How would you react if you realized you were psychic? For Kelsi Davies, it was an integral part of growing up. As she got older, she began to share her abilities and recently decided to use her gifts as a medium to help people heal and connect with loved ones who have passed on, altering countless lives forever. Kelsi chronicles her experiences with the paranormal on her incredibly popular TikTok and on her YouTube channel. She wants to demonstrate to others that spirits aren’t always scary or evil. When she’s not communicating with the beyond, Kelsi is empowering others through music. Her new single, “Heartbeats,” is about rediscovering joy after leaving a toxic relationship. Check out the video for “Heartbeats“ below!
Cliché: How did you first discover that you had psychic abilities? Kelsi Davies: I have been psychic since I was young. I found out this year that these gifts run on the Native American side of my family. I would always know things about people or see future events. I did not understand what I was feeling or experiencing, which caused a lot of social anxiety in my life. My mediumship was always there, but I blocked it out. In 2020 I began to tap into my mediumship and connect others with deceased loved ones.
Was that an overwhelming discovery to make as a young child? How did you process that revelation? I thought it was normal. I always had terrible social anxiety and my gifts would kind of shut me down. Growing up, I was introverted, the exact opposite of how I would describe myself now. Once I understood that not everyone has these abilities, I started coming out of my shell and explaining it to people; I feel more understood now.
Why do you think people are so fascinated with the paranormal and spirits in particular? It’s controversial, unknown, and unexplainable. Many people have had paranormal experiences and have had them throughout history. It’s a topic that people are afraid to talk about, but are so intrigued by at the same time.
You’ve also recently undergone a spiritual awakening. What has it been like using your gifts to connect people with their departed loved ones and why do you believe that’s your calling? Yes, it has been incredible. It amazes me every time with what comes through and the spirits that come to me for people. I have made some very close friends due to experiences that changed their lives. It gets very emotional at times, but usually ends in happy tears and relief. I know I have these gifts for a reason. It took me a while to understand them, but now that I do, I have seen their effect on others. I genuinely believe this is something I’m just meant to do.
What has been the most exciting paranormal experience you’ve had thus far? I’ve had countless experiences, both good and bad. However, one of my favorite experiences was when I connected with someone’s deceased loved ones recently. The mother of a family friend passed earlier this year. Mid-conversation, I start to receive visions of her. I had never met her, so I was unaware of her appearance. Usually, I will explain who is coming to me and what they look like if they are coming through clearly.
I was able to see her height, hair color, clothes, etc. She had a few things to say, but I asked her to show me something personal. She ended up showing me a silver necklace with a cross on it and its details. As I explained it to the woman, her eyes lit up. She knew what her mother was showing me was a necklace that she wore very often.
Why is it so important to destigmatize spirits or show people that not all spirits are scary? There is a misconception of spirit communication. Many people are taught that it’s evil and demonic, but that just is not the case. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. I just hope people can keep an open mind to things. I genuinely believe no one knows exactly what the afterlife is like until we are there. There is a balance in this world, good and evil. A lot of the time, your lost loved ones are still visiting and looking out for you.
Do you have any advice for people out there who are hoping to communicate with spirits? Just be safe. Again there are good and evil spirits. If you feel negativity around you or feel like something is off, I would stop the session and protect yourself. There are a variety of ways to protect yourself. I don’t know much about the other side, but I have firsthand seen these ways of protection work.
For the uninitiated, please explain who Lola is and the role she plays in your life. Lola is a sweet spirit of an 18-year-old woman. She is attached to a porcelain doll because it looks a lot like her! She was born in 1901 and died in 1919 from an illness. All of my friends have had incredible experiences with her. We all love Lola. I often see her walking around in her long white nightgown. Sometimes, she sits in the back of my car, and I feel protected. I believe in spirit guides, but maybe Lola can protect me the way my spirit guides or angels do. She doesn’t talk a whole lot, so I’m not sure. Other mediums have said she is getting stronger and braver. I feel that way as well.
On another note, you’re also venturing into the music world! Talk about your new single, “Heartbeats.” My new single, “Heartbeats,” is about a toxic relationship I was stuck in. I wanted to turn something negative in my life into a positive. It was difficult to relive those experiences again, as it was an extremely dark time for me. However, I’m so grateful for everyone who supported me through this traumatic time. They helped me turn my pain into something extraordinary. I learned and have grown from this experience. I have found my authentic self because of it. “Heatbeats” is about moving past that toxicity in your life, no matter what it is. Knowing you do have the strength to get past it and be authentically yourself.
Do you have any advice for people who are afraid to leave a toxic relationship because they don’t want to be alone? Ask yourself these questions about the person you are with. Do they make you happy? Do they trust you? Do you trust them? Do you see a positive future with this person? If you answered no to any of them, it might be time to rethink some things. It’s like ripping off a bandaid. Things will get better as long as you know your worth. Also, don’t be afraid to talk to others about your situation. You are strong.
You frequently collaborate with PrideHouseLA! What message do you hope to send to your fans who also identify as LGBTQ+? Yes, PrideHouseLA are great friends of mine. They helped me have the courage to come out as a pansexual. I hope that anyone part of the LGBTQ+ community knows that you are so loved and accepted here. Be your unique self. If people don’t accept you, there is a huge community that will.
May 26th, 2021 (New York, NY): Sarah Barrios has released her latest single, “IH8EVERY1”. This song was created as part of Sarah’s “You Ask, I Write” series on TikTok with a short snippet initially shared on May 3rd of this year. After its viral response on TikTok with over 3 million plays and over 650k likes, Sarah had to release the full version.
Image Credit: Jamie Rosenberg (Jar Photo)
“Fairytales are hard to believe sometimes, especially if your prince or princess charming doesn’t turn out to be who you hoped them to be. It’s easy to give up on love and hope altogether and can make you feel like it’s you against the world. But every once in a while, you meet someone you don’t mind being around, and you start to feel that small sliver of hope. That’s what this song is about.” – Sarah Barrios
“IH8EVERY1” was written by Sarah with Wyatt Sanders and produced by Evan Gartner. The release of “IH8EVERY1” comes shortly after her single, “Have We Met Before?” featuring Eric Nam. The latter garnered a lot of attention on streaming platforms and receiving praise from outlets such as Teen Vogue, Ones to Watch, Sweety High, and many more. She is definitely one you want to keep an eye on.
Image Credit: Jamie Rosenberg (Jar Photo)
ABOUT SARAH BARRIOS
Sarah Barrios is a breath of fresh air. With her unapologetically sweet voice, infectious melodies, and playful pop musicality. A proud reading enthusiast, her approach is akin to that of writing a novel. Weaving together stories with raw human emotion, Sarah wins her audience at first listen with a textured experience of imagery and color. Influenced by an intelligently diverse spectrum ranging from Jane Austen to Sci-Fi books, The Beatles and Fleetwood Mac to Jon Bellion and Paramore, Sarah’s music evokes both nostalgia and anticipation for the future. After years of songwriting with the likes of Zara Larsson, Alec Benjamin, Why Don’t We, Rita Ora, Andy Grammer, etc., Sarah is stepping out on her own.
At 6’ tall with a statuesque build, Jordan Simone was frequently encouraged to pursue modeling. Her friends convinced her that TikTok would be a great way to gain exposure, so she created an account. One day, she decided to post a video about the seven things she felt the Black community needed to work on. The enthusiastic response blew her away. “I was like, ‘Wait a second. If you want to hear what I have to say about Black people, wait until I have to say things about white people.’ At the time, I was thinking a lot about white allies and white activism. I’m like, ‘Do that, but also y’all do that in a weird way. Here’s some critiques. Here’s gentle critiques that were gentle, but not gentle.’” Her videos became a source of education for users eager to learn about anti-Blackness and how to enhance their allyship. “I just started answering people’s questions or making content around what people were saying. It became its own thing from the things I was already passionate about featuring this need as a society. Society was like, ‘Hey, I actually want to know more about this and you deliver the information in a way that doesn’t make me angry or upset. You’re not yelling at me making me feel like an idiot. There are things I don’t know, but I appreciate that you’re not making me feel bad about not knowing things.'” Despite amassing nearly 300,000 followers, Jordan continues to focus on her contributions to various movements, characteristically conscious of the perpetual drive to grow and improve her own awareness of social issues. “I always called myself an aspiring activist, because I never feel like I’m doing enough. Maybe that’s the imposter syndrome. But ever since I was 16, I have a strong sense of what is right and what is wrong and what personal liberties are versus what the collective needs. And so when life decided (and TikTok decided) that this was something I was good at, I was like, ‘People have questions, and I actually have the answers.’” She extends that same understanding and compassion to her followers. “My mom’s always been a teacher, and as someone who is a teacher and teaches and has always been around teaching, I’m like, ‘I know I can’t judge you for not knowing things. Thank you for just asking and being willing to learn and listen.’ And so that’s made a safe space on my page,” Unfortunately, TikTok is notorious for having a contentious relationship with Black creators, suppressing their discussions of racism and whiteness – while happily enabling white creators to profit off of content stolen from Black creators. It wasn’t long before Jordan found her own content was being censored. The community is rallying to demand change, planning a Blackout for the first half of May, strategically targeted to deprive the app of content to make a statement about the power Black creators hold. “I know there are a lot of conversations happening about leaving the app for a little while, because it takes a trend two weeks to come in and out of fashion. The two week trend will end-ish sometime in early May. They’ll be looking for something new. We’re not there to give them something new.” There are some simple ways users and creators can show solidarity with Black creators. “You can support Black creators by actually watching our content all the way through, or even most of the way through, engaging with it and making sure that people give credit where credit is due, and hearing us when we speak.” Most crucially, don’t avoid or ignore conversations about racism because they’re difficult. “When Black creators have something to say, listen to it and hold it with value. As opposed to just ‘It makes me uncomfortable, so I’m not going to engage with it.’ We need to be as okay as we can be talking about race and racism. Because if you’re not, all that upholds is the systems of whiteness and white supremacy and TikTok is already trying to push down those videos. You have to be willing to seek them out and engage with them, so TikTok can’t do that. Because at the end of the day, it’s just a computer we’re fighting. But we are losing to a computer and that feels wrong.”
Recently, white creators have found yet more ways to appropriate from the Black community, most egregiously by co-opting Cynthia Erivo’s “Stand Up” (a song about breaking free from slavery) as the soundtrack for the 97% movement, which aims to spotlight the overwhelming proportion of women subjected to sexual harassment. And while the 97% movement is extremely important, so is allowing the music to continue to exist in its original context. “When you’re Black and seeking representation in music or on TikTok or wherever, that impact matters. And so if a Black creator makes a song about Blackness, it’s important to leave that alone,” Jordan says. “Because number one, that was the whole point. I wrote it down so that we can use it for this moment. But number two, is we don’t have a lot of spaces we can go. We don’t have a lot of sounds that represent who we are, and while it feels like it shouldn’t be a big deal because white people don’t have to have that desperate search or that desperate cling to something to feel represented, Black people do.” She urges critique of false calls to unity. “It’s great to say, ‘We’re all people. We’re all equals.’ It’s a great concept. It truly is. It’s something we all should aspire to, but we’re not there yet. And until we get there, these things matter because it’s what we have. And also just listen to the lyrics. Just put your listening ears on and just hear what they’re saying or read it or whatever you need to do. But I think it’s very intentional, both on behalf of the creator and on behalf of the user to be aware of what they’re saying and what their goal was, and also what that impact is. And so if that song speaks to you as somebody who’s not Black, that’s great and that’s cool. But recognize what they intended and move accordingly.” Most often, this insistence on “coming together” is a barely disguised pressure campaign designed to silence Black folks within the very spaces they themselves crafted as safe havens. “The point is, you have other places to go. You don’t need to come into my house. Why are you in it? And more importantly, why are you shoving me out of it in that?” Jordan wonders. The full weight of TikTok’s algorithm is already behind white creators, so the least they can do is be more intentional in their song selection.”TikTok loves white people. The internet loves whiteness. And so all of those things are automatically boosted to the top of the algorithm, to the top of the For You page. All of that is just boosted straight to the top. And so it’s important to know that and be aware that the privileges that you hold mean that ‘If I do this thing, I’m going to be seen, and I’m going to be heard. I need to be aware enough to not interject myself in this space. Does it mean maybe I miss out on a cool sound? Sure. Do I have literally 8 million other songs to listen to or to actively choose? Yes. And so in my awareness of the privileges I hold, I will move accordingly until I don’t have to.’ And if we all have that mindset, we can probably knock out systemic racism in like 20 years. It’s hard, but it’s really not that hard.” This sense of whiteness as default fortifies resistance to criticism, which Jordan attributes to white people’s misconception of racism as only confined to overt hatred and violence. “Number one, we need to redefine what being racist means. Growing up, we learned racism is the lynchings of the 60s, the KKK (which is still around…what the heck?) And hate crimes. Cool. Important to talk about. Essential to talk about, because all those things are still happening today. But racism does not start and stop there. Racism is a systemic issue built into every industry that we have, because when we built this country in oh dark 30, the foundation was led in a racist way. When this country started as three fifths of a person, that doesn’t end because you changed that one law. The foundations are still there. Our building has rot, and we need to take the rot out. And, when I say, ‘Hey, somebody taught you something racist, and you’re doing it.’ You’re not a bad person. I’m not saying you are the KKK. That’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is in this racist system, you learned a racist thing, and you need to unlearn it in the same way that I do.”Jordan has spent years unlearning her own internalized biases, which ran so deep that they impacted (and dictated) perceptions of how she spoke. “We all have racism built into us. I have anti-Blackness built into me. Growing up I spoke in AAVE for 11 minutes. My mom was not having it, but I spoke that way. I had a Southern accent. I still say things like ‘six one way, half a dozen the other.’ And nobody knows what I’m saying, but I was taught that talking like that is ignorant. It makes you ignorant. It makes you dumb. You won’t get a job. I went to speech therapy. I didn’t particularly need it. I just spoke in AAVE. But I went to speech therapy. I had it beat out of me. And now I say things like ‘exponentially’ in casual conversations, which stresses other people out. There’s no balance here. It is what it is. But it took me years to learn that you’re not dumb for speaking in AAVE. That is its own dialect. It has its own rules. There’s a form to this. And even if it wasn’t, you’re still not dumb. But it’s a studied, researched, mini language of its own, and it’s not bad to speak like that. It’s stigmatized. If I have to unlearn that as a Black person, you mean to tell me that as a white person, you didn’t pick up on a shred of racism growing up? You did, because you and I went to the same school. You learned what I learned, and what I learned made me hate me. Which means you in your own way definitely learned something that should make you not like me or have some prejudices or stigma. It is what it is. Stop fighting it.”
We must re-engineer these conversations to shift understanding of racism as a whole. “If we restructure the conversation around – this is what racism is. It’s not just active hate. Racism is active hate. It is also a system we were all born and brought up in and we all have some unlearning to do. We can have those conversations around…‘Okay, so this is how white people uphold racism. This is what a microaggression looks like. This is all this other stuff.’ Now we can have productive conversations.” Failure to acknowledge the spectrum of racism inevitably leads to acquiescence to white fragility, corroding the vitality of the movement long-term. “I read this article. Some activists and organizers were talking about how they have to be very mindful of what they protest against. They have to be very mindful with what they preach, because white people have briefly started putting themselves on the front lines in terms of protest. If the police show up, white people will make a line with their bodies to make a barrier. Great. If they upset too many white people, they will stop coming to the protests and Black people lose that source of protection. Now organizers are like, ‘We have to be very intentional with what we do in a different way to protect whiteness. Because if we don’t, we lose the help that we have.’ And that’s not a productive way to go about this. Because at the end of the day, we want to undo those systems that mean you need to be on the front lines at all. But I can’t undo those systems if you’re not in this to win this. And that means you also have some learning to do.” The process would be smoother if we could all learn how to soften our defensiveness and be more receptive to criticism. “People don’t like to be told that they’re wrong. People don’t like to be told that they did something racist, because we made racism rightfully, but also in a way, wrongfully, this big, bad, scary thing,” Jordan muses. “It’s like saying you did something racist does not mean you lynched me in the backyard. It means that you called [my natural hair] floofy. I didn’t like being called floofy. Just adapt and learn. It doesn’t have to be the end of the world, if you don’t take it to that place. But that’s where we are taught to take it, because in your defensiveness, I am forced to uphold whiteness. It was a beautifully designed system. But if you don’t check yourself or let me check you, all we’re going to do is uphold the same system. We will simply rebrand everything under a new name for the 15th time and call it a day.” White women in particular have a penchant for weaponizing their whiteness as a means of dominating discussions around misogyny to cajole Black women into silence when they attempt to talk about the violence they’ve experienced through the lens of race and misogynoir. Jordan herself was harassed by white users into deleting her video discussing her personal connection to the 97%. She recalls: “Other women went viral for the same conversation. But I wasn’t allowed to have it. I wasn’t allowed to be in that space. There was nobody letting me exist here. I’m like, either A, stop crying or B, let us have our own spaces. Black women do have these conversations in our own spaces, in our own ways. But white women always find themselves, ‘Oh, this happened to me too.’ Great. Perfect. Fine. But then it becomes about them. It becomes about their comfort. It becomes about their safety and not at the cost of our own.” This erasure is especially harmful because understanding the intersection of anti-Blackness and misogynistic violence is imperative to fight sexism. The intense focus on white women in the media gave young Jordan an incredibly dangerous false sense of security. “I didn’t think Black girls got kidnapped growing up. I didn’t think it was a thing that happened to us. I was like, white women are desirable. White women are cute. When I looked at the milk carton, it’s a white girl. When I look at the posters, it’s white girls. Black women don’t get kidnapped. I’m safe. And then doggone it, I grew up. And one day I was scrolling through Twitter and they were like, ‘Oh, yeah.’ It was like 60,000 Black women are missing right now. Black girls, Black kids are missing and we’re not talking about it. And…I was like ‘60,000? We get kidnapped?’ And they were like, ‘Yes, we get kidnapped most often.’ But we’re so far pushed out of the conversation that I genuinely thought that was not a thing that happened to us on a regular basis, when it happens to us at a disproportionate rate. By centering all the conversations around whiteness, we create not only an exclusion of Blackness, but a culture of ignorance. I was so dumb, I could’ve gotten kidnapped. And I would’ve been none the wiser.” Black women deserve spaces to speak freely without worrying about tone policing or having to accommodate white women‘s feelings. “We need to make these safe spaces, because if we don’t, people walk around like me. Dumb as a sack of rocks and thinking it can’t happen to you, when it totally can and totally does. I think that to have these conversations, you have to be able to say, ‘This happens to Black women, even though they’re strong, even if you think that they’re all tough, because we’re just humans. Even if you think we’re masculine.’ We’re not, but okay. It happens to us. We need to be a part of these conversations too, in all of the ways that they come in and our input is valuable. And I think either the best place to do that is you either let us talk about it in our own safe spaces with each other, so that we can at least know what’s happening. Or stop silencing us because you didn’t want to talk about it on Monday. If you don’t want to talk about it, that’s cool. That doesn’t mean I can’t talk about it. It means you need to leave, because I need to talk about it today. That’s not to say my comfort trumps your comfort or whatever. But if we’re having a conversation about trauma, and I decided to speak up on it today, you can’t decide I can’t speak up on it because you don’t want to talk about it today. I respect you and your choices, but that means you need to leave. Not, I need to be quiet, and that’s okay. I don’t need you to hear me. I mean I need you to hear me, but if you can’t do it today, as somebody who has experienced trauma, okay, I respect it. Go ahead, but I also need to process my grief and my hurt. And if you can’t be a part of that today, that’s cool. Goodbye. But you can’t tell me not to talk because you don’t want to hear it.”
On a broader scale, the process of dismantling white supremacy to rebuild an anti-racist society relies on sweeping change. “I think on a big level, we need to do some big institutional work. And this is the thing that I think will take the most time,” Jordan says. “That’s why when people are like, ‘Do you think if we worked hard enough we could end racism tomorrow?’ I’m like, ‘Absolutely not.’ Our infrastructures will crumble. Everything will fall apart. No, but the work needs to be done. Because things like policing, for example, because that’s on my mind lately. It was built on slave catching. The whole system needs to go. It wasn’t designed to be safe. It just needs to go. We need to replace it with something else. We need to reallocate funds. The whole thing needs to go. We need to try over. That’s going to take time. It’s a big deal. It’s necessary. It’s going to take time. It’s going to take labor. Or politics. Our political systems were created when I was three fifths of a human being. I couldn’t even be the whole human being. The whole thing needs to go. I think it should be replaced with things that are more inclusive. And I don’t just mean laws and acts that need to be replaced every so often. The Voting Rights Act – it’s got, I think two parts of it that are still standing. Everything else has either expired and not been renewed or replaced with something worse. And that’s our pinnacle of success is the Voting Rights Act. And it’s almost dead in its entirety. We can’t replace it with laws. We can’t replace it with acts. We need to replace it on a fundamental structural level. It’s going to be a big job. It’s going to take more than me. Good luck, Charlie.” In addition to redressing institutional racism, we also need to keep that momentum going to tackle everyday racism. “On a micro level, we need to talk about racism in terms of big and little picture. Racism is ‘I hate Black people, yada, yada, yada.’ It’s also, ‘Hey girl, your hair is really floofy.’ It’s the way that we do Black minstrel shows on the internet, where people get super dark tans and long acrylic nails and start wearing bonnets. And girls start talking [in a parody of a blaccent] all the time. And it’s funny to you. It was funny to me in 2008. And then I was like, ‘Oh, that’s how they see me.’ The joke is funny if it’s not harming people, but when it harms people, stop the joke. We need to stop being so uncomfortable because a critique isn’t a criticism on your whole person, it’s a critique of your actions. I had this one substitute teacher who was like, ‘I never hate you. I might hate what you did, but I don’t hate you.’ Same energy, same energy. I’m not judging you. I don’t hate you, but you did a bad thing. I will gently correct it. We can go on with our evening. That’s it.” Nonetheless, a vocal and disgruntled few have taken issue with Jordan drawing attention to the racist undertones of recent trends like fake tanning and lip injections, accusing her of trying to “cancel everything.” However, it’s crucial to understand the appropriative aspects of these “hobbies,” which have insidious roots in the fetishization of Black bodies. (And a history that many would prefer to ignore, as illustrated by one user’s misguided boast that Europe is supposedly free of racism, prompting Jordan to unfurl a laundry list of evidence to the contrary. “I think I pissed off the continent of Europe as a collective,“ she informed me with a grin.) She is eager to unpack the violence undergirding the popularization of these so-called aesthetics. “I think it’s important to talk about it, because when you don’t, you think that you are doing a good thing or a non-harmful thing, when you are actively perpetuating systems of harmfulness. When you don’t see Black women on TV, when you don’t see Black women in media, but you do see Rebecca with the darkest tan that they offered from a bottle of, I kid you not, the blackest black suntan lotion with lips that she injected super large. Because these are all things that are in trend. Number one, why is my face a trend? You can’t get to pick and choose when you get to participate in my face. But why is my face a trend without me? What is wrong about me and my Blackness that makes me less desirable than someone who went and bought all the aspects of Blackness and then perpetuated them? And that all traces back to Sarah Baartman and the way that her body, when she died, was put on display. Not only did you take a Black woman from her home because she was thicker than a bowl of oatmeal and toted her around Europe for her whole life without her consent and never liberated her, when she died, you took her body and took it on the road. That trauma is still there. That fetishization is still there. That’s why that hypersexualization is all still there. And for you to appropriate it, because it’s a trend, because it’s cute, but still demonize my face and my existence. I’m still shut out of the modeling industry when you have to get a super dark, fake tan. They’re not trends. You think you need to look like that, because it’s cute. They think it’s cute, because they think Blackness is cute when it’s distanced from Black people. We need to dismantle that train of thought. Because at the end of the day, if you really want to be happy, we should probably start working on liking ourselves the way that we look for starters. But even if we don’t, even if you want to change and adapt or whatever, be mindful of what you’re participating in, and how you’re perpetuating systems of harm.” She continues: “It’s the same vein of thought, but a different execution [with] the people who bleach their skin…which please don’t, but it’s a whole industry because we were all taught that being white is beautiful. And being white and pretending to be dark is beautiful, but being dark is ugly. And in my pursuit of being perceived as beautiful, I’m told to bleach my skin. I’m told to straighten my hair. You’re not told those things. You’re choosing to look like me, because that makes you marketable. Because we all like to play Black. We all like the big hoop earrings. We all like the tan skin. We all like the big lips. We all like the fat ass, but we don’t like the systems of oppression that come with it. It makes us uncomfy. You want to play Black without being Black. And until I’m free to be Black in my Black skin, that I didn’t have to buy, you can’t pretend. That’s not cool. It is important to acknowledge that because racism is a big issue everywhere. And colorism is a big issue everywhere. And you can’t pick and pretend when you want to be Black or not without liberating Black people and all people of color. Some people will say, ‘They don’t look Black, they look Hispanic.’ And I’m like, ‘That’s also wrong.’ Racism isn’t just against Black people. It’s against people of color period. That’s also wrong. You’re still wrong for that.”
Complaints about “cancel culture” are often the go-to deflection to derail discussions around important issues like cultural appropriation. Jordan loathes cancel culture and is frustrated with what it’s become – namely, an empty and performative gesture centered around shame and punishment as opposed to growth. “Cancel culture I think when it started was meant to hold people accountable. It was meant to say, ‘There’s this person doing a bad thing or there’s this thing that’s bad. We should stop doing it. Cancel it.’ What happened is that it fell into the wrong hands. And so what people started doing instead was taking it to this weird extreme where it’s like, ‘I accidentally misgendered somebody. And I went back and I fixed it, but now I’m canceled.’ And in those moments of not allowing people to grow, it became this tactic for fear. And so people now are like, ‘You can’t cancel my favorite thing. You can’t cancel this. You can’t cancel that.’ Or ‘You’re canceling this. You’re canceling that.’ And in its propensity and its use of being a fear tactic, it lost all of its value. And so now it means nothing. It’s like, ‘You’re canceling syrup.’ And I’m like, ‘No one’s canceling – you can’t cancel syrup for starters.’ But even if you could, in saying this is canceled, it now has no value. All we’re doing instead is drawing attention to it, because we’re talking about canceling it and nothing is happening. We’ve lost its intention of holding people accountable, We should just go back to holding people accountable. We don’t need to say, ‘We’re canceling Tony Lopez.’ Don’t say it. Do it. Because when you say it, nothing happens. We’ll just do it. Stop subscribing, stop watching videos, stop engaging with content and just cancel it. End it. And I think that if we don’t, we will continue to have these conversations about, ‘We’re canceling this or we’re canceling that,’ without actually doing the work of…We get to blow it off. ‘That’s canceled.’ Whether it’s good or bad or neutral or whatever when I say, ‘It’s canceled. It doesn’t matter,’ we’re not learning about why it’s canceled. We’re not learning about how we are perpetuating those systems of harm that made that thing get canceled. We are not holding the people who needed to be canceled accountable. All it is, it’s a catch-all phrase for…either you’re too sensitive or you’re not sensitive enough.” Sadly, most problematic figures with actual power wind up raking in more cash as a result of the uproar. “JK Rowling is still rolling in money, mad transphobic. Do something about it. Stop buying all the Harry Potter merchandise. And it hurts to say it, because that’s really upsetting. Or stop buying stuff until they agree to take a diversity class…learn a thing, do the research, do the growth. And until you do, we’re not engaging with you. Because you refuse to grow, and I refuse to be a part of that. Instead, what happened is we were like, ‘JK Rowling is canceled.’ She wrote a letter with 50 other people who should be thrown to the wayside about how cancel culture is toxic. We set over it like a speed bump and kept it pushing. And nothing happened except JK Rowling got richer off of the scandal. Stop scandalizing and start holding people accountable, because otherwise we’re stuck in a feedback loop and it’s silly.” Given the draining and continuous labor of unpacking anti-Blackness on an antagonistic platform on top of the seemingly endless reports of police brutality against Black folks dominating recent headlines, Jordan is mindful of routinely stepping back to prioritize self-care in order to preserve her mental health. “I recognize that I exist in the world, and I have a place in the world. But also I can take a break from it. It’s not exclusively who I am,” she reflects. “I do my makeup all the time, partially because it’s TikTok and partially because it’s fun. It brings me peace. It’s the same reason I braid my hair at night. It’s just very soothing for me. I dress up like a fairy and just do something else, because it brings a lot of peace. But I also know that my mental health means more than just taking bubble baths, which I can’t do. I can’t fit in a tub very well, but like taking bubble baths and lighting candles. It’s journaling every day. Do I always want to? No. I’ve missed a couple of days, but I need to process what I’m thinking and feeling in a safe space and that safe space has been my journal. Or going back to therapy and doing the hard work and working through my own traumas as an individual and also my traumas that are given to me by the world as a whole.” She enthusiastically embraces even the smallest things that bring her joy: “I have a very thick collection of Avatar books, like Avatar: The Last Airbender. Love it. Adore it. Favorite show. It is what it is. It’s a mode of escapism for me where I’m like, ‘Hey, I’m really stressed. I’m going to go read about the exact same world that I live in, but in terms of Avatar.’ Because that’s fun for me. That’s a distancing for me. It’s doing the fun stuff. It’s doing the hard work. I can take a nap, and I can come back to it later. I will always be anti-racist and pro-Black and unapologetically myself in whatever way that arises in. But I also recognize that my existence is an act of rebellion, and it’s hard to rebel all the time. I deserve the nap and I deserve the white chocolate Snickers bar. And I deserve to watch Avatar for the 1800th time between episodes of Ouran Host Club and MiraculousLadybug.”
There are things that we can all do to uplift the Black women and girls in our lives. “I think the best thing you can do is hear us and validate us and make spaces safer for us. I know growing up, I felt like I wasn’t Black enough. Because I was told I wasn’t Black enough by Black folk. And I wasn’t white enough, obviously, for white folk. And it made me feel insecure in my Blackness and my existence. It made me feel hard to love. It made me feel like what I loved wasn’t worth loving. I loved Avatar. I’ve always loved Avatar. I love to read. I love to read. I’m really into astronomy. I’m also really into astrology. I was all those things at once, and I felt like they weren’t spaces that I could be in. I wasn’t worthy of those spaces and I wasn’t worthy of the people in those spaces,” Jordan admits. This sense of ostracism deeply impacted her personal life and her perception of her own self-worth. “I ended up in a string of…they weren’t bad relationships. The relationships were fine, but with people who loved me conditionally. And I gave them my all. I was like, ‘This is the person who loves me. Nobody else is going to love me. I have to make it work. I have to make it work.’ And I stayed in relationships consistently longer than I should have. Because I was so desperate to be loved, because I didn’t feel like I was worth loving. I thought we were unworthy of being kidnapped. That is a bonkers ideology to have. And yet there I was with it, because I didn’t feel like I was worthy as a writer, because everybody I read was white. I wasn’t worthy as a woman, because I felt like I was hard to love.” We can break this cycle through simple acts of listening and acknowledgment, particularly when it comes to empowering Black children. “If you make spaces safe, if you validate us when we’re little, we don’t grow up to be big and broken. And so now I’m learning how to heal from stuff. If I had been validated and felt safe and loved younger, I wouldn’t have to heal from this now. And so as a grownup, you can hear us out. You can help love and support us just by being there and uplifting us. When we want to talk about something, don’t silence us. When we say something matters, understand it matters not because we’re nitpicky, but because…if I sat around all day and picked on everything that’s racist, I would never stop talking. When I do decide to talk about something, understand that it’s probably valuable in at least some way and to hear it. Understand that that is valid and valuable and to take it and move accordingly. But when we’re little is when it matters. The people who told me I was a good writer when I was little are why I’m going to grad school today. But without them, I wouldn’t be here. And I think that’s important, because not all little Black girls have those people.”
Ultimately, Jordan feels as though we’re in the midst of a transformative cultural moment as a society and remains cautiously optimistic that we might finally be ready to undertake those growing pains as a collective – if only we can be patient with ourselves. “I think that it’s important to not just have these conversations. We’ve been having them for generations, but to really actively engage with them. I think it’s important to not just think like…I think this past summer was a wake up call for a lot of people, which is wild. Because the Black community was sitting around looking at each other like, ‘They got another one. Tragic.’ But for nonblack people, it was seeing it for the first time. And in that moment they experienced the exhaustion, the fatigue and the trauma. And I think it’s important to remember and to recognize and to hold close that this is not just a one-off incident. This happens all the time. There are so many more that we don’t know about, because they weren’t on camera. And to hold that close and to think, ‘I’m tired today, but I can’t stop now.’ Because I like to think of it as a backpack. You can carry your backpack around. Maybe your backpack is 10 pounds, and you carry a backpack everywhere. It’s got your laptop. It’s got your notebook. It’s got everything you need in it, but it’s heavy. It’s okay to put the backpack down, but you can’t abandon it somewhere. It has all your stuff in it. Activism’s like that. You can put the backpack down. People don’t understand either you’re on or you’re off. No. I have days where I sit down with a thing of Oreos and I watch Ouran Host Club, because my brain can’t take another heavy thought. I can’t do it. I get back up tomorrow or the next day or after therapy or whenever, and keep going. People like to either do it for now and then stop. Or they don’t like to do it all, because they know it’s heavy. We need to do it. We can also put the backpack down and pick it up later. It doesn’t have legs. It’s not leaving you. It’s going to sit there, and you can pick it up when you’re done.” The next step involves reimagining our activism to be more substantive. “I think that we need to push past the…for number one, the infographic being peak activism. It’s not. They’re very cute, but it’s not. But also recognizing that we can decide what the future looks like. As nothing matters, nothing is real. We can pick and choose what this looks like for us. And if we really want to have a world where you can wear box braids and you can wear your sari in public and you can do whatever it is that people like to appropriate, we have to push past moments like these to get there, because no one’s saying you can’t wear a sari. The issue is that I can’t wear it in public and therefore, neither can you, the person who made the decision that I can’t wear this in public. You know what I’m saying? Either you can take the selfish route where it’s ‘I want to do what I want to do, I have to push past this,’ or you can take the ‘we’re all in this together and I care about other people’ route. I don’t care which route we take, but you’ve got to push past it to get to whatever the end goal is. And it’s going to be scary. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to take a lot of unlearning and a lot of practice.” Above all, our activism must be unconditional and steadfast. Jordan knows this firsthand: “I misgendered onlyjayus the other day. I felt awful,” she says. “I recorded the whole video over again. I felt terrible, because I didn’t think to check their bio before I filmed. It slipped my mind. Did it suck to take another hour to record a video about somebody who intentionally threw slurs about my community around? Yes. But what that says is, and what that means is that the people like all my nonbinary friends know that I’m still a safe place to go to even if we have beef, even if there are grievances. Because it’s not just about me, it’s about all of us succeeding. Even if it takes extra time, even if it’s extra labor, even if you don’t want to, even if you hate that person, you gotta do it.” What’s at stake is nothing short of our generational future. “We get to decide if we’re going to live like Republicans for another 50 years, or if we’re going to do anything else. Anything else besides that. Take the backpack off if you need to. Take the breath, get some water, sit under the apple tree and discover gravity for all I care, but come back to it when you’re done.” However long the journey takes, we must commit ourselves to bringing everyone along for the ride.
Read moreCelebrity Interviews on ClicheMag.com From Anti-Blackness to Anti-Racism: Deconstructing White Supremacy with Jordan Simone. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jordan Simone.
After spending her formative years in a punk band and inspired by other LGBTQIA artists, Ramona Blue decided it was time to carve her own path. Confined in lockdown and reeling from her ex’s infidelity, she penned her first single, “Curious,” an empowered assertion of her worth. To anyone else coping with the aftermath of cheating, she wants to emphasize that it’s a problem with them, not you. Stream “Curious” below and follow Ramona on all her socials HERE.
Cliché: When and how did you get into music? Ramona Blue: I began with being really into musical theatre when I was a kid and I was always obsessed with different singers and how they sang the way they did. I was very inspired by strong and powerful singers like Christina Aguilera and Demi Lovato from a young age but then grew and began listening to EVERYTHING ranging from Lana Del Rey to Muse to Rico Nasty. I like to listen to a range of music so I can inspire myself in all different areas and come up with something really uniquely personal and ‘me’. I started my own post-punk band with some of my close friends when we were 15 and spent three years playing gig after gig. It was so invigorating to be a young teenaged girl and to feel the entire room of like-minded teens screaming your songs right back in your face. I decided to branch out as I wanted to create my own sound from all the music I’d been listening to and to find who I was as an artist without any labels attached.
The LGBTQIA community is a central part of who you are. How do you identify yourself and how does that influence your music?
I personally identify as a Lesbian woman and have felt so grateful to have such supportive family and group of friends who accept and love me for me. In fact, I never actually ‘came out’ as I never felt that being gay should be any different from straight. I just date who I love and that’s that. I always listened to my friends’ stories of their struggles with coming out and not feeling free and comfortable to fully be themselves and I just always felt that there was a lack of mainstream representation of LGBTQIA artists in the media. I feel that if there were, more young children would feel comfortable and identified, regardless of what their family believes in. I wanted that to be an integral part of my music and brand because I lacked a role model growing up and I want others who lack the support I so luckily had to feel that they have that, no matter where they are in the world, through my music and my message.
Who are your favorite LGBTQIA artists?
I think the main one is Lady Gaga because, not only is she bisexual but also used the FUCK out of her platform and success to stand up for the LGBTQIA community. I always found that inspiring considering she is one of the biggest artists in the world where most artists would shy away from supporting a community in fear of losing followers or money. Demi Lovato also raised me and her coming out was another major inspirational moment for me. Later on, I got into a variety of LGBTQIA artists from Hayley Kiyoko to this really underground girl punk band called GRLwood.
How would you describe yourself as a musician?
Blunt, feisty and strong. I won’t ever sugar coat anything and will always be 100% authentically me within my music and my identity.
What has your experience been like within the music industry?
Interesting. When I was in my band, I experienced a fair amount of misogyny from industry people making comments like ‘you’re good at punk for a girl’ and just a lot of general demeaning. Patronising and belittling comments. Things like this never affected me because, growing up with such a strong-headed mother who always taught me that all humans are humans regardless of anything, I always felt I was fair game and that me having a vagina changes nothing. Having spoken to a few different labels, managers and agents throughout the last three years has really made me realise that the industry is a business and that artists aren’t seen as anything other than money makers which can be discouraging when you are trying to create your art, but once you learn how to use this to your advantage and essentially become an entrepreneur, you won’t be manipulated easily. I am still learning myself and growing every day.
Talk about your debut single, “Curious.”
I wrote this track around a year ago when the first lockdown started. It was one of the first songs I wrote on my own and it was a MASSIVE confidence boost for me and really the moment that I realised that I had something there. I always knew I wanted this to be my debut single because I think it really shows the attitude I want to bring to pop music and all the rest of my songs. Pop needs more anger and more fire and I want to bring that.
The song is about an ex who cheated on you. Did writing the song help you in your healing process?
Yes! Of course. Music is therapy and always will be.
How did you move on from that betrayal while keeping your self-worth and confidence intact?
Someone betraying you like that is so damaging but I learned that it’s nothing that I am lacking but they evidently need to fill some hole in their soul that is missing that has nothing to do with me and my worth and my confidence in myself and my love will always stay.
What advice can you offer to folks dealing with infidelity or dishonesty in their relationships?
Toss away, forgive and move on. Don’t be scared to trust and love again. Your love and generosity is so powerful and trumps all dishonesty and negativity. Do not waste time trying to understand why or find the ‘reason’ because there isn’t one and they will most likely try to make you feel responsible for their deep rooted issues. You gave all your love and they didn’t cherish it so it is ultimately their loss. Your love and time is too precious to be wanted on someone who would rather give it away.
What are your plans for the future?
I am planning on releasing 3 more tracks this year for you all to stream until your ears bleed. 🙂 I have so much I have to share with the world and I am never stopping until my message is heard.
Read more Music Interviews at ClicheMag.com Ramona Blue Has No Time for Lies in Debut Single, “Curious.” Photo Credit: Kasia Dabrowka.
After years of struggling with body image while pursuing competitive dance, Sienna Gomez had her entire perspective change thanks to one insightful judge. She began posting body positivity videos on her TikTok, quickly going viral. Within weeks, she was crowned as one of TikTok’s 12 Trailblazers in the Latinx community. Sienna’s career has skyrocketed exponentially since then and she recently announced a partnership with Maybelline. She is excited to embrace one of her favorite brands and hopes to continue to spread her a message of confidence for all.
Cliché: How did you first become involved with dance?
Sienna Gomez: I started dancing competitively five years ago for a studio in my hometown. I took recreation dance classes for several years before being asked to audition for Company (the competitive program). I made it that first year and didn’t look back! I’m no longer part of Company just given how crazy my schedule is right now, but I try to get onto the dance floor and train at least a few nights a week in either my hometown or in LA, depending on where I am.
Competitive dancers often face a lot of pressure to have a certain body type or look a certain way. How did you learn to embrace yourself and your differences in that environment?
In 2019, I was called on stage during awards at a regional dance competition by one of the judges, Wyndee McGovern. She presented me with a coveted award unique to that competition for my stage presence and power – each of the judges could call out one specific person from the competition. She told me, “You were born to stand out. Have confidence in who you are and what you bring to this stage because I promise, you will be a star.” I literally cried on stage because here was this woman who zoned in on and called out my biggest insecurity: I had spent years comparing myself to my tall, thin friends and always felt so short and big next to them. That day – her words on that stage in front of all of my peers – released me from whatever that insecurity was. That’s the moment I started embracing what made me different – my skin color, my big muscular legs, my curvy figure – and started really loving myself for who I am. I think just being seen and validated and encouraged among the hundreds of dancers there was the fuel I needed to really start on this journey of self-love.
You went viral on TikTok for your body positivity videos. What message do you want to send to your followers about body image, especially now that you have such a massive platform?
The biggest message I want people to take away from my content is that they are beautiful just the way they are and that we are all struggling in our own ways – meaning, no one is “perfect” despite what is depicted on social media. Because I’m on a journey of finding self-love and body confidence myself, it only makes sense that that’s part of what I post on TikTok. I think many people feel alone in their struggles – whether that’s struggling to accept themselves or their body, eating, friends, etc. I want people to feel like they aren’t alone – that we are all more alike than we are different – and that it’s super empowering to put your real self out there.
How does it feel to be chosen by TikTok as both part of their Top 100 list and as one of 12 Trailblazers in the Latinx community?
It fills me with pride. Just a few weeks after my first video went viral, TikTok reached out and told me they would like to include me as one of 12 “Trailblazers” in the Latinx community. I only had 1 or 2 million followers then, and they said they had no doubt that I was on my way to becoming one of Gen Z’s Latinx digital entertainment leaders. Then in December, they recognized me again as a “Voice of Change” in their 2020 “Top 100” list. Both designations mean so much to me. The Trailblazer award really made me feel validated, like I had “made it” on the TikTok app and was representing for so many other people. The Voice of Change designation made me feel proud. It’s not easy being vulnerable on TikTok but that’s what I try to do with my content: to show that you don’t have to be “perfect” to be powerful, or be skinny with a face of makeup to be beautiful. Being considered as a trailblazer and voice of change for our generation is something I definitely do not take lightly.
Tell us about your partnership with Maybelline! Why did you decide to partner with them?
I am so honored and excited to be Maybelline’s newest ambassador. It’s the first time in Maybelline history that they have enlisted a Gen Z, Latinx, digital-first talent for a long-term partnership. I’ve been using Maybelline products since I was a little girl in musical theater, so partnering with them was such an easy decision. I love that they are okay that I like being a little more “natural” looking and also appreciate that our very first campaign together was angled more at teaching young girls how to properly apply makeup vs. assuming that they already knew how (with celebrity makeup artist Ariel Tejada on Maybelline’s YouTube channel). My values and Maybelline’s also really align: that you are beautiful the way you are.
What was it like learning to do your makeup with Ariel Tejada?
Amazing – he is literally so talented and kind! Ariel and I still stay in touch and text often. He is one of my very favorite people, and I know we will work together again soon.
What projects do you have coming up with Maybelline?
I make regular content with Maybelline products, which is super fun for me. I’m also really excited about hopefully attending New York Fashion Week this year. I love getting dressed up and going to events, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it happens! And I recently partnered with them on their global cause initiative around mental health, called Brave Together. I’m looking forward to supporting that initiative however I can.
How can we all learn to be more confident in ourselves?
I get this question a lot. There’s no magic pill for confidence, it’s just something you have to work on every day. I have to work on it every day! I think the most important thing centers around learning to love yourself, whether that’s your body or mind, or both! You only have one body (or mind) and learning to love it or at the very least accept it, even when it’s not perfect, is step one to being happy. Every person in the world has both flaws and strengths but it’s so much better to focus on what you like vs. what makes you feel insecure. If there are things about your body (or mind) that you want to work on, then do it in a fun way. But most importantly, I would focus on what you love about yourself and pour all of your energy into that. Self-love is an awesome step toward confidence.
Read more Celebrity Interviews on ClicheMag.com TikTok Superstar Sienna Gomez on Her Journey to Self Confidence and New Maybelline Partnership. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sienna Gomez.
Multi-instrumentalist Michael Lanza has returned with his first release of the year with the release of his harmonic and remedying single “Open Up” – out now via Hitskope Music Group. The track serves as an anthem to tell others to take risks, push themselves forward and follow their dreams.
Blending mellotron chords, bright piano and Lanza’s strong vocals, the song is a triumphant feat in search of better days. Through the power of empathy and acceptance Lanza sees a bright future for the world. In a time where the world is separated more than ever, Lanza performs “Open Up” to bring listeners together.
Lanza understands the importance of opening up as much of his success has come from taking risks. Since beginning his career Lanza has opened for EDM legends Major Lazor, and Drake Bill, charted #23 on Billboard Dance and had his song featured in the season finale of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. The key to this success parallels the message of “Open Up.”
Since the release of his LP Human Michael has always expressed the importance that everyone feels the same things. He explained, “Human is about the human experience, I wanted to capture the emotions of many of my friends. I want people to realize what they are feeling is normal and we all go through the same things.”
Lanza’s open mind has allowed him to empathize with people from all over the world. His love of other cultures translates through his music. Michael loves to experiment with instruments from across the world. Music from countries like South Korea and Brazil inspire him and his music. From playing K-pop violin covers on his TikTok, to listening to vintage C-Pop, Michael Lanza uses music as a pathway to connect with people from across the world.
With each release Michael Lanza opens up a little bit more, through his music he is able to encourage listeners to go after their dreams, all while making them feel less alone. With much more music on the way the motivating hitmaker is destined to inspire fans from all over the world.
Wanting an escape from the stress of beauty school, Tyler Rusher finally decided to make a TikTok, a decision that wound up changing their life. As a Black, non-binary, fat, and queer creator, Tyler wasn’t sure how big of an audience there would be for their content, but now with over half a million followers, those doubts are forever put to rest. The road hasn’t been easy – Tyler has had to face multiple permanent bans and racist harassment – but their future looks bright. Tyler wants to become more involved in the acting world and hopes to one day land on Netflix or Hulu, as well as explore their passion for music. We’ll be watching! Check out Tyler on TikTok and Instagram.
Cliché: How did you first become involved with comedy?
It’s a crazy story actually. When I was younger I was getting bullied a lot and one day my mother told me to crack a really mean joke “Well tell him his mother looks like a cr*ckhead” I wasn’t the type of child to play the dozens or go at someone but when I did that day, not only were kids laughing at him and not me but I got punched in the face haha! As I got older though, I wasn’t always using it as a defense. Sometimes I did just use it to make people laugh and when I was 16 I made videos on Facebook recapping high school which made people laugh and gained me wide popularity & different kinds of friends from all walks of life. At 19 I just decided to do standup, it felt like a natural progression.
What motivated you to start making TikToks?
Two of my friends in beauty school actually. They felt that I would be so funny and just super entertaining. I did NOT agree. I felt that my humor was gonna either come off too adult, too mean or just too weird like I’ve been called my whole life. They insisted though, over and over until I just gave in and made one. Since beauty school was already becoming a mental warzone for me I thought why not have a mini escape from something that I thought I was going to love.
Were you surprised by how quickly your following blew up?
ABSOLUTELY! Especially being black, queer AND fat. There’s no way that this many people wanted to watch me and liked/loved me. It was weird. It almost felt like some sick joke I created in my head for a moment but everyday when I woke up there was a new gang of people and new wave of support.
Your account has been permanently banned without warning twice. How did this affect you? What was it like to suddenly have your platform ripped out from under you?
The first time it happened it came as a complete and utter shock. It was early in the morning I went to scroll the For You page and when I opened the app it said, “Your account has been permanently banned.” I started welling up with tears, sending emails, shaking, crying, confused & yet nothing was changing. All day long I sat in my room wondering what I did KNOWING I did nothing wrong. 3 days. It was 3 days before I got my account back and they told me the reason as to why they took it down or even why they were giving it back. I was so tired of TikTok at that point. Between the racism, a man stalking me and now THIS I thought who was I doing it for. Watching the videos though of people crying and screaming and demanding my account back, seeing mutuals stick up for me, I knew then, that’s why and that’s for who. The second time I got banned I was HIGHLY annoyed and then 10hrs later BOOM my account is back. Stressful isn’t even the word I’d use for this app!
Why did you decide to come out and what was the reaction like? How are you finding navigating the Internet as a queer Black person?
I felt like 22 was late enough to be in the closet (for me personally take ya’ll time) my mother’s reaction was “I always knew you liked bitches Tyler I was just waiting on you to say something” I was shocked. Later when we talked more in depth she said she always sensed it and just never wanted to push me and knew she’d love me and fight for me either way. Her sister thinks it’s a choice, my brother thinks I’ll burn in hell & I’m the “white man’s whore” ahhh family. My original friends in Cleveland Ohio love and support me and so do all my new friends I’ve made since leaving the state. Now being Non Binary, Bisexual & very well known on the internet I love being that helping hand for young people still in the closet or out and just feel like they don’t have support.
You’ve spoken about the racism you’ve faced on TikTok. What does TikTok need to do in order to address racism and anti-Blackness on the platform?
Delete the accounts that actively harass its black creators. Crack down like bigger platforms like YouTube and don’t let these big creators who do racist things and small creators who do it slide by. There’s also a HUGE grooming and sexual predator problem that they have to deal with with big creators but since they make money for the app, TikTok won’t speak out or take them down. They’re also massive bullies but I guess bullying is cute these days.
How can TikTok users better support and elevate Black creators?
Verify more of us, put us in ads, give us deals and more support as much as your white creators. Have them collab and show real unity on the platform and not just say it. Stop muting and taking down videos that black creators make about police brutality and racism we experience just because it makes you uncomfortable. Why is it better said with white lips than my black ones?
You recently hit 500,000 followers, congratulations! What does that milestone mean to you?
THE WORLD!!!!! I’m still in shock to tell you the truth. It’s blowing my mind. I can’t believe that half a million people find my silly ass entertaining. To get beautiful art and messages and comments, that’s the fun part for me. My fans genuinely make me laugh as well as me making them laugh. I never make content with the intent of going viral either, I just want to make people feel good and laugh. Never thought being myself would do this. I said it in high school but damn…does doing it feel better.
What inspires you to continue making content? How do you see your comedy evolving moving forward?
My followers, society, my life, my past and just because I want to be seen, change the world, flip it on its head and have people go “Damn Tyler so crazy!” I definitely see it evolving past TikTok and hopefully into a career on Netflix or Hulu or some kind of acting. That’s where I eventually want to go. I’ve always wanted to be a comedic/dramatic actress. So hopefully that’s where I go! And lots of volunteering
You also have many other career ambitions including acting, modeling, and singing! What do you think the future holds for you in terms of exploring other opportunities?
I’m definitely thinking of making a mixtape of covers for my followers since the cat’s out of the bag that I can sing haha. When it comes to modeling, I hope so. Being an alternative model with piercings and tattoos who’s plus size is something that’s needed on the scene right now. Plus I love experimenting with hair so it’s nothing for me to have blue hair one day and green the next. I’ve wanted to act since I was 3 so clearly my next stop is the big screen not just your phone screens!!!
Read more Celebrity Interviews on ClicheMag.com Tyler Rusher on Their Unexpected Ascension to TikTok Comedy Royalty. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Tyler Rusher.
Described by VARIETY as an “All-Female Band Blowing Up on TikTok”, the K3 SISTERS BAND is a group of three Dallas-born sisters Kaylen (20), Kelsey (19), and Kristen (16) who have struck it big on the platform, amassing a quarter BILLION views and 36 MILLION likeson TikTok alone!! Recently selected to be part of TikTok’s “Billion Dollar Creator Fund”due to their influence, the musically talented sisters have found a niche performing harmonic melodies inspired by Harry Potter. They also write and perform their own music for a weekly LIVE show on their YouTube channel every Saturday at 11am PT / 2pm ET. Here is the K3 Sisters Band title track from their brand-new LIVE album titled “My Time.”
In just a year, the K3 Sisters Band has exploded across TikTok and social media, with Teens and Tweens alike falling in love with the girl’s beautiful songwriting and lyrics, funny original videos, and amazing cos-play costumes. But it’s not just Gen-Z who has taken notice, FORBES, GOOD MORNING AMERICA and VARIETY have all featured the girls, hailing them as the future of music for their fortitude to use TikTok and social media to release their own original content. Having performed LIVE at venues large and small for years, the girls were ready to keep their fans entertained when stay-at-home orders hit due to COVID19. They set up their own home stage and began streaming live weekly shows on their YouTube channel. Heavily influenced by folk rock legends like Crosby, Stills & Nash, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young, the girls have added their own ‘girl power’ twist to their music, with elements of folk pop, Celtic, country, and rock. True hippies at heart, the girls released their most recent LIVE album “Earth Day 2020” in April which celebrates nature and Mother Earth with hits like “Cotton Candy Sky” and “California Redwood.” Most recently, as an ode to their Harry Potter loving fans, they released the single “Queen Bellatrix”.
With parents deeply rooted in the entertainment industry, and a lineage of four generations (on both sides!) of musicians, music and performing was in their blood from the start. Each sister began studying the Suzuki method of violin at the age of 4, instantly falling in love with instruments and learning how to sing. The girls started performing together at family gatherings, which soon led to local elementary school shows for kids their own age. Before long they were booking even bigger festivals and shows in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, including Six Flags Over Texas, the Great Wolf Lodge, Dallas Arboretum, the Tyler, Texas Rose Festival, and the North Park Dallas Mall, honing and refining their skills to perform for large crowds.
People started noticing the girls, and while they received mostly positive reviews and comments from fans, they also got their first taste of online trolls who began posting negative comments on their social pages. This crushed them. But over time, they imagined what it must be like for other people, including their growing fan base, to get hateful comments as well. This led the whole band to formulate their motto known as #k3motto which has become more than a personal coping mechanism of focus and empowerment, it is a rallying call that has empowered and uplifted their fans as well. Many, many comments from fans on their social media attest to the life changing motto that stands up to bullies. They additionally wrote an anti-bullying song “Sticks and Stones” which has garnered thousands of views on YouTube.
The girls had now perfected performing in larger festival settings, but began resenting being rushed on/off stage quickly with sound engineers dismissing them over their technical requirements due to their multitude of instruments they had each set. So, they got creative. They began learning and teaching themselves about sound systems and soon acquired a new wireless prototype technology to run their own sound from their iPads and iPhones on stage. Before long they had perfected running the sound system professionally. This gave rise to the next chapter of their career, the K3 Sisters Coffee House Tour, where they partnered with Guitar Center to perform intimate coffee house shows while also giving away new guitars to disadvantaged youth at performances. By the time the coffee house tours ended, the girls knew how to run sound on any stage for themselves, and their own unique sound requirements to produce a great live listening experience.
In the winter of 2019, they began to refocus their power and energy online where they could develop a larger national and international fan base, with LIVE performances across YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. Soon their TikTok blew up when people discovered that they were not only musicians but also cos-players and actresses honing their acting skills on short skit videos, especially ones centered around Harry Potter. This led to a quarter billion international views on TikTok in less than a year! Now many international brands have reached out to them looking to book them for endorsements and campaigns, but the girls have made a conscious decision to remain true to their brand and only work with other brands that are an organic fit, such as the recent videos they did with K-SWISS who just launched a “Harry Potter” inspired line of shoes. The videos have already received millions of views in just a few days, a true testament to their rising influence.