Work of Art Wednesday: Fat Bat Dana

I truly don’t know what it is about this character (actually I do know what it is), but I gravitated towards Dana from the first time I seen a picture of her. I believe the reason why I gravitated to her was because she reminded me of me. Her style and personality somewhat reflects mine.

When I was younger and beginning my teen phase, I was that black girl who didn’t talk or act black according to my black peers. I dressed like a punk rocker or goth (there’s clearly a difference between the Punk and Goth culture), enjoyed anime, was somewhat of a demagogue who had a very witty and sarcastic personality (still do), and was a lover of rock music. This depiction of a black girl was a taboo during my era. I wasn’t allowed to exist in the world according to society, yet I did.

I always express how art is important, no matter what form it’s in. I also always stress how the African Diaspora needs to see more of themselves in art. I’m always preaching how the Black culture is not a monolithic culture and that we need to show how diverse the culture really is. Being able to have comics like this when I was younger would’ve made me feel more secure within my blackness. I didn’t feel like there were other black people who were a part of the Rebel, Rukasz, Black Goth, or Afropunk culture when I was younger. If I did, I think I would’ve felt more comfortable socially because I would’ve had others I could relate to. I probably wouldn’t have felt ashamed that my personality was different. Imagine, if I was able to see more Black Rock artist during my time as a teen, maybe I would’ve actually felt “normal” for once instead of insecure because I’m always being labeled as “weird” simply because my culture differed from the average Black American stereotype.

As I left high school and transitioned into the adult world, I just stopped caring how people felt about me. I was happy with the person that I was physically, mentally, emotionally, and psychologically. I realized, I’m not the weird one, I’m normal. I’m just being me, that’s normal! The rest of the world is trying to be somebody else, that’s weird.
When Dancehall Artist Tommy Lee (Sparta) entered the Reggae scene, many black people like me were excited. He brought the Gothic culture to Dancehall. Can you imagine a sub-genre called Gothic Dancehall. There was a lot of speculation about Tommy Lee when he first came out. A lot of people claimed he brought wickedness (evil) to the Dancehall culture and some said there was no room for him in Dancehall. But the response to Tommy Lee was tremendous. For once, black people like me got to see our culture represented. Yeah, I respected Uncle Demon so much for bringing that culture to Dancehall because it made me feel more acceptable to society. Yes, a Black Goth, and he’s Yardie (Jamaican), that was just an additional plus.

The overall point of this post is that the African/Black culture is widespread. Our culture isn’t monolithic. Society needs to stop limiting our blackness. This lack of representation in media contributes to this restriction placed upon our culture, and it’s not allowing our culture to grow. We need more black content in all forms. Music, movies, art, theater. We need to accept black people of all forms. Tall, short. Fat, skinny. Light, dark. Hip-Hop, Afropunk. The more we are able to see ourselves in many diverse forms, the more accepting we can become as a culture to other black people who don’t come from the same backgrounds that aren’t projected through the stereotypical Hip-Hop culture.

I love everything that Dr. Cayln is doing in the world of art. We need more artist that are willing to standout and oppose society’s standards as to what the world deems as “normal” for the black culture and to continue to show the world that every form of Black is normal.

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