Will African-Americans Get Hip to Steampunk in 2013?

IBM made a pretty interesting prediction using their social analytics data. They stated that steampunk will take hold in 2013. To be honest, I thought Missoni and other neo-African designers would take off in 2013 as well as the natural hair movement and the 90s hip-hop nostalgia with gumby haircuts and Adidas. But let’s say IBM analytics is correct – will brothas and sistas openly embrace the steampunk movement? ARMONK, N.Y. - 14 Jan 2013: National Retail Federation Convention - Based on an analysis of more than a half million public posts on message boards, blogs, social media sites and news sources, IBM (NYSE:IBM) predicts that ‘steampunk,’ a sub-genre inspired by the clothing, technology and social mores of Victorian society, will be a major trend to bubble up, and take hold, of the retail industry. Major fashion labels, accessories providers and jewelry makers are expected to integrate a steampunk aesthetic into their designs in the coming year. Here is the thing - a lot of brothas and sistas are into steampunk but the problem is that Black media has promoted this narrow tunnel vision stereotype of our people instead of embracing all of the diverse elements of brothas and sistas. I do think now is the time for brothas and sistas, especially in President Obama second term to stand up, reject this monolithic cornball image Black media portrays our people as and start expressing our diverse tastes and fashion, including steampunk if that is what some of us like. One of the biggest steampunk movies out there was Wild Wild West with Will Smith and from my understanding that movie has a cult following, even among Black subcultures that follow the steampunk genre. When you go to things like the comic convention or superhero convention, you will see brothas and sistas dressed in their steampunk outfits and some of them look very ornate. But here is the thing – you got our Black media trying to view brothas and sistas doing steampunk as “different” when these brothas and sistas should be acknowledge as part of the Black experience. I think the real fashion trend and from my understanding is not steampunk but the Lolita fashion that is coming out of Japan. I’m hearing this is becoming very big in the USA and the Japanese brands that promote Lolita are making inroads into the American marketplace. But both steampunk which is anachronistic and based on science-fiction and Lolita which is revival are both from the Victorian era. I don’t mind dating a steampunk girl and I think it is cute for a brotha and sista to dress up as Victorian and go out on a date – that’s cool with me. But I do know one sista that was making a lot of money creating steampunk jewelry as their side hustle on ETSY. She don’t tell the other sistas out there her sidehustle making steampunk jewelry out of metal but that sista was making some good money doing it. I can think of other side hustles such as doing the sewing and creating of Lolita clothing and steampunk clothing custom made. I can go on and on but the point I wanted to make is we need to stop creating this narrow view and monolithic stereotype of our people. I want brothas and sistas to be fashionable and experimental because what that does is create a fashion scene and when you create a fashion scene, Black fashion designers spring up, start selling worldwide and they create local manufacturing jobs and cats are making money doing what they love. It is extremely in our best economic interest as Black people to embrace and uplift brothas and sistas into steampunk and appreciate their creativity and craftsmanship. If steampunk takes off or Lolita takes off this summer 2013, I want brothas and sistas to be on top of it and create a global brand off it, not talk about how it looks weird. Real talk, let’s reject this monolithic image of Black folks that that Black radio stations and Black blogs and Black TV shows tries to portray us as. I as a brotha seeking Black empowerment love H.P. Lovecraft, watch Korean drama on Netflix, can play New Wave and Hi-energy house music on the synthesizer and can go out with my half-Ethiopian girl to a Victorian themed party dressed up in steampunk and Lolita. Let’s cut the crap with these cornball monolithic images of us Black folks and start recognizing and take economic advantage of our diversity among ourselves as a people.

2 thoughts on “Will African-Americans Get Hip to Steampunk in 2013?

  1. I may be way late but American Females (and Males) of African decent have been wearing steam punk and lolita since 2007. In 2008 (or ’09) that is when more Americans of African decent started experimenting with style. I anticipated that with Jay-Z and Lincoln Park team up and Rhianna’s rise with the “Good Girl Gone Bad” image also when Obama was elected it could have encouraged diversification of interest. I definitely see more skateboarders of color however, now I’m wondering if every one is on the edgy side because it was always there or because it is the fashion of our day (sad because that means there is still no individuality). Depending on were one lives they are picked on for being decked out in Rock ‘a’ Wear (by people of color) but those that look like they come from Soho, if they go to the “wrong” school they are also picked on for not having the latest sneakers on. Did I digress? Fashion and style are two different things to me. I don’t care how one dresses however, it should be an extension of one’s self. I myself am a style chameleon.

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