On Monday, August 10, DeeLadee Serrari-Monday, also known as Ms Fantacee, had a party to end all parties! Everyone wore red, and the DJ on deck was Big Red. Ebony Scorpio acted as the Host, and along with Public Relations Specialist Myasia Bugatti Gans, both were gracious enough to take photos of the event, too. While Scorpio and Gans took pictures, everyone was dancing, and there was even a special appearance by the Twerk Break Crew!
And while this party happened less than a week ago, this party was merely one of many parties given every Monday. In fact, these weekly parties act as a way to promote the Black Girls Rocking The SL Grid! Campaign. With more parties to come, the Black Girls Rocking The SL Grid! aims to promote positive images of Black women of color by giving them special recognition, as well as awards to honor their vast accomplishments.
The Black Girls Rocking The SL Grid! Campaign is sponsored by 104.3 WBVD RADIO, and consists of the following staff members:
- LEELEE KENYON, GENERAL MANAGER,
- MYASIA GANS, PUBLIC RELATIONS,
- MYMACK WACO, HUMAN RESOURCES,
- SWEETCHOCOLATE CHIUNG, OFFICE MANAGER, AND
- HOGCHEESE MODE, SECURITY
In fact, the Black Girls Rocking The SL Grid! Campaign is actually based on the RL version of Black Girls Rock!—and both campaigns aim to remind the masses that there’s more to women of color than their sexual prowess and alleged bad attitudes. Ms Fantacee reiterates this claim by saying, “BLACK GIRLS ROCKING THE SL GRID! is a movement inspiring women of color to take charge of our images, our dignity, and our impact on the RL world as well as the SL world…” she continues, “It’s a group designed for Second Life’s exceptional women of color…women of color who work in fashion, media, business, the arts, entertainment and public service.”
What makes The Black Girls Rocking The SL Grid! Campaign so poignant is that it is vastly similar to the Black Girls Rock 501©3 non-profit organization. Like the Black Girls Rocking The SL Grid! Campaign, the RL Black Girls Rock! 501©3 nonprofit aims to empower black women of color; yet what makes the RL nonprofit different from the SL campaign is that the RL campaign specializes in mentoring youth—all as a means of promoting arts for young women of color. Yet despite this difference, both campaigns encourage dialogue and analysis of the ways women of color are portrayed in the media. In SL, it is fair to say that the body of the black woman is continually exploited, torn apart, and redefined in accordance to how men of color, as well as many members of the mainstream SL community, consume SL as a source of sexual gratification and entertainment.
Kamille Kamala, owner of The Lyrical Lounge and a poet in her own right, supports this claim by saying, “Women and girls in SL are severely objectified. If there was an organization that helped them…to see their worth…and help them learn to love themselves more, maybe this would lessen the blow to black women’s self-esteem collectively in SL. [In fact, The Black Girls Rocking The SL Grid! Campaign] would be a great avenue for women and girls in SL to improve on their self-esteem…”
Yet, in a virtual, media based reality like SL, to assert this claim is not enough because there are an array of naysayers that would say otherwise. Thus, it is important for others to affirm this assertion, and with that affirmation, create a dialog of discourse to not only discuss it, but to eventually eradicate it. Besides Ms Fantacee, one person brave enough to do this is Felecia Carver. An outspoken SL resident, Carver asserts, upon being asked if there are any disparities that exist within the black SL community, “There are definitely disparities. Just the fact that we say things like the ‘urban side’ or the ‘other side’ means there is a marked difference…plus, there are other awards being given, but controversy always surrounds them…” Carver continues, “…If you look at SL Facebook during and after these awards are given, it is often filled with speculation and accusations of cheating, favoritism and the like…”
Another brave person is Nova Clawtooth, who avidly supports and agrees with Felecia’s sentiment. An SL resident for over seven years, Clawtooth is the founder of the Alpha Feta Ki fraternity, and also acts as a CEO of ONE80 Gridwide Entertainment; he is also a Media Coordinator for WKSK 105.5. When asked about the disparity that potentially exists in black SL, Clawtooth contends, “Ummm…let’s just say that there are far too many to list and will take more time than I have…” After he laughs out loud, Clawtooth continues, “…but I see [The Black Girls Rocking The SL Grid! Campaign’s] importance in bringing women together rather than having them divided, as is too often the case on SL.”
How The Black Girls Rocking The SL Grid! Campaign Handles Potential Infighting and Bickering….
The kind of bickering that Carver and Clawtooth speak of can make it very difficult to administer, as well as give out awards like those featured in the Black Girls Rocking The SL Grid! Campaign. Thus, Ms Fantacee has employed anonymous judges to monitor potential nominees. Ms Fantacee says, “The best thing about the BGR Campaign is how we come about choosing the winners…” She continues by saying, “…anyone can drop a contest board and tp people in to vote for their friends, but with the BGR campaign it gives the person who really deserves the prestige a chance to actually win….
“In fact…” Ms Fantacee says, “…the Results of the actual win consist of ALL PEOPLE on the SL Grid having an opportunity to nominate a Black Woman who they believe fits a particular category and write—In 250 words or less—why that person should be chosen…the nominations are presented to a group of non-bias panelists/judges who reads them and chose the best essays…these essays are then take through a voting system that fairly chooses the winners.”
While there are those inworld who function as black women in RL and SL, there are quite a few inworld who function as SL black women, but are not black women in RL. This, in turn can create a pariah of seemingly unfair scenerios of white people role playing as black women…all as a means of receiving perceived, “black entitlement” based benefits, as well as a Black Girls Rocking The Grid! Award to boot. This is specifically why the judges verify the ethnicity of all nominees; this verification is done to insure that homage is appropriately given to those that thoroughly experience what it means to be a black woman of color in SL and in RL.
Why Black Girls Rocking The SL Grid! Though?
However, Ms Fantacee wants everyone to be mindful that the SL Black Girls Rocking The Grid! Campaign aims to highlight the accomplishments of women of color not as a means to discriminate, but to pay homage to those whose work is often unacknowledged and ignored in the SL mainstream. Ms Fantacee reiterates this by saying, “The Black SL community has some very talented, creative, and intelligent people…there are entertainers, designers of clothing, skins, vehicles, jewelry, builders, arts and many other crafts. A great deal of black business women and men are also owners of role play-based community SIMs that function within the Black community, and the list goes on and on….”
Baldbaby Latte, an SL resident and active supporter of the Black Girls Rocking The SL Grid! Campaign echoes Ms Fantacee’s assertion by saying, “It is important to emphasize OUR self-worth and focus on uplifting women. We must begin within our own culture and any event that allows us to celebrate the essence of black women is welcomed. It increases our visibility and provides opportunities to network and gain knowledge. This is because we face many challenges to achieve respect and equitable treatment in a male dominated society…”
Yet, Baldbaby Latte does not want to strictly categorize the accomplishments of black women in one category. Rather, she wants events like the Black Girls Rocking The SL Grid! Campaign to highlight the accomplishments of black women, particularly as they function within the SL mainstream. Latte contends, “I believe our community does the same things as other communities in SL. I know people that have ventures in real estate, role playing groups, malls, modeling, and building. It is imperative we demonstrate our capacity to shape and influence this medium. SL is driven by the imagination of its users.”
The Black Girls Rocking The SL Grid Timeline
While all this sounds great, be mindful that there are a slew of deadlines and rules to remember.
First Rule: The Black Girls Rocking The SL Grid! requests that all nominees be listed and sent inworld to either Ms Fantacee Resident or DeeLadee Serrari via a notecard. This notecard should include the name of the candidate (also known by The Black Girls Rocking The SL Grid Staff as a SHEROE), as well as the category the candidate is nominated for. This, along with an explanation in 250 words or less as to why you think the candidate should be elected for the 2015 Black Girls Rocking The SL Grid! Award should all be submitted by August 21, 2015.
Some other rules to remember:
There can only be one nominee (SHEROE) entrance per SL RESIDENT. According to Ms Fantacee, the nominations do not act as voting ballots to be counted and amended. Rather, emphasis is placed on what is said in the ballots; thus, it would be futile to submit numerous entries for one person
- BLACK GIRLS ROCKING THE SL GRID! “Icon” Award
- BLACK GIRLS ROCKING THE SL GRID! “Young, Gifted, and Black” Award
- BLACK GIRLS ROCKING THE SL GRID! “Fashionista” Award
- BLACK GIRLS ROCKING THE SL GRID! “Who’s Got Next” Award~Entertainment
- BLACK GIRLS ROCKING THE SL GRID! “Living Legend” Award
- BLACK GIRLS ROCKING THE SL GRID! “Community Service” Award~Humanitarian
- BLACK GIRLS ROCKING THE SL GRID! “Shot Caller” Award~Inspiration
- BLACK GIRLS ROCKING THE SL GRID! “Star Light” Award~Arts, Designs, Culture
- BLACK GIRLS ROCKING THE SL GRID! “Star Power” Award~Business
- BLACK GIRLS ROCKING THE SL GRID! “Star” Award~Actress
- BLACK GIRLS ROCKING THE SL GRID! “Stunna Swag” Award~Sexy Classy
- BLACK GIRLS ROCKING THE SL GRID! “World Shine ” Award~Photographer
- BLACK GIRLS ROCKING THE SL GRID! “World Shine ” Award~Photographer