african-inspired

Yall realize the black panther movie is going to be the most aesthetically pleasing and visually colorful superhero movie ever made. Did you see the costumes? The set pieces? The background? The natural scenery? That futurist uncolonized african inspired wonderland? Plus the most beautiful cast to ever be filmed in front of a camera, now and forever. 

once again people of tumblr let’s spread the word.

the brand didn’t give credit for their inspiration and i wouldn’t call it just inspiration since they are identical.

what is worse is the fact that they claim it to be of “african-inspiration”. confusing romanian and african culture is offensive for both cultures because they have different characteristics.

also, when we tried to reach them, they deleted comments on the brand’s facebook page.

THIS IS A PIECE OF ROMANIAN HISTORY, TRADITION AND CULTURE AND YOU CAN’T CALL IT YOURS.

there are romanian designers who have more rights to use traditional inspiration and they struggle with their collections and then here comes the big brands using cultures around the world to make money.

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COUTURE CLASH - models: Kiara Kabukuru, Ling Tan & Debra Shaw - photographer: Peter Lindbergh - fashion editor/stylist: Grace Coddington - hair: Odie Gilbert - makeup: Stephane Marais - Vogue April 1997

featured designer: Christian Dior by John Galliano1998 Collection

The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth

Photo:  Juneteenth day celebration in Texas. 1900. 

Juneteenth is one of the most important events in our nation’s history. On “Freedom’s Eve” or the eve of January 1, 1863 the first Watch Night services took place. On that night, enslaved and free African Americans gathered in churches and private homes all across the country awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation had taken effect.

At the stroke of midnight, prayers were answered as all enslaved people in the Confederate States were declared legally free. Union soldiers, many of whom were black, marched onto plantations and across cities in the south reading small copies of the Emancipation Proclamation spreading the news of freedom.

But not everyone in Confederate territory would immediately be free. Even though the Emancipation Proclamation was made effective in 1863, it could not be implemented in places still under Confederate control. This meant that in the westernmost Confederate state of Texas, enslaved people would not be free until much later. On June 19, 1865 that changed, when enslaved African Americans in Galveston Bay, TX were notified by the arrival of some 2,000 Union troops that they, along with the more than 250,000 other enslaved black people in the state, were free by executive decree.

Photo:  Publishers throughout the North responded to a demand for copies of Lincoln’s proclamation and produced numerous decorative versions including this engraving by R. A. Dimmick in 1864. National Museum of American History, gift of Ralph E. Becker. 

The post-emancipation period known as Reconstruction (1865-1877) marked an era of great hope, uncertainty, and struggle for the nation as a whole. Formerly enslaved people immediately sought to reunify families, establish schools, run for political office, push radical legislation and even sue slaveholders for compensation. This was nothing short of amazing! Not even a generation out of enslavement, African Americans were inspired and empowered to completely transform their lives and their country.

In my opinion, Juneteenth (as that day was called by the freed enslaved people in Texas) marks our country’s second independence day. Though it has long been celebrated among the African American community it is a history that has been marginalized and still remains largely unknown to the wider public.

The historical legacy of Juneteenth shows the value of deep hope and urgent organizing in uncertain times. The National Museum of African American History and Culture is a community space where that spirit can continue to live on – where histories like this one can surface, and new stories with equal urgency can be told.


Tsione Wolde-Michael is the Writer/Editor for the Office of Curatorial Affairs, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. She is also a Doctoral Candidate in History at Harvard University.

Research:Large to Small Scale, Avoiding Homogenizing East Asian Cultures, & Paralleling Regions Appropriately

I’m currently working on a project set in a secondary world, but with nations that roughly correspond to major cultures in our world. 

By that I mean I’m trying to create amalgamations of cultural groups. For example, one country corresponds to Germanic cultures, one to Celtic, one to Mediterranean. There are, so far, also countries that correspond to Eastern Asia - a mixture of Japanese, Chinese and Korean, mainly - South America, “Arab countries” and so on. My first question, in that regard, would be whether or not this concept - creating a “vibe” that reads Eastern Asian, for example, but is not one specific culture - is offensive and if it is, what I can do to solve it. 

The project I’m working on makes use of so called FaceClaims, which means that, for example, actors are used to represent fictional characters. If I based the country on China alone, then I could only use Chinese FCs and would thus greatly limit the representation. A solution I thought of was to have each country be inofficially split up in itself, so the “East Asian” country would have a “Chinese” region, a “Korean” region and so on.
Secondly, I have a desert region that I thought would be nice for an “African” (I am very much aware that there is no such thing as an “African culture”, so bear with me) cultural group. For this “country”, I thought of a loose union between different nations of people. There, I’m stuck - should I choose one region in Africa, let’s say West Africa, and base each nation on one specific peoples there? Or should I create my own “African-inspired” cultures? Or should I choose cultures from all around Africa and base a nation on each?

My third question goes along a similar line: The “cultures” I have chosen for the countries are by far not all there are in the world. There is no country for Native Americans, for example, none for South-Eastern Asians (unless I integrate them with my “India”), no Central Asian, etc. I know it is impossible to include all cultures there are in the world, but how do I choose which ones to represent in a concept like mine? I don’t want to exclude them, but I simply cannot create as many countries as there are cultural groups.

One possible solution I thought of specifically refers to Jewish people, since I feel it is important to represent them more in fantasy writing. My current idea was to have their story go similar to that of our world: Exile, long travels, and a split into groups, one of which would be the Ashkenazim, living somewhere near the Germanic country, and the other would be the Sephardim, which I imagined to live in between the “Arab” and “African” country, in a semi-autonomous city-state. But is it offensive to adapt what happened to the Jewish people in a secondary world or should I make it so that they have a more positive past and life, no exile like there was in our world? As far as I know, the exile is an important part of Jewish identity and cultural understanding, but I thought I’d ask anyway.

I’m going to preface this that some of this wording might sound very harsh, but I recognize you are genuinely asking out of a place of respect but you just aren’t sure what the best way to respect the world’s diversity is. The problem is it’s still not quite respectful enough, and shows sometimes glaring ignorance of nuances in the region.

I would also like to remind people that just because your exact question hasn’t been answered to the full scope you’re looking at, doesn’t mean you can’t get an answer as a whole. For example, we’ve discussed the concept of how and when to mix different cultures in the East Asian tag. Shira will cover your questions regarding Jewish representation below. 

However, I’m going to specifically tackle this from a research and worldbuilding perspective, primarily talking about a history of forced homogenization and how to avoid recreating colonialism/imperialism.

Notes on Language and False Equivalences

For starters, basically all of these groups are too broad. By a long shot. Either they flatten sometimes dozens to thousands of cultures (“Native American country” is in the thousands, “West Africa” is in the hundreds, “China, Japan, Korea” is in the dozens, if not hundreds, same deal with India). This language use makes people pretty uncomfortable, because it implies that the basis is stereotypes. It implies you haven’t done research, or, at least, haven’t done enough. When discussing nuance, it’s best to imply you understand there is nuance— like you did with Africa and Jewish culture, but neglected to do everywhere else.

You also go very broad with all non-European cultures, but narrow down a general homogeneous part for your European analogues, by picking Germanic and Celtic.

This double standard is something that is exactly what we try to draw attention to at WWC: to our ears, it sounds like “I’m taking Germanic peoples for Europe, but I’m going to mix three East Asian countries because those two regions have the equivalent amount of sameness that I can pass it off.”

While that sounds specific to just you, it’s not. We’ve received this type of question dozens of times in the past and it’s a general cultural attitude we’ve faced lots and lots and lots of times. Western society makes you think the equivalence is equal, because they’ve flattened all non-European countries with the single broadest brush, but it’s not.

I would also caution you on relying on media images for face claims, because media images only represent the idealized version of beauty. We’ve written multiple description guides that point out how much variety exists within all ethnic groups and how people seeing us as all the same is a microaggression.

You are right that you can’t tackle all of the world’s diversity into your worldbuilding, because, well, there is so much. The core of your question is basically how to narrow it down, which is what I’m going to tackle.

My suggestion is twofold: 

  1. Research big, top level things, over a few centuries— namely, keep track of empires that have tried to take over places and look at what groups Western society lumps together when it spreads multiple regions.
  2. Build small with a focus on a very specific place and group— namely, pick the smallest possible region you can and see what you have to build from there.

Researching Big

Researching big helps you catch what not to flatten, or at least, where flattening might be reinforcing situations that a government perpetuated. I’m going to focus on East Asia since that’s the bulk of your question, and it’s also where I’ve spent some time worldbuilding. The principles apply to all groups you’re trying to research.

East Asia— namely Japan, Korea, and China, although that is an oversimplification itself— is composed of two empires: China and Japan. This makes homogenization extremely risky because you’re touching two nerves of countries trying to take over in very recent history.

China has taken over a very large swath of land over centuries, and still has independence fights to this day from their recent history. As a result, they have both a roughly overreaching culture because the empire is so old, and a very fractured culture with over 50 recognized ethnic groups. When you think of “Chinese” you usually think of the dominant Han Chinese, but because of its old empire roots you can get a giant variety. In modern day, some provinces have kept their individual culture, while others have been part of China for so long there is a general “sameness” to them that can capture the flare you want.

Japan’s imperialism is similarly recent, only ending in 1947, and it left wounds across the Pacific (including Korea, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Malaysia). Many of their actions are classified as war crimes. They’ve also erased their own Indigenous population by insisting only one ethnicity lived in the country. Both of these factors make mixing Japan into an “East Asian” mix tricky. Japan’s culture, while heavily impacted by China and Korea, is pretty distinct because of its island status.

Big research also lets you see the neighbouring areas at a time borders might not have been the same. For example, in the 1600s, China was much smaller because the Manchu External Expansion hadn’t happened yet. As a result, places we now think of as “Chinese” actually weren’t, and you’ll have to account for these differences in your worldbuilding. You can determine this by looking up historical maps/empires, which might require book research (libraries are wonderful).

This does not mean you can ignore recent history, however. Because the story is set in modern day, people will be viewing it through a modern lens. You need to research both the modern and the historical context in order to understand how to go about crafting a respectful world.

So that’s stuff you would’ve discovered by big research. By tracking empire movements, you can see where old wounds are and what historical contexts exist within whatever region you’re pulling from. If you take North America, you can see how each individual tribe is cast aside in favour of settler stories; in Africa, you can see how multiple empires wanted to plunder the land and didn’t care who it was; in the Middle East, you can see both the recent military involvement, the historical Ottomans, and the historical Persians.

Build Small

You can also see what empires influenced their regions for long enough to create a similar-ish culture throughout multiple regions, which can help you extract the essence you’re looking for. I would add a very large caution to only do this for historical empires where those who suffered under the regime are not fighting in present day/ have living memory of it (such as incorporating too much of England, France, or Spain in the Americas, along with the two examples above).

Now you can build small. If you wanted to give a sense of, say, coastal China with a heavy amount of trade, you can pick a major port city in China and figure out the pluralism in relation to that city. What parts identify it as Chinese (architecture, governance, food, general religious practices— folklore changes by region, but the general gist of practices can remain similar enough to get a vibe), and what parts are borrowed from a distinct enough culture they’re noticeably different?

By going from a city level, you can imply pluralism by throwing in asides of differences “out there” that shows you’ve thought about it, without cramming your world full of cultures you can’t fit in the plot. You can then also narrow down what to include based on map proximity: if there’s an easy sea or land path to an Egyptian analogue, you’re probably going to at least hint at it. This is a known historical trade, btw. Egyptian blue and Han purple are made of similar substances, pointing to an ancient cultural link.

You can research this by simply googling the country and looking under its history in Wikipedia. If you look up “China”, you can see “Imperial Unification” as one of its history points. “Japan” similarly gets you the Meiji period. Turkey shows the Ottoman empire. You can also look up “empires in [region]” that will give you a similar overview. This even works for places you don’t think have historical empires, such as North America (the pre-colonization section notes several).

This also is a starting place for what the borders would’ve been during any given time period, and gives you places to potentially factor in military involvement and recent strife. This is where modern research comes in handy, because you can get an idea of what that strife looked like.

Hope this gives you an idea how to go about worldbuilding a diverse population, and how to avoid paralleling recent wounds. 

~ Mod Lesya

Regarding Your Jewish Characters

I think it’s valid to reflect our real history in fantasy although if you dwell too much on the suffering aspects and not the “richly varied cultural traditions” aspects you’ll probably lose some of us because suffering-porn written from the outside gets old fast (if you’re Jewish yourself you 200% have the right to write this, of course.) Human Jewish characters living in pockets in fake-northern-Europe and fake-Mediterranea and fake-North-Africa (or even Fake China and Fake India; we’re there, too) is actually injecting some well-needed historical accuracy back into a genre that’s been badly whitewashed, gentilewashed, etc by imagining a Europe where nobody but white gentiles existed until they conveniently popped into existence during whatever era the writer thinks is appropriate.

In other words, if your fake Germany has a Jewish neighborhood in its largest city, that’s a way of making pseudo-European fantasy more realistic and less -washy, and is overall a good move, despite the fact that the destruction of the temple is the reason we were in Germany in the first place. (I mean… it’s not like you’re planning on sitting there writing about Tisha b'Av itself, right? You don’t have to say “And the reason there are Jews here is because a bazillion years ago, we wound up getting scattered” just to have Jews.)

By the way, having myself written secondary-world fantasy where entire countries, plural, get to be majority-Jewish, and 100% free of on-screen antisemitism, I think both ways are valid.

–Shira

footwearnews.com
‘The Walking Dead’ Costume Designer Reveals How the Women Survive the Zombie Apocalypse
The AMC drama’s season 7 finale airs tonight.
By Charlie Carballo

Throughout the show’s run there have been subtle changes in wardrobe styles for the characters. For katana-wielding Michonne’s introduction in season 3, actress Danai Gurira’s heroine was equipped with a boot that symbolized strength.

“Michonne has lots of studs on her boot in the beginning — that was all a part of the plan, but Danai, in real life, wanted something more comfortable for her knees,” she said. “So I covered her sneakers — a hiking boot covered with a leather boot topper so it makes it look like boots, but it’s really not.

Gurira’s customized footwear now features buckles and straps.

“With her, especially, everything she’s wearing is on purpose,” Womble added.“When you see her coming, you’re like, ‘oh s**t, maybe you don’t want to mess with this one.’ She looks like she’ll take you out — it’s like a warning. If you see her in the apocalypse, you’re going to be afraid.”

Womble said that designing for Michonne ‘s season 4 flashback scene is among her favorite style moments.

“She was a lawyer before she became Michonne, the warrior,” Womble explained. “When you go back in time and she’s a mom, with a baby and in a fancy apartment with artwork. I wanted her to look like an African princess,”Womble said, adding that she took inspiration from Gurira’s Zimbabwean ancestry. “I made things that were soft. It was very African-inspired. It was so beautiful and orange. Because it was a dream [sequence], I enhanced it and made it more fancy than anything you would have on in the house.”

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Ending prom season with a mini collection inspired by the woman who started it all. With her African inspired prom dress designer Kyemah Mcentrye set the record for many African Americans to feel beautiful & comfortable in their own skin. Taking our culture into prom season and making it the most epic prom season of all time. I present to you Prom16: Cultural Appreciation By:Yashara Hynes

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Beyoncé wearing a gown designed by Peter Dundas, taking inspiration from  African goddess Oshun, at the Grammy Awards on February 12th, 2017. 

Ecstasy of Saint Teresa by Bernini, located at Cornaro Chapel, Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome. Completed in 1652. 

anonymous asked:

headcanons about Day Court?

I have so many head canons oh my lord. I’ve done so much world building for the Day Court you guys would be proud of me. I’m just going to start talking, honestly, so it’s not really in any order. 

Deserts. Day Court is mostly deserts, but they do have cities and small towns scattered everywhere. I head canon about three major cities (one where Helion lives, and then the other two), and then smaller towns and communities everywhere else. I also see rivers and lakes but not a lot. If you look up different Africa small houses and huts (is it not canon that Day Court is African inspired? It is now. This is Renanon) that’s what I picture for the Day Court towns and communities and such like that. 

For the large cities, palaces and buildings made of sunstone (looked it up. It’s actually a thing) and glass. And I think Day Court would have a few gardens. But Helion (and his wife/mate/High Lady, quote me on it) live in the main palace,  which is larger than the other two in the other two cities. There are royal families in the other two major cities. 

While we’re talking about the royal families I do have clothes in mind. Togas are only for formal events (dinners, meetings, etc.), but normally Day Court Fae wear traditional Ethiopian/Nigerian/Kenyan garbs (my mother’s family originates from Kenya and Ethiopia and one of my friends is Nigerian). 

Example: 

But when it comes to the High Lady and/or princesses and queens they would wear something like this: 

For the ones who live out in the desert, they wear more covering clothing to protect them from the sand and sun. Which could include turbans and other headpieces. 

Headpieces for the royal families/people living in the big cities would look like this:

There is also body paint, which would be worn at any sort of celebration or traditional dinners or meetings like the High Lord Meeting in ACOWAR. Helion would typically wear it as well his wife, which he 100% has, and his Council. Anyone else can wear it too, it’s all about their traditions (again look up Ethiopian, Nigerian, and Kenyan. West African for a broader search)

Cuisine wise it’s best if you look up Ethiopian, Nigerian, and Kenyan dishes. Because I can go on for a while. Everyone do yourselves a favor and try some of these foods they are SO GOOD but that’s not the point of this post. I can’t go off about all the different dishes, but looking them up is a very fun experience so I would go for it! Have fun. Just don’t do it while hungry. 

For festive events right now I have two in mind. Which is the Day Court equivalents of Starfall and Calanmai. I don’t really have names for them yet but the Starfall equivalent is the day where it’s the hottest and the sun doesn’t go away, even at night, and it’s a cause for celebration as well. Everyone in Day Court celebrates this day, no work, no jobs, it’s a day off. And it’s a symbol of hope to them because the sun will always shine, no matter what. And then the Calanmai equivalent is a day where Helion’s magic gets stronger. I don’t really know how to explain this since I’m still working on this in… something (hint: its Helion centric) I’m writing but it’s also the day Helion was crowned High Lord and it’s been on that day ever since. 

There’s also the equivalent (but not really) to the Spring Court Tithe. Which is where the smaller towns and communities and the big cities do an exchange. Money for food and crops and other goods. It keeps their economy pretty equal and well balanced and everyone is fed and has a good life. 

When it comes to weapons Day Court mostly uses spears, but they do have swords and long blades and all of those other things. But the guards and most soldiers first weapon of choice would be a spear and maybe a bow and arrow depending on the person. 

When it comes to powers Day Court powers mostly include the sun and the sand. Do with that as you will. 

I think that’s about all my headcanons that I can really remember on the top of my head. When I finally finish writing what I have planned (yes I have like a thousand things planned and no time to actually do them) you guys will get a pretty good look at the Day Court. I am very proud of the world building I have done.