Essays On Patreon (2017-2018)

Essays On Patreon (2017-2018)

On Patreon I offer: Long essays on social media behavior/culture, labor, art, film, television or music etc. Surprise rewards which includes additional long pieces, book reviews and other unique content. Short essays on lifestyle topics, social media behavior/culture, labor, art, film, television or music etc. Bonus content published sporadically, which includes art-related tutorials, tips, digital wallpapers, recipes and more. "The Weekly Five" with 5 tips per post on art as inspiration, creativity, business, labor and self-care, beginner photography education, or life/leisure tips. "Read This Week" as a curated reading list that includes good articles on photography, food, writing, film/television, art, politics/sociopolitics, and general life. Some of my own writing is included in each post as well. Public posts that include or are based on my thoughts and work that is already publicly accessible via my tweets, Gradient Lair, Drift Sojourn, Cinemacked, my writing on this blog etc.

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8 Reasons Why I Do Not Need Unsolicited Advice and Suggestions For My Work

8 Reasons Why I Do Not Need Unsolicited Advice and Suggestions For My Work

When I mention "unsolicited advice," I am not talking about people who post general tweets, general tips and general non-insulting suggestions and advice in their own social media spaces. I am talking about people who directly contact me with paternalistic, unwanted and ableist comments, requests and demands for my work, undesired and unprompted. Anyone who cannot see the difference here is someone that I cannot trust to respect my boundaries let alone my work. Addtionally, anyone who conflates actual client to creator engagement (such as questions about something purchased) with paternalistic unsolicited advice is actively and harmfully intellectually dishonest. 

I am really grateful for thoughtful and respectful supporters, patrons, customers and clients. But, I wish that the respectful and kind people that I deal with were enough to offset the disrespectful, paternalistic, ignorant, passive aggressive and ableist people. Unfortunately I am not so lucky and neither is my health. The cumulative stress of navigating this social media plague on a daily and at times hourly basis, for several years now, takes its toll.

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There Is No Competition

There Is No Competition

Competition and those endlessly seeking it can go elsewhere. I am not threatened by younger/less experienced people "taking my place" because they cannot. I am not threatened by older/more experienced people "making me look bad" because they cannot. There will always be people who I view as peers, or people with equal levels of experience, proficiency, insight and respect for their crafts. They are peers though, not competitors. Ultimately, teaching less experienced people, collaborating with peers, learning from more experienced people, and traveling my own path is what matters most to me. 

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Not All Requests To "Collaborate" Are Worth My Time

Not All Requests To "Collaborate" Are Worth My Time

For a collaboration to actually be successful, it requires that the parties: 1) know each other (or get to know each other), 2) respect each other, 3) have shared goals, 4) have equitable skills across the board, so that the collaboration does not become a stereotypical version of the dreaded collegiate group project where the division of skills and labor are unbalanced. There are five types of people who request to collaborate and only one of them is an authentic collaborator... 

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I Am Tired Of Being Expected To Work For Free

I Am Tired Of Being Expected To Work For Free

The people who demand free work from me are not in "survival mode" where exploiting me will "save their lives." I have seen some of them respect other indie creators' work and time, especially when those creators are "ally" Whites/men. Some of them get paid at their high-paying jobs with benefits that I do not have and often with salaries that I do not make. I make less now than what I did in corporate (by tens of thousands), even as I was still underpaid there. I do not deserve to be treated as someone in a consistent state of arrears to privileged, monied and inconsiderate people where I always owe something new or something else.

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I Rarely Trust People That Say That I "Inspire" Them

I Rarely Trust People That Say That I "Inspire" Them

Inspiration in of itself is not the problem. The way some people express "being inspired" as a pathway to rendering me an object to use, abuse and discard is. So many people are "inspired." So few people are ethical, honest and kind. I wish that these people thought of my labor as valuable enough to be paid for, cited, respected and consumed with temperance or respectfully disagreed with. I rarely trust people that say that I "inspire" them. I wish that this "inspiration" was rooted in kindness, not greed, envy and/or exploitation. 

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The Painful Side of "Role Models," ''Mentors" and "Goals"

The Painful Side of "Role Models," ''Mentors" and "Goals"

I do not want to kill people's fantasies. But, I do not want to be one of them either. I am not your "goals." I am not who you want to be or are trying to be. You think I am. You also think you know me. You do not. However, this does not mean that what you do know about me becomes a lie.

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What People Think About Indie Art and Artists: A Survey

What People Think About Indie Art and Artists: A Survey

I do wonder how many of the people who participated in the survey chose what they think are the "right" answers (ones leaning towards payment and respect for indie artists) versus how they actually engage. This is not me being jaded; from using social media for over 10 years now and specifically using Twitter since 2009, I know that people engage indie artists poorly and many of those people do not evaluate how they consume or engage, with any real insight or introspection. In other words, some of the "nicest" people still engage indie artists as people who "owe" them, or do not engage indie artists with any respect at all.

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Hire Black Writers

Hire Black Writers

I did not share my thoughts on the hashtag #HireBlackWriters because I am scrambling for status for myself. I did so because of the clear and present marginalization and erasure in mainstream media. Employed writers working in mainstream writing industries are overwhelmingly White. These staffs are not oversights or accidental; they are deliberate. 

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Abusing/Exploiting Independent Creators Is Not "Fighting Capitalism"

Abusing/Exploiting Independent Creators Is Not "Fighting Capitalism"

Some people convince themselves that somehow superficially condoning exploitation of my labor while at a deeper level not challenging misogynoir and anti-Blackness is actually "fighting" the system. They do not see that they are in fact the system. The reason why wanting to make a living to survive is deemed "greed"—by misogynoirists, some "activists," and other people who reside on the Left as much as they do on the Right—is because I was never meant to survive. 

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People Who Minimize Hobbyists and Exploit Professional Artists

People Who Minimize Hobbyists and Exploit Professional Artists

Something that I have learned as an artist—one who is both a hobbyist (in some arts) and a professional artist (in other arts) who earns income from art, as well as one who ran a full-time business before as a professional artist—is to watch who really supports my art versus who really likes the appearance of speaking to an artist/about art.  Now, do these people "owe" me the role of reader, customer, client, project partner, or "pupil" (people weaponize "learning" as a way to exploit my labor or silence me altogether, but I digress) or other roles that infer a financial transaction at times? Of course not. But then this would also mean that they would have to stop plagiarizing my work, stop copyright infringing my photographs, stop binging on my work to vomit it all back up (without citation) on social media (to make themselves look "smart" and gain attention/followers) while at the same time harassing me over cash.me or Paypal buttons on my work, and stop the DM/emails/tweets requesting free labor on a daily basis.

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Social Media: "Fans," Supporters, Hypervisibility and Survival

Social Media: "Fans," Supporters, Hypervisibility and Survival

This "fan/celebrity" model simply does not work for non-famous people who are primarily trying to survive while using social media with large follower counts and reach. This does not work in the context of being a Black woman who is an independent artist and writer that uses social media. What interests me are supporters. People who are interested in me the person even more than whatever art I create, no matter how much they like that art. Do I love writing, photography and creating/publishing my own work? Sure. Do I love social media. Well...no. Honestly, I am just here so that I will not get fined. In my case, "fined" means "have my entire life unravel because I have no way to maintain the resources needed to survive."

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Design, Platforms and "Status"

Design, Platforms and "Status"

I love beautiful design. I love visual minimalism. But I am aware that design communicates messages and this communication is happening in a capitalist society. I understand that this design here conveys a message to some people that now I am "good enough" for their media shenanigans, while at the same time conveys a message to other people that I am no longer as "accessible" as they once thought I was. An unfortunate side effect of me enjoying the clean lines and large images of this new design is that some people who were "comfortable" with me on Tumblr—the same space that other people look down on or degrade—are not comfortable with this space for the same reasons that abusive people obsessed with status are comfortable.

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Why People On Twitter Avoid Your Essays, Mixtapes and Other Art

Why People On Twitter Avoid Your Essays, Mixtapes and Other Art

If writers, artists and other creatives are serious about their desire to have people engage what they create, then they need to examine how they engage people. Lose the entitlement and instead respect their potential readers, audiences, consumers. Stop engaging high visibility people—especially when they are Black women, as there are complex issues of exploitation and misogynoir that we already face—as microphones who "owe" you instead of as people who perhaps worked hard to cultivate their following, or may not really want the large following that we have and simply want to be able to be artists and create in the absence of exploitation and abuse. If an artist truly respects their art, they will respect the people that they want to engage it.  

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Respect and Accept Art In The Format The Artist Makes It In

Respect and Accept Art In The Format The Artist Makes It In

An aspiration for "success" is a personal journey and when it is conveyed by someone else as a request or passive aggressive jab, then it seems less about really wanting that artist to thrive and more about the person consuming them and/or their art needing a certain level of status to be achieved before they can deem the art valuable and good. I experience this a lot from people who pretend to be interested in my art but always have some requirement before they can really enjoy my art. Some other format, first. Some other status marker achieved, first. Some other bullet point on a resume that they think they should write for me, first. 

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Dealing With Disrespect For My Time and Creative Process As An Artist

Dealing With Disrespect For My Time and Creative Process As An Artist

There is more to this than "do not 'let' anyone stop you from creating!" What about the journey itself though? Why is what is experienced during the journey of creating art and creating a life not as important as whether or not those experiences "stop" a final product or a life decision? What the artist faces has to matter as much as the art. Otherwise, people are asserting that all that matters is what is made for them to consume and that the art has no connection to the artist's creative process or worse, to the artist's humanity itself.

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I Do Not Like The Ways That Most People Use Twitter

I Do Not Like The Ways That Most People Use Twitter

I do not like when people use “reply all” in response to my retweets of news, of a celebrity, or of a viral tweet. I do not like when people try to play “hero” and force me to remain in a conversation with someone who is trolling me. I do not like when people force highly trolled hashtags onto my tweets once they retweet me. I do not like being included in “cattle call” tweets. I do not like when people use intellectual dishonesty as a trolling tactic. I do not like when people engage me as a “concept” and not a person. I genuinely tire of the fact that so many people are so heartily committed to making Twitter as unpleasant as possible. I spend so much time maneuvering through the cesspool replies just to get to the people that I really care about.  

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