Ella and Nana are the co-founders of Black Fly Zine, a new zine on sexual health, positivity and well-being for people of colour. Ahead of their fundraiser on the 25th of Febuary, regular Thursday party Goldsnap are helping them raise money and awareness about the project, and are hoping to get more people of colour involved in the conversation. The Goldsnap crew sat down with Ella and Nana to find out more about Black Fly Zine!
What inspired you to create Black Fly Zine?
We were fed up with the lack of decolonised information on sexual health which failed to consider the multiplicity of people of colour (POC) narratives – and how this impacts us. This wasn’t just about health but also sexual wellbeing – black and brown love, sex positivity and diverse reflections on queer identities and sexualities, to name a few. So we created Black Fly as a platform to share and learn through each other’s experiences, keeping POC centered and our intersections better considered.
Did you take inspiration fromany other zines?
Ella has been working with zines for a few years and has submitted to at least 15 zines in the last few year. Roadfemme was definitely an inspiration, but through submitting to zines you learn about what makes a zine work and also when you have hated a zine you’ve submitted to, what they have done wrong.
What has been the best part of putting the zine together?
Whenever we receive an email notification we both get excited – we definitely feel privileged by people’s willingness to be open and honest with us and the creative manifestations that have come out of this. The zine is just a magical mix of poems, essays, collages, a short story, illustrations and photography…
The call-out for submissions reached pretty wide and the contributors span over three continents, so some of the pieces are in French and Spanish (for these we’ve kept the original but included an English translation.) We’ve even had a submission from a black man who spent seven years incarcerated in the States and sent us an excerpt from the book he wrote during this time. We really couldn’t have anticipated any of this…
Basically, the zine is lit. Lol!
Do you feel that putting together the zine is particularly important now? Why?
Conversations on sexual wellbeing will always be important but what is exciting about the times we are in, is that the zine centres our experiences as people of colour without having to explain why this is necessary. Generally, advice on sexual health/ wellbeing is overwhelmingly heteronormative and is written from the perspective that one size fits all – we are hoping that Black Fly can be a meaningful resource for those who have found a lot of that information to be useless to them.
Do you have future plans for Black Fly? What are they?
The response to this first edition of the zine has been super positive and so there will definitely be a second. In addition to this, we are planning to produce an issue for a much younger demographic through recorded conversations with teenagers as well as their individual submissions. We have also been thinking about workshops but that seems a long way for now…
You have a fundraiser coming up, can you tell us a bit about that?
We are organising fundraisers in three cities: London, New York and Mexico City. The first of these is a party in London and will be held at an artists’ co-working warehouse space in Hackney on Saturday 25th February. It’s £7 to get in but it’s also bring your booze… please come!
Is Black Fly looking for any contributions? How can POC get involved?
Black Fly is for every POC and so we are always wanting people to share their ideas. As mentioned earlier, we will be producing a second edition so people can keep sending us submissions. Currently, it has just been the two of us putting it together, and one of us lives in London and the other Mexico city (the joys of the Internet!!) but as we grow we will definitely need more support, irrespective of where people are based.
Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
How can we donate Black Fly?
You can donate to the JustGiving page. All of the proceeds are going to the printing of the zine. We are giving every contributor a copy of the publication and that is exactly where the money is going, to cover printing and shipping costs.
Join in the Black Fly fundraiser at the Goldsnap Valentine’s Special this Thursday 8 Feb from 9pm-2:30am!