While there’s still never been a black model on the cover of Gothic Beauty Magazine (in fact, having looked the past twelve years of covers up close, it’s clear that even models with brown eyes appear to be a rarity among the blue- and green-eyed cover ladies), and while most spooky fashion designers still prefer white models for their branding, a host of blogs dedicated to multicultural dark fashion are bringing greater visibility to the people that these venues ignore. Just on Tumblr, there’s Darque & Lovely, DarkSKIN (subtitled “I was so goth, I was born black), and Black Sheep Goths. On Facebook, groups such as Black/African American Goths foster lively discussion.
Of the Tumblr communities, Black Sheep focuses most specifically on people who are othered (providing a platform for “queer/fat/trans/non-binary/disabled/POC” goths), while DarkSKIN delves most deeply into different time periods (from Victorian photographs to seventies album covers to a friend’s most recently-uploaded snapshots), pop culture personalities taking a turn for the macabre (from Eartha Kitt singing “I want to be evil” to Aaliyah playing a sultry Anne Rice vampire) and media (from high-end fashion shoots to grainy self-portraits)
Many of the images come with empowering and, at times, defensive captions. It seems that even in 2012, some try to claim that the goth scene belongs to white people only. One caption on the Darque & Lovely blog, below an image of tattoo artist Roni Zulu, reads: “this is for the chicken-shit anon who said black people shouldn’t ‘do’ goth or punk. At certain points in history to be black in America was (still can be) a pretty gothic experience, to say the least.”
Is the goth scene unfriendly to people with dark skin? What do non-white goths think about the fetishization of paleness in the gothic subculture?
“The only time I experienced anything racial in the scene was at Death Guild [a San Francisco goth night],” says Shamika “Meeks” Baker, a San Francisco-based writer, artist and model. “A guy walked up to me, shouted ‘scuse me!’ and shoved me aside. Of couse, when I grabbed the back of his Fun Fur coat and yanked him back to demand an apology, he started screaming ‘get your black hands off of me!’ Happily, after I finished scaring him and turned around, I discovered several of my friends behind me and ready to back me up. [Other than that incident], I’ve found that the goth scene has been really welcoming and open.”
“For me, the fetishization of paleness in beauty in general is very much a class issue as opposed to straight race,” says New York-based artist/maker Numidas Prasarn. “The ‘ideal gothic beauty’ of being pale comes from this sense of otherness. When mainstream de mode is tanned beach babe, the pale contrast is taken up as the signifier of an Other that defensively puffs itself up. The problem is that it’s a microcosm that doesn’t necessary carry the sense of self-awareness to realize that it’s also othering people.”
Asha Beta, a sculptor, jewelry designer and musician currently living in Prescott, Arizona, comments on her invisibility within a community that borrows aesthetics from her cultural heritage:
The “traditional” ideal of the scene as the pale-faced, black-clad individual definitely never applied to me, but because of my instant and deep connection and attraction to the music and atmosphere of the scene I had to set that aside. I always felt that I was not perceived to be as attractive, as beautiful or even as “goth” as girls who were paler than me. I never attracted many suitors and I reconciled myself to never being able to approach the “gothic ideal of beauty” very early on, although I felt within myself that my personal way of being “goth” was very sincere and creative and very much true to what “goth” was all about. The one part of the scene that obviously made me uncomfortable was the military/Nazi/Aryan faction of it, although I understand that for many of those people it was a fetish or history obsession type of thing, and not necessarily based in racism.
Many of the aesthetics of goth culture are taken from my cultural heritage (Asian/East Indian/Middle Eastern, African/Egyptian/Voodoo/Haitian-Caribbean) so I still felt and feel strongly that my connection to it is natural and instinctive and powerful. It was achingly difficult to be a minority within the subculture I deeply loved because it’s within these that we find acceptance and understanding where the larger society rejects us. I was a loner within the scene just as I was in society. I found a personal solace and creative outlet, but I never found the community I was searching for. I am overjoyed to finally see our subcultures mirroring the multicultural quality of our world, and so glad to see the younger generations of subcultures finding and creating communities to connect with and support one another.
Meeks Baker agrees. “I love that more emerging blogs/sites focus on us dark-skinned gothy types. To be honest, I never really cared much for gothic beauty magazines because they didn’t really reflect my aesthetic, but I did still feel marginalized. To this day I am thrilled to see ethnic diversity represented in alternative culture.”
I have no idea what you’re talking about, so here’s a vaguely phallic thumb-faced thingy singing a duet with a vaguely labia majora-lipped pussycat. In Russian. Honestly, I have no idea what they’re talking about, either. Wheeee!
Hey, Nadya! Welcome back from the playa! We can haz translation?
(Via E. Stephen Weirdo.)
Yesterday, GreatDismal tweeted a link to this stupefying Fitness Ace Power infomercial from South Korea. And Ross blogged about the music video for PSY’s mega-viral Kpop song, “Gangnam Style“. (A short time later, Ross experienced some sort of drug-induced psychotic break, and has since been in self-imposed latex bubble isolation in an undisclosed subterranean cell block several miles below the earth’s crust. But that’s not particularly relevant to this post.)
Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering machine; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit this ancient Chuggo video at thee.
Defiant to the end,
Wrong Cops is exactly what one would expect from the director of a film about a killer tire, which is to say it is bat-shit crazy. Coming off of the aforementioned Rubber, Quentin Dupieux (also known by his stage name, Mr Oizo) is back with a short film starring Marilyn Manson, Grace Zabriskie, and Mark Dunham as Officer Duke, the titular cop, which he premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Duke begins his day selling marijuana stuffed into dead rats and listening to techno music. Making his rounds he comes upon Manson’s David Dolores Frank in a park. After a tense discussion about music, Duke escorts the young man to the house he lives in with his mother in order to educate the boy further. That, I think, is about as detailed a synopsis as I wish to give. As intimated previously, it’s a bizarre thirteen minutes which, apparently, Dupieux is looking to extend into a ninety minute feature, which may be the outer limit of what I could bear. This little taste is almost more than enough.
Horse head customer photo, uploaded by Amazon user Mike.
From the same site that brought you disgruntled reviews of A Million Random Digits comes this bizarre collection of photos. “This mask imbues the wearer with super-human abilities … the power to make everyone around you feel akward and uncomfortable being first among them,” writes one reviewer of this mask on Amazon.
The “Accoutrements Horse Head Mask” customer gallery shows horse-headed people going about their daily lives: reading books to children, playing Scrabble, passing out from too much booze, camping, spelunking, and more. [via raindrift]
“It’s a shame that you can still find this kind of discrimination in America.” Uploaded by Amazon user Michael Genovese.
Above you’ll find the official video, directed by David Lynch, for the title track of his new album Crazy Clown Time. It is officially a thing that exists. In it, Lynch narrates a series of Lynchian events at a Lynchian backyard barbecue as they transpire on screen in a manner sort of like singing but not really. It’s as if a film student set to work to reconstruct a David Lynch movie as related to them by someone who had had a few too many drinks. It may be the best David Lynch parody ever made.