BlkGrl Book Tour Recap

I’ve been a zinester since 2014, toting my lil hand made books around to DIY events. We table and vend with fellow artists, often feeling like Lucy with her Psychiatric Help Stand, sharing with any who will listen the content of our books with passion and understanding. Some folks really don’t understand it, while some really do. It’s a great space to share what you truly love, because somebody out there, even if its only 2-3 people, cares just as much about talking avocados as you do.

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Events on the tour:
Paper Jazz Fest, Brooklyn NYC
Betty Zine Fest, Newark NJ
Boston Art Book Fair, Boston MA
Not Just A Boys Club Fest, Teaneck NJ
Punx of Color 4, Brooklyn NYC

The BlkGrl book tour was my first attempt at following a dedicated schedule of events in locations outside of Manhattan, to help spread the #Blkgrlswurld message as far outside of NYC as possible. Black girls love metal and punk rock too! It challenged me to create a traveling system to affordably leave the city and arrive at any venue with a pop up shop out of a single bag I could carry on my own. (This is NYC, I don’t have a car ok?) Traveling on buses, trains and taxis to these other places tested my dedication to the project. Was I willing to get up at 6am for my zines? Here are some things I learned about being on the road with our lil books.

Punx of Color are everywhere.

Here at #Blkgrlswurld we aren’t always a certain an event or venue we attend is appropriate for our project. When tabling events like the Boston Art Book Fair, this became a critical question. Our $3 coloring books standing next to $75 high quality art catalogs? Likely a sign that our intended audience wont be strolling through this event. But they did anyway. There was not much diversity at that fair, but when a few Black youth did stop by we had great conversations about music and a few sales. Never underestimate who will take interest in your work.

Some people will never understand us, and that’s ok.

We stepped into new spaces and venues – that means local audiences are new to our work and what we’re about. Metal is not a widely understood musical form, so that alone was confusing to some along with the layer of being femme and Black. *Shrugs* All of these adventures help me determine what events to do next year.

Taking a stand empowers those around you.

Our focus has always been on young folks between ages 17-25 with little pocket money, that are curious about new music. Especially if they identify as outsiders, geeks or weirdos. That will always be the community we represent and sharing with these kids a safe space to express themselves can save lives.

I encourage everyone to start a zine, a blog, a fan club. Every time an awkward Black girl who doesn’t feel like she belongs any damn where stumbles across an artwork or photograph of women who look just like her, I feel a little better. Let’s all strive to create content that represents who we are and make sure its accessible. As I sat at these events with my little table, I met a number of fans this way. Women who had been searching for something to relate to, and see themselves in. Some that found us had already collected our items at previous events or online – they continue to comeback because of community. We are out here, together at shows, festivals and record fairs.

I fucking love Metal.

From Boston to New Jersey we did our best to keep our schedule loose, giving us a chance to meet more people and explore the visited cities. But the true connection to all these stops became the metal music blasting out of my headphones. At one point I wondered, is this really what I’m about? Hells yeah! Leaping off a megabus in platform towering boots, chewing bubble gum in band tees and dark glasses while the music blasts on in my ears. My favorite albums energized me to keep going, to keep traveling and to keep celebrating this scene and the women who support it. We know we don blend it with the people around us and that’s ok. I know where to go to spend time with my peeps, hopefully our books help that happen too.

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Death Vacation #njabciii @notjustaboysclub 2017 #metal #metalhead #nyhc #njhc #femmemetal #punkgirl #thrashmetal #Blkgrlswurld

A post shared by #Blkgrlswurld Zine (@blkgrlswurld_zine) on

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Supporting Relief Efforts in Puerto Rico

I’ve been struggling to find an organization on the ground in Puerto Rico that I can trust with actually helping victims in real time. Over the past few years we have seen failed relief projects from international non profits like the Red Cross; black and brown bodies lost in Haiti and New Orleans because of poor leadership and the mismanagement of funds. When I donate I want to make sure the cash doesn’t get chipped off into some millionaire’s pocket.

I’ve finally found an organization that is vouched for by Ms. Cruz, the Mayor of San Juan Puerto Rico who has been in the trenches since the beginning. Operation Blessing has come up often during her interviews about first responders and in the video below she confirms it. Let’s all continue to donate goods, services and funding to the local orgs on the island and other teams that are really trying to make an impact down there.

Furthermore, its important that we check on the checks we write, lets not lose sight of these relief programs 6 months from now. We should all try to check in and see if organizations are making an impact and how we can continue to help.

More details on supporting Operation Blessing > https://www.ob.org/disaster-relief/

#Blkgrlswurld featured in Tom Tom Magazine :D

Yassss! Tom Tom is a magazine for female drummers and musicians, and we’ve been featured in their 31st issue! It’s based in NYC and it does so much great work inspiring women musicians and kicking serious ass in the rock scene. We are so honored they took an interest in our Black Girls Dreaming Coloring Book and chose to feature a review of that work by writer, Lola Johnson. Thank you Tom Tom Mag 😀

You can order their latest issue Online HERE

Print versions are available across the nation in shops like Barnes and Nobel. Check out more of the funky femme talent they’ve been dishing at http://tomtommag.com/

BlkGrl Book Tour

Paper Jazz Small Press Fest @ Silent Barn, Sept. 30. Bushwick, NYC. Details

Boston Center for the Arts, Art Book Fair. Preview Party on Friday, October 20 2017, and is open to the public Saturday and Sunday, October 21 and 22. Details

Betty Zine Fest at Paul Robeson Galleries in Express Newark from 11am-4pm on October 7th, 2017. Newark, NJ. Details

Not just A Boys Club fest. November 4th, 2017 at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, NJ. Details

SGC International Conference 2018, which will take place between April 4 – 8 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  https://sgcinternational.org/conference/lasvegas/

LWT Summit 2017

Oh yes, that’s right- Lesbians, Queers and Allies gathered in NYC this September to share and celebrate our passion for technology innovation and professional development.

These are a great moments to bask in the hundreds of women pushing to shatter the glass ceiling towards true equality with their male counterparts in the workplace. We love the work we do and its amazing to be exposed to companies out there taking a pledge to be more inclusive in their hiring standards, office culture and benefits practices.

Women in tech fields continue to deal with so much resistance and sexism from society and we still have a lot of work to do for women of color as well. Each of us have experienced being belittled, laughed at or denied opportunities we qualified for, simply on the premise of gender and/or race. (That goes for universities and corporations participating in daily microaggressions.) It’s important to come together as peers and allies to uncover where and how these barriers continue to be systemic, and also how queer women of color can continue to navigate the industry with strength and courage. We are not afraid of being ‘the only one’, but it shouldn’t be that way in years to come. We are not afraid to take maternity leave at the height of our careers, but we shouldn’t be penalized for that choice. We are engineers, entrepreneurs and inventors who deserve respect.

I was pretty tired during this even and wasnt able to network as much as I’d planned. it was still refreshing to see us all combing through the NYU School of Law building to discuss our future in the industry. One peice of advice that stood out to me is how critical it is for women to ASK. Ask for that raise, ask for the promotion, ask for opportunity. Too often folks think working hard with your head down will eventually be rewarded, but I’ve rarely witnessed success from this. Your managers need to know you want more and care about growing with the company, its not always obvious. Show them HOW you can take the company’s goals to the next level.

Also, soft skills are critical to leadership growth. As important as it may seem to know the latest coding language or where machine learning is headed, nothing beats the ability to influence a team of peers. Building relationships and trust with clients and colleagues is so important and a known weak point for many young professionals. This is a world where the computer programmer has to market products and interface with clients. So practice!

This year’s event had some great talks, including conversations with:

Megan Smith and Pearl Means of Standing Rock Initiative

Megan Smith luncheon discussing Tech leadership

LWT Breakout Sessions about pushing your career forward as LGBTQA+ professional

Stacey Abrams, candidate for Gov of Georgia

Jenna Wortham and Lydia Polgreen talk journalism and leading your career

The Acacia Strain Deliver A Properly Heavy Summer

If you ever catch us on Instagram, you’ll know we’ve been headbanging at the heaviest NYC metal shows all summer. Much of it having to do with saying goodbye to our fav venue, Webster Hall, set to close for the next 18 months and less likely to book heavy music when it reopens. Another safe haven for new metalbands lost to corporate takeovers, grr.

I’d been patiently waiting for east coast band, The Acacia Strain to finish up the Vans Warped Tour this year and bring on the jams to NYC, when I heard about a new album they were dropping in late June. Yassss. Idunno what it is about doomy metalcore music, but what I like most about their style are the playful moments in their songs when the time signatures get screwy and unpredictable. This doesn’t happen as often as say, a composition from The Dillinger Escape Plan, but I enjoy the surprise when Acacia Strain explores this.

 

I found their newest album, Gravebloom to be their most polished project so far. A quality to the recording and mastering that leaves previous works like Coma Witch sounding more scratchy unfinished somehow. Not that there’s anything wrong witha rougher sound but, its nice to hear an artist tightening up their craft and focusing on the best elements of their songwriting.

Nothing trumps hearing their songs live, but Gravebloom has some great moments – enough to be added to our #blkgrlswurld Spotify playlist.

Songs we enjoyed from this album include, “Bitter Pill”, “Abyssal Depths”, and “Cold Gloom.” They each have a churning heaviness in their rhythm, the sort that makes you wanna stomp around the mosh pit like some 100ft Godzilla…or you know, in your living room wearing pajamas while growling at your cat. For me, this sort of metal is cathartic, calming and allows me to rest. I realize others have more stimulating reactions, lol- the point is, The Acacia Strain’s latest work is quite satisfying and a great soundtrack for our summer in this big ‘ol city.

I look forward to catching them touring this live.

##blkgrlswurld

Books and Conversations

 


Zine Event June 27th @ Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Ahhh! Our fav Harlem spot to uncover Black history is hosting a zine event this week and we’ll have a table 😀 😀 😀 Tuesday, June 27, 2017, Zine Fair from 4-6pm followed by Panel Talk at 6:30 p.m.

We love every chance to expose young brown folks to alternative music and media that represents and validates our shared quirky, sometimes geeky interests. #PUNXSOFCOLOR

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Zines: Elaborate Disruption and Black Creativity

“The resurgence of zines—self-published limited-distribution works—is stemming the tide of erasure, disrupting publishing, and offering creative spaces for diverse voices within marginalized communities. Remembering zines like FIRE!!, created in 1926 and “devoted to the young negro artist,” author Steven G. Fullwood will join in conversation with contemporary zine creators Devin N. Morris (3 Dot Zine), Nontsikelelo Mutiti (Nontsi), Kevin Harry (KHzines), and Jermel Moody (maple:koyo) to elaborate on their zine-making practices and impact on publishing and creativity. The program will also feature a marketplace of zines selected in collaboration with Morris, Moody, and the Schomburg Shop.

FIRE!! contributors included Harlem Renaissance figures Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston and Aaron Douglas.

@SchomburgCenter #SchomburgZineFair

First come, first seated

For free events, we generally overbook to ensure a full house. All registered seats are released 15 to 30 minutes before start time, so we recommend that you arrive early.”

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture | 515 Malcolm X Boulevard | New York, NY 10037

#heavygirlsloveheavymusic