Who’s Afraid of A Black Blaise Zabini? Everyone in 2005 Harry Potter Fandom… Apparently.

When we talk about “toxic fandoms” and racism, the easiest example people go to are male nerds mad about Black people being cast to play comic book redheads and other “historically white” characters. However, one little known or talked about example is the way that the Harry Potter fandom from 2005 practically went to war over the one-line reveal that Slytherin Blaise Zabini was actually Black.


One perfect example of antiblackness in fandom that proves false these claims that Black characters and celebrities are just “lacking” something to make them worth shipping (characterization, canon romance, tapping tropes) and that is why no one ships them?

The Harry Potter fandom’s response to Blaise Zabini before and after JK Rowling’s reveal that Blaise was male (2004 in a Q&A) and Black (“He recognized a Slytherin from their year, a tall black boy with high cheekbones and long, slanting eyes” in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Chapter 7: “The Slug Club in 2005).

Blaise Zabini’s only appearance prior to that book and film was in a single line in the first Harry Potter book (““Well done, Ron, excellent,” said Percy Weasley pompously across Harry as “Zabini, Blaise,” was made a Slytherin.). However, people instantly made up all sorts of headcanons for this character based off of a name and Hogwarts house.

For the eight years between Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, here’s all what fandom frequently decided Blaise Zabini was:

  • Italian
  • Tan (but sometimes pale)
  • Dark haired with light, sometimes blue or green eyes
  • Draco’s best friend
  • Draco’s boyfriend
  • A pain in the ass to Hermione
  • Sometimes shipped with Pansy Parkinson
  • Sometimes a girl
  • A bisexual Chad
  • A cool badass
  • Occasionally very Gender (and written as androgynous or gender queer/fluid)
  • A pureblood
  • Interesting
  • Sexy
  • Charming

He didn’t have any characterization or lines in canon, but he sure did have all of that.

Read More »

[Thread Collection] Blaise Blogging [1/7/2022]

I spent most of the past 36 hours researching and thinking about Harry Potter fandom and the barely still-around documentation of the racism that fandom enacted about characters of color – especially Blaise Zabini. They’ll be turned into organized thoughts eventually, but for now… thread collection:


Harry Potter fandom really has been openly racist for ages because they sure did ship Blaise with Draco and/or Hermione right up until the reveal he was Black and then, after the in-fandom rioting, he got the treatment that most Black characters get and his fanworks/ships went 📉

Read More »

Stitch @ Teen Vogue: On Nicki Minaj, the Barbz, and When Stans Prepare for Battle

Fans can react in concerning ways when their celebrity favorites screw up or misspeak in ways that hurt fans. It’s as if the attachment to a particular celebrity unlocks a desire to do whatever possible to maintain that celeb’s power and positive press. Even if the celebrity has been accused of actual crimes, even if we have proof of them doing something inexcusable, their stans will rally in order to protect them from criticism and accountability.

Enter: Nicki Minaj and the hold she has on her fans, known as Barbz. Not only do a subset of fans feel personal responsibility to promote her, but she herself has actively mobilized them over the years against people that she is in conflict with, on scales both large and small.

On Nicki Minaj, the Barbz, and When Stans Prepare for Battle

Once again, I forgot to post this when it went up uh… two weeks ago.

Nicki Minaj is just… a really good example of what happens when celebs actively make the choice to hurt people. She has millions of dollars, a fanbase that loves her, and some level of talent. And what has she spent a lot of 2021 doing? Antagonizing critics, harassing the woman her husband harmed when she was a teenager, and beefing publicly with other celebrities and even just random social media users. Like what got into Nicki’s head to make her think defending former Little Mix member Jesy Nelson’s blackfishing and attacking actual Black woman Leigh Anne Pinnock for calling it out was in any way necessary?

If I ever reach some sort of financial success and you see me out here fighting with people on social media – especially if I’m dead wrong – understand that something has gone horribly wrong.

Fandom Misogynoir Bingo Card

It’s been a while since we had a fandom racism bingo card. Last time, it was my partially tongue-in-cheek one about the fandoms for Korean pop and hip hop with a heavy tilt towards cultural appropriation and antiblackness. This time, like it says on the label, it’s about misogynoir in fandom.

As always, I do look towards my fannish past with this, and I recommend people learn their fandom history about the nature of bingo cards to deliver understanding of/clown on tough topics… like this one about racism in the immediate aftermath of racefail 09. It’s not an inherently “anti” thing unless you’re one of the extremely fandom-minded individuals that believes criticism of fandom at any any level or with any sharpness is automatically “anti fandom” in action and if you think that… well.

Anyway, one statement that lives in my mind on the regular comes from a speech Malcolm X gave in 1962 at Ronald Stokes’ funeral where he said that

“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.”

Fandom, especially when it comes to antiblackness, is not exempt from the issues that plague the wider world.

In fandom, misogynoir is accepted as a thing people do and it always has been acceptable in fandom at large regardless of how much people claim fandom as a space for women. Despite the perception that queer/women’s fandom is super progressive, it’s become increasingly clear to Black fans in particular that that’s far from the case. Misogynoir – aimed at Black fans, celebrities, and characters – is an acceptable norm in fandom and something that isn’t just defended, but that has become a bonding activity on a level that even sees other Black people partaking in it to build and maintain community bonds, not just non-Black people.

Hot on the heels of Candice Patton and other Black CW superhero actresses talking about the misogynoir they experience from fandom and behind the scenes of their respective shows is… me talking once again about misogynoir: a form of anti fandom that no one but Black women/femmes seems capable of clocking or interested in stopping.

NOW BEFORE WE GET INTO THE EXPLANATIONS, PLEASE NOTE THAT IF YOU’RE SENSITIVE AND NEED PEOPLE TO BE NICE WHEN COMPLAINING ABOUT RACISM THEY SEE AND EXPERIENCE, THIS IS NOT THE POST FOR YOU.

Read More »

Over A Year After the OTW/AO3’s Statement of Solidarity: Where Are We With That Anti Racism?

It’s been over a year (this piece was originally supposed to go up in June 2021) since the Organization of Transformative Works’ Board of Directors, Chairs, and Leads released a statement of some solidarity with fans of color – particularly Black fans – in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the worldwide protests against antiblackness, police brutality, and white supremacy that shifted the world on its axis back in 2020.

The OTW – and its “child”, the Archive of Our Own – has yet to make any meaningful inroads into making their segment of fandom accessible, welcoming, and safe for fans of color. In fact, racism done in the name of the Archive of Our Own specifically has increased to some extent with fans of color being subject to increased attacks including shunning, slander, and direct attacks on their fandom and offline reputations for going “perhaps this space could be… less racist”.

Read More »

White Fannish Entitlement Strikes Again

Near the end of June, I made the mistake of commenting on Star Wars fandom stuff when I saw screenshots of some members of that subfandom gloating about John Boyega briefly losing his blue check/verified status on Twitter as well as kind of assuming the worst about his exit from Rebel Ridge – especially once people started kind of claiming that he was “difficult“. (Like fully going “perhaps he will have his MeToo moment and people will know that he’s truly garbage… like we have all along” in some tweets I glimpsed.)

Aside from the comment calling me a bootlicker of color (for making a thread about fandom nonsense from their camp and not immediately writing a Teen Vogue article about John Boyega, who I have no access to and still cannot reach for clarification or an interview), one comment that stood out to me called me a coward because I didn’t like… leap into the way of actual non-fandom white supremacists in defense of Rey/Kylo fandom. Again, a fandom full of people that hate me for pointing out their co-fans’ racism.

Read More »