the coalition zine is a space dedicated to girls of colour and the cool things we do. in this zine, we showcase cool girls doing cool things via art and writing and other stuff. we are interested in challenging academia and superficial feminism.
edited and curated by Fabiola Ching. cover from â€œWomen in Artâ€? series by Baljit Singh.
by ronika mcclain
No one ever tells you what your first time will be like. Scratch that, no one even tells you what your first time is. Is it the first time your lips touch someone else’s and you finally start to understand why people write song about lips touching bodies crashing a kind of impermanent union? You don’t understand how you went from touching your lips to the rim of a glass of cheap rum and cherry coke to kissing the lips of your best friend. Or how in spite of being walked in on by her older sister, you still end up sloppily making out and grinding into each other in the dark quiet of said friend’s living room. You both giggle. Suddenly it isn't enough. You want the heat of her mouth on your neck you want to bite at the skin of her inner thighs you want to kiss her breasts and through all of these touches remind her of how beautiful and worthy of love she is. So you let her bite your neck. You kiss her nipples, pale pink. You pause for a moment shocked at how different they are from the familiarity and brownness of your own. You touch them, surprised when they harden. You ask if you can make her cum, tell her you don’t care if she’s shaved because you don’t give a fuck. Giggle at how hard it is to strip her of her skinny jeans, drink in this laughter because it’s a part of an intimacy that transcends skin against skin, you will be surprised to find that she does not taste like the sea. And even though countless men’s magazines have said she would, she doesn’t taste like coins and milk either. She tastes familiar, like when you used to lick the palm of your hand as a child and revel in the saltiness of it. She will pull on your hair and breathe rapidly, moan, stretch and curve delicate and vulnerable. You will tell her how beautiful she looks, how sweet she tastes, and how much she deserves someone who loves her. Although you can kiss her like a lover, smile down at her and stroke her face with tenderness unparalleled you can't love her. You barely love yourself. So you let her kiss you back, grin when she calls your lips pretty, moan and sigh at the loveliness of it all. You don't know what first this is but you know that’s it enough. by naomi waltengus
'What do you want?' My father looks at me, I look away at the television. In our family we sit on the carpet, I touch the fluff and run my fingers over it till the static kills all the feeling. We open old newspapers and spread them out. My mother places the daal, the rice, the fish curry in front of us. We switch on the television to watch 30 minutes of a movie. We eat off headlines. The horrific news in the family comes from the children's mouths. 'I've applied to other colleges' I offer up as explanation. 'There's always the government college', he says. He isn't looking at me, he's reading a science journal, flipping pages while I receive the paper cuts. The statement is no longer a threat, no longer a low budget community college I've watched dropouts flock to when the cities churn them out and return them to their place of birth, chewed up and speaking native tongues because nobody said they were worthy of more than their own language. It is now an option. My eyes close and I'm drowning in the flood of moons that were tied, moons that never let the tides change. I am quivering with things I feel but cannot purge out of myself. At the age of 5 I knew I never belonged, I was a Bengali in a town of communal Nepali men and women. At 12 I thought I'd write a children's book and the city of people with children like me in broken from their wombs would take me away. At 14 they said I couldn't support the movement for the town's emancipation because I wasn't part of it, they said the activists weren't fighting for my cause. (You already have a place, you think but you have never known this place with eyes of returning. What does shelter mean? What does Home?) At 16 your father says he doesn't have the money to send you abroad. At 17 you learn that they who looked against you, spread their palms from clenched fist to tolerance, to an arm length distance will leave before you do because the government
gives them minority quota. At 18 most colleges send you letters that read "We are sorry to inform you ..." I am 19 years old. I went only a few hundred miles away. The people I knew look at me and say "I do not recognize you anymore". There is no place for me, I was never recognized, they forget that. I am at the end of a text message, a phone call. Families who've lived here all their lives pretend I am the same as their sons. I ask my cousins if they were ever thrown down the stairs in kindergarten for being the first girl to attempt to reach the playground. I never say, 'It was because I do not look like they do'. This is an acceptant country, we do not discriminate, my townspeople are discriminated against. Who am I here? I am 19 years old. The only thing I'm proud of is being accepted into a college. Am I going to spend my life looking for a place to belong, afraid that I wasn't the one to make it alive unscathed? Are my dreams so unambitious? Am I?
by shinjini dey
YEARS I never know what to say when I open my lips, even when I write, there’s always something that doesn’t feel genuine, as if I’m not sure who I am. 14-16 The identity of I, is vast and wide, I’m expected to choose one. I can make a cloud of words that represent me, maybe delete a few and doubt two or three. I am of mixed race, I am American, but I’m Puerto Rican, African American, Chinese American. I am probably a Model Minority, an American minority, a female minority. The name that my father gave me was a Chinese American name, but people assume that I am born somewhere else. Apparently a Chan, Lopez, Gupta, can’t be American. According to the standards of the others, I am not Latin or Asian enough, I am not American either, I am not light enough, not thin enough, too wide. I am insufficient, the only things that could represent me are the checked off boxes, the food I eat, the TV shows I watch, the music I listen to, the novels I read, my accent and my vernacular, In my younger days and even now as I walk on campus, friendship was something to latch onto and hold tight. I wasn’t sure how it happened, I’m not sure how to react or make a normal conversation. It’s a hard game to exchange words that people will like and trade back with me. I annoy people and don’t even realize it. My words are too rapid and weigh too much, I’m not even sure what they mean and what was the purpose of them. Everyone around me has these negative images of people that are too harsh for my sensitive ears and eyes. I wanted to block those distorted images created by the big guy who pushes the little ones to the ground. My imagination and idolization was typical of little teens, admiring somebody a little too much, fixating on people and music. Constantly having the desire to change and rip the flesh off and make a new one, just to impress others and make a new me. The “me” that I had had been undesirable, too awkward according to societal standards, quirky and hyperactive. A little too impulsive and clingy, don’t leave me! I ended up alone and conjured up all of the reasons to hate myself further and selfdestructive mind games and dreaming of a better, more beautiful, and “normal” me. Apparently being a half Chinese meant that I was too nerdy, hideous, according to the girls I knew, and that hanging on some doorknocker earrings on my little ears and burning the hair straight would make me a cute Latina. The fantasy fetish, the Latina princess with the
attitude and the flirty body, who was created by the toxic, degrading image that was knitted by the hands of Hollywood, I wanted that, everything but the Asian, the Long Duk Dong in a dress. I was ashamed of myself and wanted the fantastical skin. 17-19 I remember how I tried to get attention from people by trying to talk about things that I was interested in and trying to show off my intelligence. Now, I let them come to me, instead of venturing out to find the one person who will understand me. Unfortunately, the ones that do come tend to disappoint me. They seem nice and but then I find out they are trashy and mean, they toss people’s feeling to the side and only serve the goodness for themselves. I’ve gotten used to it, but at the same time, I sit in the college’s lounge room and envy everyone. Soon, I get tired of it, the presence of everyone’s chatter, retreat to the library, sit in an armchair and read a book. Then I regret it, but I regret too much, I feel guilty for being human and young. I loathe a self that hasn’t fully grown yet. I get too nervous, too anxious, and I quickly tear down my own temple. I put myself down too fast and I don’t even stop to breathe. Just relax already, the world won’t end yet. by lixian ng
I RUN AWAY
-by victoria Vincent
i pray every night that my steady repentance will negate my bad karma. i tuck secrets behind my teeth and creep them in like silent letters. my faith is built on uneasiness and physical advances. i spent second grade crying into free school lunches and trying to scrub my black away. i built a kingdom on the memories of a tyrant. i am uncertain about most things: the cities i will love and leave, the number of metro trains i’ll miss to lay with you, how many “sorrys” I will utter to my father. my mother blessed me with a beautiful mouth. my wisdom does not reach far beyond my wants, and i’m young enough to make peace with this. i probably won’t be straight in ten years. by fullamusu banguru
She gazed at the mirror and caressed her face, But she could never really look for long. It always brought back memories â€“ nights to be forgotten Of that creaking door when she was young. Her father had held her down and stripped her bare, Left her with no dignity and shame to spare. Left her with her wrists swollen, blood flowing down her thigh; Left her as a woman, the little girl inner to die. From that day on she never was the same, Her face painted, her body insane. She had a red jar and a cigarette bowl. Gained her worth from swinging round a pole.
She gazed at the mirror after she was done. But she could never really look at herself with no makeup on. The card on the table reminded her of one of her first slays. The man had a wicked smile and money for days. He would take her shopping, shower her with gifts, But that was the only thing about him she really did miss.
Another kill came to mind as she glanced at her hand, He was a well-to-do accountant with a wedding band. He had 3 children, a beautiful wife, But he could never really live without her in his life. â€œAt least he never had to,â€? she whispered to herself,
For she had taken a part of him and placed it on her shelf. She grew a little despondent as she remembered her last slay. He was kind and honest so she let herself slip away… And that’s what made that kill particularly gory, His body weak, his hands stained and bloody. It wasn’t just him, she also left wounded, But at least he didn’t kill her, her death she precluded. He tried to make her an honest woman – a mistake on his part She had long stopped being a lady – it was too late to start. Tears ran down her cheeks, she mourned the woman she became, Wondered if she could ever feel worth without playing the game.
The shelf held her trophies, her jar of hearts, From all of the men who she’d put together and then ripped apart. She headed out the door alas something held her back, She saw her chest in the mirror – her last had left a mark. So she wiped off her makeup and opened the jar, Took a heart out and jumped in her car. She decided she would take the heart to the last slay, Because…she realized… he had also taken hers away .
My name is Nadia, I'm 21, and I was born to Moroccan Berber immigrants in the Netherlands. A lot of our boys here struggle with being demonized and not being seen as children, like a lot of children of color in Western countries. I also tutor two Moroccan boys, 11 and 12, who are dyslectic and need extra help with their homework and even they struggle with that strange stigma in school and in the streets already. It's not fair to them in any way; it's hard for them to let go of that and focus on trying to figure out who they really are. But, again, that's a very common struggle. So, I decided to make a softer portrait of the way I see them. Respecting women, elders, etc. and being much more than just a 'thug', and the way the media like to depict them here and anywhere else in the world, really. â€“NADIA EL HANNOUCHE
for a long time, I tried to find myself a community built by and for girls like me who shared similar girlhoods and a passion to create thing. girls of colour are rarely labeled as creative or artistic. this is not a world that was created for us. but in having different girls contributing and in meeting talented girls who decided to be innovative and creative in various industries that werenâ€™t created with them in mind, i was reminded about how truly revolutionary it is for us to just wake up in the morning andâ€Śdo things. everything is ours, whether they tell us or not. everything is ours, whether they like it or not. and we are taking what is ours, with vigor.
VANESSA OMOREGIE(Multimedia Artist, Founder of Camgirls
Project and g-URLS.net)
Iâ€™m a multimedia artist and creative based in London. I work with the internet as a medium, as well as projects in creative direction, styling and photography. I mainly like working with themes on youth, cyber culture and feminism . http://vnsssaa.co.uk/
ALBRICA TIERRA(Photographer, Artist, Rapper)
Albrica Tierra is a photographer whose inspiration comes from an idea of a bond between a person and their environment, which further translates into an unorthodox photographic style of introducing a new persona out of these components. The result is bodies of work that are ethereal and eccentric enough to linger in the back of your mind as time passes. Albrica is also 1/5 of rap group BARFTROOP and goes under the name Baberella Fox. http://albricatierra.com
Ronika McClain is a seriously cool queer artist from Oakland, based in Brooklyn, New York. Apart from being a talented artist, they take very cool photos on their iphone, I bet theyâ€™ve got the best camera roll in the world. http://ronikamcclain.com
JAY NG(Photographer, Writer, Founder of Fasianista.com) I started Fasianista because I was going to New York for a graphic design course at Parsons, so I thought I might run a website as portfolio for my photography and fashion works. I did not have a clear direction back then on what it would be but as my life evolves in New York I started to develop my theme. I wanted to focus on pushing diversity in fashion and being critical about the industry. I am quite tired of the standardized form of fashion blogging. Right now I am doing my final year research on race and fashion in America. I think there is a gap between analyzing social injustice in fashion and scholarship so I want to use my thesis to contribute to closing the gap. I will look at runway shows in NY, WOC models like Naomi Campbell, Jourdan Dunn, Chanel Iman, Iman and Bethann Hardison and fashion bloggers as well
http://fasianista.com show me how
BARFTROOP(Rappers) BARFTROOP is an all-female rap group made up five very cool and filthy girls: Babeo Baggins, Babenstein, Babefield, Baberella Fox, and Justin Baber. They rap about girl power, taking up space, and calling out gross boys, over wavy alien beats. They recently performed at Afropunk Fest, and Babefield recently released her solo album HALF RIPE, check it out.
IT WOULD BE DIFFERENT ANT U KNOW IT WILL
ALOFA GOULD(Musician) Alofa Gould is a 19 y/o singer-songwriter from Vista, CA. She sings under the moniker IKEA-GRAVEYARD (and previously YOUR BRUISE). Alofa recently released STRAY, a collection of demos recorded on her porch. Her songs are heavy and light at the same time, itâ€™s impossible to forget them or let go of them after one listen. http://yourbruise.bandcamp.com
PATRICIA ALVARADO(Artist) I'm interested in creating a questioning of and satirical commentary on attraction versus repulsion, societal standards (especially those faced by women of color), and shame. I'm also wary of exercises that exhibit futility, repetition, and habit. By visually exploring absurdities surrounding so-called ideals such as white supremacy and patriarchy, I examine shifts between the 'normal' versus the 'other,' comfort, hypocrisy, and paradox. http://patricia-alvarado.com/
RIAN PHIN(Designer, Vlogger, Positive Princess)
Rian Phin is a positive princess who sews gorgeous clothes and makes videos about them on utube. She likes to talk about fashion consciousness, positivity, and tennis fashion. She radiates nothing but cool grrl vibes and positivity. Buy her clothes, too. http://rianphin.blogspot.com
the coalition zine