I spent 2012 on a project I called The Black Swan Collective in which I attempted to spend the year supporting black female artists I feel do not get enough exposure for their art. I mostly supported music artists, but I did find a few others such as playwrights and jewelry makers. While I have not officially kept that project going, I did do a few blog posts about some of my favorite underappreciated music artists and categorized them in the Collective.
However, I’ve just realized that I have been doing my best to continue supporting not just these music artists but also others who took a chance and put their arts and trades on social media and need support for their work. I want to share a few of them here and hope you find something you like, need or just think’s a cool idea.
A couple of friends of mine took the initiative to offer cute and stylish clothing for plus-size people at an affordable price. I’m not plus size, but I actually do hate shopping and know that plus-size clothing often costs much more than size 12 and under. Furthermore, for some reason fashion designers apparently believe bigger sizes can’t be cute. Well, @NaniJCool and @_Roxie_ beg to differ and put together funds to start the online store Fat Tax. They’ve just celebrated their grand opening at the beginning of July and already have some very cute contemporary and vintage selections for the online store. I’ve even gotten a few accessories for myself. Even if you are not plus size, please spread the word about this store.
I’ve followed Zoe Blaq on Tumblr for some time and love her whole vibe. I finally broke down and ordered her chapbook of poetry on Etsy. Zoe’s work is called Rage Love Complexity and is described as “healing through raw emotion.” As a poetry lover and someone who admires black women able to put out all their rawness in public with no apologies, I am looking forward to this collection.
Speaking of black girls putting raw emotion in public, I follow @so_treu on both Twitter and Tumblr and wholly enjoy all the insight she puts into the day’s events and the issues about black women that never seem to go away. So I was happy when she finally got to put together her own zine about her personal experiences with depression in Death Valley Or, How to Not Kill Yourself in Less Than Ten Days. I’ve been trying to get more into zines and zine culture because I realize that many black women have gotten into zine culture to tell our stories uncensored and unfiltered (check out @simplebutchic and @POCZineProject as well). I’Nasah completely self-produced this zine on her own and has copies available for anyone interested.
I’ve followed @sassycrass on Twitter for a few months now and she also puts up a daily fight against ignorance, particularly with issues about black women. However, I also enjoy her lighter thoughts and conversations. This year, she decided to help raise stranded mermaid awareness. No really, she has a book about stranded mermaids called This Mermaid Life! I try to support writers of color whenever possible and supporting a woman of color self-publishing content that so many of us would like to see in speculative genres means a lot. She has a goal to sell 1000 books and you can support her goal at GoFundMe.
I mostly seek out black women to support, but I had the pleasure and honor of meeting Chris at this past year’s WisCon after following him on Tumblr for a couple of years. I also began following him on Twitter and I must say he’s one of my favorite intellectuals. Seriously, the guy spills so much truth on a daily basis that it sometimes hurts. I find him remarkable for so many reasons beyond his battle with cancer. For instance, I love that he’s an anime and manga geek, loving the medium while offering insightful critiques of it. He now has a Patreon account set up to help him fund his mission to write articles and game aids on tabletop roleplaying games for anyone who wants to support an awesome MOC creating much-needed content and analysis in pop culture.