Could you explain with princess nokia"s young girls mv is problematic? I read somewhere that she was trying to show girls from different ethnic/ethnoreligious backrounds but here you only pointed out that it was not taino. Could you please explain?
While Nokia’s intent was to portray mutual kinship and solidarity of women of different backgrounds, the entire endeavor from aesthetics to subject matter was based in fetishistic, and moreover, Pan-Indigenous tropes.
She starts the video by talking about being witches and ”part of the Earth”. This particular thing isn’t a problem in and of itself. But her claiming to be Taino means that folks watch this and believe she is expressing or invoking ancestry and ‘spirituality’. And thus history. When in fact, none of this has anything to do with us; it is not actually in any sense Taino. By taking on the moniker, she claims to represent our history, people, culture. Anything and everything in this video can and is variously labeled Taino, which we continue to see being done.
Her dialogue at the beginning of the video:”…I come from the spirits of the ancients. I come from wise women of the Taino and Yoruban people from deep in the Caribbean. Witches. We lived by nature.”
Already, we are being associated with the word ‘ancient’, often a way to refer to non-extant cultures and abandoned ruins of cities, regardless of whether they are situated in the historical past or not. Already, we are being cast as ‘in the past’ and as dead. It is dehumanizing. We are a modern people. It is infantilizing to make statements that imply we are ‘amodern’, and as the imagery implies, in a state of existence with nature that is mutually exlusive with ‘technology’ or ‘modernity’. We are not ancient, even if our history spans far into the past. When you equate an entire nation as “ancient”, we are deprived of basic humanity.
Imagery is all about aesthetics. Art is always political. Her clothing in the video is not just ahistorical, but the same garb that fetishizers of Indigenous cultures wear to invoke the trope of the noble savage. It is Pan-Indigenous, and holds no place in history nor modernity. Because we never dressed like that and we do not today. This is, plainly, invoking white ideas of Indigeneity. It is fetishization.
Note that now she identifies not only as Taino, but also Yoruba. She has decided to position herself to speak for the Taino (and Yoruban people, which we do not speak for) describing us through herself as “deep in the Caribbean”, “witches”, “live by nature”, “spirits of the ancient”… and to top it off the video ends with appropriative Plains North American Native traditional singing. There really is no justification for any of it, but even if we weren’t here to mention these things I find it hard to believe folks couldn’t pick this sort of ‘mystical’/’magical’ hippie stuff. This stuff is a direct throwback to Native appropriations of the 60s and 70s, and I don’t see how folks are messaging us wondering how this material is inappropriate when despite us saying it’s wrong on multiple levels, there is _entirely different nations’ culture being stolen, coopted, decontextualized_ here.
How much more Pan-Indigenous can you get? Peoples’ cultures are not a free-for-all for consumption. But offering it up as your work for other people to consume in a work like this? There’s a whole load I could go on about this.
But the following was surely the worst of the video:
”Now there’s village and peopleWe all play our partThere’s naked children running on aboutMothers and sistersDaughters and son”
Nobody seems to give much thought to sexual assault, or molestation, whether we talk about it in our own communities or Indigenous nations’ in North America. Or the phenomenon of Missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. It’s genocide, targeted at fetishizing, sexualizing, and objectifying women and children.
Does nobody care what these images, what these lyrics do to our people? Does no one think about what kind of harm it does? Is everyone so far up their own fantasies that they don’t realize we don’t live in a world where nudity is a form of decolonization, but a way white society violates, and promotes rape fantasies through the eyes of a colonizer? I’m sorry to break it to folks, but Indigenous cultures that went with little clothing did so out of convenience, not out of a ~deep, spiritual~ need. There’s a reason why so many cultures stop those kinds of practices after colonial invasion. And it’s not because they aren’t “proud of their bodies”. It’s out of fear of violence.
Nobody cares that everyone from us to scholars have talked about how tropes and fantasies of the ‘tropical paradise’ and ‘nudist colony’ have for years brought tourism and violence directly into our communities. Pedophiles, rapists, abusers of all kinds. People being physically attacked, assaulted, raped, over bullshit fantasies like this?
Who out there cares when we talk about the destruction of our culture, and the genocide of our people, women and children, through sexual violence which just keeps skyrocketing?
Because it’s happening to communities everywhere, impoverished, Caribbean, Dissimilate and Taino alike. Because yes, you drag even non-Indigenous and non-Taino communities into this violence because poor people especially are viewed as savages. This is happening on a daily basis.
And I really need to stress this because everyone wants to misquote and decontextualize statements from posts we make:
I don’t blame Nokia for being disconnected. It’s not about her not being Taino. It’s about her claiming to be. It’s not her fault that she’s disconnected. But she’s fucking aware of the shit she’s writing. She is to blame for the content she’s producing whether she ignores the consequences or neglects to consider them.
I blame people for thinking this is the way to “connecting”. I absolutely love and appreciate her centering brown and Black women, Indigenous women, in her videos. I love her centering empowering women and girls in her songs, connecting across a wide spectrum:
”Room for everyone, room for everyone”.Her music could be so fucking good.
But I can not accept this. When you use my nation’s name, you drag me, my family, my community, our communities, in with anything you say or do. Without our consent. Against our will. At its heart, colonization is only possible because settlers do things despite lacking consent. And this is violence. We live in the white gaze. There is no escaping history or context as a Person of Color; we are inextricably tied to our people as a whole. And when you expose content, whether it be music, art, literature, commentary, when it’s publicly available where whiteness can look at it, whiteness will pervert it. And the issue here the ideas that fueled this video, and the ideas in it were violent before its creation. Fetishization.
It made me fucking sick, hearing those lyrics, “There’s naked children running on about”. The violence Indigenous peoples face because of such a “seemingly” innocuous trope …you just don’t understand until you’re in that very specific context, front and center. You have no idea how much we’ve already suffered as a nation.
I think about myself and I think about the women (from the children to the elders) who suffered from sex abuse, sex trafficking, sex slavery …who still live and breath with those memories today. It’s not easy. It’s painful.
And we’re here for them. And that means speaking out against this too, whether we want to or not. I really, really need people to understand why we do what we do.Our people need to be protected. So we can heal. How can healing happen when it can’t progress? Without safety? Because the violence is active and constant.
And content like this? Appropriative, ahistorical, fetishistic, Pan-Indigenous, dehumanizing, sexualizing of children, the objectification of actual Native women…that has to stop.
People have to critically think about on how their actions affect other people. Humanity is about empathy.Note: I am not insinuating that Nokia is a settler or colonizer.
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dearest Steph. I am looking for a fic that I read forever ago and I cannot for the life of me find it. I assume that I first found it on your blog because frankly that's where I get all my reading material from, your lists are so amazing, well put together with tags and summaries and categories and you're just the best, like, ever.
The fic that I'm looking for deals with child abuse, and it's okay if you don't want to publish or go looking for it, but it basically plays both in the present and in the past in Sherlock's own childhood. A case they are working on brings back the memories for Sherlock, and there's chapters where he is a young boy going by the name William who runs away from home after being molested by his uncle, and he lives in a barn and visits the local library sometimes and survives all on his own for a couple months, always evading being found because he's terrified he has to go back to the uncle, but in the end he is found, and the uncle has been arrested almost immediately following Sherlock's disappearance. After this experience, Sherlock decides not to go by the name William anymore and go by his middle name Sherlock instead I believe.
Don't feel pressured to go looking for this or even publish it, but I'd love to find it again because it was very beautifully written and deals with the tragic and traumatic topic very well imo
Wishing you all the best and all the happiness, and hopefully a less stressful season ahead of you soon
Sending virtual hugs (only if you like hugs, otherwise imagine cool nod and finger guns that definitely make me look only cool and not ridiculous at all)
Thank you for letting us come to you with stuff like this, you're seriously amazing and wonderful
Ahhh, no worries at all! A description like that will certainly help you find the story. I feel like I KNOW which fic this is, but I am not 100 on it....... Anyone able to pinpoint this one?
And thank you for your kind words, Nonny. I LOVE hugs and am so touch starved ugh. I want to be in a cuddle pile so bad. :|
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There’s something that I wish I saw more of, even though I in absolutely no way at all think this ever happened in canon, and it’s John sexually abusing Dean.
In canon I don’t think John Winchester was a good dad. I believe he may have possibly hit Dean sometimes, although I don’t think he was the kind of dad who beat his kids. I think most of his abuse was the emotional kind, with an extra heavy dose of neglect. Hell, in canon, I don’t think John would have been homophobic, and if Dean closets himself because of John, it’s because John molded him so roughly into the macho manly type.
When I see Bad Dad John Winchester in a lot of fics he’s a drunk, he’s homophobic, and he’s often violent toward Dean. I don’t think that’s canon, but I have no problem with these depictions of John. Writer’s use him as the villain in alternate universes. They make him the worst kind of father. But as awful as he is in many fics, it’s so rare to see him as a child molester.
And I’d like to see that. Not necessarily in explicit detail. I’d rather see stories where Dean is dealing with that kind of abuse. The aftermath, the baggage, the healing, etc.
I always see people talking about how they use fiction and fanfiction to work through things. To lance their wounds, so to speak. I find it interesting that the subject of child molestation is so rarely touched upon, and yet rape recovery fics are so common. I wonder what the difference is?
I dunno, these are just thinky-thoughts. I read one today that addressed this subject, and it was definitely cathartic for me. I’m considering writing one of my own now, because I find so few out there. But 1) it hits closer to home than I think I’m ready for so I’d rather just read them than write them at first, and 2) I’m notoriously shitty at writing darker stories.
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