed for the Olympics” baby sister Audrey, Mia doesn’t feel as if she has anything that’s truly her own. Her sisters get what appears to be the focus of their parents’ positive attention and Mia, a chill teenager who likes to party a bit too intensely, gets yelled at… a lot and feels super overlooked by everyone in her family unless she messes up. She feels super overlooked in favor of her sisters and that… kind of leads to acting out in the form of drinking and staying out with her friends.Read More »

Women of Color in Marvel Live Action Properties: Claire Temple

Women of Color in Marvel Live Action Properties is an essay series that will look closely at the portrayals of female characters of color by actresses of color in Marvel’s various franchises. I was inspired by the fact that a lot of these female characters don’t get anywhere as much love as white female characters in similar roles and that we’re not as likely to see fandom analyze why they’re empowering. They don’t get meta-fandom or essays unless it’s about placing them in relation to white characters. I want to celebrate the women of color that inhabit the same worlds as our favorite superheroes while looking at how and why they’re important to fans like me.


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Sometimes, if you want justice you have to get it yourself.

Claire Temple in Luke Cage Season 1/Episode 7 “Manifest”

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Claire Temple is too good for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Claire Temple is one of the best characters in the MCU and she’s one of the few recurring female characters of color the franchise has had in the almost ten years of its history. She’s also Afro-Latina – as is actress Rosario Dawson – making her one of the few Black women to have a major recurring role in the MCU following Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s Raina.

In a genre that’s spent much of the past decade finding newer and more popular white male actors (often named “Chris”) to play their heroes rather than focusing on female characters or characters of color, Claire Temple is an extra awesome rarity.Read More »

Whose Luke Cage Reviews Matter To Me

I started watching Luke Cage yesterday morning and immediately I found myself bombarded with the thinkiest of thoughts.

I have thoughts on respectability politics in the series, on Luke Cage’s old-fashioned everything, on Black womanhood, on the use of the word “nigga” inside our community.

And at the end of the day, I also have thoughts about how I am absolutely uninterested in any hot takes on the series that don’t come from Black women.Read More »

Letters to the Author – Afton Locke

Note that this Letter to the Author contains graphic descriptions of racism and racist violence (sexual and otherwise) as it relates to the reality of white supremacy in history and historical romances.


Dear Afton Locke,

I could write you about a bunch of things in your Oyster Harbor series. I could talk about your constant use of food terms to describe Black characters (“butterscotch” and “light mocha” stand out). I could complain about how your heroine in Cali’s Hurricane is a vodou practitioner and how it’s so mishandled. I could even point out that the plot in and of itself is supremely flawed and in no way as accurate as you think.

But you know what, everything pales in the face of the one main question that I’ve had for you since the moment I read anything of yours: What on Earth possessed you to write a series of historical interracial romance novels where (at least) two of your “heroes” belong to their local branch of the Klan?Read More »

Things About Fandom That Stand Out to Me

Originally written in April 2015 for the blog Womanist Glasses, I felt that a repost was timely and necessary as I prepare to talk about fandom and blackness in a couple of posts I’m set to post.

I still believe that everything in this post is a sad part of what it means to be in fandom when you’re a WOC, especially if you’re a Black woman and outspoken on top of that. My fandom experience hasn’t been easy and in some ways, it’s been very upsetting to know that a safe space for some isn’t necessarily a safe space for me.


As an outspoken Black woman in fandom who has had truly terrible experiences in what is supposed to be a safe space for me, I’ve noticed a few things about fandom and how it treats WOC as a whole. I’m coming from the DC, Marvel, and Teen Wolf fandoms so while I try to keep things vague, I’m not always good at that.Read More »