I spoke to Brut media about the harmful use of the racial slur “Gypsy” and “gypped.” I see the word used so often in writing, media, brands, and few people know that it refers to the Romani people, and reinforces negatives stereotypes about us like nomadism, curses, thievery, and promiscuity. Many Americans believe that the word Gypsy actually means thief, nomad, curse-thrower, or ‘slut,’ and this erases Romani identity at a crucial time while we are fighting for our rights, and associates the real Romani people with theses stereotypes. I am proud of my Romani heritage and I want people to understand who we are. I’ve written many articles on other aspects of Romani culture, which you can find on my Writing page. If you know someone who uses this word, even if they think they are using it in a positive way, you might like to gently and lovingly educate them on the power of language and the history of this slur. Thanks for watching!
I use castor oil for almost everything, so I talked to The Vitamin Shoppe blog about how I use this wonderful and affordable oil in my beauty rituals. My hair is thick and tends to be try like a horse’s tail, so there’s a soft and shiny castor oil hair treatment in there. Lashes and brows? Covered. Lips? Sure. I’ve got castor oil tips in here from head to toe, and pretty much all of them gleaned from my ever-lovely Romani mother, the queen of natural, shoestring budget beauty. I even have something in here for scars. If you try them out, let me know what you think.
I also use castor oil as a carrier oil for my safe-for-skin essential oils, and I especially like to use it with tea tree oil for skincare, which I also discussed with The Vitamin Shoppe; lavender, and frankincense. If we’re talking about its witchier uses, then it also applies to my more magical oils and elixirs. It’s a thick, viscous oil, which makes it feel both tough and enveloping, so I like to use it in healing and protection rituals, and to draw in money.
Hey friends! I am really into natural skincare, and so I wrote this blog post for the Vitamin Shoppe Blog about how I use tea tree oil in my beauty routine. I also mention a few Roma-style, family beauty tips. Plus you get to admire my Etude House kitten headband and my leopard bathrobe. Take a look!
It’s #RomaniResistanceDay commemorating the day Roma & Sinti prisoners of Auschwitz took the damn place apart, fashioning weapons out of scraps of wood, metal, and anything else they found, and then drove back guards to delay execution. And the Romani and Sinti communities are still dismantling oppression today.
Here are some links if you would like to read more about this important day in history, and the Romani and Sinti genocide of WWII.
Also check out Jud Nirenberg’s phenomenal book, Johann Trollmann and Romani Resistance to The Nazis, free on Kindle and totally worth it in paperback.
This is pretty belated, but on May 6th I was lucky to perform at an Ederlezi celebration in Brooklyn. Sometimes the night is so good that you forget to document it until much later. Ederlezi is a spring holiday for Roma in the Balkans, and a variant on St. George’s Day. There’s a lot of singing, dancing, flower-throwing, and feasting of lamb to imbibe its purity and thus be renewed. Much of Romani spirituality centers on spiritual purification, and this holiday is a beautiful testament to this. Each activity cleanses the soul, and whenever possible, the holiday is celebrated by a river to bathe in and throw in flowers for luck.
My Romani family doesn’t actually celebrate the holiday because my ancestors settled in Western Europe, but I love the holiday and like to observe it in my own small way. This year, it was by dancing, singing, & invoking Sara la Kali at X Marks the Loft. So many thanks to JunXion for creating this beautiful event to celebrate the Balkan Romani holiday of spring and renewal. I’m also very grateful to the Bulgarian Voices Trio, who gave such a beautiful performance and then helped me sing “Ederlezi” because I’m not really a singer actually…. Check out their beautiful music. Joro Boro also provided us great music & energy, and a real love for the holiday and for the Romani people. I was also touched by the way Chef Davo prepared the lamb so mindfully, slaughtering it himself with the respect and solemnity the holiday calls for, and pouring his intention for the holiday into cooking a delicious feast. We talked a little in Romanes, though mine is very broken due to my family losing the language in the war, and I learned that he lived alongside Roma back in Bulgaria and has a great affinity for the culture. The whole night I felt the respect and love of Romani allies who really wanted me there and encouraged me to share part of the Romani community’s culture.
The idea of the Gypsy woman performer conjures so many exoticized and sexualized stereotypes, and Nancy Black shatters them all with her new song “Trushula,” which is translated into English, calling out Nazi culture and Roma who have turned on their community with powerful lyrics and seriously boom beats. Check out her out on Instagram and her blog. Keep an eye out for her upcoming album, too. She is seriously something.
Photo by Viktor Pachas
I had so much fun being interviewed by Eniko Vaghy of Agape Editions for their series Cards on the Table. I discuss the relationship between Romani “Gypsy” fortune telling and persecution, my family’s line of Romani medicine work, eclectic witch magic, writing techniques using tarot, my rituals before reading for clients, and lots more! I loved Eniko’s thoughtful questions, and I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did.