Hello “Hot Grrrl Shit”: the Zine to Read

Words By Matthew Spence:

Throw a dart at a board of names, spin the wheel of unfortunate fortunes. How about the classic game of Eenie Meanie Miney Mo schoolyard style? We’ve all been thrown a couple of bucks of advice (Goodfellas style) to “be yourself and find your crowd” from someone in some way or another. Maybe it was from the pile of 4000 episodes of Sesame Street? Perhaps directly from the source of close loved ones? Maybe the almighty Jimmy Eat World gave you advice and a wink.

 

 

But here’s a Good Will Hunting equation to solve (seriously, write down your answer). What if you find your community but there’s still a disconnect for you? A minority within a minority. It could leave you with less companionship than “the boy” from Because the Internet script. Cause plot twist: No one wants to be or feel unseen or unheard in any circumstance.

PENS DOWN

Now let’s see your answers yo. If you answered, “Just stay inside and avoid people”…. good answer, but no (I feel ya though). Go for the gusto and go beyond. Fill in your shoes for your own party. Better yet, change the system from the inside. Whether small-time or big-time is irrelevant, replace the middle fingers of odd toddlers of the past by saying, “Fuck it, I’m gonna do me.” Whichever way you wanna go, do your own thing. Gen-Z initiative is high 3x and rising, no matter the scale it’s at. Cue the spotlight! Turn it to Amira Turner.

 

 

A Seattle darling to NYC dreamer, Amira is another creative out and about with a purpose and cause. No matter the coast she’s on, yo, the song remains the same while her environment is different. “People in Seattle are nice but are not kind, NYC, they’re not nice but they’re kind,”  she says about the difference between Seattle and NYC (no shade to Seattle people, tho!). An admirer of the legends of being the antithesis of societal expectations. Creative titians. A fan of those who kick in the doors of the old school to make way for the new, Amira wraps her support around DIY, Punk, Femininsm, and overall dopeness. Leaving paper trails as a kid, figuratively and literally, early on she’d be coloring in the lines of her future endeavors. “I used to make little books since I was little, and I used to make little newspapers when I was little too.” Continuing, she’d say, “I used to be very creative and crafty too. I drove my mom crazy; our house was always a mess because I’d leave glue, paper, paint, and everything.” It’s safe to say that her crafting skillset would resume soon.

Like a lot of people (and I mean A LOT) during 2020, we had so much more time in our hands that clocks legit needed more numbers. Amira’s side of reality used that time to study and learn. Going down the rabbit hole of the Riot Grrrl movement. Why learn about the cotton gin when you can learn about how Kathleen Hanna played in her underwear (real American history!)? In the same vein, Zines would also start piquing her interest during this time. Out of the pandemic, in her senior year of high school, the three would unite in harmony as she would take her interest for a class project. However, soon she’d take a class project and turn it into a passion project from the soul: Hot Grrrl Shit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amiras Dictionary

hotgrrrl: (1a) Inspired by Megan the Stallion and Riot Grrrl. “I came at it from a place of being black in the punk scene, combining both sides of my personality.” (2a). Anyone that looks for intersectionality within subcultures, confident with being themselves and combining multiple aspects of their personality, bringing their authentic self to their subculture.

It’s like a full-circle moment where she can do the same. Pushing the doors forward in her own way. “I’ve always loved writing. I’ve always been someone who likes to write.” With the manifesto:

“As a feminist, punk fan, and a Washington native, the Riot Grrrl movement is, of course, close to my heart. I admire bands like Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, Sleater-Kinney, and Heaven to Betsy for being trailblazers who created space for women in the punk scene. But I’ve often found the lack of intersectionality difficult to identify with. I have an easier time identifying with the Erykah Badus, Layren Hills, Missy Elliots, Rico Nastys, Nicki Minajs, and Megan Thee Stallions.

Beacause:

  • too often, we are apprehended for being too loud, too aggressive
  • punk wouldn’t exist without black people or women
  • we are tired with having to choose between being pro-black and pro-woman
  • the black trans women who have shaped every facet of our culture still have a life expectancy of 30
  • it’s exhausting having to choose between ignoring misogyny in pro-black spaces, and anti-blackness in feminist spaces”

No need to explain that. She got it. Now, I’m not a black woman, so I’m not gonna try to fake the relate in that regard, however, as a black person. I could attest to the idea of feeling the spirit, but still feel a bit unheard, no matter how well one tries to mean it. Growing up in Seattle, living in a very liberal area, it wasn’t necessarily stressful in regards to dealing with overt racism or anything of that nature. However, the grass could’ve been a bit greener. “Being from Seattle, it’s predominately white, so, in general, that was kinda hard,” she explains, “instead feeling not like I fit in all the time. A lot of times, I was the only black person in the room, the only black person in my friend group. That was kind of difficult.”

That’s the beauty of being black; we’ve learned early on to change your cards. For centuries now, we have been turning water into lemonade and still working for the credit in plenty of departments in culture and society. Now, Amira is on her mission with Hot Grrrl Shit to set a record straight.

Here’s a lengthy quote.

“I love the Riot Grrrl movement so much! I connect to it, being from Washington and enjoying the music, but at the same time. It’s kinda impossible to ignore that: it was a very white movement, a very cis movement. There weren’t a lot of Black women involved; there weren’t a lot of transwomen involved, and sometimes transwomen were actually excluded from a lot of those spaces, which is really unfortunate.” Elaborating more, “Because so many of the foundations of the Riot Grrrl movement are so inclusive and so important to marginalized people other than women. I think that’s also why I wanted to start Hot Grrrl Shit; I wanted to continue the legacy of Riot Grrrl and keep that attitude of punk feminism but wanted it to feel inclusive cause I know a lot of transwomen and women of color do love Riot Grrrl.”

As it comes with plenty of movements, over-romanticization can cause a blind us in one eye. As we focus on the good over the bad. But, that’s never to take away all of the positives. Retrospectives is one of time’s greatest companions. “In hindsight, you always realize what you could’ve done better”

 

 

Trying to create their own representation for others, it’s cool to see. Using her platform to highlight black creatives, interview musicians, and overall just geek over stuff. It’s not just a “Girls Rule, Boys Drool” party, by the way, as she has articles that range from her Beastie Boys Standom to the admiration of avant-garde “Weirdos” like Kerwin Frost. In everything, she’s trying to help point those in the right direction in figuring out their identity, help give people a safe space, and guide people into a safe space.

Hot Grrrl Shit Tips:

  • Seek out people
  • Find resources (local IG pages, etc.)
  • Embrace the challenge of finding your peers

All from a black woman’s perspective. Punk in her way, in every aspect. Respect it or fuck off (I assume that’s the memo). Cause Black is Punk (Word to Poly and HR, we’re living).

Pinterest: Poly Styrene of X-Ray Spex

 

Photo: HR of Bad Brains

 

Making its’ rounds in zine fairs (shout-out to black zine fairs) and connecting with many others in the zine community, Amiras’ has a few goals for herself and her zine, but there’s one that remains high: “I want people to read my zine and relate to it in some way or make them feel like they learned something. Feel less alone; I want other alternative black girls to read it and be like, ‘Oh, there are other black girls’. Just make a big intersection.” Considering Kathleen Hanna follows the zine Instagram and she’s gotten to interview the likes of TheBabeGabe of BLACKSTARKIDS, it’s safe to say that things are going in the right direction.

To end our conversation, I asked poetically and unoriginally, “What is Punk to you?” and I shall leave her statement as the closer.

“Punk is interesting. Of course, it’s a genre of music. But at the same time, punk is an attitude, and that’s how I look at it. Especially now, with so many music genres and so many cultures and subcultures, Things have evolved so much. Things aren’t Sex Pistols, the Clash, England, plaid, and spikes. A lot is still rooted in that, but not exclusively that. Punk is an attitude that is anything opposing the mainstream; anytime you’re expressing yourself in a way that opposes mainstream attitudes, I would consider that punk, even though I wouldn’t consider every person who does oppose “A Punk” nor they possibly would either.”.

 

Hot Grrrl Picks

  1. Nightmare Vacation by Rico Nasty
  2. X-Ray Spex
  3. Gregg Araki Films
  4. Cherry Bomb by Tyler, the Creator
  5. Ghost World (2000)
  6. Bam Bam (the Band)
  7. Banned in D.C. by Bad Brains
  8. Bikini Kill albums
  9. Hodd Feminism [Book by Mikki Kenda]
  10. Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl [Book by Carrie Brownstein]

 

Follow & Check Out: Hot Grrrl Shit.

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