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New Design Alert!: "Lulu /Lele"

Dominique Daye Hunter

I'm a sucker for comics. And Black Indigenous queer woman of color (BIQWOC) representation in comics?: all the doper. Wanting to represent the full spectrum, it was important to me to be inclusive of all feminine energy whether it be cis, trans, or non-binary. Whether you call it a "lulu" or "lele," this woman's warrior cry is heard throughout Africa and the "Americas."

Black and Indigenous people have fought together against colonization since 1492. Colonial violence has encroached upon and dehumanized Black and Indigenous bodies and homelands ever since. Though the term BIPOC has been around since 2013, seeing it resurface in a major and powerful way after George Floyd's murder brought a sense of solidarity during such a painful time.

However, being Black Indigenous hasn't always been love and solidarity. As a Black Sappony woman, my tribe and others on the east coast, who have been integrated with Black and Caucasion peoples for centuries, are more accepting as most people are mixed. But this isn't to say there isn't still colorism and other lateral oppression experienced. Living in the southwest for the last ten years as a Black Indigenous person has shown me that the history of internal oppression and colorism are also found here. Time and time again, I've experienced partner's family's who were Indigenous that rejected me because I was "part Black."

It's easy to think that after 2020, all that is behind us and that our communities are free from racism (see "How To Be Antiracist" by Ibram Kendi). But I still see the anti-Blackness, especially when designs or models aren't phenotypically seen as "Native" or don't get as much love. But like the "My Native Woman" designs teaches us, there is no "one look" for Indigenous or Black peoples.

We are all warriors against colonization if we chose to be and chose to let go of these colonized, racist ideas once and for all. We are all legtimate. We are all beautiful. Even more so, when we lulu / lele together.

Hannah Manuelito

Dominique Daye Hunter (Black, Sappony/Irish/Polish descent) is a poet/spoken word/hiphop artist, short story writer, and clothing line entrepreneur. She is the co-founder of Indigenous Womxn In Solidarity Empowered + Rising and The LuLu Experience: Festival and Publication. Hunter is currently working on her B.S. in Nonprofit Leadership Management with an emphasis in American Indian Studies, and lives between the southeast + southwestern U.S. Follow her journey on Instagram @ddayehunter.

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