March 2, 2022By Christine Pasalo Norland

Hello Barkada Presents "Allowed"

"Allowed" is our new programming series in which invited artists and writers join me in conversation, to share aloud the influences and intentions behind their latest works. For our first episode, Hello Barkada welcomed cartoonist Trinidad Escobar to discuss her new comics collection Arrive In My Hands, published by Black Josei Press.


Be advised that this interview refers to mature topics as the work we're discussing is intended for readers who are 18+ years old.


Thank you to everyone who attended the livestream on Thursday, March 10! The replay is currently available on the Hello Barkada Instagram feed and on the Hello Barkada YouTube Channel with closed captions. For a synopsis of each episode in the series, visit our "Allowed" page.

Photo of Filipina American cartoonist Trinidad Escobar.

CARTOONIST TRINIDAD ESCOBAR. PHOTO COURTESY OF TRINIDAD ESCOBAR.

Brown-toned text that says "Allowed" is set inside merged black conversation bubbles. Surrounding text in black repeats the event information.

PROMOTIONAL GRAPHIC FOR "ALLOWED," A NEW INTERVIEW SERIES BY HELLO BARKADA.

THE SCALE OF ONE


As the Founder and President of a young organization who is also a woman of color and a second generation American, I'm hyperaware of the hold that the imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy (coined by bell hooks) has on access, platform, and progress. Such a system aggressively suggests daily that I should want to operate at a much larger scale than I'm at, and because I don't have the capital for the "right" resources to be at that level, I shouldn't expect to be impactful. In that system, I'm set up to wait my turn or worse–not have a turn.


Thing is: I operate on the scale of one. If the work of Hello Barkada validates one person or gives one person a new frame of reference that empowers them to (continue to) move forward by their own permission, their own creativity, their own saavy and with the intent to practice learning, accompliceship, and humanity, then what I'm doing and how I'm doing it is enough. This is what disruption looks like. We will build together and in the time needed to maintain balance and mental wellness. If I'm able to impact one person, and that person moves on to impact another, then we're–as Sharon Lee De La Cruz says–scaffolding!


HERE FOR HOMOPHONES


The title of this new programming series intentionally rides the fact that "allowed" and "aloud" are homophones. Since founding, it's been my goal to find a way to give artists and writers of marginalized communities another accessible platform from which to share their work, drive, insight, grievances, and hopes; a platform that mutually gives followers, readers, and viewers of our communities another resource of reassurance, inspiration, and recharging. When I changed the question from "How can I afford a subscription to Zoom or StreamYard?" to "What is readily available to me now that has the potential to reach?", I allowed myself to seek out radical possibilities (a la bell hooks) that also gave way to building coalitions. It began (and will continue) with contributing panels to like-minded organizations: Women in Comics Collective International, Virtuous Con. It began (and will continue) with appearing on a monthly Instagram Live series hosted by a like-minded founder and friend: Happy Hour Chat with Jade Seaberry of DiverseToons.


Now, here we are! "Allowed" will launch via Instagram Live for many reasons, namely:

  • It's free to use for Hello Barkada, the artist/writer, and the audience.

  • It can be easily accessed by followers of Hello Barkada and the artist/writer being interviewed (i.e., there is no registration hurdle).

  • I'm still able to control how open or how safe the space should be (a huge plus considering stories about Twitter spaces, yikes).

  • I'll be able to immediately share the recording of the livestream to Hello Barkada's Instagram feed for followers to (re)watch, bookmark, and share.

  • I'll be able to download the recording (an .mp4), which allows me to upload it to YouTube and make the raw file available to the artist/writer to download and upload to their social media channels and/or embed on their portfolio website. Why would I do this? Because the content belongs to both of us.

  • While I'm thinking through a way to make the livestream accessible to visually-impaired, hearing-impaired, blind, and deaf folx, I am working on making the recording accessible by looking into captioning and/or linking to a transcript of the conversation.


So, you see: In this system, neither I nor you need to wait our turn. You might say that in this system, there are no turns, no line to stand in. In this system, we are not obligated to follow the way of "should." We are simply allowed to begin.


•••


Hello Barkada operates thanks to our clients, the generous contributions of Barkada Patrons, and those who've purchased our zine.


Help Hello Barkada continue to provide platform and opportunities to artists and writers from marginalized communities by hiring Christine on a contract basis, making a contribution to the organization's crowd fund, and/or buying a copy of our inaugural zine!


HEADER IMAGE COURTESY OF BLACK JOSEI PRESS TAGS: ART NEWS, EVENTS

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Darkened collage of screenshots taken of Steenz from the second episode of Allowed. White text reads, "Allowed, with Steenz! The award-winning cartoonist discusses their new book Heart Takes the Stage and the ways they infuse their style and perspective into the 'Heart of the City' comic strip."