I had the idea to do this when I was flicking through our explore page and came across @bbeetlejuiced‘s account. It was like entering a portal back to my yr8 days. I always get a warm feeling in my heart every time I come across a POC involved in the alt community. It’s something I wish I had seen when I was Goth, as honestly back in 2014, I was starting to believe I was the only black Goth out there. And the way everyone treated me in public, they thought likewise! Without going into the politics, representation does matter but specifically in the alt world, as I used to idolise the plethora of white Goths every time I Google searched, paling out my skin and praying my hair would be straight like theirs one day. And by saying this, there’s nothing wrong with white Goths, they’re absolutely gorgeous, but it would be nice to see some Asian, Black & everything in-between faces amongst them too. Despite being part Asian myself, I’m not sure whether representation is still a problem for Asians in the alt community?…Though Goth has been/is quite prevalent in Harajuku culture, and on social media you’re more likely to come across an alternative Asian face than Black.
I think it’s partly about breaking the stereotype as the majority will still automatically think either ‘overly-sexualised rapper’s ‘bitch” or ‘aggressive screw-faced fat mama’ when they think of black women….(hey not my words- theirs!) I’m a black girl, and I’m neither! And I’m not saying I can’t be sexual, or angry at times- I’m a human….everyone can! But it’s just about not jumping to conclusions. But anyway, I’m not trying to play the race card or shove my beliefs down your throat (I hate when people do so with me)…. plus I’ve gone off track now. Let me give you some examples: I’m really into nature and spirituality….(for the right reasons), so it’s inevitable that I like the enchanting, fantasy and basically anything fairy-related. There’s something other-worldy about being so inherently graceful, and sensual- but hey, I never see a black girl portrayed as one. I like the medieval period and anything dragon or dungeons or (you get my drift), but do you ever see a black girl riding that horse in her raven feather cloak and baroque crown?….There’s a black girl I follow, and I remember her putting up a story about never seeing a black vampire protagonist (lets not even count Laurent from Twilight, he was barely in there for like 2 seconds). But it’s so true! Beautiful Creatures is one of my all-time favourite films and I absolutely adore Ridley. And yeah she’s a bloody evil bastard…but she’s just so effortlessly breath-takingly striking, enchanting and down-right powerful in a way that makes you kinda admire her…..I know it’s set in the South and producers wanna keep everything grammatically correct, but she could have easily been played by a black actress- easily.
We can talk about the ins and outs of what causes under-representation, but frankly when I was a Goth in school the main perpetuators of my bullying was surprisingly other black girls. I mean, don’t ask me why, have no idea. I was constantly told that I was a coconut/Oreo, wanted to be white, wasn’t ‘claimed’ by them. Well guess what, I don’t wanna be claimed by anyone- including you! I don’t know whether maybe there was a slight resentment ’cause I had the freedom to express myself how I wanted. Or maybe it was genuinely not understanding how I could be black and not act ‘urban’, ‘ghetto’, ‘mainstream’- call it what you want. For sure can’t say the same for now, but back then I just wasn’t into Grime, Soca, streetwear or just brands generally…and that’s okay! You don’t have to be! And if you are- that’s alright too! I recall 2 months ago AfroPunk posted something up, and someone commented saying how “the Black community doesn’t even hate” on POC alts, it’s them who “disassociate themselves from the Black community”. I thought this was interesting and sadly kinda true, because despite the fact many don’t, unfortunately there are a few who do. On the contrary, I actually haven’t found the alternative community all that supportive either. I recall there being a ‘backfield group’ in school, consisting of Emo, Grunge, Indie, Lolita and anything-that-would-be-seen-as-weird kids. They were really horrible to me, worst than my actual bullies. You’d think ’cause they’re categorically ‘outsiders’, they’d welcome my Goth self with open arms…. they didn’t! That really stung, as I could had done with some friends who were actually into the same stuff I was at the time. Even to this day, I still get shit from the alt-community, because I’m now into both mainstream and alt culture, and in their eyes, I’m not ‘alternative‘ enough anymore. So I guess I’m damned if I do, and damned if I don’t. The epitome of irony is the fact that some of the most straight-laced, mainstream, middle-class people you’ll ever encounter have been the ones that have been the most supportive. Society ayy- still a mystery to me!
@thekriture, photo credit- @misterlphotography
“My experience as an alt POC has changed with the times. I moved here at a young 6 years olds from South America. I was uncomfortable in this new culture at first and found comfort in alternative music. At 9 years old I got into my first alt band which was Linkin Park. Even still being alternative today in 2018, I have people try and make me feel bad about being different. Luckily, I’ve always had supportive family and friends that accepted me and my interest of darker art, music and fashion. I believe the alternative community is extremely diverse and thanks to mainstream media it being more popular which has its pros and cons. My end goal is to show other people of color that it’s okay to be different. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter where you came from thanks to those who dared to be different before you.”
“My experiences being a woman of color in the Goth community has been fairly positive! So far, people within the scene have been kind and very accepting of me, but of course there’s people outside of the scene that say ignorant comments such as “You’re acting white” simply for finding joy in Gothic fashion and music and yes, it does bother me but I usually just tell them to “fuck off” and carry on with my day.”
“I would say I got into alternative fashion the way a lot of people do. I was a typical Emo kid and I guess it never went away. I always admired the carefree attitude and confidence that alternative people has, and try to portray it when I go out all dressed-up. As an alternative POC, I definitely get a lot of stares, but I get a lot of compliments too. I want to be the person that inspires other people to be their true authentic selves just like how alternative POC have inspired me.”
“I never let anyone stop me. My smile may be brighter than my clothes, but at heart I’m an outstanding person. I really became into becoming a Goth after being bullied in middle school for being a less confident version of who I am, and what my style looks like today. Being a POC Goth is difficult, because the average Goth expectations are to be pale, but I’m not and I have to embrace my melanin. I’ve gotten so much love for standing outside the norm.”
“Normal is an illusion, what is normal for the spider is chaos to the fly.”
“To me, Goth is something you’re born with and it just takes time for that to awaken inside of you. I discovered Goth in 6th grade, but I never really knew what it was about. It wasn’t until 10th grade that I found Goth music and really started doing my research. Being a POC in a culture that revolves around black hair and pale skin was so hard in the beginning. Aside from the racism from other Goths, I’d constantly hear that I was trying to “act white” or people thought I had a problem with my ‘blackness’. At this point, I’m so comfortable within myself that no one can ever make me feel bad for the color of my skin, and at the end of the day, I’ve gotten so much more recognition because I am a POC.”
As you can see, all these babes above are a massive inspiration, and I’m asking myself- “where was all of this when I needed it?” But you know what?- it doesn’t matter anymore. ‘Cause they’re here now, and that’s all that counts. And I hope many of you who may be struggling to truly be yourselves due to the fear of being judged, takes a leave out of all of our books. Just do it! Don’t hesitate, just set your spirit free. I won’t be naive to say you won’t face any problems. There’s still the issue of competitiveness between the POCs who are in the alt-community, as for some reason there’s this phantom that only 1 black person is allowed onto each scene. And don’t get me wrong, in a lot of occasions you will be made to feel that’s the case. But I can tell you for sure- it ain’t! ‘Cause in reality there’s enough space for us all, and if you claim your spot, no one can take it away from you. Because you deserve to be where you are, and do what you do. And if your ‘blackness’ is too much for them to handle, then they’re gonna have to leave…’cause we ain’t going nowhere.
Words By My Superiority Complex