As a BIPOC creator and maker, it is a powerful time in history to watch as so many companies and corporations take a stand in support of Black lives and stand against racial injustice. That is how it should be. I stand on my platforms to support Black Lives and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) creators because they have long been overlooked. There is SO much talent in this community and BIPOC need more recognition and elevation. Our world is full of color and diversity. More companies have to stand for their diverse audience and understand their needs. Not turn a blind eye. Makers of color deserve recognition. Many of the fiber companies have taken a stand. Yet, some have not.
Many of you know that I was a Joy Creator for Red Heart Yarns which was bought out by Yarnspirations/Spinrite. I continued to use and promote their product in nearly all my video tutorials and projects. I stood behind their product. I was not a paid spokesperson nor was I paid money for my videos. I was given yarn support and like all makers, we do generate a small stipend from using affiliate links that generate a sale from time to time. I was always transparent about that. It is one way we can provide free patterns while still generating a small avenue of income to bring you our patterns.
In the face of recent events, the company I had been representing as a stitch ambassador and Joy Creator has not made a public statement nor taken a stance in support of the Black Lives Matter movement or to denounce the killings of black men and women. There has been no statement against racial injustice that we all witness all too often. There has not been a show of support for the community of makers of color in this industry. With that weighing heavily on my mind and my heart, I reached out in a private email and asked them to remove me from their platform and asked them to stop using my likeness on their website.
I decided it was time to move on to a company I felt better represented people of color and community as a whole. I sent Yarnspirations an email with a knot in my gut and a prayer in my heart. I waited. I did not receive a reply. I kept waiting, refreshing my inbox, checking over and over. Nearly a week had passed when none of my requests were acknowledged nor was there anyone from the company who reached out to me at any time to say anything encouraging – not even a one liner. Their silence spoke volumes. It was apparent to me that my voice was not worthy of a reply.
I decided to raise my voice then, in a more public fashion today. It was only in that route did a round-about apology come forth, yet no stand has been taken publicly on any forum. After taking things to the next level in a series of group emails and on a private blogger group did I receive this apology.
It should not be the job of the BIPOC community or BIPOC ambassadors/makers to handhold companies and tell them how to represent their community of color/diversity OR to tell the company to take a stand. The company should already know that the time has come to stand up to racial injustice and discrimination and speak for their customers and creators of color. We need to be seen. People of color have done enough for them by working for free. The company should have been doing this work LONG before now. They should have come with a BOLD and POWERFUL statement in the beginning that made everyone, ESPECIALLY Black makers and creators and creators of color feel elevated and supported.
We should not have to plea with anyone to make a stand. A statement for BIPOC creators and customers should have been the FIRST step of action and then further action could be taken going forward. That is Anti-Racism in action. A company that stands with their creative artists of color and with the nation to say their community of BIPOC matter. That would have gone so far in quelling the fears and anxieties that many of us feel. Those of us that are here as representatives of color, NEED to HEAR that companies like Yarnspirations/Spinrite stand with Black lives and other people of color as a community.
I have decided to use my voice on my platform because, like me, it is compiled of a large percentage of people of color across the entire globe. Many use their product. I used Red Heart Yarns/Yarnspirations products. I shout it out on every video tutorial on every crochet project. Yet they stay silent on my behalf and on behalf of millions of voices. That is unacceptable. The fact that there was no reply and my request for communication about this matter was ignored in my personal email was an eye-opening revelation.
My blog and YouTube channel reach over 150 countries and my nearly half-million followers on all platforms make up only 18% of my actual viewers. I use it to speak my truth as a creator of color, as a woman, and as a PROUD young mother of a child of color – and if that truth and Yarnspirations’ stand do not align, then it is imperative for me to move on and to let others know my intentions and why. This wasn’t a hard decision, just painful to recognize that this company has taken a no stand approach and continues to take no stand other than an obscure Equal Opportunity statement.
Silence is complicit and silence is ALWAYS the voice of the oppressor. ALWAYS.
I am moving on and divorcing myself from this company that has not seen the importance of lending their voice to Black lives or makers of color, nor the enormity of what that could mean financially from me or others, walking away. If a company wants to be anti-racist then TRULY be anti-racist. There is no tiptoeing around and waiting for the “right time.” The time was long before today.
Quick follow-up edit:
I hear and see ALL the comments on this post. Don’t worry, I AM listening. For those of you trying to call me out or say this is political-understand this – this is about human rights and human rights are NOT political. Let’s get that straight. Or those who are asking now that I posted this where am I? I am right here. Same place I am everyday – working to bring you more of this craft because that is what I do and love and I am also taking care of Nasir. Just because I am not commenting back to every comment, that doesn’t mean I have gone into hiding. This is my platform, and I do have the right to stand where I stand just as every person on this feed has the right to say and feel the way they do. I have no objections to any of that. This is about being heard in a place that has not lent more voices to this important racial matter and over the injustices that continue to be ignored or passified in this industry.
It seems like some are ok with this being ignored, that it will be swept under the rug and forgotten and everything will go back to being “comfortable” again. Do you know who stands behind the camera in every video tutorial I post? It’s my dad. Even if you don’t know him or see his face on here or he is not as vocal on this platform, he is still a HUGE part of YARNutopia. He is a HUGE part of ME! I stand for Black makers and makers of color in this industry, and I stand for my father and many people who are unseen but still have a voice that is not being heard-Don’t you get it?? My dad always says to me, “Anything worth fighting for is not going to be comfortable or easy, Nadia.” This, right here, is not comfortable, but it is NECESSARY! It is only when we feel uncomfortable that big changes can come and my hope and prayer is that change truly does come. He also tells me that sometimes you have to lose to win. Not win in monetary ways or in fame, but win in a way that you can sleep at night and wake up the next day and look at yourself in the mirror. For anyone who truly knows me, knows where I stand when it comes to racial injustice and how I feel about the Black Lives Matter movement. They know this was the right thing for ME to do. You don’t have to agree and despite all the negative things some may say, I do respect and see everyone’s comments and I am not afraid or hiding from any of it nor does it change the way I feel. Thank you.