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Missing Blacktober? There’s a Zine for That!

Blacktober Zine

October is a month where many creatives participate in various 31-day challenges. I use the term challenge loosely since there’s no pressure to turn something in every day (thank goodness, lol). #Blacktober was created for a similar purpose, with illustrators Cel C. and Céli coming up with the idea and graphic designer AppleWIfey creating the images. It’s entirely unfair that I can no longer scroll my Twitter feed and see amazing Black art on a daily basis.

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Okay, that’s not entirely true, I do see amazing art by Black artists fairly regularly because I follow a bunch of them, but there was something truly magical about #Blacktober and getting daily art posts of fanart and original characters. Especially this year. I know we talk a lot about how exhausting 2020 has been, but Black artists have been dealing with a lot. I touched on it in this “Dear White People” piece and I will, wholeheartedly, say it again: only mattering when one of us is trending after being killed, footage being shared without any regard to our mental health, is painful.

This year, however, had an extra sprinkle of salt on our wounds as companies jumped into #BlackLivesMatter with promises of doing better representation wise, encouraging artists to share their portfolios, but, well, let’s just say it’s been pretty quiet since that summer.

Only being interested when we’re suffering is a level of malicious I can’t begin to explain. For me, #Blacktober was a reminder to not only celebrate our joy, but to create joy, and that it was okay to participate in something other than explaining, again, why something was harmful to us.

While #Blacktober is, technically, over, Cel C. has put together a zine with over 200 artists sharing their work and their heartfelt messages on the importance of the hashtag.

Did I mention that the zine is free??? That’s right, it costs zero dollars to soak in the melanated perfection, but hey, if you can toss some coins, there’s a “name a fair price” option on the download link. Cel C. has also curated this thread here so people can support the artists who are featured in the zine.

I reached out to Cel. C to ask what made them put this zine together. Here’s what they had to say:

It was to have a recap and just kinda remind everyone why Blacktober was started in the first place. It wasn’t to be a movement or a statement, it was meant for Black creatives to have fun after all we’ve dealt with this year. Throughout the zine, I wanted to showcase people’s creativity and happiness in creating characters who look like them.

It’s no secret that representation matters, and always will matter when it comes to the media we consume. Unfortunately, there’s always going to be someone who takes issue with it. This project reminded me to focus on the positive and acknowledge it more than I acknowledge the negatives. It’s so easy to lose yourself in the bad takes and there’s this overwhelming narrative to educate absolutely everyone, otherwise, you’re not making an effort for real change. But … look. I’m tired, okay? So it was refreshing to see a hashtag amongst the numerous tragic Black ones this year that said, “I’m tired, too, so let’s just draw some stuff.”

As for what the future holds for #Blacktober? You best believe it’ll be back in 2021!

Until then, I’ll be here, in my happy place, scrolling through the zine.

(Image: Apple WIfey)

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Briana Lawrence
Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)

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