Dub vs. Sub. An age old debate between anime fans all over the globe. Why does this debate exist? Why are we like this?
Before delving into this controversial topic, people need to understand that individuals have their preferences. Whether you like watching your anime subbed or dubbed, you are still consuming the same media, just translated and adapted differently for the respective languages. I would like to warn people that this blog is written to give a different perspective about consuming anime in English dub.
Now that we have an idea about the purpose of this blog, let’s get to unpacking and unlearning the dislike and disdain of English dub. As this is your first and last warning, if you are a sub watcher and you prefer dubs, that’s perfectly fine! What you’re not going to do in my comments and replies on my social media, is talk about how dub is whack. We aren’t here to shame either means of consumption. We are here to learn; we are here to elevate and celebrate the work that dub voice actors put into anime. We are here to gain understanding.
This blog is based on my observations of the anime community. I am not qualified to speak on industry stuff, but I do know someone who discusses the English dub of anime a bit more in depth than I would. Please check out The Cartoon Cipher and their archive of dubbed anime that they’ve analyzed. Also, check out actual dubbed actors, ADR people, and many many more staff behind dubbing an anime. They are the most reliable source to understand the dubbing industry.
1. The Availability of Anime to the Western Audience (US Market)
How many of you grew up watching anime in the 90’s and early 2000’s? For those who raised their hands or said “I did,” how many of you consumed anime from one of the following channels?
Anime Network on Demand
If you said yes to any of these, I thought so. If you said through imported VHS tapes, this still applies to you since you’re still a consumer of the medium. When we were growing up, the availability of anime existed, but took forever to come here unless you were a staple title such as Dragon Ball or Pokémon, just to name a few. Now in the age of technology with services such as Crunchyroll, Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, the new player in this game Disney+, and other streaming sites; we have many different ways to watch anime. Even YouTube depending on the studio or streaming service that has an account up on that platform may have all or part of the series up.
I’m also assuming that based on the prior question I asked, you watched anime in English, right? Because that’s what was available to us during that time, right? Again, I thought so. We cannot deny our roots as Western consumers.
Now that we have more movies coming to the states such as Belle, Jujutsu Kaisen 0, Fruits Basket: Prelude, and even Kaguya-sama Love Is War: The First Kiss That Never Ends (where the first three aired last year and Kaguya-sama’s movie will air on February 14th and 15th, 2023 in select theaters), we have to thank the dub for this. Yes, we should also thank the Japanese market because theaters end up making box office records like Demon Slayer: Mugen Train did back in 2021. But you should also thank the hundreds of dub actors who present you with the gas known as your favorite series.
Adaptations for all to enjoy are amazing, and I’m sure you were longing for someone to enjoy this medium with. Do me a favor, just like the Jump Festa 2022 that took place in December 2021 when Bleach’s return as the final arc, Thousand Year Blood War is being adapted: Revert Your Roots; it’s time to remember where you came from.
2. The Accessibility of Anime to the Western Audience
For those of you who do not know, in my muggle life, I am a program manager for day services for people with developmental disabilities. There are a large handful of my current and former clients that watch anime. There are even times where I bump into them at conventions, parties, or any other anime related event. I even taught a class about anime from watching random clips to discussing different studios, and even had them list their favorite series.
One thing I did notice one day when I presented a Soul Eater theme song, Paper Moon by tommyheavenly6, one of my clients sang along in English while I sang in Japanese. That was a jam session I never thought would ever happen.
But back to the point, Closed captions originally existed as an accessibility tool. Some people cannot process audio alone and need the visuals to help them understand what a show is saying. Dubs exist out there for people to process a story no matter how simple or difficult. People end up enjoying themselves and feel included.
We also need to remember: not everyone can process a different language easily or read and listen at the same time to a different language. If you’re reading what I’m saying about this and still feel whatever about it, there’s unchecked ableism that needs to be addressed.
Just because something exists and you find it pointless or should be nixed, does not mean that its purpose is not intentional at all.
3. Language Barriers Exist
In point #2, I mentioned that not everyone can process a different language so easily. What if you spoke one language and tried your hardest with watching anime or other media in another language?
A lot of the sub supremacists do not speak or are not learning Japanese, yet alone another language. I also know that the argument that will be held against me is “well, the emotions that they carry are better.” Here’s why that rebuttal needs to stop:
You’re discrediting the hard work English voice actors are putting into a series.
You’re putting Japanese voice actors on a pedestal when they are human beings like the rest of us.
For those who do not know Japanese that well, stop acting as if you know what is being said fully. Subtitles are translated and Japanese is a contextual language. Even if the translation is correct or near 100%, there are still nuances that are there can can only be fully understood if you know the language.
My best friend wants to get into more anime, however she would rather watch it dubbed because the story would be easier understood that way. With simulcasts and series that aired in the past five or so years, she and other watchers can enjoy the same story as sub watchers have.
At the end of the day, you are watching the same media no matter the language.
4. Nostalgia is Holding You Back
We are now in the year 2023. If I hear or see anything about how you don’t like dubs because they sound terrible back then, you sure as heck did not watch dubs within the past five or so years.
We are not in the 1990’s or early 2000’s anymore. There are newer talent that exist now that also grew up watching anime dubbed. Some were even trained by those same voice actors we grew up listening to. We also have more diverse cast members in dub acting. More Black and other POC are being hired and more LGBTQIA+ people are being hired. We get to hear even more range and variety of voice acting styles. Get it together people.
I also know that people will ask me how I watch anime. The answer may shock you…
It depends on the series. For the most part, I watch anime subbed because it is available first when anime air seasonally. I’m also more familiar with the Japanese voice acting scene and know more names and roles done as opposed to the English voice acting scene. Whenever I have the chance and time, I watch anime dubbed. I also watch dubbed anime when the series is bit too intensive for me to process auditorily. Vinland Saga is a perfect example of this. If the dub was available when it first aired in 2019, I would have been a bigger fan that I am now.
As stated at the beginning of this blog, you can have your preference. But don’t disrespect the work English VAs put into their craft. Also, curb your enthusiasm if you see someone watching dub. You may not know what they are going through, and you should really mind your business. At the end of the day, we are all watching the same thing. It just so happens that the language differs. If you have learned something from this blog, please consider following me on my socials. Thank you all for reading, and stay tuned for the video version of this blog.
There has been an influx of Black attendees every year since AnimeNYC has started. I would like to see more of us involved. Black people in the US consume the media heavily and are the influence for the pop culture in this area of pop culture. I would like to see the diversity in our audience and invite smaller creators that are Black into the scene where we can discuss the hot topics and do analytics of our favorite series and video games.
Anime NYC, established in 2017, was created for the fans of anime who were craving a convention that was not New York Comic Con, a con that previously hosted both anime and comic fans. With local cons being Anime Next, the former Liberty City Anime Con, just to name a few, anime fans that were local have always sought a place where they can geek out about their favorite medium-thanks to Peter Tatara, the founder of Anime NYC and the vice president of anime at Left Field Media. Here is my review of Anime NYC’s 5th anniversary.
For those who do not know, I’m an NYC local and my local cons that are huge are New York Comic Con and Anime NYC. Prior to Anime NYC’s inception, I’ve been a frequenter of NYCC, searching for a home for myself, a home con if you will. But now I can finally say: welcome home. New York City is finally an anime city.
This year, we had Hajime Isayama, creator of Attack on Titan, come to the United States to discuss the final season of the series. We’ve also had notable voice actors such as Johnny Yong Bosch, voice actor of Ichigo Kurosaki as well as Michelle Ruff (Rukia Kuchiki), and Derek Stephen Prince (Uryu Ishida). Games such as Genshin Impact and studios such as Studio Trigger (Kill La Kill, Little Witch Academia) and Wit Studio (Spy x Family) were also featured as exhibitors at the con. Though it would have been nice to cover all of these things, the thing I was the most focused on was the culture of this con.
It just really sucked that my homies I wanted to go to the con with (or at least bump into), were not there to admire the beauty and the culture. Hopefully next year, I get to see them at least once!
Anime NYC started selling their tickets at the end of March 2022 with its steep prices of $65 per day and a three day pass being $95 for the entire weekend. That does not include tax, services fees, after parties or any special panels attendees needed to apply for. From what I’ve observed, Anime NYC’s competitors in the northeast are Otakon, Katsucon, Anime Next, and a few more.
Last year, Anime NYC was where the omicron variant of COVID-19 caused so much chaos to the point where this year, tickets were limited to about 50,000 attendees. With 2021 being the hamster project that it was for many conventions, the reduction was bound to happen. However, we had to jump through hoops and ladders just to get a ticket or two. Let’s not forget that for those who wanted to obtain a three day pass had one of the following options:
Being first in line and roll a natural 20 and get a three day on GrowTix
Buy single day tickets and pay a little over double of a three day ticket ($195 vs $95)
Utilize the Lyte app, where they were also charging double the ticket price. The prices kept sky rocketing as the con was approaching.
I ended up going all three days due to circumstances presented, but I know plenty of people who did not want to go for a single day, and would rather miss out on the con. I also tried many ways to see if I can get a pass for free by the following means: applying for press, panelist, or the new influencer pass.
Speaking of the influencer pass, Anime NYC coming up with influencer passes is cool and all, but it would have been great to see more of the following:
More local influencers. I probably saw 2 or 3 from NYC. I expect for a city like NYC to have some more influencers that exist here. NYC prides itself when it comes to locals that turn up to any event. We are the toughest crowd to please in any sports or entertainment event for a reason.
Have dedicated spots for people to create content. Jacob Javits Center stretches for four or five streets and across two avenues. That place is big enough to have certain areas be dedicated as such. I thought we used the entire Javits Center, but it did not feel that way. People really were creating content in the Crystal Palace as if people weren’t entering and exiting. Prime example of this was where cosplay meet ups were held. Loads of content were being created there, but it was blocking egress in the event of an emergency.
In addition to item number one: more POC, specifically Black content creators that are highlighted. There has been an influx of Black attendees every year since AnimeNYC has started. I would like to see more of us involved. Black people in the US consume the media heavily and are the influence for the pop culture in this area of pop culture. I would like to see the diversity in our audience and invite smaller creators that are Black into the scene where we can discuss the hot topics and do analytics of our favorite series and video games.
But enough ragging on about the pass and location situation, let’s talk about the cosplays I’ve done.
Cosplays and Social Events
For those who are unfamiliar with the cosplay community, cosplay is a portmanteau of the words “costume play.” I have a brief history of my journey on YouTube. Much like cosplay being a portmanteau, cosplan is “cosplay plan.” I had three cosplans over that weekend and honestly, they were not to the standards I wanted. 2022 is my tenth anniversary of me cosplaying and I wanted things to go perfectly so that I could show off the glow up between myself at age 20 and now at age 30.
I was sick three weeks prior due to my allergies and didn’t recover until about a week before show time. And even then, I was still coughing from my lung irritation. So the cosplays I was supposed to show up with felt half assed to me. The only one that I felt was salvaged was my first one: Yor Forger from Spy x Family.
Yor Forger, Spy x Family
Yor was supposed to be my hard hitter. I was crocheting a sweater dress that I was almost done with. Even worked on it hours before I left for the con. Thankfully, I had a backup dress in case I couldn’t complete the task (thank you foresight me). But, a thing I was proud of this weekend was that I wore a lace front wig for the first time. It was also my first time wearing nail extensions. They were a bit longer than what I am comfortable with, but the nails were nailing. I had a work event the night before the con and I had to show up and show out for both events.
The positive side of the Yor cosplay was the amount of compliments I got in addition to how I felt about my makeup that day. It felt really great to hear that people liked my looks. Yor will make a reappearance real soon at the next con on my list: Katsucon. This time around, I will have the completed sweater dress I was crocheting.
Kento Nanami, Jujutsu Kaisen
On day two, I was supposed to be Yumichika Ayasegawa from Bleach, 11th Squad’s 5th seat in the Gotei 13. Due to the weather reaching sub freezing levels in the wind chill department, I switched to Kento Nanami from Jujutsu Kaisen. Now this isn’t my first time wearing my Nanami cosplay; I’ve done so for premier night for the Jujutsu Kaisen 0 movie as well as for NYCC. I love this cosplay so much because it’s very comfortable and easy to put on and take off. Nanami has now become a part of a series of cosplays I like to call “If you cant get a husband, you become one” series, with my first one being Diluc Ragnvindr from Genshin Impact.
The sad part is, like Nanami, I was working overtime, past my eight hour shift. I still had to attend a conference earlier that morning, which caused me to get to Javits at almost 3:45 p.m. The worst part about it? I didn’t have time to put on makeup. I only had time to throw on the clothes I put out even with the suspenders I forgot to place. Despite things not going my way, I was stopped left and right to take pictures. I even got a pic with one of my favorite cosplayers, Dime Hates You- she was cosplaying as Suguru Geto. I was glad to put the cosplay on that day, things were working out left and right even with my high expectations.
Later that night, I partied with LAN Party, a podcast that’s local to here that showcases a lot of things in media and host really fun parties. I’m not really a party person, but compared to last year, I had even more fun because my anxiety was not kicking my ass so hard. It was already enough that the weeks prior were stressful for me socially. Just letting you know, if you saw me that weekend and I looked like a deer in the headlights, it was due to anxiety.
Yumichika Ayasegawa, Bleach
On the final day of Anime NYC, I didn’t leave for the con until 2:00 p.m. I was way too tired from partying the night before and once again, I did not wear makeup. I really was not feeling it on Sunday. After so much socialization due to work and now a convention, burnout was setting in heavily.
The highlight of the day was attending the Bleach panel, which was one of the many limited lottery panels that took place on the Main Stage. It was thanks to my friend @coserkaze I was able to go. In attendance were Michelle Ruff and Derek Stephen Prince. Johnny Yong Bosch was only in attendance on Friday and Saturday. Unfortunately, on Sunday, he had to leave early. I am assuming it was due to the passing of his colleague from his days in Power Rangers, Jason David Frank earlier that day. We could not record this panel at the request of the convention as well as by Viz Media. The panel itself consisted of different activities given to Michelle and 6 as spelling characters’ names, announcements of figures and DVDs, as well as adaptations of light novels.
There was also a premiere of Bleach Thousand Year Blood War dubbed. We watched episode three, where we learn more about the Quincies. I don’t want to spoil too much for people who are waiting for the entirety of the series to finish to watch. But what I do have to say is that watching the TYBW dub brought in a huge wave of nostalgia. I along with other Bleach fans have waited ten years since the end of the anime and six years since the end of the manga. Bleach is one of my favorite anime and to see if being aired on Hulu as well as attending the panel has rekindled my love for the series.
At the end of the con, in New York City fashion, the attendees yelled “yerrr” throughout the Jacob Javits Center. It is a tradition since its birth in 2017 and not wanting to partake or even calling it annoying is not only sacrilege, but also insulting to the sanctity that is NYC culture. You can’t just come to NYC and not partake in aspects of our culture that makes us who we are and call it annoying. Just don’t attend if you feel as though it’s not for you.
I left the con with a few people I met to head over to a ramen spot called Kame on 8th avenue near Fashion Institute of Technology. The ramen was good and so were the buns and drink that I ordered. I will definitely go there again on my own to fully enjoy the food.
Panels and Other Events
This year, I did not attend as many panels as I would have wanted to, but two of the three that I did go to were hosted by my friends. They were as follows:
Kinks & Coils: Ethnic Hair in the Cosplay Community
Creating Safe Spaces for Black/POC Women
City Popular: A Perspective of the Rise of City Pop
Kinks & Coils: Ethnic Hair in the Cosplay Community
Kinks & Coils was facilitated by cosplayers VantaCreates and ThouArtAnuli on Friday, November 18th, 2022. I attended with my best friends since high school. I wanted to show one of them that there is a space for Black femmes in the community. This time around, it is perfectly okay to be a Black femme and enjoy fandoms. If there is any kind of retaliation or backlash that one faces, there will be others that are there to defend with class. She thanked me for showing her that there is a space for us and will continue to open up to anime as a medium again.
When it comes to cosplaying, accuracy is always a factor when planning out the costume, makeup, and hair. But with accuracy comes unwanted critiques and extreme scrutiny. Black cosplayers have trouble within this niche community due to many factors that fall under one massive umbrella: racism.
We are told many things: “you’re the Black version of x character,” or “you shouldn’t cosplay x character because they aren’t Black,” and even get attacked by non-Black consumers and get critiqued heavier. To think that even in fandom spaces we have to work two to ten times harder just to get noticed and once you are, there are loads of negative connotations associated.
It is also already enough that Black people are criticized for having our hair in its natural state. Laws such as the Crown Act are being worked on to protect us from discrimination in the workplace and at school. But seeking ways to lay our hair to make it presentable and have our own flair by adding Black hair styles such as locs, afros, and braids of all kinds are all unheard of to non-Black people. Kinks & Curls challenges all traditions as well as provides a safe and brave space to learn techniques and exchange material and brand recommendations.
I’ve attended this panel since 2019, where this year was my third time. This time around, the focus was on Black mascs taking care of their hair and beards for their cosplays. People featured were AnimexSundays, Wendell Cosplays, and Hippy Potter.
Creating Safe Spaces for Black/POC Women was facilitated by my friend ChattyPatty and her podcast, The Black Ramen Podcast (which I was previously on to discuss what it was like being an anime fan and Haitian). I arrived there late. However, there was a chock full of questions people asked. The one that stuck out the most was from a non-Black person asking about how to better support Black and POC women in the anime community. Patty stated that she would want to have accomplices as opposed to allies.
A few takebacks were obtaining an excellent barber or hairstylist, using colored hair wax, various product recommendations for beard care, and even discussion about sizeism that may occur due to social media audiences expecting a cosplayer to look exactly like the anime, video game, or comic book character. AnimexSundays expressed during his time cosplaying as Escanor from Seven Deadly Sins and Asta from Black Clover that he was told that he was “too small” build wise to cosplay as any of these characters. This is a reminder to everyone, cosplayer or not. Anyone can cosplay no matter the size, shape, creed, race, gender, or sexuality. It is time to unlearn any and every previous notions about how accurate a person should look when in costume. With that being said, I hope to see more Black masc cosplayers be more free with their hair as well as their looks in years to come.
Creating Safe Spaces for Black/POC Women
White people as well as non-Black POC are known to participate in bystanderism whenever an injustice is done to Black and other POC. It is very prevalent in digital spaces as well and it does not help that we are discussing it in fandom spaces. We would like more active camaraderie as opposed to passive and performative. As we begin 2023 and onwards, I would like for solidarity to have purpose and not feel empty.
In addition to solidarity race and ethnicity wise, I would like for solidarity to occur when it comes to our neurodivergent siblings of life. There were a few people in the panel that disclosed that they have a disability of some sort and would like to have a space to vibe about their favorite series free of judgment. Having a seat at the table isn’t just about who can speak the loudest, it is about who is at the table and how they are being accommodated for.
City Popular: A Perspective of the Rise of City Pop
City Popular was facilitated by Mista-B of Love Talkin’ where we listened to city pop and future funk. The city pop panel was also great to attend because I got to listen to artists that I was familiar with and was introduced to new ones. Names such as Mariya Takeuchi, Tatsuro Yamashita, an Miki Matsubara were a few of the names I’m familiar with. If you’ve ever listened to Stay with Me (Mayonaka no Door). The song “Out of Time” by the Weeknd was sampled from “Midnight Pretenders” by Tomoko Aran.
I also discovered a new way to support artists and DJs by going to their Twitch, where they will livestream their content or going to various stores that provide vinyl records of the listed artists.
Lobby Party with Anime Night Club 3
One last attraction I would like to discuss is when Anime Night Club, a pair of brothers who are DJs, hosted an impromptu party in the lobby next to the show floor. This reminded me of how much I love Black people, specifically Black people who love anime. We add a lot of je ne sais quoi. There’s so much flavor we add to the media we consume, and no other community can do it like us.
There were plenty of stories on Instagram and TikTok videos I saw, and I even recorded my own of people dancing and vibing out to the music. There were remixes of anime openings and original soundtracks from One Piece, Naruto, and Bleach. There was even a Dora the Explorer remix. People were getting sturdy, and at one point, there was a multilayered swag surf that was made. I really hope that they will come next year so that I can grab more footage or even interview them.
Though there were many growing pains with the con this year, I enjoyed myself. I will make it my mission to attend AnimeNYC every year and document new things I’ve seen over the years. One of the things I definitely want to touch on next year is the rise in Black attendees and the impeccable fusion of anime and Black culture. I also want to know what draws people to certain series and why they cosplay a certain character.
Thank you all so much for reading through my thoughts about AnimeNYC in this blog post. Going to conventions is my passion, and I am stoked to share my experience with you all. I look forward to writing more throughout this year! You can find me on Twitter, YouTube, Twitch, Instagram, and TikTok using LinkTree.
This post was edited on January 9, 2023 to correct the City Popular section. The organizer of the panel was Mista-B from Love Talkin’. Thank you for the correction.
After years and years of sitting on ideas, I have decided to give content creation a go again.
For those who have not been following me for quite sometime with my content creation journey, I used to be an animator on YouTube. Growing up, my dream was to become an animator and animate not only on TV shows, but also to animate my own shows and clips. Due to many circumstances, the dream died.
Part of it was self-doubt. Part of it was outside influences like parental units. Part of it was “will I make money in this economy?” Lastly, a good chunk of it was “will the industry take me?”
Since becoming a cosplayer in 2012, but taking things more seriously in 2019, I’ve always wanted to talk about the thing I love the most aside from my family and friends: anime.
Anime has been a part of my life since I was about 6 or 7 years old. I grew up around the time of Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh! Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, and many other 90s and early 2000s titles.
I’ve noticed a lot on YouTube that there are not so many content creators who discuss anime that are Black. When I mean discuss anime, I mean have in-depth analyses and observing series through a critical lens. If there are creators out there on YouTube, please send them over. I would love to watch their videos and support their work.
I want the Black anime community to relate to someone else out there aside from KingVader and RDCWorld. I would like to do interviews with different people in the anime community from a small, medium, and large platform so that they have their voices heard. Most importantly, I want Black femmes to be heard. As a Black femme myself, I often see or sometimes experience the gatekeeping being done by not only non-Black people, but also from Black men. I want to talk about the diverse pool of anime that I along with other Black femmes watch.
I also want to try my hand at conducting research. I haven’t done any qualitative or quantitative research since I was in grad school 4 years ago. For my YouTube channel as well as this blog, I want to talk about the studies I have done with people in the Black anime community in order to better understand why do they watch certain series and genres.
For the first time in a while, I am excited and passionate about a project. Even though I am anxious that I won’t finish up things, I want to continue to build motivation and the courage for myself to continue to create.
I hope that you all enjoy my content creation journey. Once my YouTube channel launches, I will update this blog and let you all know! Thank you to all that have supported my GoFundMe and other endeavors to help fund my project!
This is just to name a few roles. Some of my favorite roles by Mamo are Tamaki, Tokiya, Dazai, and Death the Kid.
I was first introduced to Mamo’s voice acting in Ouran High School. This was way before I delved into the voice acting fandom and was learning who was voicing who. Tamaki was always so cheery and comedic, which is one of my favorite things about Mamo: how funny he is. Some of his other roles like Dazai embody this. My first role that I actually delved into Mamo fully was when he was
Mamo has always been a person who was lively, animated, and joyful. It was shocking to hear the opposite in roles like Chrollo, Tokiya, and even Zero. I know that Mamo does sound the same in a lot of the roles that he plays, but there’s something that he has that keeps me hooked: his passion.
His passion goes even into his music. From his song Kimi e (君へ。。。) to Tada Soba ni Ite (ただそばにいて) you can hear how much of him he puts into his ballads. In his dance songs Shine, Egoistic, New Order, and Magic, you can hear and even see how much he puts into his moves. Everything about Mamo comes from the heart.
Here are some of his songs that appeared in anime:
Orpheus, Uta no Prince-sama
Canon, Uta no Prince-sama
Shine, Uta no Prince-sama
Tempest, Uta no Prince-sama
Last Dance, In/Spectre
Break It, Cardfight Vanguard!! G
Shout!, Cardfight Vanguard!! G
Hikari Sasu Hou E, Ahiru no Sora
How Close You Are, Ajin
One last thing that keeps me going back to Mamo is the visuals in his music video. Here are some of my favorite music videos:
Even his concerts have great visuals!
Once again, happy birthday Mamo! I hope that you enjoyed the festivities at home!
As of the start of me writing this, we are at the dawn of day 14 since George Floyd was murdered in plain sight. Ever since the news was revealed, there have been many thoughts in my head that looped over and over.
What if that were me? What if that were my brothers? My dad? My mom? Anyone in my family? What about my friends?
I’m exhausted. From not only learning of the news of George Floyd, but also of other deaths in the US.
Breonna Taylor. Trayvon Martin. Rodney King. Sean Bell. Eric Garner. Ahmaud Arbery. Sandra Bland. Amadou Diallo. Atatianna Jefferson. The list goes on and on.
Fannie Lou Hamer said it best: “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
I am sick and tired of seeing my fellow Black siblings of life dying left and right. I am sick and tired of the media (and other people who don’t care/”agree, but…”) depicting our struggles and marching as awful. I am sick and tired of scrolling through my social media and having to teach others on how to properly do allyship. I am also sick and tired of having to teach people why things affect Black people differently. I’m definitely sick and tired of having to again scroll through my feed and some of the celebrities that I like that look like me not speak out about injustices that they face.
The fact that I can’t even do basic shit without being targeted is frightening.
I’ve seen so many times that people online have said that we need to tap out sometimes. True. Extremely true. But how long can we really be tapped out? The fact that the next one can happen at any point due to protests, rioting, and looting worries me. Not only that, we have to deal with our white and non-Black POC counterparts whether at work or online. The trauma will never end because we see that peaceful protesters are being targeted, injured, or worse: killed. Additionally, we have to sit and explain why these things affect us to people who aren’t Black and why we should be on board with abolishing the police.
For those who are asking: “what should I do” in this situation… I don’t know what to tell you anymore…
These issues are more than just police brutality. They range from the healthcare system to media to education to even housing and real estate.
The best I can say is to listen. Not hear. Listen. You will never understand the struggle of waking up everyday and praying that you will survive the rest of the day without being targeted by either law enforcement, healthcare, or housing. And when it comes to listening, do not apologize for being born into the race/ethnicity you were born in. By doing that, you’re dismissing our struggles no matter how unintentional it may be.
Also, don’t ask for statistics about police brutality, white on white crime and Black on Black crime because again, it dismisses our feelings as well as our narratives will never be heard because we need to display concrete information. For the people who are like this, reevaluate your approach. Do your own research and not ask for a Black person to do that for you. Which leads to my next point.
DO 👏🏾 YOUR 👏🏾 OWN 👏🏾 RESEARCH 👏🏾. We as Black people are neither Google, nor a peer reviewed scholarly article, nor an encyclopedia. We are in 2020 and in the age of technology. We have resources available everywhere. From various tweets people have tweeted on their own experiences, to different blogs that are written, to even books that have been published. Do your own research. If someone is delivering services such as narratives and research or even actual formal education, compensate them. Some people actually do diversity, equity, and inclusion as their line of work. Pay them. Because someone took the time to break down a complex concept of systemic and institutional racism.
Open your purse… Donate. Donate to bail funds and organizations that assist with the education of civil rights. Donate to the various GoFundMe campaigns that are cycling around social media. Donate to local non-profits whose mission is towards helping out the community.
If you don’t have money, sign petitions. There are plenty going out to reopen various cases such as Breonna Taylor’s. There is a video that you can watch on YouTube that all the ad revenue goes to donating to Black Lives Matter and other organization in the Carrd above.
If you have children, start the educational process of racism at home. No matter how much you can try to avoid it, children will still be exposed to it even in the classroom.
Check in on your Black friends. A lot of us are hurting.
We don’t want Black Lives Matter to be just a trend each and every time racial injustice happens. Black lives should matter in everything that is done around you. Our injustices affect the status quo and we can no longer afford to be non-racist. We need to be anti-racist.
I was listening to Mamoru Miyano’s song Unstoppable (STY Remix) earlier and was in a mood to listen to more of his songs. While searching up songs that came up at the top of my head, I realized something: two songs came to mind for the year 2020 so far.
The first song that came to mind was “Last Dance.” This song released as Mamo’s 18th single this year on January 29th. The music video aired on YouTube as of January 11th.
“Last Dance” was featured in the Winter 2020 anime season under the title In/Spectre (Kyokō Suiri). This song features a snazzy jazz beat. Trumpets blaring, rhythmic snaps, double bass strums, all the works. We as a society were prepared for our come back from 2019 being mentally exhausting.
お遊びのまま いじらしいまま 君らしく暴れて ふざけないなんて つまらない 僕ららしく踊らせて I’ll save the last dance for you
Playing around like this in a teasing way Uncontrollable like you I’m not messing around It’s foolish Let’s dance as we do I’ll save the last dance for you
Mamoru Miyano, “Last Dance,” 2020
For the ones who do not follow Mamo, the songs in question are as follows:
Last Dance. We entered the roaring 20s and stuff about to be all clubby and stuff, ownership of self, you know, carpe diem.https://t.co/cZreh5VBc3
2020 was the year of our Renaissance. Our revival. Hell, the best damn year of our lives. A lot of us were ready to be reincarnated into our better and best selves. Some were going to be more daring. Others were going to try new things. Others even to do a full 180° career wise.
However, with the 20s, history has chosen to repeat itself: a plague.
COVID19 has shown a lot in humanity. There is still a lot of racism and xenophobia afoot. A lot of income disparity continues to reveal itself in many forms from real estate, to medical industry, to the workforce itself. And yet time and time again, people are selfish.
Throughout COVID19, in the United States, at least 30 million people have filed for unemployment as of April 30th. Countless of people cannot pay their rent or bills due to the long queue and slower turn around time. For the ones who can pay off their bills as they collect unemployment, they’re getting a whole lot more than their regular wages.
Here’s where a new order comes in.
What comes to mind for Mamoru Miyano’s 12th single and a song in his 2015 album Frontier, “New Order” is the Latin phrase “carpe diem.” We as humanity want to seize ownership of ourselves again. We want to seize the means of production. We want to seize change.
とっくにもう目覚めてしまった衝動 未来は不確かだけど もう既に we can’t go back no more 僕らの New order… oh oh oh oh oh oh oh… つまらない明日ならいらないから ムリしても止めないで
It’s already been a long time since this impulse awakened The future is uncertain but It’s already too late we can’t go back no more Our New Order… oh oh oh oh oh oh oh… Since I don’t want tomorrow to be boring I won’t stop doing the impossible
Mamoru Miyano, “New Order,” 2015
What Mamo said is indeed correct. It’s already too late; we can’t go back no more. Things will not return back to normal. We are facing a new “normal” where we have to wear personal protective equipment and continue to practice social distancing. With summer quickly approaching in the Northern Hemisphere, the future is also uncertain. There are reports that COVID19 will have its resurgence in the fall and winter, where flu season also runs rampant.
We are also facing a new normal where uncertainty is even more anxiety inducing. How will our bills be paid in case there is another unemployment spike? How many more will die? When can we go back to doing things the way that we used to? The only thing that we do know is that we have to be more cautious on all of our decisions.
It’s not that we can’t fly With growing wings Once again, may the light come back to you We won’t end it here We’ll start over from here Over and above, go further! To cut through the darkness
Mamoru Miyano, “Hikari SasuHō E (Toward Where the Light Shines), 2020
Among the darkness, there is always light. There’s hope. There’s change that is for the better to come soon. Hikari Sasu Hō E, Mamo’s 19th Single, shows that we will rise from the ashes like a phoenix. Adversity whether it be a microorganism or a conglomerate, has chances to be overturned. The million dollar question is: what moves will you make to make a change?
Raise it up Raise your voice Let’s make it louder To the flight In the sky ただ光射す方へ…
Raise it up Raise your voice Let’s make it louder To the flight In the sky Just towards where the light shines…
Mamoru Miyano, “Hikari Sasu Hō E (Toward Where the Light Shines), 2020