Letter to My Unborn Daughter on International Women’s Day

poetry, talk, Uncategorized, Words

By Katie Harvey

riley

To my little girl on International Women’s Day:

Today we celebrate & honor what it means to be a woman. We celebrate the women before us who fought for our rights. The women who got arrested trying to vote, the woman who refused to give up her seat on the bus, the women who let the credit for their work go to men while they quietly landed men on the moon.

But really Sugarbean, we honor them every day. We honor them by being the most true form of ourself. We honor them by empowering our fellow women everyday. By helping our sisters in need. I hope you’re never afraid to speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.

I hope you know that if women had stood quietly by and asked politely for equality, it never would have happened.

Women roar.

Never let anyone make you feel inferior, because chances are they came from a vagina.

We are the creators of life. Do not back down. Do not be afraid to be loud.

Do not be afraid to be called bossy or intimidating.

Those are just labels slapped on women of greatness. Never be afraid of your wings, and never forget you can always come home to mom & dad. We love you sweet girl.

The future is female.

The future is you.

The world is yours.

 

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Walidah Imarisha Talks Punk, Genrecide, and Her Racial Ideology

Art, poetry, talk, Uncategorized, Words

Interview by Alyssa Campbell

kaylaartArtwork by Kayla Gutierrez

“I think writing should be less like a factory and more like a garden, nurturing and watering, but allowing what is growing to take new, sometimes surprising, and often beautiful shapes,” Walidah Imarisha tells me.

The first time I met Imarisha was in January, 2015, when she was featured as the keynote speaker to present “Oregon’s Racial History and King’s Vision of Justice,” for a Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at the Majestic Theatre, in Corvallis, Ore.

You couldn’t deny the power of her presence when she spoke: she was confident, fearless, and completely unapologetic for who she is and what she stands for. I remember the instant goosebumps when she kicked off with a spoken word poem, and by the end of her presentation the entire theatre stood for a round of applause. I thought to myself “I want to be like her one day, I want to have that kind of impact with my words.” Since then, I’ve attended a book signing, multiple lectures, workshops, and have been lucky enough to sit one-on-one for a personal interview with Imarisha.

Imarisha is a public scholar, spoken word artist, writer, activist, journalist, and educator, who currently lectures at Stanford University’s Program of Writing and Rhetoric. She’s taught at Portland State University’s Black Studies Department, Oregon State University’s Women Studies Department, and Southern New Hampshire University’s English and Literature Department.

Growing up on military base, Imarisha says the support from her mother showed her the possibilities of what she could achieve.

“My mom has been very foundational to me. She doesn’t necessarily call herself a feminist, but she absolutely is where I learned feminist principles,” said Imarisha. “She was like ‘We’re going to travel, we’re going to see the world, we’re going to do what we want to do, and I’m not going to let someone tell either of us what we can or can’t do.’ She also always taught me to be true to myself.”

She is well known for her statewide presentation: “Why Aren’t There More Black People in Oregon?” and for creating the expression “visionary fiction.” Some of her work includes but is not limited to: author of the poetry collection “Scars/Stars,” and the creative nonfiction “Angels with Dirty Faces: Three Stories of Crime, Prison, and Redemption,” co-editing the anthology “Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements,” and was an editor for the anthology “Another World is Possible.”

Has it always been a dream of yours to be in the position that you’re in with your career?

I definitely always wanted to be a writer. And I think the idea of communicating ideas and thoughts is something that’s foundational, and kind of the core of everything that I do. I think it’s more about finding different mediums for conveying ideas, and starting conversations, getting folks to think differently.

I definitely see all of my work as intertwined and interrelated. Sometimes poetry is more effective for some things, sometimes an academic format is more effective, sometimes poetry writing workshops are more effective. All the time science fiction is more effective.

I also feel the core of everything I do is a commitment to justice and a commitment to trying and revisioning the world and dreaming better futures, and so I think my life has taken a very circuitous route and gone many different places, I’m doing things that I didn’t imagine I would be doing. But I think that it was kind of keeping that as my guiding light, as my north star, and it has never steered me wrong.

When did your love for sci-fi begin?

Science fiction was one of the few genres where you actually got to see through the eyes of “the other.” And they may be a green person, or someone with tentacles, but the ways they were treated felt much more familiar.

Part of what drew me was that I got to hear stories from the alien’s perspective, from the perspective of people who felt familiar. Unfortunately, I wasn’t getting to read literature written by folks of color, but it felt like I was getting closer to hearing marginalized voices than in most other genres.

The space of saying whatever you can imagine is possible was incredibly compelling to me. I also think even though I wasn’t able to articulate it as a child, I understood that the aliens were more like me, than I was like most of the main characters.

How do you decide which outlet you want to use when curating new writings?

Most of the time it’s not a conscious decision, if I’m just writing, it’ll come out however it comes out. Sometimes I have no idea what it is I’m like: Is that a poem? Is that a short story? I don’t know what that is. Is that an essay, a personal essay? Sometimes it’s about the projects I’m working on, or things people ask me to do.

I used to be in a punk band; I started liking punk in high school and I definitely felt like it spoke to my feelings and my rage and my sensibilities. I really was drawn to the idea that we can do it ourselves, to be creative, and to question everything we’re told.

And also, when I discovered mosh pits I was like: this is an amazing outlet for the rage I feel as a young black woman every single day.

How old were you when you when you started getting into punk?

I started getting into punk while I was going to high school, I must have been 15 or 16, when I lived in Springfield, Ore., and it was all white. The bands I listened to were white, the people were white, and there were three of us who were brown. So I was like “I guess this is a white thing and I like it.”

I was lucky enough when I moved to Philadelphia, to the East coast, I got to meet punks of color, and folks who were very clear that actually punk music is rooted in black music. So I ended up hearing the band that I joined Ricanstruction. They’re all Puerto Rican, and considered themselves to be black.

They talked about the fact that Puerto Rican folks, caribbean folks, all have African heritage, and are black regardless of shade and facial features. It was really helpful because my mom is white and my dad is black, so obviously I grew up with white people being very clear that I was black. But also not necessarily feeling like I connected everywhere with “blackness” entirely.

So it was really useful to engage with these folks who were like “black is a political decision, and we choose to be black because we stand in solidarity with people who are the most oppressed.” And I was like “Word! Alright.” They were incredible musicians, all of them were some of the best musicians for their fields that I’ve ever met, and they were also all rooted in the intersections of music.

They loved punk, they also loved salsa and reggae, and hip hop; every form of music, soul and rock. Our lead singer used to say we committed “genrecide” by saying “these aren’t neat boxes, this is all music,” and he was like “this is all black music,” and it all has common roots, so we don’t have to be like “this is our punk song, this is our soul song.” So people would listen and be like “we don’t know what ya’ll are doing.”

That’s the best part, when you can’t fit someone in a category, when it’s just something that you feel.

I’m really glad I came into punk, and came to that band for many different reasons. I think it gave me my political ideological foundation, but I also think it really influenced my own writing of saying “I don’t have to accept genres, and I can commit genrecide in my writing as well.”

I think with “Octavia’s Brood,” and the science fiction anthology written by organizers that I edited, when I approached publishers they were like “we don’t even know how to sell this, or market it.” And we were like that’s fine we’re committing genrecide, we don’t have to be put in a little box.

Especially with my latest book “Angels With Dirty Faces,” I actually had an agent who said “I love this book, it’s amazing, but I have no idea how I would market it to a publishing company. Because it’s memoirs/true crime/analysis/racial ideology/sociology/ with poetic writing, I don’t know where it fits.”

It certainly makes commercial success harder, but I think it makes life more organic and real to be your full, complete self, and bring all of your pieces to all that you do.

*On her racial ideology*

It was really important for me, learning about black liberation movements, especially the Black Panther Party, and getting to engage with political prisoners from that era. Specifically Sundiata Acoli, a former Black Panther and political prisoner.

I started writing him while I was in college, and then when I moved to Philadelphia he was being held in Pennsylvania, so every month I would go visit him. I think it was really helpful for my racial ideology, because I think I had a little of what I call “the bi-racial blues,” of being like “I don’t fit in anywhere, no one wants me.”

Sundiata was helping me see the differences between different community’s reactions, because I think a lot of times, when, especially mixed black folks are feeling like “white folks don’t want me; black folks don’t want me.”

But what Sundiata said was often times when black folks were saying things like “you sound white,” or “why do you act like a white girl,” what they’re saying is, “are you going to take the privileges that you have, that I can very much see you have and leave us when it becomes convenient, or are you going to be part of this community?”

It was life changing. I think I was 18 or 19 when he told me that and we were in a prison visiting room, and I wanted to cry.

*On Black Lives Matter*

I think it’s an important movement that’s happening right now. There’s a struggle for justice in every generation, every generation has work to do.

I feel like Black Lives Matter is part of a long lineage of black survival movements in this nation that says “we will claim our right to exist. And we will claim our right to exist as we want to exist, not as you tell us we should exist.”

I think focusing on Black Lives Matter, what we do want, is visionary. It’s also science fiction, because black lives don’t matter to mainstream America, and they have never mattered to mainstream America. It’s kind of pulling this future into the present.

It’s saying “we will live this science fiction dream as if it was reality, until it becomes reality.”

One Night in Hell

music, Uncategorized

The Pretty Reckless Live in Seattle

By Madison Killian

pretty-reckless-andrew-lipovsky-0781-pr-site

Photo Courtesy of Razor & Tie

The first time I saw The Pretty Reckless in concert was when I was 16 at Warped Tour. The crowd was a small handful of eager people, most of which were whispering about her role as “Little J” on Gossip Girl. Fast forward a few years, I’m 22 now, and TPR have three full length albums under their belt and a solid following. So solid, in fact, that when I arrived at their show in Seattle, people were still lining up to go inside.

After wandering inside, I found myself standing to the right of the stage, as flying solo to a concert can sometimes be scary or isolating. The two opening acts had allowed all of the middle aged, leather vest clad Sons of Anarchy fans in the crowd the time to get a nice buzz going, and I was lucky enough to be standing next to the loudest and most drunk testosterone filled skin bags in the room. The pair’s derogatory attitudes towards the younger women in the crowd were just a portion of the inconvenience these two under-educated and over-aneibriated fellas were causing.

As if to redirect the crowd’s growing chaos, Taylor Momsen’s voice echoed throughout the room. A shockwave went throughout the crowd and jaws dropped while fast, heart racing music slapped us in the face.

pretty-reckless-andrew-lipovsky-0680-pr-site

Photo Courtesy of Razor & Tie

The band played new songs and old, and when Momsen started into “Light Me Up” from their debut album, I found myself flooded with memories of being an angsty and “impossibly misunderstood” teenager. Looking around the large industrial space where the concert was being held, it was hard for me to imagine that these songs I had listened to when I was in high school, getting ready for my first date, my first party, had the same significance to the middle aged men in the crowd.

It’s abundantly clear to me now, that The Pretty Reckless have reached a large and diverse audience despite their culturally rarified ethos of “going to hell.” This spirit shows up in Momsen’s lyrics and videos, a rebel yell of sorts to galvanize women that don’t buy into the traditional and often misogynistic idea of women’s place in punk rock music.

The show ended almost as abruptly as it had begun, a captivating performance that felt like it had gone by in the blink of an eye. The show was a success and the band was brought out for an encore, their song “Fucked Up World,” broken up by a 4-5 minute long drum solo, a unique and incredibly satisfying way to end the lively show.

 

 

 

Artist of the Month: January 2017 – Josh Thacher

Art, artist of the month, Uncategorized

Interview by Jess Petrylak

josh-thacherChinese Restaurant, Josh Thacher

SUCKER: Who is Joshua Thacher?

JOSH THACHER: I don’t really know how to answer this question. I guess I am some sort of lost, spirit-like being. Just wandering around trying to pass the time…

SUCKER: Where do you get your inspiration from? How do you make decisions on what is important enough to paint/depict?

JOSH THACHER: I’ve been around for over a thousand years, existing on somewhat of a middle ground between a multitude of different dimensions and universes. I’ve been to many strange and surreal places, met a lot of awesome people, and seen a lot of crazy things. I also have voices in my head. So, all of that is where I get my inspiration. Sometimes there are things that I just want to share, or things that I want to take from other worlds and bring them into this one. Those are the things that I try to depict in my artwork.

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SUCKER: Considered a sort of artistic renaissance man of our time, you draw, paint, make sculptures, do digital drawings, have a few musical projects and piece together stuffed animals. How does your imagery translate through all these different mediums? Does one medium fit better than others?

JOSH THACHER: It all depends on how I see it first. If it is just an image, I’ll draw it. If it is something more three dimensional, I’ll make a sculpture or stuffed animal. If it comes to me in the form of sound, I’ll attempt (poorly) to recreate it somehow. Sometimes it’s nothing but words, and that’s when I write. Most of the time it is just images and words so I mainly draw and write, but it all just depends on a feeling. Sometime’s I’ll want to create something and I’ll think, “That needs to be painted, I can’t just draw it, It needs to exist in the form of a painting.” The same goes with sculptures, and so on.

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SUCKER: You work with a lot of imagery with cats, can you expand on that?

JOSH THACHER: I love cats.

SUCKER: In your opinion, does college help or hinder the artist? If it’s of no help, what are some suggestions to young artists that could aid them in showing/selling their work?

JOSH THACHER: College is great for art. You learn new things and expand your artistic horizons. I never would have touched oil paints if it weren’t for college, and I turned out to be really good with them and like them a lot. I had a creative writing class with my favorite professor, Dr. Chirico, where he had us write 7 pieces a week (which is also something I never would have tried to do on my own time) and I produced some of my favorite poems in that class. The professors and classmates are nothing but helpful and encouraging. You’re surrounded by good ideas and advice, and it’s just a great environment to be in. I think one of the best ways to make it in the art world these days is to go to college. People are much more likely to recognize an artist, if they have a degree.

SUCKER: What was your first art making experience?

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Dogboy, Josh Thacher

JOSH THACHER: I remember drawing a picture of a dog going down a slide. I had this weird way of drawing where I pressed really hard with my pencil and everything looked hairy for some reason. I know I was drawing before that, but this is my first memory of drawing. I think the dog was wearing sunglasses.

SUCKER: Do you believe anyone can be an artist? Or that the artist has a special gift?

JOSH THACHER: Yes, anyone can be artist. It doesn’t matter what you produce, how it looks or sounds. It doesn’t matter if you can’t perfectly recreate on paper what you saw in your mind. Whatever comes out is art, and it is unique to you as an individual. Everybody should make art and contribute their own individual style to the rest of the art in the world.

jt4 Tower, Josh Thacher

SUCKER: Have you ever thought about animating your work?

JOSH THACHER: Yes, I would love to make cartoons, but I don’t have the resources. I always have characters and stories in my head that a drawing or even a comic would not be enough for it. I made some cool things in an animation class but it doesn’t compare to what I would like to do if I had the resources. One of my dreams is to work for Adult Swim.

SUCKER: Often times words or poetry is incorporated within drawings you have done. How do you make these careful choices when pairing a drawing with words? How does that help what you want to get across to the viewer?

JOSH THACHER: Either words will come to me while I’m drawing, or an image will come to me while I’m writing. It’s not planned in any way. Making art, for me, is like vomiting from my mind. Most of the time, my mind is full of strange, broken stories.

SUCKER: What would you do if you weren’t making artwork?

JOSH THACHER: It’s hard to imagine that. I don’t know. I think my whole life would be different if I never made art, but if I just suddenly stopped today? I’d probably spend the rest of my life doing hard physical labor, and sit by a fire every night. I’d be somewhat of a cowboy, and I think I’d get angry easily.

SUCKER: Have you ever had an art show in a gallery? Or performed your music live?

JOSH THACHER: No I’ve never had my art in a gallery. That’d be cool though. I have played music live. My brother and I used to do open mic’s, but I wouldn’t call that my music; that’s really our music.


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Apricot, Josh Thacher


SUCKER: Would you say that your work is autobiographical? Why or why not?

JOSH THACHER: No because none of it is about me. It’s all just stories about other people and places that do not exist in this universe.

SUCKER: Because you live in rural Upstate NY, do you have any comments or advice for people who believe/are worried that the only way to establish yourself as an artist is to leave home for a big city?

JOSH THACHER: It doesn’t matter where you are. Just make good art, and put it out there for people to see. What is anyone in the city going to do differently?

SUCKER: Why is it important to share your artwork online as a contemporary artist?

jt7
JOSH THACHER: I don’t think anyone but my close friends and family would know about my artwork if I didn’t have it online. So that’s saying something. I’m not well known at all. My facebook page only has 148 likes, but only about 40 of those people know me in real life, the rest are strangers from all over the place who discovered me through the internet. I also sell my artwork online. I probably wouldn’t be making any money from my art if it weren’t for the internet.

SUCKER: What are your future plans for your artwork and self?

JOSH THACHER: I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing. I have no plans for way into the future. I want to paint more.

SUCKER: Where can we follow you, and purchase your work?

JOSH THACHER:

My facebook page and my Etsy shop
https://www.facebook.com/JoshuaThachersArt/ https://www.etsy.com/shop/ShoppeofTheUniverse?ref=hdr_shop_menu

My Tumblr where I post my poetry, among other things
http://woolharvest.tumblr.com/

And this is where you can find music
https://soundcloud.com/cosmicdogslaughter
https://www.facebook.com/perfectnoise/
https://www.facebook.com/Bersinsuits-177282455759102/
https://www.facebook.com/jennyandthewitch/


NoDAPL and NoAOTM

Art, artist of the month, Uncategorized

By Jess Petrylak

In light of the recent events in North Dakota, Artist of the Month does not seem applicable in my eyes unless it features the work, feelings and livelihood of the Native American artist. With this in mind, I thought it would be appropriate to compile a small list that merely scratches the surface of historically significant artwork being produced by generations of Native artists.

If you are, or know of anyone that creates autobiographical work (visual art, music, writings, etc.) that is also of Indigenous heritage (no, not if you’re 1/26th), please email me at jess@suckermagazine.com. We would be more than honored to feature you and give your voice a platform.

And please, help support the Standing Rock Sioux by participating in one or more of the following:

  1. Call North Dakota governor Jack Dalrymple at 701-328-2200. When leaving a message stating your thoughts about this subject please be professional.

  2. Sign the petition to the White House to Stop DAPL: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/…/stop-construction…

  3. Donate to support the Standing Rock Sioux at http://standingrock.org/…/standing-rock-sioux-tribe…/

  4. Donate items from the Sacred Stone Camp Supply List: http://sacredstonecamp.org/supply-list/
  1. Call the White House at (202) 456-1111 or (202) 456-1414. Tell President Obama to rescind the Army Corps of Engineers’ Permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline.
  1. Contribute to the Sacred Stone Camp Legal Defense Fund: https://fundrazr.com/d19fAf
  2. Contribute to the Sacred Stone Camp gofundme account: https://www.gofundme.com/sacredstonecamp
  1. Call the Army Corps of Engineers and demand that they reverse the permit: (202) 761-5903
  2. Sign other petitions asking President Obama to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Here’s the latest to cross my desk – https://act.credoaction.com/sign/NoDAPL
  1. Call the executives of the companies that are building the pipeline:
    a. Lee Hanse Executive Vice President Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. 800 E Sonterra Blvd #400 San Antonio, Texas 78258 Telephone: (210) 403-6455 Lee.Hanse@energytransfer.com
    b. Glenn Emery Vice President Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. 800 E Sonterra Blvd #400 San Antonio, Texas 78258 Telephone: (210) 403-6762 Glenn.Emery@energytransfer.com
    c. Michael (Cliff) Waters Lead Analyst Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. 1300 Main St. Houston, Texas 77002 Telephone: (713) 989-2404 Michael.Waters@energytransfer.com– Jess Petrylak, Sucker Magazine’s Art Editor

 

 

Edmonia Lewis
(July 4, 1844 – September 17, 1907)

Edmonia Lewis was the first woman of African American and Native American (Mississauga Ojibwe) heritage to be recognized to achieve recognition and fame in the fine arts world. Through the stylization of neoclassical sculpture, Lewis incorporated themes relating to being a double minority in America. Lewis’ career began to emerge during the Civil War era.

edmonia-lewis-1

Edmonia Lewis

 

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Edmonia Lewis. Forever Free

 

Mavis Doering

(August 31, 1929 – 2007)

An esteemed basket weaver, Doering incorporated elements of traditional Cherokee basket techniques with her own personal flair. She had once stated, “Basket weaving offers many things to me and, as a third generation weaver. I strive to do the best job I can so that my people would be proud”. Doering made her baskets from scratch, collecting her own natural dyes, hulls and leaves in her home state of Oklahoma.

mavis-doering

Mavis Doering, Keeper of the Flame

 

Kenojuak Ashevak

(October 3, 1927 – January 8, 2013

Ashevak, a Native Canadian, is considered the most notable pioneer in modern Inuit art. After her father’s tragic death, Ashevak was taught traditional crafts by her mother and grandmother as a young child. Kenojuak Ashevak became one of the first Inuit women in Cape Dorset to begin drawing.

kenojuak-ashevak-1

Kenojuak Ashevak

 

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Kenojuak Ashevak, Timmiaruqsimajuq (Bird Woman Transformation)

 

Juanita Growing Thunder Fogarty

(1969 – present)

Juanita Growing Thunder Fogarty was born in Castro Valley, California, however, her family comes from the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, where Juanita spent much of her childhood. Juanita was taught the art of bead and quillwork by her mother, who is also an acclaimed artist and often collaborates with her daughter. Juanita’s work is very labor intensive, gathering nearly everything she utilizes.

juanita-growing-thunder-1

Juanita Growing Thunder Fogarty

 

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Juanita Growing Thunder Fogarty, Give Away Horses

 

Helen Cordero

(June 15, 1915 – July 24, 1994)

Cordero was a lifelong resident and traditional potter of Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico. She was renowned for her storyteller pottery figurines which were based upon the traditional “singing mother” motif. Cordero “followed a traditional way of life including digging her own clay and preparing her own pigments.” She used three types of clay, all sourced near her home of Cochiti Pueblo. Cordero’s work can be found in the Museum of International Folk Art and the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, the Heard Museum in Phoenix, and the Brooklyn Museum.

helen-cordero

Helen Cordero

 

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Helen Cordero, Cochiti Pueblo Storyteller with 14 Children

In Limbo

poetry, Uncategorized, Words
YOU ARE IN LIMBO, WILLING YOURSELF TO PULL ANSWERS OUT OF THE AETHER.
 cw34lukusaarxly
Cuts and bruises are a hazard of living with a human body. The skin can be cut or pierced or braised. It’s simultaneously a delicate and resilient organ – think of the viruses and bacteria your skin fends off every minute. Think of how your skin produces sweat to cool you down but bleeds easily, too.
What I’m saying is that you are porous and your walls are imperfect, and that is part of being human. When you woke up this morning, your first instinct was – but how ? You could debate that, numerically, the other candidate won, but our system is more complicated than this. You try to pull up some long- forgotten memory of high school, government class – the Electoral College was put in place to (attempt to) equalize representation. You remember discussing the difference between democracy and federal republic. You overlooked the truth that your country is still separated by segregation, that communities live in homogeneous spaces that lack diversity.
This race distorted and obscured reality with emotion and prejudice and was facilitated by people who aren’t forced to confront their insensitivity on a regular basis. In limbo somewhere, you will yourself to pull answers out of the aether. The truth is that a simple resolution doesn’t exist. Uncertainty weighs on you because you desperately want to know what will happen next.
The real injustice of this election is the blatant exploitation that allowed such a man to win. He tapped into the anger and frustration many working-class citizens feel – the inability to find fair work that will provide a decent quality of life for their families. He appealed to their fear of the unknown. In hard economic times, the promises of ruthless men are likely to be heard. You struggle with feeling angry at the people you know who voted for the antagonist. Some of them raised you. They heard a promise, and
they so desperately wished it were true. They are frustrated about bills despite the long hours they put in and the banks that are fat cats nobody can do anything about. They’re embarrassed and confused and ashamed. For you, reading this, you knew this man wasn’t going to help.
You have a right to hold friends and family accountable but please do talk to them. Tell the why they voted wrong. Talk about institutions that work in nuanced, barely perceptible ways to oppress people. Don’t forget that people who are struggling to put food on the table and work 60-hour weeks are exhausted. They don’t have the energy to be up-to-date with the current dialogues about sexual assault, race and sustainability. Many have never had someone encourage them to ask these questions before.
In some countries, a radical politician might be quickly and quietly “silenced.” Governments are run with a military dictator sitting in the high chair after a coup left the last president dead. The only programming on television is state-sanctioned, and journalists taking photos or writing articles about forbidden subjects face imprisonment and execution. I don’t say these things to say, look at all these other places that have it so much worse. I’m saying this because in these places live breathing people, and some of them are still doing incredible things. They refuse to let big business or corrupt politicians take their power away from them.
You are at work later this afternoon, and a coworkers’ voice cuts through the somber atmosphere and lonely din of shuffling papers, “if you’re not white, straight and male, you woke up today told that you don’t matter.”
Survival instinct is, however, another side-effect of being human. Taking back your own power, by no means, is easy but still necessary at the same time. This disaster of an election leaves you traumatized or lost. Uncertainty is an eerie emotion, a directionless posture where you stand with a gaping mouth trying in vain to articulate your thoughts. You think about rolling up the pride flag displayed in your window. Logically, this should’ve never happened. This man should not be leading a country, but you underestimate emotion and false promises. These thoughts are valid – allow yourself to feel them. Allow your friends to navigate their emotions, check-in with them, and when you’re ready, get back into the studio or practice space or your desk. Write, play music and paint. What I’m saying is – please don’t let this man take your power away from you.
-Jenn Endless

A New World Nightmare

Misc., Uncategorized, Words

A post-apocalyptic short story by Alyssa Campbell

Waking up in my bed has felt strange so many times, especially when I’ve forgotten that is where I was all along. I have fallen into these deep sleeps before, going through my day unaware of what was real and what was just a dream. When I have these awful nightmares, I try to keep them to myself, but this is one I had to share.

rapturtopfune

No one knew things would turn out this way; everyone was sure she was going to be better than the other candidate, who many had said would be like another Hitler. But they were wrong. Everything changed once she got into office, but no one was paying attention. It was the age of the “selfie;” technology shifted in a new direction, and sooner or later, everyone jumped ship. There were selfie sticks, filters that completely changed your appearance; no one wanted to look like their natural self anymore. Women and men were spending all of their money on makeup, making sure their contour was “lit” and their eyebrows were on “fleek.” 

There was a family that changed fashion forever, and soon, young girls were getting full-on plastic surgery to look a specific way, before they even started middle school. Vegans tried to make a difference, they tried to warn people to shop organic and stay away from GMO’s, but soon it didn’t matter, because everything was being labeled organic in the United States, even if it came from human DNA. Unfortunately, other countries fell into the same illusions. No one cared about the good of the planet; no one realized other forces were trying to get through and help us. Earth was constantly going through shifts, things were being revealed across the globe, people were coming together and standing up for what they believed in. 

Creatives were making art, music, literature, films, photography, and pornography, to capture these feelings and shifts they were experiencing. The bible described this period as the end of times, and the zombie stories became true, beginning with an app called “Pokemon Go.” People from all generations were playing, meeting up, walking to catch pokemon, staring at their phones. All while she was getting away with murder, a race war was taking place, police were targeting people of color, the government was trying to take away people’s rights to bear arms and enforce martial law. And that was only in America. 

People were dying all around the globe because of hate, greed, lust, and vanity. A generation war was also taking place around the world between millennials and everyone else, but mainly the baby boomers. As the earth’s energy continued to shift into a higher vibration, lower energy vibrations began to die out. Celebrities began to drop like wriggling, dying flies. One after another, people began calling them angels, saying they had served their purpose of helping the earth; a cleanse was happening and they couldn’t stay while it happened. One day, the only ones left on earth were the millennials, creatives, and empaths. 

They were the only ones who could withstand this new energy, left to bring in a new world. But along with this cleanse, everyone became renewed, meaning they had no knowledge of what happened or who they were. In preparation, a group called the Saeri, who were half alien, half human, were abducted by a group of aliens called the Oir until the cleanse on earth was complete. The Oir explained to the Saeri what was happening and why. They began by informing the Saeri that it had been the Oir all along, sending messages throughout time on Earth

They told them in order to help guide humans they had to create a story we could interpret, which is where religion came from, but that we began to focus on these things more than our actual experience on life, and the wellbeing of earth. Everything that was happening on earth was affecting the rest of the universe, which is why they had to step in. They explained that the former American presidential candidates were actually evil; they were from a different planet, trying to destroy the earth and create chaos. They wanted to steal the souls of human beings, keeping them trapped in this three-dimensional state of existence. There were celebrities who were angels, and celebrities who were fallen angels, but they were each placed on earth for a purpose, said the Oir. 

The celebrities were vessels, communicating messages from other worlds, but humans began to worship them, once again becoming more distracted from the bigger picture. The Saeri asked why they let Earth go on like this for so long, why the Oir hadn’t come sooner. That’s when it was explained how the Saeri came into being. 

They were a part of the Oir, but since Saeris were bound in a higher vibration; on earth they wouldn’t be recognized. This is why they were a hybrid, living a human experience. What went wrong? Well, when the Saeri were born they had gotten amnesia, therefore, they had to go through experiences others couldn’t relate to, they constantly felt abandoned, and alone. But they were the prophets; they were created with strong empathy and a flame that burned in them. Their mission was to break down the old ways. 

The Oir explained the true form of humans, with the earth in a higher dimension, humans would be able to access parts of their brain they never had before. They’d also be able to communicate through telepathy, they didn’t need to eat anymore, and there was no more hate or greed. There would be no God, the Oir explained. There was indeed a divine intelligence, but it was something that could not be perceived by human intellect. They didn’t want to make that mistake again, and humans would be able to understand more about this intelligence, because they would all feel a connection. 

People would be encouraged to continue to build this connection with the divine through deep meditation and eating a sacred mushroom. This would be the only time humans would need to eat. These mushrooms would constantly be supplied as a gift from the divine, so people wouldn’t have to worry about them ever running out. They would have an instant gateway; it would be there and they would realize their soul is eternal. These new times were what were once described as heaven on earth. 

There would be no more chaos and corruption. In the old world people weren’t in control of their desires; they weren’t taught to train their instincts, and therefore, they thought it was natural. In fact, it was the furthest thing from natural, and it was only a small part of the human experience, but not where other life was, in other worlds. This is why in the past it was considered a sin to lust; the Saeri would teach the humans how to be in control of their desires, how to feel light. After eating the mushroom and meeting with the higher intelligence, humans would feel the highest form of pleasure and would no longer desire pleasure from their physical bodies. 

Everyone would have an understanding that there was more to life, and there would be no promise of life in a kingdom after death. But there would be promise of fulfillment and purpose. The Oir also explained that fate was very real, and so was free will. Free will was given to all on earth, to see if humans would be able to figure things out as a collective; or if they would continue to remain asleep and let the world around them fall apart. Because of their failure, the Oir knew that humans needed a better understanding of how both free will and fate are necessary to the human experience. The divine intelligence knows no good or bad, but it was created to help teach humans right from wrong. 

The Saeri would also bring new technology to earth and humans would no longer work as slaves to a system that kept them blinded from their true purpose. There were different beings in the universe that wanted to experience life on Earth. They wanted to show themselves, but they were afraid. Now they would able to make their way onto to the planet, Earth would become a school for all lives in the universe. The goal would be to find ways to keep a supermassive black hole from swallowing the Earth. In order to do this, they would all need to work together and humans would be able to travel to different planets whenever they wanted. 

There was a lot that needed to be explained, and the Saeri were very patient; they too were upgraded, so they couldn’t feel any anger, even know they had just found out everything that had ever known was a lie. The Oir also told the Saeri the truth of the soul. That there was another half to each soul, living in a different realm. After this new transition was complete on earth, souls would be allowed to finally come together as one on earth, after this, no one would ever need to eat a magic mushroom, because they would become immortal. Once immortal, they would be able to visit the divine intelligence by simply hoping for it to happen. They would be able to manifest things like magic. 

Earth would become like it had never been. Before the Oir let the Saeri go back to earth to begin their new life, they told them they were sorry. They knew a lot had to be done in order to bring in change, but “it was all a part of the process,” they said. In the past they had to respect people’s free will and couldn’t communicate at all, and it wasn’t until they created the Saeri that they were able to find a way to help earth. They told the Saeri not be upset with the divine intelligence, but Saeri had no anger in them at all. They felt at ease knowing they hadn’t been crazy this entire time: they were actually the ones who were sane all along.

Louise Chantal is in Control

Uncategorized

Interview by Kayla Gutierrez

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Sucker: Who is Louise Chantal?

Louise Chantal: I’m a singer, songwriter, creative director, and entrepreneur from London, living in the NYC area.

Sucker:  Who or what are some of your musical inspirations?

LC: I’m inspired by so many people in different genres for different reasons. One person that inspired me vocally to grow and push myself, and accomplish as much as I can is Whitney Houston. Beyonce also continues to inspire me as an outstanding boss of her brand and talent as well. Her work ethic is unmatched in my eyes and I would like to strive to be the same way with an uncompromising devotion to my craft.

Sucker: What is your creative process?

LC: Each song has a very different story. Some of the songs on my project, I wrote without hearing instrumentation first and other songs I wrote to instrumentation. The biggest evolution in my creative process from the time I started writing and recording my EP to now is that I am much more involved in the musical production. I really wasn’t an executive producer outside of funding my project when I first began recording songs, but by the end of the project I was heavily involved in music production, not just the songwriting, vocal production, and arrangements of the voice. A big portion of that growth I think I can credit to working with producers that were far more experienced in the industry than me. Syience, who executive produced the project with me, always encouraged me to think and speak for myself. Once I began doing that wholeheartedly, I gained a lot more confidence in myself.

Sucker: What kind of messages do you want to convey through your music?

LC: I would like to convey honest messages. Many of my songs promote feminism and anti-patriarchal concepts because that’s who I am, but then I also have a few songs in which I’m hopeless romantic. All of the emotions I have written about are things that I’ve experienced and battled with. I have experienced men who made me feel like shit, made me feel absolutely horrible about myself, and it’s bigger than intimacy or relationships for me, it goes way back to my childhood up to now and witnessing how society isn’t structured to uplift or celebrate the woman of color. And in this album I’m talking about how I had to find myself, and find out what I loved about me, and why I was special, and why I didn’t need a man to define my worth. My life stories I haven’t share in the Welcome to Aranbi EP. I shared stories of the many women in me.

The emotions are really what I care about. Cry, cry, cry but then you have to move the fuck on. That’s my music. There’s a lot of sadness behind it, I feel that’s the core. There’s other happier songs, but for the most part I wrote about men that didn’t want me to know my worth or think that I was smart enough to be excellent, outstanding, or powerful alone. It was more to their advantage and ego to make me feel small. In this project, I said fuck that.

Sucker: At what age did you start singing?

LC: I was 12 years old, a point in my life where the world I thought I belonged to shifted drastically. I went from a very diverse public school to an all white private school. The way I viewed myself and my value flipped completely. But in the midst of all the sadness that came that year, I fought for a music career, and joined a production company. I wrote and recorded two EP’s, and a mixtape with them, and we created really great things. Years later I’m here, with my own company, having fun and doing it my way.

 

Sucker: Where do you see yourself in five years?

LC: I get that question quite a bit. Hopefully in five years – I’ve done three albums. If it doesn’t work out that way, it’s okay. But hopefully, I’ve done a few albums and I’ve become the creative director of a fashion brand. Maybe I’ll have had a role in a move or guest starred in a TV show. Hopefully my charity has expanded its outreach globally. That would be most amazing. And I’ve toured the world a few times.

Sucker: How do you want your fans to perceive you?

LC: As a business woman that is passionate about what I do. I love my supporters because they understand that about me. They understand that I’m here to change the world through art. I want them to know that I have an uncompromising attitude and devotion when it comes to my work. There is a lot of negative stereotypes about women in the industry, obviously bred by misogyny. They want to promote these messages that women aren’t intelligent enough, aren’t powerful enough to be successful without selling their bodies to a man in power. I hate that shit. I want my fans to know that I’m in control of my shit. No one in the ‘Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is’ music video told me, ‘Oh I want you to wear this or I want you to pretend to be that’, everything you see in my content is what I wanted. I’m very much involved, I’m very much in control. There is no one telling me what to do and I’m proud of that and I think it’s important that my supporters know this isn’t been repackaged by a man.

In the PYMWMYI music video I made some people uncomfortable. Uncomfortable to the point where they felt the need to write in the comments ‘oh I wonder who she fucked to get to the top,’ or ‘go back to the strip club’ or ‘slut slut slut.’ If a man puts 100 strippers in his music video, he’s the man. He’s a God. It’s never going to be oh I wonder how many women he had sex with to get where he is because they have all the power and they keep it in their circle. But if embrace my sexuality or look a little too confident in my sex appeal, I get 3,000 comments reducing me down to object. Stripper or no stripper, I’m made out to be an object. I’ll take the backlash in a heartbeat and just do what the fuck I want to do. That’s who I am. That’s who I am going to remain throughout my career, a woman that is unapologetic and willing to make people uncomfortable.

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Sucker: How have you ever experienced sexism first-hand? What changes need to happen to end sexism?

LC: I don’t know how I could be alive in this world as a woman as color, and not have experienced sexism. I could rant on and on about how people undermine on my capabilities or what I can achieve because I’m a woman. But at this point for me it’s about changing the program and what is promoted through the media. The idea that women have to have sex with men in order to achieve career success. The messages that say being in control as woman isn’t sexy. The messages that are promoted through the media must change.

Sucker: Is there anyone you want to collaborate with?

LC: Princess Nokia, I really like her a lot, and I really like what she has stands for in and outside of her music; the messages she promotes. Her entire life story is really inspirational. I’d also like to work with Drake one day.

Sucker: Do you believe personal relationships go with professional business?

LC: Business is always first priority for me, but I tend to become very close to the people I work with continuously. Some of my best friends are people I work with regularly. For that reason I’ve learned about the importance of knowing and respecting boundaries. I once had a friendship in past that became too multi-dimensional. There were no boundaries or moments alone, too much became intertwined. I learned a lot from that relationship and the outcome was sad. But with time and experience I’ve learned how to navigate my business life and my personal life and how to always keep them separate to a certain extent.

Sucker: Many artists claim that motherhood is not a good combination with their life’s work, do you see yourself being maternal in the near future along with balancing your career or solely dedicated to the music?

LC: I’m so in love with me and what I do professionally. All of my siblings have kids. I have so much work I have to get done, and I don’t think a kid would make that any easier for me due to first hand experience babysitting. You need time to be a parent, I don’t have the time or wisdom at this stage in my life to become one for sure.

Sucker: Who has been the most supportive to you through your journey as an artist?

LC: Probably my dad, I’ll give my dad that one.

Sucker: Is there more in life you want to accomplish than music?

LC: Absolutely. I already see myself and my brand as being bigger than music. I want to change the world and I think it will take multiple mediums in order for me to change how kids learn, how the world thinks and I’ll start with music, but I will definitely be branching out. I have a passion for business, branding and market. , I feel there’s so many ways for me to grow as mogul, as an entrepreneur. I love music, but I will definitely be taking advantage of every opportunity to do so much more.

Sucker: With growing movements such as Black Lives Matter, will fans see you spreading activism, will it be in your music?

LC: I definitely feel as though I am an activist through my music and my words, but I am planning to really take things to the next level by launching the Aranbi Foundation in November. At this point in my life, actions are really speaking even louder than words for me and that’s why I’ve begun taking initiatives to become active in the inner city communities that are being targeted the most by a flawed criminal justice system.

Sucker: What is music to you?

LC: Music is the one place where I can say whatever the fuck I want. I can just say what I feel, and I can just cry on a song, and I speak my mind with no dialogue, and no conversation, just me and the world that I created in pain and isolation. Aranbi is me in my head.

Sucker: What is one place you know for certain that you can go for peace and quiet?

LC: My dad’s place. He’s so calm, relaxed, and open minded. I love that about him. I feel so loved in the presence of my father, and enjoy spending all of my time with him. Another place I love going is to the beach.

Sucker: What advice to you have for young aspiring artists?

LC: Don’t underestimate your value, don’t allow anyone other than you to determine what you can or cannot do. Don’t underestimate your ability to think for yourself. Finding yourself and then believing in who you are is key.