A “zine” is a DIY, grassroots, creative publication usually devoted to a specialized subject matter. Historically, zines have been famous as platforms used to subvert hegemonic institutions, ideals, and norms. This zine was created in collaboration with CARED, MUSE, and QBAS for Black History Month [for 2021.] “As we reflect on blackness and the revolutionary, creative, and nuanced initiatives that have taken place in history it is important to carry these with us beyond February. The efforts of Black people should not be limited to a highlight real in 28 days. Blackness is not just its history, however, about the shared experience of the black community, how these experiences have shaped us, challenged us, and what can be achieved by us in the present and future. Nurturing a space where black people can thrive academically, creatively and freely means recognizing that we are more than our history and set a precedent for our futures. The celebration of blackness deserves more than a month.”

From Jane Leonard, 2021

VIEW CELEBRATING BLACK HERE

This year for Black History Month, MUSE took the time to engage in meaningful conversations with contributors to last year’s zine. This project is a continuation of the zine that was published on February 28, 2021. These reflections seek to highlight the hard work of last year’s creators, reflect on the work and creativity that went into creating the zine, and think deeply about what creators’ contributions mean to them today – one-year post-publication. In tandem, MUSE is internally collecting donations to Black Artists’ Networks in Dialogue (BAND), a charitable organization dedicated to supporting, documenting and showcasing the artistic and cultural contributions of Black artists and cultural workers in Canada internationally. Read more here: https://www.bandgallery.com/about.

A large thank you to all contributors that reflected on the zine one-year post-publication, and to everyone who played a part in creating the zine in 20221.

 

Monique Lee-Vassell (she/her)

Fourth Year, English Literature 

Creation: A Series of Poems, Poetry

What does your piece mean to you today?

Looking back on my words from a year ago, this was my first collection of poems that explored race overtly. I am so proud to have written from a place of vulnerability and authenticity, and I am so proud of myself for sharing it with my community. I always enjoy reading my old work, but this series will forever encapsulate my introduction to the writing of black lives from this side of the page.

What does this zine mean to you today?

This zine I am so thankful for. It is not only providing us with a platform to stand up and exude our blackness gracefully, but it is showing us that our voices will continue to be heard, our art will continue to be seen, that people in this community truly care what we have to say.

 

Danielle Hope Edwards (she/her)

Concurrent Education, Human Geography Teachable

Creation: Diary of a Black Kid, Journal Entry

What does your piece mean to you today?

Looking back on my contribution, my piece means to me a great deal of courage and vulnerability. Growing up in predominantly white regions I often felt it was hard to have my voice heard on racial issues. I often doubted I even deserved a voice from all the times I was shut down. Submitting a contribution to MUSE furthered my ability to share my stories and to encourage the next generation of Black youth. I look back and see resilience, hurt, pain, power, and my truth. I see Black excellence. A repeated line in my contribution says, “be the change you want to see”. Looking back on my submission, I believe I did just that.

What does this zine mean to you today?

I am so grateful for the zine Celebrating Black and for the opportunity I had to submit my three-part piece “Diary of a Black Kid”. Through my creation, I have heard many individuals come forth and share that they can relate. The many shared experiences in the other entries were brilliant, heart-wrenching, relatable, and glorious to see. I see Black excellence. This zine was a celebration of Blackness, an understanding of experiences, and a nurturing of community.

 

Alyssa Vernon (she/her)

Graduate of Bachelor of Arts with a major in Gender Studies, Currently in Concurrent Education with History and English Teachables

Creation: Five Zine Collages, Collage

What does your piece mean to you today?

All of the collages I create come from a place of love for my Blackness, a love that I did not always possess. Looking back, my pieces I contributed to the Zine represent me coming into my own within experiencing and exploring Black joy, Black queerness, Black pride, and Black history.

What does this zine mean to you today?

This Zine really showcases the beauty, resilience, and love within Black communities everywhere. There is a feeling of comfort, pride, and community when flipping through the pages of the Zine, feelings that I never want to let go of. When we come together as a people to talk about Black lives and Black experiences, it is always soulful and cathartic for me. I’m thankful for everyone’s contributions, and I’m forever thankful for Black people continuing to love each other, as this is a revolutionary act. <3

 

Makaila Atsonglo (she/her)

Third Year English Literature

Creation: Defining Curls, Short Article

What does your piece mean to you today?

While reflecting on my piece a year later, I realized that I am still growing and learning. My piece centred Black women loving their hair and taking up space in places where space is not afforded to us. It served as a reminder that self-love isn’t finite or destination-focused, but a journey of self-fulfillment. Creating space for yourself as a Black woman in any medium is a progressive experience which takes time, energy, and patience.

What does this zine mean to you today?

Seeing the amalgamation of Black beauty, Black knowledge, Black history and Black culture is just as uplifting and incredible as it was seeing it the first time. Seeing the diversity of the pieces come together cohesively in the zine reminds me of how Blackness is made up of so many distinct yet interconnected things. It’s that same connectivity that we celebrate every February, and that we should celebrate everyday.

 

 

 

Joseph Oladimegi (he/they)

JD Candidate at Osgoode Hall (former Queen’s Student)

Creation: Organizer and Contributor, Collage

What does your piece mean to you today?

That pieces showed me that Queen’s has a lot of Talented Black artists and creatives, but they just needed the platform, which is something Queen’s does not offer. I felt very intimidated entering the creative space at Queen’s as a creative myself. We have all seen the legacy of Muse and the historical lack of diversity, and outside of Muse, there weren’t a lot of other spaces that offered similar opportunities as Muse did. An argument could be made that I could have created my own space and a platform for other Black creatives and artists, but we all know the bureaucratic legacy and exclusionary practice of the AMS in addition to an already dominated space; it was very disheartening. So, when it was proposed that we work on the project, I leaped at the idea and used it as an opportunity to showcase the talent that would have gone unseen.

What does this zine mean to you today?

Today, the zine is a part of my legacy and the work that I have done at Queen’s. It’s part of my portfolio, lol. It is also a motivator for me, and you know, a way that I can prove myself I can do anything, and I do not need to wait to be offered the platform (although that does make things easier). I hope to create more opportunities to showcase Black talent and appreciate that the way we produce art is so pure and authentic, a way for us to speak our truth or just exist peacefully.

 

HEADER IMAGE SOURCE: MUSE

 

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