Representation Matters Pt. II: “But why don’t you make your own characters?!”

Here we go, everybody. I’m thankful that there were bloggers who liked the first blog post in my Representation Matters series on the Ospreyshire blog. I wasn’t sure how people would take to my thoughts and personal experiences, but I’m glad there are those willing to read about them.

Let’s get to part 2 of this series.

I mentioned this in passing, but I remember seeing/hearing this quote which I see as a retort for those who have legitimate gripes with either the lack of (positive) representation or racial stereotypes: “Make your own characters!”. Those same people who say that are those who don’t have to deal with being derogated by their complexion en masse, let’s be honest here. It really shows an entitlement which inadvertently proved that study about TV watching in that previous post right if you really think about it.

Oh, I decided to heed those words, but not for the reasons that they would expect.

Some of you know this, but I have written multiple books. I have covered multiple genres and book formats such as novels, novellas, novelettes, and cell phone novels. One of my goals when I started writing the first Revezia book back in 2014 was to come up with multi-ethnic casts. With that particular series, it deconstructs and inverts so many tropes and cliches associated with fantasy, fairy tales, and one might argue a certain “canon” of sorts. The main character of the first book Terminal Rescue is Shamakani. He’s a black prince who leads a search/rescue operation for various healers in the area, is a talented swordsman, and he has a serious attitude even though he can be too serious at times to his detriment (I’m not going to write a Marty Stu character). In that series alone, I have protagonists of all ethnic groups and walks of life and that’s also the same with Hollandus Landing which is the first part of my cell phone novel series (It’s also free if you want. Just saying.). It was exhilarating creating these characters, but even then, I still had to be respectful. I’m thankful to have grown up in a multiracial city and I’ve talked with my friends to see if something was okay or not when it came to writing characters outside of my ethnic persuasion. This may sound cheesy, but I wanted to have that sense of humanity by having dynamic characters who are a certain ethnicity instead of just having their race define them. Trust me, there’s a difference.

Recently, the character I created who really helped increase my self-esteem a bit is Kasamba from Revezia: Sika Uvira Chronicle and the Revezia Electrum trilogy (Sika Uvira Chronicle is also free). Kasamba is a DIY inventor who can create various gadgets. He’s very intelligent, but also self-loathing and underestimates his own genius. Instead of being some muscle-bound freak, he is on the thinner side and uses his smarts and inventions whenever he is in a bad situation. I gave Kasamba some quirks like being really into indie movies while giving internalized snarky commentary on the state of mainstream films in a wink wink nudge nudge kind of way. His name is actually Tshiluba (a Congolese language) for “To Console” because writing him was a consolation to me and he’s able to do so for others in ways he doesn’t realize. After finding out I was of part Congolese descent, I thought I would incorporate that into this character and even his environment. He’s from a modern city on planet Revezia, has lots of decent technology equivalent to what we have on earth currently, and there’s not an ounce of poverty porn in his hometown! Not everything in Africa looks like mud huts, war zones, jungles, or the Pride Lands, GOT IT?! I’ve never even been to the continent and even I know that.

I guess by me creating my own characters, stories, or even art, this was therapy of sorts for me. I felt empowered by making some wonderful characters that I hope others could appreciate. If one person tells me that they really liked this hero or that hero especially if it’s someone like them, then I’d be beyond blessed. I would encourage you to give it a try even if it’s just a short story or drawing your own original characters if you ever felt that way. Mainstream media wasn’t going to placate me, so I have to take things in my own hands through my fiction, music, poetry, etc.

Hope you enjoyed reading this. What are your thoughts on representation? Have you felt like you had trouble relating to so many fictional characters? How do you discuss the concept of positive representation to others?

Am I Not Angry (Enough)?

I really do care
Sadly, it shows more on my blogs than in real life most of the time
Whenever I see or research injustice
I had to talk about it
Whenever my anger shows
I’m told to calm down

Sorry for actually giving a crap about what’s happening in the world.

I’m not just some random DIY author, film critic, poet, or avant-garde composer on the net
I see myself as a human being first and foremost
Wouldn’t be diminishing to suppress my emotions?
I guess people want me to be a robot or a zombie

Perhaps I care too much
Enough to fume on a blog or raise my voice
I guess my volume elevating is more threatening
Than violent people outside the jails
I shouldn’t have to be sorry for emoting while bombarding those with the truth
I’ve seen injustice
I’ve been a victim of it
For this, I won’t be sorry for making many people uncomfortable when I have to

I’ve been silenced and my emotions have nowhere else to go
It’s a miracle I haven’t been trolled for facts and opinions on here and other platforms
My anger isn’t a sin.

Inspiration for Pathos Formula Wave

I didn’t expect to get some attention for my new EP, but I appreciate those who’ve listened to it. If you haven’t then here it is.

I wanted to strip my sound down for this concept. This involved a restricted setting with the recording and writing process. For starters, every song had to be based on the same poetic format. In this case, I chose the nonet. That’s a nine line poem with nine syllables each. There are also nine songs on the EP, so one can say I went up to the nines, right?

The recording process is even more minimal than previous recordings I’ve done with my last EP, singles, and compilation contributions. I only used my voice and acousmatics for this one to see what sounds I can get or manipulate. Some of the found sounds are more obvious than others like using a bathtub in one example.

Besides the composition, I thought this EP was therapy for me. I have to be honest with all you readers. I have a lot of issues with internalizing my anger and sadness. A ton of people have enraged me for most of my lives. Most of them are people I haven’t done anything wrong to. I won’t name names, but the tracks involve people who’ve bullied me in the past, some racists who’ve given me hell, and former co-workers who questioned my worth while getting special treatment. This has been a long time coming. The times when I was open with my anger, people treat me like I’m Satan himself. Not to mention a lot of those same people never owned up to THEIR actions and wrongdoings which frustrates me more. You really want to get on my bad side? It’s when others don’t take responsibility for their words or actions when they do something hurtful. I was sick of hiding these feelings for years now and they manifested in spoken word form.

So what do you think? What was your favorite song on the album? What are your thoughts on how I created this EP?

Maybe this could lead to something good and that’s saying nothing about another album I’m writing and recording. Wink wink.