Summerville SC 2019, Lawndale forever.

SCENE: Main Street, 1:23pm, vendors are setting up for the Annual Sweet Tea Festival along the street as people walk and drive by on the adjacent streets.

ME: aged 27, height 5’8 1/2, weight mid 200’s, skin warm honey brown. Hair short, damp curls, tied by lightly by a celestial scarf and pinned on each side with rhinestone GIRLS pins. Minimal jewelry, glossed lips, gold nose hoop. Reddish orange mosaic rimmed glasses. 3x American Apparel burnt orange shirt, tied up in the front black spanx peeking from under light gray joggers, dirty black and white vans. Extra large tote bag with water bottle sticking out.

DIARY ENTRY:

Summervillie SC is, in a sense, stuck in the 90’s. Most places surrounding have fast forwarded into the 21st century, but in a land with a thriving Ryan’s across the street from a decently packed Shoney’s, it fells like no one cares much about what’s going on outside of city limits. Downtown, about 30 minutes south of here, is full of hipsters fighting for plastic bans and sexuality rights, yet i’ve found myself smack dab in the middle of a down who still has a hand drawn sign advertising weekly sales outside a beloved Piggly Wiggly. Nobody speaks to me, the fluffy girl with dirty vans and her tummy fluffing out of her tied up tee. I’m out of place in the best way; it’s like watching a movie. I’m not in it, but I can relate; I’ve been in this place before. Maybe it was all the years of watching shows like Daria and movies like Ghost World. Maybe it was growing up in South Congaree. Either way, I’m in the Twighlight Zone episode of my life. Clearly, they feel it too.

I set up shop as a spectator, a quiet corner outside of a music academy. It looks out of place too, a single chair and table elevated by an inch of red brick against grey sidewalk. Vegetation has crept up it’s walls and sides, around the table legs and over the little basket of “flowers” on the back, a little patch of oddball in this time lapse. I began to unpack: my novel, my liter of spring water, my smokes. I throw my bag on top of the table, a large tote with a Toni Morrison quote and lots of buttons, including my 2 favorites: “Eat the Pussy like a Mango” and “Do I look like a fucking role model?”. Very lady like. I don’t draw attention to myself, I just watch. A family selling beadazzled bandanas and Harley Davidson shirts sets up their booth diagonal to me. Mother, father, grandmother, 2 prepubescent girls and a baby boy. The mother attacks the table, father is holding the baby, the little girls running up and down the sidewalk making up their own stories. They try very hard not to look at me, and their father scolds them when they do. I smiled, knowing they got the “I’m telling you it’s rude to stare but really I don’t want you getting any ideas” speech. I winked at the oldest girl, who is ignoring her father and making a point to catch my eye. It’s ok kid, you’ve already got all the ideas you need.

Finally, an interaction: the disapproving cut from an elder woman holding a small dog. She speaks: “My grandchildren have never seen a cigarette before.” I peek over my glasses, take a drag, and tell her she should take them to more movies. She looks disgusted, and I feel a tinge of guilt. The southern belle in me has found her way to the surface and she, too, is disappointed. I’m sorry lady, I know i’m one of those new age girls who smokes and has sex and doesn’t really plan on getting married. I care more about making art than having babies and no, this isn’t my only tattoo. I’ll chop my hair off at a moment’s notice and I haven’t worn a slip since I left my Granny’s house. I know I’m not what you’d expect to find around here. Clearly, this is a place where the essence of small town living prevails, no matter how many food trucks and vegan shops pop up. Maybe it’s not for the outcasts to fit in, Lawndale for all the Darias and Jane Lanes. Maybe this is a place for the folks who want to live like a movie too; their own movie. Is there anything really wrong with that?

Real Magic, Not Boxed At Sephora: POC Practitioners You Need To Support Instead of Spending Coins Playing With Fire. 

Sephora is the newest crab in the deep bucket of brands who are selling gentrified magic to the masses. With the announcement of trendy perfume brand Prinrose selling their Witch Kit in stores and online, it's sparked an outrage among the magic community, as it should. Here's another popular brand, once again capitalizing on the work of marginalized, Indigenous communities to sell to a group of Urban Outfitters' college girls for them to play with like an Ouija board at a 90's slumber party under the guise of "spiritual wellness". It's a mess. A big mess. The kit, which includes tarot cards, sage, and a rose quartz crystal, costs $42, and will be available Oct 9, which gives people just enough time to throw on some Lana Del Ray, spritz some overly priced rosewater and summon Prince's spirit to apologize for using his symbol on their packaging before Halloween. 

Instead of spending way more than you should on some fake sage (I'm sure there's instructions on "smudging" included) and a very polished crystal that is most likely tumbled glass, here's a list of POC ran platforms won't make your regret your purchase. These are the people preserving our traditions, bringing magic into the modern world with respect to our roots and enough respect for you not to rip you off. 

Brown Girl Alchemy

image: Amber J Finney.

image: Amber J Finney.

Brown Girl Alchemy is the brainchild of Mother/Daughter Duo Jennell Anthony and Amber J. Finney. The pair started this platform with a website/blog, and it has expanded beautifully into a podcast (Brown Girl Alchemizing), a panel speaking, and a mini market place displaying hand crafted merch.

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The weekly podcast, as well as the curated Instagram page, will have you waking up the goddess within and tapping into your love of your higher self effortlessly. There's a very nurturing energy surrounding this platform, and they're more than worthy of the support they receive. You can find Brown Girl Alchemy on Instagram, Twitter and Soundcloud. 

Wolfoot and Bearpaw

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Wolfoot and Bearpaw is a family ran company owned by Mama Bearpaw and her three cubs. The family specializes in "rare, specialty, regional, unique & one of a kind earth medicine (crystals and gems) at under market pricing, and they have Sunday Sales via their Instagram page. they also have flash sales, so turn your notifications on! This is the only place that I bought crystals from for a long time, they're trust worthy and always on time. 

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Mama Bearpaw is also the co-creator of the Juju Magic Oracle, which will be available Fall 2018. 

Third Eye Lounge

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Third Eye Lounge is a "Boutique Botanica" catering to DAEUS (Decendents of Africans Enslaved in the US) men and women by offering herbs, ritual tools, crystals, books and classes, located in Charleston SC. The owner is Ikeoma Divine, affectionately called Ms. Kiki by her patrons, and she is a registered nurse and spiritual counselor who takes a holistic approach to her healing practices.  She runs everything in house, from teh  classes and readings to the online sales. 95% of the products are made from Ms.Kiki's hands, including her specialty candles and blended herbs. 

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Growing up in the Pentacostal church and exhibiting  mediumship gifts as a child, Ms. Kiki follows in the footsteps of the women who came before her. She blends her learning from Ewe, Umbanda and Santo Daime and Voodoo to teach DAEUS people that rootwork is our birthright.  You can purchase all of her items online, including real conjure kits and tarot/astrology readings. 3rd Eye Lounge can be found on Instagram and Twitter.

Tatianna Tarot

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Tatianna Tarot is an The Afro-Puerto Rican Ritual Practitioner, Medium,  Bruja and Intuitive Tarot Reader residing in New Orleans, LA. As someone who has been reading tarot for years, Tatianna uses her gift by providing daily, weekly and monthly tarotscopes on various platforms including her personal Instagram and her youtube channel. 

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When she's not doing scopes, speaking on panels or curating spiritual retreats, Tatianna is giving us #MomMagic, featuring her beautiful daughter Sahara. 

Firm Earte

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Firm Earte is the self proclaimed "Queer, Indigenous Internet Bodega" owned by Natali,  an indigenous, two-spirited/ trans artist and alchemist. Using their art as an act of resistance, Firmearte's goal is to reclaim the ancestral healing practices that have been stolen through rigorous colonization.

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In their webshop, affectionately named The Bodega, you can find a massive array of items from crystals, soaps and candles to totes, tapestries and ritual baths. All of these items include the handmade art of the owner, and don the slogan "Queer Indigenous Alchemy." You can find them on Instagram and Spotify, as they curate mixtapes to bring the community together. 

The FlowerChild Bruja

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Taylor Cordova is the Phoenix Arizona born artist, designer + bruja who runs The FlowerChild Bruja, a Flower- Powered Botanic who's visuals will make your Tumblr cry. The self proclaimed "Queer Witch with a Love of Flowers", she dedicates her resources, time + energy to crafting wearable art and sacred ritual tools to adorn the divine feminine + evoke the enchantment in the everyday. 

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FCB has one of the most visually appealing curated pages I've ever seen, and the magic is beyond real. In addition to the beautifully crafted sage wands, real flower crowns and hair pins, The FlowerChild Bruja offers customized shop merch, ritual tools like palo santo and abalone shells, and an assortment of crystals, gems and altar dishes. You can find them on Instagram, and I promise you'll never want to leave. 

Take out your frustration with Corporate American by shelling out your coins to people who are really with the shits. They'll get the picture eventually. Until then, dollars make sense, so happy shopping!

You're here. I'm pleased. I really dig your company.

WELCOME!

For those of you that know me/follow me on social media

I FINALLY HAVE A WEBSITE!

Maybe you cared. Maybe you don't. Maybe you didn't even know I was working on a website and now its like "Whhhhaaaatttt Asiah got a website? For what? Idk, I'll still go look!" (I appreciate you for that as well.)

This has been a long time coming, like a long time, like seriously years in the making and if I can be quite honest, it's still very surreal to me that I even have this space to call my own, and that anyone even cares. Either way, I've always wanted a cool older sister who let me come hang out with her in her cool room, put me on game and made sure I stayed fly. I didn't end up with that (shout out to my older brother! <3) so I became her.  And this space is my room. Welcome. Don't touch my DVDs. 

I have a thing about S: Skincare, Self-care, Sustainability, Streetwear, Sensuality, Spells (aka writing/poetry) and Spirituality. I'm not sure how this happened (or why i tend to be attracted to that letter) but these are the things at the core of my being. This space was created to give me a home to explore all of my feelings surrounding these things. And being that I'm a Scorpio, I have TONS of feelings to share (another S!) I want this space to feel comfortable for anyone who comes to read and learn and heal, because by writing I'll be doing the same. We're on a journey together, and I look forward to building this tribe with you. Ask questions. Suggest things to me. I want us to interact in a way you'd never interact with anyone who isn't your favorite cousin that you only see on Thanksgiving (yes, I'm down with that pre-dinner walk). I want to know what you'd like to see, and see if I can make that happen. Again, we're a tribe, so let's make this thing a thing! (I know my AP English teacher is reading this in disgust at the use of "thing" so many times. My bad Ms. C-- you taught me better.)

So yea, welcome to my website! Look around. 

Take off your shoes and get comfy. We family now. 

Love always, 

A$iahmae <3