By Luzviminda Uzuri Carpenter
(aka #LuluNation aka Ms. Lulu)
Special Guest Columnist
Why are there so many hashtags? What is the difference between a pound sign and a hashtag? Why does it matter? Why do you have so many names? How many identities do you have?
PAUSE: A hashtag is a type of label or metadata tag used on social network and microblogging services, which makes it easier for users to find messages with a specific theme or content. Users create and use hashtags by placing the hash character (or number sign) # in front of a word or unspaced phrase, either in the main text of a message or at the end. Searching for that hashtag will then present each message that has been tagged with it.
Are these questions or are they judgements? Do I/we need to explain myself/ourselves?
As we stand at a crossroads (always) juxtaposed against a past that is technically at our finger tips with a Google search, I realize that a couple of folx that identified as “bois” and “API” as well as a plethora of other “markers” and myself (not a boi, because I felt more like a genderqueer man that wore make up and dresses) are coming upon our one year anniversary as #LuluNation + #SadBoisHypeClub. We are having a one-year-old birthday party and entering into toddler-hood and we never really explain a lot of what and why and how we came to be. You will hear us on the radio every Tuesday from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on a community radio station that you can listen to LIVE on-line at www.hollowearthradio.org. If you don’t catch us then, you can find our podcasts at https://www.mixcloud.com/LuluNationSadBoisHypeClub/.
PAUSE: For the folx not technically savy, “A podcast is a form of digital media that consists of an episodic series of audio or digital radio, subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed online to a computer or mobile device. The word is portmanteau of “pod” and “broadcast.”
CONTINUE: We are in the practice of creating our reality with the use of technology, media, and radio. We are practicing, so we often start at the middle and wind our way backwards to foundations, like right now. We can always start, stop, and begin again. We deserve that as Queer and Trans People of Color at the intersections of “constantly searching for a past that is erased.”
That is the point of the show, but I would have to take it even further back and explain, document, and answer so many questions. We would have never reached our destination if we had to explain ourselves. We just wanted to be. We wanted to ask questions that were relevant to our lives and provide a platform for voices that resembled ours, but were not ours. These voices are often silenced by mainstream or not even seen or recognized as existing. Our voices are not even anywhere on their new aged mapping of identities and tokenization. Why explain? Is it better to stay invisible? Is it safer there?
PAUSE: Let me introduce myself. I apologize again, I am in the practice of non-linear thinking and explaining its colonizing force to our wild imaginations that like to star-gaze and throw ideas into the sky and map them. We create new constellations daily. I am a poet. I am a writer. I do not like form. I identify on the margins of margins, because to list my identities, I would already reach maximum letters and words on any blank forms. My name does not fit onto forms, onto bank cards. Neither do my identities. So I created a hashtag and a Nation to call out to the universe. I wanted to send signals over airwaves. HEYYYYY! are there any other Black mixed raced Filipin@ Fat Queer Femmes that sometimes feel like men, not bois. Who are working class and look racially ambigious often mistaken for Samoan, but definitely an Island somewhere. Black maybe not.
PAUSE: I am apologizing again for the other pause, because it was a long pause. I did it again. I fell into the hole of explaining my existence to the world. Hello, my name is Lulu. Let me make it simple for you (or for me), I created a nation called #LuluNation and asked some friends that were different than me if they were interested in creating a radio show. They were called the #sadboishypeclub. We interviewed artists, activists, and “homies-from-around the way” and gave ourselves permission to learn and speak.
Basically, we created the show, so we can talk to other people as humans and not just identities. We wanted to be in dialogue about our existance on the margins, but not name that we were on the margins. As Queer & Trans People of Color, we wanted to see what amazing movement work people were creating, we wanted to hear about people’s art that they were creating, and overall remind people that from all these identities, people were forming new worlds and visions that we all can believe.
Having a radio show was not the plan. Often times in community amongst ourselves and/or in public venues, we often talk about the margins. We talk about being invisible. Instead of naming our oppression only, we created a path to visibilize our stories, our thoughts, and our opinions. Media and radio are images, sounds, and voices that are created. We have the power to take these tools and create a new culture, a new way of writing, a new way of communicating. We can give ourselves permission to create new rules for ourselves even if no one follows. On the radio, we give ourselves permission to learn, make mistakes, practice more, and ultimately have access to technology that was not accessible to us before with no filter between our lives and making it digestable for mainstream. As on the radio, I started in the middle, paused often to acknowledge gaps, kept trying, and came to a conclusion which was the whole point. Please celebrate with us as we celebrate our entry into toddler-stage of #LuluNation + #SadBoisHypeClub.
Catch #LuluNation + #SadBoisHypeClub Tuesdays from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. LIVE! on Hollow Earth Radio.