Bitch ListFamily Values

FIYAH (fiyahlitmag.com)

Sci-fi/Fantasy has a history of consistently excluding Black creators and consumers, so FIYAH Literary Magazine is here to take up space. Featuring Black SFF writers and narratives, FIYAH’s lineage stems from the 1926 journal Fire!!, a quarterly publication for Black writers and artists. FIYAH describes its current SFF incarnation as “an incubator of creativity, a safe space to dream our dreams of the Black beyond.” And indeed FIYAH goes beyond the traditional boundaries of a print magazine, organizing writing check-ins and providing writer accounts on their website for authors track and record their story progress. The journal’s social media platforms facilitate discussion on all aspects of writing, from ideation, drafting, editing, to pitching, connecting writers to raise the visibility of Black SFF. See more at Fiyahlitmag.com —Alexxander Dovelin

Slow Holler Tarot (slowholler.com)

The Slow Holler collective is a group of makers and artists based in North Carolina who have ties to the South. Many of the artists in the collective also identify as queer. Their latest project, a collaboratively designed tarot deck, celebrates both the southern tradition of storytelling and the idea of queer chosen family. This thoughtful and beautiful deck pushes back against the misrepresentation and erasure of southern and queer voices while cleverly subverting and reimagining the restrictive, heterocentric, binary images and narratives that have historically dominated tarot design and interpretation. —Britt Ashley

Women* Who Draw (womenwhodraw.com [ Illustration by Violeta Noy via Women Who Draw ])

Looking through back issues of “a certain prominent magazine” that often features illustrated covers, Julia Rothman noted, “in the past 55 covers, only four were by women.” She reached out to fellow illustrator Wendy MacNaughton and the two decided to take a proactive stance. With demographics showing that women design/illustration graduates outnumber their counterparts more than two-to-one, talented non-male illustrators should be easy to find. The two launched Women* Who Draw, an online directory showcasing hundreds of under-represented illustrators, in December, 2016. (While it should not need an asterisk, women here includes all women and gender non-conforming illustrators.) Each person featured has submitted an illustration of a woman, then self identified if they choose to by location, race/ethnicity, orientation, and religion, and provided a portfolio link.

The site was so overwhelmingly popular that it closed temporarily to a flood of submissions and 12 million hits in the first few days. Now, backed by a new server and showcasing almost 1000 new members, users can create a collection of favorites and read interviews from art directors about collaborations. Illustrators are invited to participate in a monthly prompt #WWDTogether. For an art director, the opportunity to find under-celebrated talent from all over the world, with information to help pair relevant stories with their experience, is a gift. For the casual browser, it’s also a beautiful way to learn about new artists and see what illustration-related career paths are possible. —Kristin Rogers Brown

Got a Girl Crush

If you can’t guess from the title of this blog and annual print magazine, Got a Girl Crush pairs interviews with cool women with gorgeous photos and illustrations. From artists and entrepreneurs (like Makeshift Society founder Rena Tom) to seasoned scene veterans (Chicana punk icon Alice Bag) to leaders with a legacy (like the late human-rights activist Grace Lee Boggs), GAGC will leave you with a list of people to follow online, and a window into the women creating the badass, beautiful culture of a female future. —Andi Zeisler

The Artist 

I was in the midst of finals when I found myself unable to stop reading Anna Haifisch’s comic, The Artist (Breakdown Press, 2016). I related to Haifisch’s work more than any other comic I’d ever read. Maybe this is because the comic is about a bird who is trying to sustain themselves as an artist while dealing with an obscene amount of existential dread, and I am in art school. The avian protagonist’s dread and self doubt is rendered with such detail and empathy that it made me feel less alone. Ironically, I was reading the comic to procrastinate on my own projects, so as much as “The Artist” was my escape, it was also a trap. The artwork in the comic perfectly matched the dissonance of my experience, pairing Haifisch’s shaky line-work with a vibrant and surreal color palette. —Alex Gregory

John Brown 

In the biography John Brown, originally published in 1909 and rereleased in 2014, W.E.B. Du Bois chronicles the life of the radical white abolitionist who was executed for treason in 1859. Decades before the Civil War, Brown raised his family in the belief that slavery was an immoral system that needed to and could only be destroyed through armed insurrection. Brown and his family worked in abolitionist circles with Harriet Tubman (who he called “General Tubman”) and several of his children and other relatives participated in his rebellions across the United States. Brown was with three of his sons when he was captured and executed in West Virginia for trying to seize weapons and use them to arm a slave rebellion. Brown is often portrayed as a madman for committing his life to waging war against slavery, but Du Bois powerfully captures “the white flame of his utter devotion to an ideal”—a willingness to die for what he and his family believed in. —Dahlia Grossman-Heinze

This article was published in Family Values Issue #74 | Spring 2017

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