Coming up on September brings a lot of summer feelings to an end. It was once said that August is the Sunday of all months, spent for leisurely last moments before the routines start up again. It’s so important to have a creative endeavor during this “Monday” month. Sula Collective was such an exciting project for that reason, it’s a space, an idea, a ripple in the waters of being a PoC and a creative. We are so grateful that our collective has found people who want to breathe air into an idea that is foreign to many; we are PoC, we create, and we need spaces where our voices will be heard. You’ve read it before and we’re sure you’ll read it again on here somewhere, but Sula Collective is an online magazine by and for people of color. It was founded by three college students: Kassandra, Sophia, and Casey.
We are speaking on behalf of most creative PoC when we discuss and acknowledge that a lot of us grew up believing things like intelligence, creativity and talent were white traits. All of our founders grew up in, or near, major cities. We were all interested in some form of the arts from a young age but as we grew older we realized that most of these prestigious literary and art magazines people were always talking about were kind of like a “whites only” club. We also spoke of the fact that not everyone comes from New York, London, Paris, or other big name cities. A lot of PoC are based outside of big cities and don’t have access to opportunities that big cities offer and we are here to fix that. There is a shortage of artistic spaces where PoC can express who they are through their art without having to censor their native tongue or culture because they are too scared that their classmates will criticize their work in an ignorant, non-constructive way due to them not being familiar with their culture.
Junot Diaz wrote an article for the New Yorker called “MFA vs. POC” and in it he discusses how white ignorance in creative spaces gives absolutely no room for any form of diversity in PoC’s art forms. Race is something that is continually ignored and racist stereotypes are forced into our work by white people because they refuse to acknowledge that that is what we are: people. We are dehumanized and ignored and forced to feel uncomfortable to keep the white people comfortable in their ignorance. Our art is compromised and many of us feel so discouraged that we end up quitting because we can’t see ourselves making it unless we strip ourselves of our identities to make our art and writing and photography more accessible to white people.
The entire point of Sula Collective is to keep our chosen mediums untainted by the white world. We are a platform made to amplify the voices of PoC so our voices can be heard and not glossed over by white media. On Sensei Aishitemasu’s youtube channel, Seren often talks about how white people create alternate realities in their films and their media where PoC cease to be. Through their art forms, they can escape to a “white fantasy” where they can pretend that our lives and our problems do not exist. A majority of the spaces in society are already safe spaces for whites only and this is why we decided to create an internet safe space solely and specifically for PoC where we can share both our “frustrations and hopes through the most creative mediums” (as described by a contributor) without the white gaze constantly upon us. We are tired of seeing white mediocrity being applauded, tired of seeing our people hurting, and tired of not seeing enough representation. Here, we no longer need to seek white approval and we no longer need to be contained or censored. This site is for people of color to feel free in, a place to connect and hopefully, a space of healing.
words by Kassandra, Sophia & Casey. illustration by Bich.