Today, the 70th day of this nightmare, some may wonder why we have yet to stop – to stop chanting, stop marching, stop occupying .
But we have not yet found peace because we do not yet know justice. Therefore we, together with our allies, will continue to occupy the streets and the American consciousness until the book is closed.
—  An American Horror Story: An Open Letter from Ferguson Protesters and Allies (Oct. 17)
An Open Letter to Junya Watanabe

What the fuck, dude? 

I will never understand fashion’s obsession with Blackness, and outright avoidance of Black people. 

In today’s What The Fashion news, Junya Watanabe presented an “African-inspired” (as problematic as that is on its own) without so much as a tan model in the bunch, let alone African. Maybe South African. 

Of course, if you follow fashion (and pay attention), you know this is a trend. Magazines (particularly Vogue and its various iterations) love taking inspiration from a hodge podge of African and “tribal” cultures and putting them on white bodies.

Or, you know, outright putting models in Blackface. 

When you’re a Black person into fashion, every new instance grows less surprising, but somehow, each one stings even more than the last. It’s not as if Black models don’t exist. It’s not as if you couldn’t find Black models if you wanted to: One only has to venture into a hashtag on Instagram to find a myriad of beautiful women of all races. So, what’s the excuse? Why do so many brands and designers love playing with Blackness but not actually allowing Black people to join in? 

I’m asking you, Junya. Not just because you’re the most recent offender, but because unlike most that make this out of touch misstep, you’re a person of color yourself.

Why? 

Why are you lumping all African cultures into one aesthetic? Why are you excluding those that are actually a part of and descended from those cultures? Why are you contributing to the idea that whiteness is the only ideal? Why are you so brazenly appropriating an aesthetic that is so much more than bright beads and braids? Why? 

This isn’t subversive. Putting icons of African cultures on lily white boy models is not new, exciting, or unique. There is a long, long, long history of sacred symbols being stolen, repurposed and repackaged with little thought to the original meaning and context. You’ve seen it with your own culture, with the constant hypersexualization and inaccurate characterization of what it means to be Japanese, a geisha, “kawaii,” and a whole host of other things that people with no ties to Japan have picked and chosen to don as costumes. Does it not hurt to see your own roots ripped and replanted so viciously? Then why do it to us? 

In Ferguson, a wound bleeds. For 108 days, we have been in a state of prolonged and protracted grief. In that time, we have found community with one another, bonding together as family around the simple notion that our love for our community compels us to fight for our community. We have had no choice but to cling together in hope, faith, love, and indomitable determination to capture that ever-escaping reality of justice.

After 108 days, that bleeding wound has been reopened, salt poured in, insult added to the deepest of injury. On August 9th, we found ourselves pushed into unknown territory, learning day by day, minute by minute, to lead and support a movement bigger than ourselves, the most important of our lifetime. We were indeed unprepared to begin with, and even in our maturation through these 108 days, we find ourselves reinjured, continually heartbroken, and robbed of even the remote possibility of judicial resolution. A life has been violently taken before it could barely begin. In this moment, we know, beyond any doubt, that no one will be held accountable within the confines of a system to which we were taught to pledge allegiance. The very hands with which we pledged that allegiance were not enough to save Mike in surrender.

Once again, in our community, in our country, that pledge has returned to us void.

For 108 days, we have continuously been admonished that we should “let the system work,” and wait to see what the results are.

The results are in.

And we still don’t have justice. This fight for the dignity of our people, for the importance of our lives, for the protection of our children, is one that did not begin Michael’s murder and will not end with this announcement. The ‘system’ you have told us to rely on has kept us on the margins of society. This system has housed us in her worst homes, educated our children in her worst schools, locked up our men at disproportionate rates and shamed our women for receiving the support they need to be our mothers. This system you have admonished us to believe in has consistently, unfailingly, and unabashedly let us down and kicked us out, time and time again.

This same system in which you’ve told us to trust –this same system meant to serve and protect citizens– has once again killed two more of our unarmed brothers: Walking up a staircase and shot down in cold blood, we fight for Akai Gurley; Playing with a toy after police had been warned that he held a bb gun and not a real gun at only twelve years old, we fight for Tamir Rice.

So you will likely ask yourself, now that the announcement has been made, why we will still take to the streets? Why we will still raise our voices to protect our community? Why will still cry tears of heartbreak and sing songs of determination?

We will continue to struggle because without struggle, there is no progress.

We will continue to disrupt life, because without disruption we fear for our lives.

We will continue because Assata reminds us daily that “it is our duty to fight for freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and support one another. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”


Those chains have bound us-all of us- up for too long. And do not be mistaken- if one of us is bound, we all are. We are, altogether, bound up in a system that continues to treat some men better than others. A system that preserves some and disregards others. A system that protects the rights of some and does not guard the rights of all.

And until this system is dismantled, until the status quo that deems us less valuable than others is no longer acceptable or profitable, we will struggle. We will fight. We will protest.

Grief, even in its most righteous state, cannot last forever. No community can sustain itself this way.

So we still continue to stand for progress, and stand alongside anyone who will make a personal investment in ending our grief and will take a personal stake in achieving justice.

We march on with purpose. The work continues. This is not a moment but a movement. The movement lives.

One day.
One day your name won’t come up in my conversations anymore, not even in obscure phrases like “you know who”, and if it did, hearing it won’t cause my stomach to twist painfully.
I won’t wake up and replay the memories of our last conversation as if it were a movie that I could recite every line to.
You won’t be in my mind. It’ll be freeing, because I will no longer have the burden of your bittersweet love burning in my thoughts and my heart will no longer be heavy.
I’ll run into you again. You’ll say hi and ask me how I’m doing, though the small talk will be dreadfully awkward. For a split second, you’ll probably think I’m still the same naive girl that was so wrapped up in you, until you see my fingers intertwined with his. I promise it will burn, knowing there’s another man, but I’ll be so deep into his love that your comfort will be the very last thing on my mind. Seeing you will make me reminisce on the nights I spent in my room wondering how I could win you over, but…
…One day.
One day you’ll be just another memory.

This is an open letter to my fans

Yesterday I went on the last hike of my twenties. I turn 30 today (I know I can’t believe it either!). While hiking, I thought about how I could explain my 20s. Life changing, hard, happy, heartbreaking, magical, wild, and fun! 

Some of those years were tough. Really tough. 

I realized though, that I feel stronger than I’ve ever been in my life. I’ve learned so much! While hiking, there is this crazy part where I always feel like I’m gonna slide right down, so I turned to my husband in front of me and said, “Wait, u have to help me.” He said, “Just put your whole foot down,” and he was right, I did it! On my own. He watched me, supported me and KNEW I could do it, and i couldn’t be more grateful for him (it was just a couple steps, but for real). I can fully look back and say I’m so proud of myself and everything I’ve accomplished thus far.

So I have to say I am ready to step confidently into my 30s and rock it! Thank you all for always supporting me through the good and the bad. And my family for the endless love and support. I like to spend my days saying “hello” more so than saying “goodbye.” So hello 30, I’m ready for ya ;)

Love,

Ashley

aka #TheHauteMess

Dear Supernatural, We’re Breaking Up: An Open Letter

[CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR ALREADY AIRED EPISODES]

Dear Supernatural,

When you killed Charlie Bradbury in “Dark Dynasty,” that was when I knew it was over.

Sure, we’ve had our problems over the years, and until now I’d been willing to put up with your many faults- no show is perfect, after all. You still had enough good qualities to keep me interested and entertained. I still considered you my favorite. We may not have had the best relationship, but I believed in where we could go together.

I don’t believe that anymore. Killing Charlie was unforgivable. It crossed a line that I wasn’t sure existed for us. But every good relationship has boundaries and it turns out that this is mine.

I want you to know that the reason I’m leaving you isn’t just the fact that you killed Charlie. I’m more upset with how and why she died and most upset at what her death represents and what it reveals about the true nature of our relationship.

Charlie is killed literally seconds after she has fulfilled her purpose as resident nerd by uploading the code she has just cracked. Now that she’s presumably saved Dean’s life by doing what nobody else could do, she is disposed of. For some reason, she’s left with only a knife to defend herself, even though we know she’s skilled with a gun. She is gutted, off screen, presumably with her own knife, by a man associated with Hitler’s Nazis, and left a bloody heap in the bathtub for Sam and Dean to find and cry over. A horrible death.

But why would you send Charlie off on her own in the first place? Charlie is smart. She has survived on her own since she was a teenager and for the past three years has grown familiar with the dangers of being a hunter. Since discovering the Book of the Damned, the Styne family- men she acknowledges as being very skilled and dangerous- have been tracking her and trying to kill her. She knows it’s not safe out there.

And what excuse do you give me for why Charlie left on her own? You tell me she was incapable of being in the same room with another woman whom she thought was annoying. She was hard at work, trying to save her best friend’s life, but she can’t handle Rowena (who wasn’t even being that annoying) who is also working toward the same goal? And then even when Cas, more babysitter (for two grown women!) than bodyguard, separates them by putting Rowena in another room (thereby solving his completely contrived problem!) Charlie still runs off. Expecting me to buy bullshit like this is one of the reasons we’re breaking up.

But it’s more than that. Charlie’s death, in itself, is something that I will get over with time. You’ve killed a lot of characters in our time together, and I’ve stuck around through them all. What makes this time different, what makes Charlie’s death unforgivable, is everything else that died with her. Charlie was the 21st recurring female character you killed. She was the show’s only openly queer character. Not only was she a fan favorite, but she was a fan stand-in.

Many people in your fan base, including me, identified with Charlie. We’re smart, nerdy, into fandom, and we love Sam and Dean. And a lot more of us than you’d think are queer women. Charlie was us. And you killed her. You dumbed her down and the moment you were done using her you killed her like she was nothing, abandoning her bloody body in a motel bathtub to overwhelm Sam’s guilt and ramp up Dean’s self-destruction, launching them into the season’s final two episodes.

You knew what Charlie meant to us, you knew all that she represented, and still you threw her away. You threw us away. But unlike Charlie, we are very real and you can’t treat us like this without consequences. If we mean so little to you, why should we stay?

Many of us have left before this. Too much misogyny, too much queerbaiting, portrayals of girls and young women- especially fan girls- too insulting and degrading, too many women violently killed in order for your white male leads to feel pain. And now Charlie, a symbol and stand-in for so many of us, gone. If this is what we mean to you, don’t be surprised as you find yourself meaning less and less to us.

Don’t be surprised as ratings continue to fall. “Dark Dynasty” was the lowest rated episode of your entire 216 episode run. There are consequences for treating your fans like they’re expendable; you become expendable to them.

So, Supernatural, we’re breaking up. Please know that I’ll miss you and that I will remember our good times fondly. But it’s over.

(I mean, call me if Destiel ever goes canon, but it’s not like I’ll be waiting by the phone for that one.)

I wish I was still proud of us.

~ Samantha

P.S. Do you have Wayward Daughters’ phone number? Now there’s a show I’d like to get to know better.