Black to the future: the fresh face of alt-culture

Alternative black girls have been around for a long time but have faced ridicule and alienation within their community. But with the likes of Rico Nasty and Mimi The Nerd embracing their alternative identities, changes are coming, writes Isatou Ndure.  

A pale, skinny white girl, that’s the ideal aesthetic for an alt, punk or e-girl: the signature deathly pale look, complete with dramatic eye make-up and a bold black lip.

Caprece Harvey

But scroll through TikTok and Instagram and you’ll see the faces of alternative girls are no longer white. Black alternative girls have blown over social media as more people begin to appreciate their uniqueness. 

What most people do not understand is that it was never a prerequisite to be pale or specifically white to be in the scene. It was all about the state of mind, the beauty, and the music. It’s never about the skin tone. The concept itself is absurd.

Growing up any black girl who dressed as a goth or punk would be labelled as an Oreo, “black on the outside and white on the inside.”   

If you were black and dressed differently you were not accepted by either race. You were somehow too white for the black kids and too black for the white kids and were deemed as outcasts. 

But these days, black alternative girls no longer rouse such negative reactions anymore from their peers, not to say they don’t receive negative reactions at all, but it is more likely from those in the older generation.  Trends that were once specific to particular groups, have to some degree submerged into the mainstream standard. In earlier times, a septum piercing was a stature of subverting the status quo. Now? Not so much. 

In high school, I had some guy scream ‘vampire’ as I walked into class. I took it as a compliment

Connie Williams

Eighteen-year-old Sumaya Botan, or Maya, from Birmingham classes herself as an alternative black girl and pinpoints her style as cottage core, scene and baby-doll like.  

Maya Botan

“I’ve always leaned towards being alt mostly because it’s such a welcoming open community and I love that anything is acceptable as long as you’re a nice person.

“I’ve always had a fascination in alt culture but would say I had the confidence to dress the way I do now around 2018.”

Even though alternative styles are now celebrated, girls like Maya still feel like outcasts to those that do not appreciate alternative culture and there are still occasions where girls are judged for the way they dress.  

“I have received quite a lot of hate for the way I dress and present myself mostly when I’m in public, I get a lot of stares or get called out in public quite often, but I mostly just take that as a compliment at this point!” 

“People are scared of what they don’t understand or know and it’s fine I know it mostly comes from a place of self-consciousness of not being able to fully be themselves.”

It seems to be a normal thing for alternative girls to take the negative reactions they receive and view them as compliments. Across the pond, 24-year-old Connie Williams and Caprece Harvey, 23, have had similar experiences. 

New Yorker Connie says: “In freshman year of high school, I had some guy scream “vampire” as soon as I walked into class. Everyone laughed whilst I was unfazed. I actually took it as a compliment.” 

Model Caprece, from Pennsylvania, chooses to not give her energy to those that do not match her own and spoke of her own negative reactions to the public. 

“If by negative you mean soccer moms scoffing at me in the grocery store, yes, but I view it as a compliment. Someone took the time out of their day to acknowledge me. Like what? Thank you boo it’s always a pleasure, mwah.”

Many of the foremost unconventional, exciting and edgy individuals within the world are black and they’re not any less because of it.  

I would try to hide the bright clothes my mother bought me. It just feel normal to shop for dark colours

Connie Williams

Connie grew up loving alternative styles. “I was a quiet kid and felt insecure around a lot of other girls who developed more than me. At the time, I would put more of an effort into my fashion in order to feel attractive and less like a wallflower.”

Connie Williams

Connie describes her style as e-girl, kawaii and preppy goth. She loved alternative clothing before it was labelled “cool” by the rest of the world.  

“I’ve been doing this since middle school, so it’s now natural to me. I hated pink, yellow and green on me. I would try to hide the bright clothes my mother brought me in the back of my closet. Now it just feels normal to shop for dark colours.

“Dressing in pink and wearing “girly” clothes made me feel ugly. Once I was able to shop for myself, I bought more black clothing and felt more like a pretty kickass wallflower.”

Many alternative girls are now aware of how mainstream their style has become over the years. Now it’s a trend to be an alternative.  

The rise of unconventional rappers like Rico Nasty, Willow and Mimi The Nerd who portray self-expressions that have been made invisible within the black community and as a rule are seen as the sole realm of white social pariahs, have displayed a new dawn for alternative black girls. 

Down in Pennsylvania, Caprece describes her style as “daring, unique and ethereal.”

“I have always had a fun style since I was a little girl. I used to reconstruct my clothes all the time, the older I got the more diverse and unique it became.

“I will always take my style further, evolution is inevitable. I don’t even stick to one style, so I can’t imagine staying on one wave, yikes.”

It’s fair to point out that goth and alternative cultures are connected to whiteness within the well-known imagination, but many characteristics related to these subcultures, such as tattoos, piercings and rock have roots in the black community.  

The deletion of black people’s commitments to such subcultures is overwhelming, if you look hard enough, it’s not difficult to spot how blackness and alternative styles converge. 

Sumaya, Connie and Caprece are keeping alternative styles alive in the black community.  Many don’t believe that the black alternative community is bigger than they think. Whilst some are open-minded, a certain stigma remains within the minds of others that alternative equals white.  

Connie Williams

As the new era of black alternative girls begins to take over the world, those that have come before offer some advice. 

Sumaya says: “Be the most you possibly can be because nothing anyone says or thinks really matters. They are too caught up in their own issues to worry about that outfit you’re too scared to wear.”

Caprece says: “Keep doing you babe, you’re going to change the world.” 

Connie says: “Buy wigs, not cheap hair clips from Hot Topic, they do not match your hair texture!” 

Unrecognisable transformation taking place at Regents Court

By Kira Gibson

From boring and a lack of space to shelves, hidey holes and so much more.

The incredible transformation at the Regents Court student accommodation flats in Leicester has shocked almost everyone.

In just under three weeks per section, the construction team is refurbishing four floors of bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms.

Installing new beds, fridges and freezers, each resident is getting a brand new flat to live in.

The construction work started in mid-January and at three weeks per block is due to finish in mid-August.

One resident, who wished not to be named, said: “It’s completely unrecognisable as to what I am living in now. I’ve already rebooked for next year and I can’t wait to move in.”

Another resident at the property, Emmanuella Ezeocha, stated she is looking forward to moving into a new flat in the latest move over.

“I’m happy about it because it’s refreshing to move somewhere that doesn’t look so vintage and out-of-place from the other accoms.”

The accommodation houses both De Montfort University and University of Leicester students and is an ideal distance away from both universities as well as the train station and the Leicester Royal Infirmary.

To book a viewing in the brand new Regents Court, contact Sulets and ask to see the fantastic refurbishments. If you would like to rebook, contact one of the receptionists who will help you with your inquiry and show you around the show flat.

Nominations open for 2020 De Montfort Students’ Union elections

By Samuel Gill

The nominations are now open for the yearly De Montfort Studens’ Union elections with students urged to get involved.

Twelve roles are set to be decided in the coming months for the 2020-2021 academic year.

There will be five new full-time Executive Officer roles and seven part-time Liberation Representative roles to run for with them ranging from Mature Students’ Officer to Student Opportunities and Engagement executive.

DSU Governance Co-Ordinator Mu-Hamid Pathan spoke in the run up to the election and urged students whether they are running for a position or voting to maximise their democratic right.

“It’s really important that students get involved in the election process to help elect who they want to represent them for the year.

“When you’re a student you come across many issues which you or your peers face and you don’t know how to address them or how to get your message across. This is the perfect way for you to get involved.”

DSU Student Voice Manager, Molly Knight spoke also about the effect of holding one of these positions not only as a student but also professionally.

“I think it’s a key time to change your student experience so if there’s something that you feel passionate about this is your direct democracy time to really shape your student experience.

“It’s an amazing experience, you get to develop your professional skillset while you’re here, there’s lots of opportunities.”

Nominations will take place through the DSU website and will close on Friday, February 14, at 11:59pm. Voting will then take place at booths across De Montfort University during the voting period.

Leicester choir raise the roof in Britain’s Got Talent audition

Generated by IJG JPEG Library.

By Conor de Smith

A gospel choir from Leicester got the backing of all four Britain’s Got Talent judges after a “heavenly” audition on the hit television show.

De Montfort University (DMU) Gospel Choir’s January audition was shown last Saturday evening on ITV.

The 23 on-stage performers gave a rousing rendition of ‘Oh Happy Day’ and impressed the judging panel of Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, David Walliams and Alesha Dixon – who all gave their seal of approval.

The singers dressed in striking blue and gold gowns while one wore a black shirt and a DMU football club tie.

Source | Britain’s Got Talent YouTube.

Pop star Alesha Dixon said: “Praise the Lord! That was uplifting, joyful, powerful, heavenly”, while Simon Cowell said: “Maybe this is a time where we need this positivity. It’s made me feel great”.

Ellah Kandi is a social work student at DMU and has been a member of the choir, which was approached by BGT to audition last year, for a number of years.

Miss Kandi said: “We were all very excited but of course we were nervous because we wanted to do well. We were amazed that we were approached by BGT to audition last year.

“Normally we practice once per week but we were doing it every evening in the build-up to the audition. The choir gives us a chance to have a break from our studies and is something we all enjoy as a group.”

Gospel choirs have been a regular feature on the popular prime-time entertainment show in the last few years. ‘100 Voices of Gospel’ reached the final of the competition in 2016 while Revelation Avenue received the ‘Golden Buzzer’ in 2015.

DMU Gospel Choir regularly appears in front of huge crowds including performing at the King Power Stadium with rock band Kasabian, the Alice Hawkins statue unveiling in Leicester and on Sky Sports. Miss Kandi believes people listen to their music to forget about their problems and is glad the group has the backing of the city.

“We are really soulful and I think it’s lovely for people to escape the gloom in the world sometimes, and they can do that with our uplifting music,” she said.

“The support we have been getting from the public and the university has been amazing. We have received really positive comments from so many people since the audition aired.”

The choir is currently waiting to discover if they have made the semi-finals which are expected to take place in late May.

New spin off Harry Potter series Managing Mischief planned for De Montfort University students

By Rosie Vacciana-Browne

De Montfort University student James McKinnon is developing a new radio series for all avid Harry Potter fans.

Managing Mischief will follow the lives of a young James, Sirius, Ramus and Peter from the original Potter books.

 

James, 18, said listeners can expect to hear: “Them (James, Sirius, Ramus and Peter) getting up to all types of shenanigans.”

The inspiration for the show came from James’ love for fan-fiction and the Harry Potter books.

He also cites The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as a major influence, about which he said: “It’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever head, it’s up there with Monty Python, it’s that funny! I wanted to create something like that.”

image1

James is hoping to air the audio series Managing Mischief over DMU’s radio station Demon FM later this year.

Harry Potter has an inclusive and wide fan base and James expects no different for Managing Mischief.

He said: “There’s no real age target for Harry Potter fans. I’ve met people that are six who love the books and people who are 60 who love them just as much.”

Each episode will run for 10 to 15 minutes, with the visuals uploaded via YouTube for audiences to watch afterwards.

James said he will be casting for Managing Mischief later this year.

If you would like the opportunity to be involved in the series, keep up to date with the Demon Media social network pages for the latest developments.