Black Fae Day! with Jasmine LaFleur and Kia Sangria

0.75x 1x 1.25x 1.5x 2x 0:0000:44:48 Black Fae Day! with Jasmine LaFleur and Kia Sangria

1x
0:00
00:44:48
Powered by the Simple Podcast Press Player

Episode Summary

May 14th Is Black Fae Day. Learn more about this delightfully Black festive holiday from its founder and principal organizer Jasmine LeFleur and Kia Sangria, a 2022 ambassador. Both are visionary joy practitioners within the Black Fae community, a platform and annual event that increases the positive visibility of Black people in mainstream fantasy. These women are joining the Stitch Please podcast to share their journey with cosplay, what influenced them to get involved in making costumes, and how they turned their creative passion into an annual event for other Black cosplayers. This opened up the conversation as we talked about the perceived barrier of entry to cosplay, how a few stitches allow cosplayers to be whoever they want, and why the spirit of cosplay and spreading black joy through Black fantasy and fairytales are so powerful.We also touched on how they provide a community that welcomes and supports Black people in their quest to be their most authentic selves. They also spoke on the play and wonder that adults indulge in through cosplay and the importance of leading by example so kids know they can be and do whatever they want.This episode is an absolutely beautiful story of creativity and community and how the energy and love that goes into making costumes can be a part of a larger pattern.

Read Full Transcript

Lisa Woolfork 0:00

Hello stitchers. Welcome to Stitch Please, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. I'm your host, Lisa Woolfork. I'm a fourth generation sewing enthusiast with more than 20 years of sewing experience. I am looking forward to today's conversation. So sit back, relax, and get ready to get your stitch together.

Hello everybody, and welcome to the Stitch Please podcast. I'm your host, Lisa Woolfork. And as I say every week, this is a very special episode. But this one is especially, especially special because this one is about Black Fae Day. And we have two practitioners and community organizers within the Black Fae community with us today. And if you are a Patreon supporter - and why are you not? - it's only like $2 a month and I don't even have any tiers. And y'all know I'm worth way more than $2. If you are a Patreon supporter, you get to see these gorgeous, gorgeous people with these gorgeous, gorgeous looks. Oh my gosh, it is fantastic. So welcome. Welcome, Kia Sangria and Jasmine LaFleur. I am so delighted to welcome you all to the Stitch Please podcast today. Thank you.

Kia Sangria 1:09

Thank you so much for having us.

Jasmine 1:12

I'm so excited.

Lisa Woolfork 1:15

This is delightful. I am quite delightful. Jasmine - I want to ask both of you, but I'll start with Jasmine - Jasmine, how did you get started in cosplay and costuming? Like, how did you get started?

Jasmine 1:49

Okay, well, I don't really consider myself a cosplayer just because I don't have all the skills, like, it takes to put out a look every week. But I've always followed the Black cosplay community. I've always been a supporter of all the cosplayers out there. And I tend to do little things like cosmic cosplays, I think that's what they're called? It's when you kind of just throw together the regular items that you have in the house, and you put it together and you dress up as a character that you like. I kind of started doing little fun things like that. I went to a convention, I think it was back in - oh, let me see. 2015, I think it was? With some friends, and they said, Just come to the anime convention with me. And I was at St. Louis, and so I put together a little, like, Totoro dress, and had my hair silver with, like, little pink ends at the end. And so that kind of started my costuming love. And I got to meet a cosplayer named Princess Mentality at the Time Cosplay, and she created the hashtag 28 Days of Black Cosplay at the time, so she was a huge influence to me and, you know, Black Fae Day. So I've been in love with the community for a while.

Lisa Woolfork 3:12

Absolutely love that. I love how the roots of the community started from something small, but then your attachment grew. You went to conventions, and then you see someone, and then she starts doing something and it becomes big, and that inspired you to do something which is, I think, incredibly big too. So this is really delightful. Kia, I'll turn to you. How did you start cosplay? Or do you, unlike Jasmine, do you consider yourself a cosplayer?

Kia Sangria 3:39

I am a cosplayer through and through, Lisa. I started cosplaying back in 2011, so I've been here for, like, quite some time. And like, my love of cosplay started when I was younger, but it wasn't until I got older and I got my first sewing machines that I really felt like I could become like the girls, the magical girls that I would see on TV, and dress up at, like, cute events and stuff. I mean, some of my earliest memories were throwing things together for, like, the Coney Island Mermaid Day Parade in New York City. So, you know, I got some cheap spandex and put together my little makeshift mermaid tail to, like, strut down the boardwalk, and I've been in love since. And constantly really revolves around my entire life. I met my husband in cosplay; he proposed at New York Comic-Con in cosplay; we were in Cosmo Magazine in cosplay. And when we finally got married, we got married in cosplay at this old school Italian venue. Going on six years in July. So cosplay has, like, always been a part of, like, what I do, and just, like, having the skills to be able to like, instantly become anybody that I want with just a couple of stitches - which is an understatement - but literally just a couple of stitches allow me to become like anyone or like anything that I want. And so when Jasmine came out with like Black Fae Day, I was just absolutely elated to have someone create something so meaningful, with so much love behind it for us, that I had to go, like, all in for Black Fae Day last year. And what I'm doing this year, y'all - y'all not ready for what I'm about to pop out.

Lisa Woolfork 5:19

I'm hardly ready for this interview, so...and I'm only seeing from the shoulders up. I can't imagine when you walk down the street in a whole outfit. Oh my goodness. And so, you both seem to have come at cosplay, or come at this work, from different directions. And I guess I wonder, how important are definitions to you, right? Like, I was like, is it cosplay? What is cosplay? I've been reading about things like, what's it, like, Regencycore, and all of these different - Regencycore, normcore, there was another one another type of core, cottagecore. I mean, just all these different types. What do these words mean? And do they mean anything to you?

Jasmine 6:10

Like, I'm trying to catch up and keep track of all the different aesthetics that come up every day. But it's really exciting. I feel like these labels are kind of important because they give you these little pocket communities that you can, you know, join and create with. So it's really easy to find people that are interested in the same things that you are. So when I made Black Fae Day, it just so happened that fairycore and cottagecore were really hot at the time. So it was easy for me to just use a little hashtag and find all these beautiful people that were participating in that, and it kind of fit the fantasy genre. So those little pockets of aesthetics and creativity really are a good vehicle to start creating and connecting with others that like your same interests.

Lisa Woolfork 7:02

So you see the vocabulary as a way to build community, not as a way to shut people out?

Jasmine 7:09

Absolutely.

Lisa Woolfork 7:13

I know you have a more extensive cosplay background than Jasmine, considering, you know, how much cosplay has done for your life in general, you do a lot of it. And I've had another cosplayer on before, and in some of my readings I hear about canon? About like, Oh, your character needs to look this way. Has that type of policing ever shaped anything you've ever done, or influenced the way that you have navigated your own creativity?

Kia Sangria 7:44

So, what that other cosplayer said is definitely true. There's definitely, when it comes to cosplay, a little bit more frigidness when it comes to how people cosplay. The topic of, like, people's cosplays being canon - personally for me, that has never affected the way that I cosplay, simply because there's not enough, like, Black characters around for me to cosplay. And so, by default, I am not canon when it comes to any of the cosplays that I do. But my thing for me, personally, is: who's going to check me? Nobody. So, nobody is going to run up on me and check me. And, I mean, people can say what they want online. If people have said things about me online, personally, I haven't really seen it. And when it does happen, which is very rarely for me, I usually just delete the comment. Because what I'm not going to do is acknowledge you. Like, you're not even worthy of my acknowledgement. So I don't even dignify certain comments with a response, because it's above me now. But I know that for a lot of cosplayers, like, things like that can be a barrier of entry to the hobby, because they may not have the same body shape as the character that they want to cosplay. They don't have the same skin tone as the character they want to cosplay. Those are not things that should ever stop you - stop anybody - from cosplaying and I really do preach that. And for me, like, again, it doesn't matter how you cosplay, but I spent too much time working on these costumes for you to think that you're going to come over here and make me feel bad about wearing them. What we're not going to do is that.

Lisa Woolfork 9:23

"I don't recall asking your opinion, so I'm really surprised that you're standing in front of me giving it." And you know what else is interesting, at least for the anime figures? None of those people are meant to be white people. Those are all Japanese people. And then lots of the different animes are, like, the Naruto and even Avatar, right? Like, why do you think you can be Aang? Are you Asian in any way? You are not. But you somehow get to go over there and tell a Black girl that she can't be Aang. What? No? Because honestly, honestly. And so I really appreciate the way that you're able to engage this hobby in a way that has given you such joy. And I am a big believer and proponent of Black joy. Especially for Black women, but for all Black people in general, and I love seeing it. I absolutely love seeing it. Can you talk about - and I'll go to Kia, and then I'll come back to Jasmine - what was the very first cosplay? And you have so many, I'm trying to decide which ones to ask about. Do I ask about the one with your husband, do I ask about the one when you were in Cosmo, do I ask about your wedding cosplay? Since you've done all these other things, I think I want to go back to the beginning and ask about what your first one was. Like, what was your first cosplay that you can remember, before you started doing - was it for the Mermaid Parade at Coney Island?

Kia Sangria 10:52

No, it wasn't. So my very first costume that I ever, like, made and, like, stitched together with my own hands was actually a Cardcaptor Sakura costume. And to make that costume, I actually took a little leotard from my dance class and I, like, makeshifted it and got, like, some pink bedsheets to try to attempt to make a nice little bow on the back. I wore that to New York Comic-Con 2008. And listen, like, the me back then, you couldn't tell her nothing. Like, she was just all over the Javits Center, like, little Kia was in there. Okay, no one could tell her anything.

Lisa Woolfork 11:32

"This is not a bed sheet. This is a bow."

Kia Sangria 11:34

Right. It was a bow, it was a big pink bow. And even though it was, like, thrown together out of nothing, your girl felt like a million bucks. Okay, I was a million dollars. And no one was gonna tell me anything.

Lisa Woolfork 11:48

I love it. I just love it. And also that you could do it in community at the con. You know, like, that's what I think is so wonderful. Jasmine, what about you? Do you have, like, a first or early cosplay that was meaningful to you, something maybe through the fae costuming?

Jasmine 12:06

Oh, I think one of the most meaningful experiences I had in costume was actually historical costume, which can be just as difficult to navigate as cosplay as well, because, you know, you have a lot of people that want you to be historically accurate. There's a lot of people that say, No, you cannot wear the big, you know, Regency dresses. And, you know, the Rococo, you know, Marie Antoinette styles, because, you know, Black people during the 18th century had different occupations. And uh, not even an occupation, you know. Us out here and the transatlantic, you know, diaspora, were slaves, and so they feel like, that's the only role you can fit when you're talking about historical costume.

Lisa Woolfork 12:55

We're not doing that. Guess what, we're not doing that. Ha.

Jasmine 12:58

No, no. So let me tell you, I came out and I was like, I need to find the most obnoxious color just to stand out in front of everybody and be like, I don't care. I'm here in my big-ass dress. And I'm not going to tell me anything. But I did a set gown, an 18th century set gown, with a beautiful group of historical costumers. And they were so welcoming and inviting and helped me every step of the way. I couldn't sew, but I had a starter dress, and I did little details. You know, I changed, like, the lace, or I changed some of the trim. And so I did little parts to make it my own. And it turned out beautiful. And so our group, we had a historical costuming group in St. Louis at the time, we went out to the theater to go hear the St. Louis Symphony play Mozart. And even the musicians were looking up in our section and like, would see us and they came up after the show. It was like, "We're so happy that you came in period attire, it really helped us play and get into the moment." So it was, like, such a magical experience. And I had other Black people and people of color come up to me and say, "I've never seen any of us dressed like this," like, "You look beautiful." And I felt so much pride being able to do that for them. So it was, like, really spectacular. And probably, kind of, also, was an influence towards what I'm doing today.

Lisa Woolfork 14:34

It's a beautiful story. It's an absolutely beautiful story of creativity, and how the energy and the love that went into your creativity honored the creativity of the musicians, who then wanted to honor your creativity by telling you about it, and the way that you were able to kind of spread this whole thing just by going to the symphony. That's really, really powerful. Isn't it so cool, Kia? It's so cool. And so I guess what I wanted to ask about next was about the spirit of the dress. We know that, you know, that attire and wardrobe can really help to shift a mood; that way that one's dress, one's own sense of style, announces their place or their philosophy or views in the world. You know? That when someone comes up with a look that they like, you'll know that Oh yeah, that's what they always wear, that's that person's style, you know? But it seems like with cosplay, especially with, you know - it could be historic, it could be comic, it could be something else. But there's something about the spirit of play. You know, and I feel like adults: we don't get enough opportunities to play. To experiment. To pretend. To have joy in sinking ourselves into something we really enjoy and appreciate. Can you talk a bit, Kia, about like the sense of play and wonder that sometimes you might get from your cosplay, or from fae in particular?

Kia Sangria 16:11

You hit the nail on the head where, like, adults are not allowed to play. I'm 28 going on 29 in July. And like, that's the reason why cosplay, for me, is such a big part of me, because personally I feel like, or not I feel like, but there's this expectation that when you get older, like, you kind of drop all those things, and you just become a rigid adult. And I for as long as I live, for as long as God continues to have me here, I never want that to ever be me. I feel like we should be instilled with wonder at every point in our life, because everything around us can be wondrous if we make it so. And I get to make it so, with the help of, like, my sewing machines, and with cosplay, and with Black Fae Day. I mean, Black fairies, you wasn't finding no fictional - even fictional, where things are not real - you were not finding fictional books with us in it. With us frolicking in parks and stuff. And this, like, Black Fae Day gives me a sense of, like, wonder because I have no limits. It's whatever I want it to be. And I really want more adults to like, tap into that, because I feel like we designate stuff like this for, Oh, this is children's play, like only children do this. But I think that if you want to inspire children to enjoy things, and enjoy wonder, and have a sense of, like, anything is possible and that there are no limits; I think that as an adult, you've got to lead by example. And so personally, when I post, like, my cosplays and stuff, I do hope that younger people find it because I want them to know, like, Listen, just because you get older doesn't mean that you have to stop. I'm a whole 28 years old, and I'm still doing this. So I think adults - we always say adults need to lead by example? Well, I need you to dress up so you can lead by example, and show these kids that they can be and do whatever it is that they want. Because it's not enough. Personally, I don't have any kids. But it wouldn't be enough for me to tell my daughter, like, You can wear that poofy dress, or tell my son, like, You can wear that corset. Like we've got to do it too. Mommy and Daddy are going to show you how to do it. Okay, because it starts with us. So I want stuff like this to be normalized for all of the kids who come, like, after me. So I think that's where the joy in it's for me, and that's the sense of wonder, is that, like, we adults are out here doing it. So that only means for like the people that come after us, like, well into their 60s, I hope they're still dressing up, because that's what I'm planning to do.

Lisa Woolfork 18:41

And Jasmine, that works, right well for what I was going to ask us about Black Fae Day, because what it seems like you're trying to do is to establish an event that will have longevity, that can build a legacy, that is something that can be sustained beyond a season or a matter of years. And so, I think that you've worked incredibly hard to build this in the face of some, like, not resistance, but - I don't know. Hateration? Copycat-erage? Like, you know, I remember seeing a comment on one post, like, "I don't know why you want to trademark this, it's just a day." And it's like, Why don't you go build something and not trademark it, then? If that's what you would like to do, like, why are you going to kind of minimize all the work that you have done and put in it? Can you talk a bit about why you think it's important to basically, to put marks around - not marks like gatekeeping marks, but something to preserve the integrity of the work you're doing.

Jasmine 19:46

Yeah, and you said it there. It was to preserve the integrity of what I envisioned for this day. I know that I get thousands of suggestions all the time about how I should do this, how I should do that. And I knew what I wanted when I made the post initially. I wanted there to be, you know, freedom to be yourself, be your most authentic self; to express yourself in a way that you may not have imagined as an adult. You know, because, you know, I was looking at images of Brandy in that whole production when she was Cinderella. And there hasn't been another Black Cinderella since. Like, you know, I haven't seen her on screen. And it might, you know, we might have gotten some stage plays and things like that were really important to open the door for this to happen on a bigger scale regularly. But I did get the - actually, my boyfriend is the one that trademarked it and gave it as a gift.

Lisa Woolfork 20:49

Oh, that is so sweet.

Jasmine 20:54

So yeah, I didn't do that. He actually did. And he's like, this is your dream, like, you've always wanted this for people, and I think that you should take off with it. And so I did, and I feel like I have established a culture amongst the people that follow and share. That we're kind, that we're accepting, that we are, yes, Black-centric, and okay with that, like, because some people feel like, well, we want to participate too. And I love that. I love building community and making bridges to others as well. But I also like to say, well, this space, this one day is ours, and we're going to celebrate. And I appreciate it if you would join us in, you know, centering other creatives that you find. Or you know, learning about our culture a little bit more, because -

Lisa Woolfork 21:47

This is how you can participate.

Jasmine 21:50

Yeah. And I don't want people to feel scared, you know, if they're not part of the Black community to ask questions, to be curious about our wonder, too, you know? So that's kind of what I wanted to establish. I didn't want this "anti" feeling because we have enough of that going around, and I needed one space that was peaceful, you know. Peaceful, educational, kind, free, you know, all those things.

Lisa Woolfork 22:19

Hey friends, hey. What are you doing on Thursday around 3pm or so? You got 30 minutes to hang out with Black Women Stitch? You got 60? If so, come through for 30 Minute Thursdays, Thursdays 3pm Eastern Standard Time. You can chill with Black Women Stitch on Instagram Live, or talk with us through the two-way audio on Clubhouse at 3:30pm Eastern Standard Time. That's Thursdays for 30 minutes. Come hang out, chill, and have fun with us. See you Thursday.

I really appreciate that. And I appreciate Black space. And Black Women Stitch is exactly what it is. Some white lady, like, contacted me - I think she was a troll, obviously - she was like, "Can white women join your group? I believe in diversity!"

Kia Sangria 23:14

Then make a group, sis.

Lisa Woolfork 23:15

Yeah, go do that. I didn't even reply. I think I just put it on Instagram and was like, Look at this foolishness.

Jasmine 23:21

They try to throw the diversity word at us and weaponize it to get their way and it's like, no, I'm not doing that with y'all. Like, I specifically made this space for people like me, and I want you to respect that.

Lisa Woolfork 23:38

And that's okay. I believe that there's a lot of great benefit in having affinity groups where people can feel safe among one another. I think that there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, and everything right about it. What it's reminding me of is your Facebook group, because I've been a part of that for a while, and it is epic. Every single time I go to look, something exciting is happening. Like, somebody has some, like, incredible photographs of like, a Black male elf with like, really gorgeous upper body and some tats. And I'm just like, that's a fairy? He's a fairy? Is that fae? What? Okay, okay, I get it! It's just amazing. Kia, do you participate in the Facebook group as well?

Kia Sangria 24:30

I do participate in the Facebook group, because my realm, when it comes to Black Fae Day, is making. I'm always in the Facebook group sharing things like tutorials and stuff that I make. Like, I think the most recent thing that I shared was probably a corset sewing tutorial that I uploaded to YouTube and then shared in the group. Just because, like, my biggest thing is, like, creating, so I want to show people how, like, they can make their own costumes and stuff for Fae Day. So I'm definitely, like, one for like the costumes and accessories and stuff like that. That's my big thing. That's my big contribution.

Lisa Woolfork 25:02

That's a very big contribution. Because, you know, not everyone knows how to make a corset. And sometimes you need that step-by-step visual instruction, especially when you feel like you're getting (laughter)- Jasmine raising her hand. I love that. Yes, because sometimes you just, you know - and I tell people all the time, it is okay not to know something, it is okay not to know something. Because if you don't know it, how will you ever learn? You know? So it's really great that you don't know something. And so, now you do. And so, as you are moderating the Facebook group, Jasmine, are there certain things you see regularly? Are there certain kinds of messages or questions that people have from within the community about - are they concerned with, Where can I find materials? Are they concerned with, Oh, is there a tutorial on how to make this? Are folks trying to model themselves after a certain style of fae? Is there any, like pop culture or music involved that's very inspirational? Or are people just doing it just purely out of their own imaginations?

Jasmine 26:13

Oh, yeah. There's a lot of curiosity, especially now that the group is getting bigger, where people aren't so familiar with fantasy culture. And so one of the big questions that's asked is, what is fae? Like, what is that? So in our group, the definition that we use is "mythical creature." So it doesn't have to just be fairies, it can be dragons, it can be - it can be anything. Like, if you can imagine it, and it's mythical to you, you know, you can definitely be that. So that's allowed people to kind of get into their creativity bag and really open up and share some of the wild ideas that they might have been shy about. So it's really cool to see someone come in one month and say, I've never done any costuming but I love what you guys are doing. And then the next month, they're covered head to toe in, like, costuming stuff, or they've got them and their kids doing like a backyard picnic photoshoot. It is like the big tractors. Yes, I know, I should be like, Hey, I saw y'all. This is before, and this is after. It's beautiful. And everyone in the group is so encouraging and helpful. I will say another big question is, where are the Black ears? What are the brown ears? Finding brown ears, fairy ears, or elf ears has been the biggest challenge ever. So there's lots of tutorials and links to different people who share or create those things for us. But those are probably the two biggest questions that come up. So it's interesting to see how the community, you know, joins in and helps each other out. And yes, Kia's tutorials are the best.

Lisa Woolfork 28:11

And I know you agree, Jasmine, when Kiasaid, these are the best before and afters. What role do you think the group plays in helping people get from before to some spectacular after? Is it because they follow tutorials? Is it because they're getting ideas from seeing all the other images? Is it because they're finally in a place where they can kind of just let loose? What brings about this kind of transformation?

Kia Sangria 28:37

I think it's because we really have everything everywhere all at once for the Black Fae Day community. I mean, it's very rare that someone - actually, I'll actually say it never happens. It doesn't happen when someone posts like, Hey, I need this, and there isn't instantly, like, people on it, that is either giving a tutorial or they're giving a vendor. Because in addition to us having a community of group members that, like, share things, we also have makers that, like, sell things, so we're able to keep our Black fairy dollars within our Black fairy community. Because we have people that make ears. We have people that make crowns. We have people that make costumes, accessories, makeup, all those things. So we're able to not just share, like, tips with each other, but we're able to pay each other. Like, we have like our own, like, it's a market, like, almost. It's a community and it's a market. It's a self-sustaining market because we're able to pay each other, or barter for different things with each other to get the, you know, ultimately get the look that we want. So if you're a Black fae, or you want to be a Black fae, if you need it, like, the group has got it. Because even if someone doesn't have it, we will find you someone that will. And that's like the best thing: there's no, like - everyone is open to sharing where they got things. There's no, like - if you ask someone, Where'd you get those wings? Like, someone's quick to, Oh, I got them on Amazon, I got them on eBay, I bought it from this seller right here. Like, we are very open to sharing these things with each other. So literally, the before and after comes - we fix each other's crown in this group, is how I would describe it. No fairy left behind. Everybody gets their wings, we make sure.

Lisa Woolfork 30:17

I love that so much because it feels so loving. And it feels like you are putting the community before self. And everybody is, like, doing that. Because I have been, for example, in some sewing groups, or quilting groups, or craft groups, and someone says, "Oh, that's really cool, where did you get that?" And then the response is, "No, I can't tell you because I work really hard to source my materials. And I'm not going to tell you where I got this. And I'm not going to tell you where I got that." Because they believe in this scarcity, and that they want to hoard it all for themselves. So you all don't hoard resources. You know, the opposite. You all are like giving them out. "Here's another one." Because even if someone had the exact same wings, right, they're not going to look exactly the same.

Kia Sangria 31:09

They look different. I mean, last year, when I hosted my little fairy picnic, one of my friends who arrived didn't even have wings. I took the wings off my back and was like, Here, for your photos. And we just both had photos sharing the same pair of wing.

Lisa Woolfork 31:23

That's some real friendship when someone's going to give you the wings off their back. I feel like I'm going to tear up. I wasn't even at the fairy picnic, but now I'm like, even though I don't have wings, let me borrow some wings. But I love that. So let's pivot to talk about Black Fae Day. So this Black Fae Day, is it a bit different than before? Do you imagine that this Fae Day is, like, part of a larger trajectory or a larger pattern? Are there things that are new about this year's event, or different about this year's event than previous?

Jasmine 31:56

It's definitely going to be very different, I feel, but I hope it maintains the - last year, I don't even have words for how beautiful and touching and magical that experience was. I hope that that feeling happens again. Because not only was it, you know, fun to dress up and see everyone, but I mean, it was intergenerational. You had grandparents, great-grandparents, aunties and uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, all posting, you know, on that day and showing their families as a magical unit. And I hope that we see a lot more of that. Some ways that it's different, is that, yeah, I have more people that can spread the news, not just me and my boyfriend, Carlos. It's a miracle that that tweet even gained any traction at all. So I always tell people, If you have an idea, really just put it out there and work towards it, because I'm pretty sure there are other people that agree and want to do this with you. You never know. But this year we are having a physical event now that COVID, you know, challenges are being reduced. And so now we get to congregate not only online but in person, and I think that's really important for community building as well, because I can't wait to see, like, Kia and others in person, and talk about what my sewing machine ate, you know, this week.

Lisa Woolfork 33:30

The machine wouldn't cooperate!

Jasmine 33:32

Yeah, I told Kia, I was messaging her one day, I was like, Like, I have a sewing machine. I'm just scared of it. And so, but yeah, it would be nice to, you know, be in person, more in person events. And I think that will help others that participated last year, because it was really, like I said, it was a miracle that it happened because we were doing lockdown during that time. And so we had these little tiny pocket events that were going around, you know, people at the park. A lot of the outdoors, thank goodness, because hello, it's fairies, we're in the outdoors. But it was actually a great vehicle to make beautiful pictures and create and to frolic and I love a good frolic. It's great. Yes, twerking in the park is the best thing.

Lisa Woolfork 34:31

Oh, that's awesome. And so this year's event is in Atlanta?

Jasmine 34:36

Yeah, it's in actually Riverdale, Georgia, which is like 20 minutes outside of Atlanta. This will be my first time in Georgia, so I'm excited. But it's going to be there at a venue called Cha'le Gardens, which is Black-owned, so they're just as excited about Black Fae Day as us. When I explained what was going on, because at first I'm like, Okay, I need an indoor and outdoor venue, can you help me out? Because I need to fill a pool with mermaids. And they're like, What? Like, what are you talking about? I'm like, Yeah, and then I need space, because I'm going to have some knights fight, and I want them to have enough room. And they're looking at me like, are you pranking me right now? No, but once I explained what Black Fae Day was, they became big fans. And so, I'm so glad that they're hosting and allowing us to, you know, be magical in their space.

Lisa Woolfork 35:33

That's fantastic. And then I've been told that there are vendors, so you have vendors, like, from the community. Kia, are you vending? What are you doing? Are you just, like, I'm just like, I'm not working, I just want to have fun.

Kia Sangria 35:44

I am not a vendor, I'm not a seller. When it comes to, like, sewing and costumes, I'm not a seller in any means. I provide free tutorials to the community because like, last year's Fae Day thing for me was that the costume that I made for Black Fae Day was actually in partnership with Fabric Wholesale Direct, so that you could go to their blog and you could learn how I made my Fae Day costume, and what fabrics you can use . And so I'm really, I provide, like, sewing tutorials and stuff to show people how they can be their most beautiful selves. I don't make money off of this, I just want to give to the community and just leave behind resources that I didn't have when I first started sewing.

Lisa Woolfork 36:21

Wow, it's so generous. And it's so important, I think, to share so widely. And what I'm excited about, in addition to knights fighting, is that by having the marketplace right there on Black Fae Day, it kind of builds in resources for people to extend their imagination for future events. You know, so I just think that's just so wonderful. That's just so wonderful. Kia, is there something that you are looking forward to for this Black Fae Day for 2022?

Kia Sangria 36:56

So 2022, the weekend before the official Black Fae Day, I intend to kind of go back to Central Park and have a picnic with, like, my close, like, New York friends, because that's actually what we did last year. And we had a Tik Tok go viral, like everywhere, because we were, like, twerking in the park as like fairies and stuff. I never expected the video to go as far as it did. And that also drew in a lot of people that were like, Hold up, there were like Black fairies in like, Central Park. So, we're actually going to go right back to the same spot in Central Park this year, and just like frolic and be around and just surprise the people because I mean...I feel like in New York City, a place like New York City, everyone feels like they've seen everything all the time. But folks were really not ready to see us, like, in the park that day. And people were so excited to see us, and then, like, we got to see kids, and then like one lady was like walking her chicken, and she had us take a picture with her chicken.

Lisa Woolfork 37:58

It's everything. A New Yorker with a pet chicken.

Kia Sangria 38:04

Yeah, well, we have pet pigs, pet chickens, in New York City. So, yeah. We have chickens and stuff like that everywhere in New York City. And um, yeah, we're going to go right back to the same park so I can, you know, take everybody's photos. Because it was just literally last year, it was me, my friends, and me and my little camera. And I'm not a photographer, but I was like, I'm going to make us look good today. I just took pictures on my little camera, and that also kind of helped, like, put Black Fae Day on the map, at least in the city. Because this video went from Tik Tok to Twitter to Facebook to Snapchat. This video went everywhere. And people were like - well, we have celebrities, even, like, How come I didn't get an invite? And I'm just like, Girl, it was just me and my friends! Like, I never meant for it to be - so we're actually going to try to reach out to some of those celebrities again, and just be like, Okay, you want your invite this time?

Lisa Woolfork 38:54

"You got some wings? I got some wings for you." I love it. Jasmine, how about you? I don't know if you can identify one thing that you're most excited about for Black Fae Day 2022?

Jasmine 39:09

Oh, my goodness.

Lisa Woolfork 39:11

I have to give her more than one thing. What do you think, Kia? I might have to give her more than one thing.

Kia Sangria 39:15

I think, yeah. We got to do at least three. Three tops.

Lisa Woolfork 39:20

Okay. Three things that you're excited about for Black Fae Day 2022.

Jasmine 39:23

I've never met, in person, a Black mermaid. And so I'm really excited to - well, I'm not a good swimmer. So I'm excited to doggy paddle next to some beautiful mermaids. So I'm really excited about that. I'm also excited - you know, again, I'm very introverted, so this is the most contact I've ever had with, like, so many people in my life. It's a lot. So to be in one place, with a bunch of people that I invited, is like a big deal for me. So I'm excited that people are interested, and we got to show up. So when I see everyone, I might be a little overwhelmed, but it's a happy, like, overwhelmed process. And I think the third thing is to buy stuff from members of the community. The marketplace kind of vending idea was so special because I was looking, and it was like, we have everything we need in this group. And so, you know, the decorations is sourced from the group. The photographer's sourced from the group. The vendors, different entertainers, are sourced from the group, All of this production is 100% from members of our community. If you support it, you really are supporting people who believe in Black fantasy, people who live Black fantasy every day, and people whose small businesses are trying to take off like mine. So I'm really excited about that.

Lisa Woolfork 40:51

Oh, this is so exciting. I am so excited for Black Fae Day. And as we wrap up, I want to ask you all: the slogan of the Stitch Please podcast is that we will help you get your stitch together. And so I'm going to ask each one of you, and I think I'll start with Kia, because Jasmine just spoke. I'm going to ask you: what advice would you give someone to help them get their stitch together?

Kia Sangria 41:14

I would say just start. And when I say that, I mean literally get a little needle, get some thread, and get a bedsheet, okay? Because that's how I started, I started with a bedsheet. Just start - there is no perfect timing. The perfect time is, like, right now. It was actually two seconds ago. So you need to start, like, right now.

Lisa Woolfork 41:34

Love it. I love it. That's beautiful encouragement. Thank you for that. Jasmine, how about you? What would you say to someone to help them get their stitch together?

Jasmine 41:43

I was thinking the same thing as Kia, so I have to rethink a new one. But another one is: really believe in yourself and champion your own ideas. Like, be your best advocate for yourself. So get started, yes, but also just say, I'm doing this. I'm good at this, you know, give yourself some positive affirmations because your voice matters, your ideas matter. And it's okay. Like it's really okay. There are going to be people out there that appreciate that you did that for yourself.

Lisa Woolfork 42:16

I love it. That is wonderful advice. And on that note, I will ask you both: Kia, where can we find you on the socials? Where can folks follow you and learn more about what you're doing?

Kia Sangria 42:26

So you can follow me on Instagram at @kiasangriany, and you can also visit me at the same name on YouTube where I post cosplay sewing tutorials.

Lisa Woolfork 42:37

Excellent. And how about you, Jasmine? Where can folks find you and find out all the deets about Black Fae Day this year?

Jasmine 42:43

Yes, we mostly post on IG. So follow @BlackFaeDayOfficial on Instagram. Facebook is a big one, and you can join our Facebook group communities, which is a lot of fun, and very helpful. And we have a Twitter, we have YouTube, we have a Twitch that we're launching as well. So you can find us on there as well.

Lisa Woolfork 43:04

Thank you both so much for being with me today. This has been such a delightful conversation. I know you have opened up so many imaginative possibilities for people. And so including myself, I speak for myself, but I'm sure I am not alone in thinking that. So thank you so much, you all, for being with us today. Thank you.

Kia Sangria 43:24

Thank you for having us.

Jasmine 43:27

It was a pleasure.

Lisa Woolfork 43:31

You've been listening to the Stitch Please podcast, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black Lives Matter. We appreciate you supporting us by listening to the podcast. If you'd like to reach out to us with questions, you can contact us at Blackwomenstitch@gmail.com. If you'd like to support us financially, you can do that by supporting us on Patreon, and you can find Black Women Stitch there in the Patreon directory. And for as little as $2 a month, you can help support the project with things like editing transcripts and other things to strengthen the podcast. And finally, if financial support is not something you can do right now, you can really help the podcast by rating it and reviewing it anywhere you listen to podcasts that allows you to review them. So I know that not all podcast directories or services allow for reviews, but for those who do, for those that have like a star rating or just ask for a few comments, if you could share those comments and say nice things about us at the Stitch Please podcast, that is incredibly helpful. Thank you so much. Come back next week and we'll help you get your stitch together.

Hosted by Lisa Woolfork

Lisa is a fourth-generation sewing enthusiast who learned to sew while earning a PhD in African American literature and culture. She has been sewing for more than twenty years while also teaching, researching, and publishing in Black American literature and culture.

You may also like...

Support the Stitch Please podcast & Black Women Stitch

Donate